(and here’s another article straight from the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga website, to help you better understand the beautiful philosophy of Anusara Yoga – enjoy!)
Anusara yoga is grounded in a Non Dual Tantric philosophy that teaches us that everything in this world is an embodiment of Supreme Consciousness, which at its essence pulsates with awareness and bliss. This philosophy is put into practice by always looking for the intrinsic goodness of every situation before responding appropriately to what is happening in the present moment.
The philosophical vision of Anusara yoga is based on a variety of spiritually centered traditions, primarily the non-dual Tantric schools of the sub-continent of India. Many of the Tantric schools of yoga philosophy are Shiva-oriented in their practices and ideologies while others are more Shakti-oriented. To honor both of these paths, the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga (ASHY) uses the all inclusive term “Non-dual Tantra” to describe a philosophy that includes both the Shiva and Shakta traditions under one umbrella. Students are encouraged to study either or both of these traditions without judging or diminishing either path. Anusara yoga teachers have studied other types of yoga philosophy in their training, including the Vedic roots of yoga, the classical yoga of Patanjali, Vedanta, Bhakti yoga, and Buddhism.
The highest intention of practicing Anusara yoga is to align with the Divine.
The Divine embodies as this world in order to know itself more fully (Cit) and to express itself creatively from that knowing (Ananda), and thus the practice of Anusara Yoga seeks to align with Diving energy by keeping those two main intentions clear and present.
As we deepen our alignment with the Supreme, we step deeper into the flow of Grace. It is through the revelatory power of Grace that we awaken to the truth that this Divine flow is our essential nature, that we are all part of an interconnected web of Divine consciousness. This higher knowledge naturally fuels our deepest desire to lovingly serve the creative flow of life through each breath and posture in our yoga practice. On our yoga mat we artistically offer our individual light and our unique music with the heartfelt prayer of adding more beauty, love, and goodness to the world.
The art of Anusara yoga is a co-participation with the Supreme—not a practice of domination, subjugation, or control of Nature. The poses in Anusara yoga are considered to be “heart-oriented,” meaning that they are expressed from the “inside out.” Instead of trying to control the body and mind from the outside, the poses originate from a deep creative and devotional feeling inside, from the essence of Divine goodness within. On our mat, we endeavor to always remember the spiritual purpose or highest intention (Cit/Ananda) of practicing hatha yoga, including reconnecting with our innate Goodness and expressing ourselves from that Divine place.
The physical body is a magnificent manifestation of Spirit, not simply an inferior material vessel.
Similarly, our thoughts, desires, passions and emotions are not obstacles to spiritual awakening, but God-given means of expanding our experience of the Supreme. Ultimately, the body/mind is a Divine gift to help us discover our glory, our greatness, and our worthiness to experience the highest sense of freedom. Embodiment is not some sort of karmic punishment, nor something we need to transcend, but rather engage with skillfully. It is through the limitations of the body/mind that we discover that our true nature is boundless.
Life is good –this is a key tenet in the Tantric philosophical vision that inspires Anusara yoga teachers and students. Indeed, goodness is the absolute nature of the universe. There is no intrinsic or absolute evil in the universe. As we are born free to choose our own experience, we are capable of moving out of alignment with the Divine in a way that creates suffering and harm. Our Anusara yoga practice offers us the ability to cultivate our understanding of what is life-enhancing and what is not. We then use our power of discrimination and judgment to align with the good in order to reduce suffering, diminish division, dissolve hatred, and conversely to exult in the splendor of life.
Spiritual awakening is the ever-expanding process of recognizing that our true nature is perfect, full, lacking nothing, and interconnected to everything else that exists. Spiritual freedom or enlightenment is not a fixed state of being. Rather it is an ever-evolving process of unfolding our effulgence, goodness, balance, and perfection.
Progress on the path of awakening is reflected in an increase in one’s spiritual centeredness; wisdom; trust in the Divine’s play; capacity to lovingly honor the Divine in each other; and ability to celebrate the Divine grandeur in life. Further signs of progress on the path include a deepening of an inner strength and steadfastness. Anusara yoga students become more appreciative and passionate participants in Life as they practice this life-affirming philosophy on and off the mat.
The Anusara yoga community (kula or sangha) is inclusive, life-affirming, and evolving. Individuality and creative self-expression, which glorify the greatness of the kula, are encouraged and celebrated. Anusara yoga welcomes all forms of cultural and ethnic diversity and respects a wide variety of spiritual and religious self-expressions. We acknowledge, respect, and invite a diversity of experience both within our own community and among those outside the community who are seeking to align with the Divine. Our experience of diversity and difference is an affirmation of the Divine’s own experience of inclusiveness and celebration of plurality. We lead by the example of our own lives, while respecting others’ choices to express their own views and values. With deep respect we warmly invite everyone to join the grand celebration of life through Anusara yoga.