Ananda Yoga has been developed with the help of Paramhansa Yogananda, the first yoga master who settled in the West. By studying his teachings, Swami Kriyananda, one of his direct disciples, managed to develop the Ananda type of yoga into a very definite practice system that is widely followed even today.
What is Ananda Yoga?
Ananda Yoga represents a classical type of yoga meant to harmonize and assimilate all the levels of the human being, meaning the spiritual, the physical and the mental one. Moreover, this type of yoga is also meant to raise the consciousness level by the reinforcement of the natural effects that certain body positions have.
This classical approach of yoga includes an applied yoga philosophy, special yoga postures named asana, meditation techniques and energy-control techniques plus special breathing ones known under the name of pranayama.
Ananda Yoga principles
Ananda Yoga becomes more and more challenging once you become experienced in it. However, as a beginner, you get to practice a gentler type of yoga, so you should not be scared of being asked to practice a very challenging discipline from the start. Moreover, you should know that this kind of yoga is not aerobic or aggressive, but an inwardly directed one.
While practicing Ananda yoga, you must have a correct and safe alignment. In addition, you have to try and continuously be relaxed, even in the middle of effort. More importantly, you have to always increase awareness on and participate actively in this yoga’s inner aspects, meaning that your state of mind and your energy movement must arise from practicing this very type of yoga.
Finally, you must adapt each posture to your abilities and needs, as one of the Ananda Yoga[/b] principles is that it does not force anything on its practitioners.
Benefits of Ananda Yoga
As far as the benefits of practicing Ananda yoga are concerned, these are numerous. When it comes to bones, this discipline can increase circulation to them, soften and stretch the ligaments, the tendons and the cartilages and shape the bones altogether.
In addition, it can also help muscles, meaning it can improve their ability to relax and contract, improve circulation to them and also strengthen them. Furthermore, it can provide digestive efficiency and functionality, massage the internal organs and improve overall health.
Basic Ananda Yoga poses
Ananda Yoga has three main poses. The first one is called the Child Pose. Its mantra is related to relaxing from outer connection and into a heaven of peace. In order to do this certain pose, you must go down on your knees with your legs slightly open. Then you have to raise your arms and at the same time bend forward so that you touch the ground with your forehead. You then have to stretch your arms down ahead of your head.
The second basic pose is named the Tree Pose and its mantra is related to staying calm. In order to do it, you have to keep your feet on the ground, keep your entire weight on your right foot and then lift the left one with your knee bent. The sole of the left foot must be placed on the right one and your hands must be raised above your head. Periodically, you must also do this on your other foot.
The Chair Pose is the last one. In order to do it, you have to believe that your body is very light and raise your arms while keeping your entire weight on your heels and with your knees bent.