Anusara yoga is a modern style of yoga founded in 1997 by American yoga teacher John Friend. The word “Anusara” comes from the Sanskrit language and means “to flow with grace,” “to follow your heart,” or “to be in the flow of life.”
The practice of Anusara yoga emphasizes the universal principles of alignment, which aim to align the body in a way that is safe, effective, and transformative. The principles include “opening to grace,” “muscular energy,” “inner spiral,” “outer spiral,” “organic energy,” “heart opening,” and “integration.”
Anusara yoga classes typically begin with a centering practice, followed by a warm-up series of poses designed to prepare the body for more challenging postures. The heart of the practice is a series of asanas (poses) that flow together in a sequence, often incorporating backbends, inversions, and arm balances. Anusara yoga also includes pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation.
One of the unique aspects of Anusara yoga is its emphasis on the “Three A’s”: Attitude, Alignment, and Action. The attitude of the practice is one of positivity and celebration of life, while the alignment principles guide the practitioner to find optimal alignment in each pose. The action is about bringing the heart into every pose and allowing the practice to transform both the body and the mind.
Anusara yoga is a relatively new style of yoga but has gained popularity among yoga practitioners and teachers around the world due to its focus on the principles of alignment, heart opening, and transformation.