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Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Yoga river flows west... And east!


Yoga rockstar John Friend traces the evolution of yoga from the sages in the Himalayas to leotard-clad trainers in spas in Colorado, and discovers the circle that brings the world together on a yoga mat...
SPRIHA SRIVASTAVA | New Delhi, December 23, 2011 22:01
Tags : yoga guru | BKS iyengar | west | yoga river | east | john friend |

I have been studying yoga for 40 years with numerous teachers in a wide variety of different paths of yoga. These teachers included many Indian yoga teachers such as BKS Iyengar, TKS Desikachar, Pattabhi Jois, and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. In the course of my own personal evolution of my yoga practices, I had reached a juncture where the philosophy and method of my yoga practice had significantly deviated from my earlier paths. Therefore, I had to name and organize a new school of yoga. I founded Anusara yoga as a modern hatha yoga school in 1997.

Anusara yoga differentiates itself from other styles of hatha yoga in three ways. First, it is based on a life-affirming Tantric philosophy that sees the intrinsic goodness of Supreme Consciousness at the very essence of everything. Anusara yoga uses Universal Principles of Alignment, which have tremendous therapeutic and healing benefits. Thirdly, we have a tight-knit community around the world in over 100 countries, and we all work together to make the planet a better place for everybody.

The integration of the philosophy and the biomechanical techniques give a wide variety of benefits for body, mind, and Spirit. A positive attitude, good alignment, and balanced action together provide a deep connection to the power of life itself. This ultimately leads to the revelation of our intrinsic spiritual nature, and to increased health and happiness.

The tradition of yoga is now spread around the world. The Hindu culture has influenced and made impact on a wide variety of other cultures in the 21st century. While yoga and Hindu culture have been modified by the assimilation with these other cultures, the ancient and proven power of yoga is positively shifting cultures around the world. The tradition and history of yoga itself has never been static or singular. So in that way, the expansion and shifting of yoga today is in alignment with the history of the tradition itself.   

Yoga has become vastly popular in America. There are 20 million people in North America practicing yoga on a regular basis. Americans are now learning about dharma, karma; they are learning to meditate and to find the Spirit within themselves and not outside. They are realizing that happiness cannot be found by accumulating material possessions. They are learning to take care of the earth and the environment, for through the practice of yoga, they are seeing that everything is interconnected. Americans have enjoyed learning chanting and kirtan, and overall, have expanded their repertoire of devotional practices to Spirit.

What Americans offer back to yoga is innovative and creative ways of advancing these ancient teachings to make them more accessible and relatable to people throughout the Western world. Anusara yoga honors the traditions and the ancient ways of yoga, and brings the teachings of yoga to people around the world in new, fresh ways which is helping to spread yoga around the world. 

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017