Ananda Yoga is a style of yoga that aims to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit through the integration of physical postures, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, and affirmations. It was developed by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, who is widely known for his book Autobiography of a Yogi.
Ananda Yoga emphasizes the use of silent affirmations, or positive statements, during the practice of each posture. These affirmations are intended to help practitioners deepen their awareness of the connection between their physical body and their inner self, and to cultivate a more positive outlook on life.
The physical practice of Ananda Yoga is based on traditional Hatha Yoga postures, with a focus on the smooth flow of movement and breath. The practice is designed to be accessible to all levels of practitioners, with modifications offered to suit individual needs and abilities.
Ananda Yoga classes typically begin with a period of centering and meditation, followed by a warm-up sequence of gentle movements and stretches. The main portion of the class consists of a sequence of standing, seated, and reclining postures, each held for several breaths. The practice ends with a period of deep relaxation, known as Savasana, and a closing meditation.
Overall, Ananda Yoga aims to help practitioners experience a sense of inner peace and joy, and to deepen their connection to their true self.