I am diving back into yoga training this spring. All of my patience and some prodding have succeeded in aligning the universe and stars for me to continue learning from a teacher about the practice and philosophy of yoga and specifically the Anusara school of yoga.
I have been drawn to Anusara since I moved through a 200 hour YTT with a teacher whose foundation came from the teachings of John Friend, who created Anusara many years ago. Anusara derives from the Iyengar tradition blended with Tantric philosophy.
Anusara is a heart-oriented form of self-inquiry.
Anu means to be with
Sara means to flow; current
I think that one reason this practice has spoken to me in such a strong way is that I live with my heart wide open and vulnerable much of the time. Despite my attempts to build protective layers and walls, I somehow remain sensitive and raw. Since this is the body, mind, and heart that I embody in this life, I am beginning to think I should really make more of an effort to embrace it. I can practice acceptance while also recognizing that there are changes that may help me learn to embrace my whole self. I believe that immersing my self in the tradition of Anusara is an important step in this direction.
Over the years, I have tended to try to make changes for reasons that were not entirely aligned with my own self and best interests, even if I was under the impression that they were. Trying to have a six-pack and skinny tummy in high school certainly brought more stress and frustration than joy, even when I succeeded. There is no success with body image when changing your body to fit a standard that is not your own.
Anusara is a yogic practice that brings a person into rather than away from their body.
Anusara derives from the Kulanarva Tantra II.38:
Sakti pata anusarena shishyo anugraham arati
By entering the current of Shakti’s descent into the heart, the true seeker becomes capable of receiving grace.
I admit that the word grace is not one I have ever used in connection with my self, but it is never too late to start. And just as I have been redefining words like success, I think I can find a way to do the same with grace.
Anyway, I will never find out if I do not try, so try I will.