What is Ananda Yoga and How is it Different
Ananda Yoga, or Ananda Yoga for Higher Awareness is a system of Hatha Yoga established by Swami Kriyananda under the direct supervision of Paramhansa Yogananda and is one of the oldest Hatha Yoga systems in the West. Ananda Yoga emphasizes inner awareness, energy control, and the experience of each asana as a natural expression of a higher state of consciousness, which is enhanced by the use of affirmations. Ananda Yoga uses asana and pranayama to awaken, experience, and control the subtle energies (prana) within oneself. Its object is to use those energies to harmonize the body, uplift the mind, and to attune oneself with higher levels of awareness. One unique feature of this system is the use of silent affirmations while in the asanas, as a means of working more consciously with the subtle energies to achieve this attunement. The ultimate goal of Ananda Yoga is the inward experience, not the athletic performance of the asanas. It is also to prepare one for deep meditation, as Hatha Yoga is only the physical branch of Raja Yoga. Ananda Yoga includes Paramahansa Yogananda's Energization Exercises, which direct cosmic life force (prana) through the medulla oblongata to all parts of the body.
The Yoga Postures
Ananda Yoga helps you feel deeply peaceful, uplifted and revitalized. You will experience being gently guided into the essence of the postures according to your own level of flexibility. Then we add the spiritual affirmations integrated into the movements which take your spirit to a whole new level of joyful awareness. These three work together to bring body, mind and spirit into perfect harmony.
Some of the benefits you will gain from these classes are:
* Radiant health and well-being
* Improved muscle tone and circulation
* Attitudes for a balanced life
* Quieting and focusing of the mind as an aid to meditation
Harmonize the body and it will be easier to harmonize the mind. This principle is fundamental to the science of Hatha Yoga.
Old age and sickness settle first in the joints and spinal discs.
* Loosens the joints
* Stretches and irrigates the vertebrae
* Promotes a free flow of energy throughout the nervous system
* Assist in the elimination of toxins in the body
* Exerts beneficial pressure on glands and internal organs by flushing and stimulating them
Even a little bit of this practice can produce improvements in ones general health. Physical relaxation can bring serenity to a worried mind.
Affirmations and asanas make a powerful team. In order to take your practice to the highest level, you must dynamically involve your mind. This is where affirmations come in. By repeating an affirmation that reinforces the state of consciousness corresponding to the asana, you strengthen the energy flows and deepen your experience of that state in that moment with both immediate and long-term lasting effects.
The "Energization Exercises", a vital part of Ananda Yoga, are Yogananda's contribution to the science of yoga. He first developed them in 1916, within his Indian organization then called Yogoda, around 1916. He eventually expanded them into a set of 39 exercises. The goal is to tap into cosmic energy, recharging the whole body. Yogananda explains in his Autobiography of a Yogi: "Realizing that man’s body is like an electric battery, I reasoned that it could be recharged with energy through the direct agency of the human will…. I therefore taught the Ranchi students my simple “Yogoda” techniques by which the life force, centered in man’s medulla oblongata, can be consciously and instantly recharged from the unlimited supply of cosmic energy."