Anusara Yoga

Founded by John Friend recently (1997!), Anusara (which means “flowing grace”) is primarily a yoga style in America, although it’s catching on in Europe and Asia.

It’s a kind of spiritualization of Iyengar yoga (Friend was an Iyengar yoga teacher), so you have a similar emphasis on alignment and use of props to bring correct positioning to the body. However, in addition to the structural similarities, Anusara yoga brings tantric philosophy (a belief that inherently everyone is good) and combines it with heart-opening Vinyasa-flow style movements.

Anusara Yoga is full of “lingo” based around three principles: Attitude, Alignment and Action. Attitude is about putting an intention into your practice of each asana. Alignment is about the awareness of the relationship between body and soul and used terms like “Opening to Grace”, “Inner Spiral”, and “Organic Energy”, that you won’t find in other branches of yoga even though the concepts are related. Action refers to the flow of energy in the body.

Spiritually, Anusara yoga is pleasant and light hearted. Physically, it’s not easy. It involves Vinyasa flow and Iyengar precision, although the usage of props makes it more accessible. It’s a great type of yoga for those who love the details of Iyengar, but want a more spiritually oriented approach.