Ananda Yoga is a form of yoga that comes directly from the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, the renowned Indian Yogi who settled in the West to teach the intricacies of the Kriya Yoga. It brings back the spiritual essence of Yoga. It does not involve the intense yoga poses. On the contrary, the yoga poses of Ananda Yoga are inwardly directed and helps you align with your higher inner self. The poses are designed to harmonize the mind, body, and the soul and raise your consciousness. Read here to know in detail.
What is Ananda Yoga?
Ananda Yoga comes from Swami Kriyananda, the disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda who systematized the teachings, thoughts, and practices of Yogananda and christened it as Ananda Yoga. Ananda Yoga can be broadly classified into 4 groups, namely:
- Yogic meditation techniques
- Applied philosophies of yoga
The postures in Ananda Yoga are never too intense or like the aerobics. On the contrary, they are very gentle, and the emphasis lies on:
- Safety and correct alignment
- Staying relaxed at all times
- Working with the body’s subtle energy
- Raising your consciousness with the poses
- Adapting each pose to fit the abilities of the practitioner rather than forcing the practitioner to achieve the ideal pose.
Practicing Ananda Yoga will make you more aware of your divine nature and higher inner self and helps you be one with the same.
Ananda Yoga is truly a blessing to mankind. It is known for its several benefits such as improving flexibility to the body, curing diseases, improving the respiratory system, and increasing blood and lymph circulation. There are several poses and aspects of Ananda yoga which have been discussed below for reference.
1. The Lotus Pose:
The Lotus Pose is the most basic pose you should learn while doing yoga. It helps you meditate better and increases your level of concentration. For this, you need to sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Keep your hands on your knees and breathe slowly. Doing the lotus pose is really easy, and anyone can do it. This is the best meditative pose which can raise your consciousness.
2. The Childs Pose:
For this, you must sit on the yoga mat with your legs folded in such a way so that your feet touch your buttocks. Now bend forward and try to touch the ground. Stretch your arms in front of you and relax. The back of your hands should be on the ground. The Child’s pose can help you relax the body completely and raise your level of consciousness.
3. The Cobra Pose:
For the cobra pose, you must lie down with your arms at your sides. Put your palms flat on the ground and lift your body while trying to keep your thighs flat on the yoga mat. At this position, your upper body should be raised, and your shoulders must relax for a while. Your head must be geared up towards the ceiling. In Ananda Yoga, the cobra pose is repeated 8 times and is accompanied by deep breathing techniques and silent affirmations.
4. The Tree Pose:
For the tree pose, stand straight and keep your arms by your side. Lift one leg up and rest it on the ankle. Make sure you never rest it on the knee. Raise your arms and let your palms face each other. This pose should be done for about five minutes maximum as this will help you to concentrate and meditate better. While doing the tree pose, one should keep their eyes open to balance the body better.
5. The Sphinx Pose:
The Sphinx Pose is very similar to the cobra pose. For this, you need to lie on a mat facing down. Then you must lift your chest off the floor, and the elbows should rest for support on the floor. At this position, your stomach should be touching the ground, and your lower arms should be flat on the ground. Your gaze should also be parallel to the ground.
6. Kaoshiki Dance:
After the Ananda yoga asanas, it is important for you to do the Kaoshiki dance, which is best for the body, mind, and spirit. It will exercise your limbs, ease menstruation and childbirth and remove wrinkles and lethargy. It also gives you a lot of confidence and improves the texture and tone of your skin. The Kaoshiki dance is best for developing your potential and is an essential part of the Ananda Yoga.
7. Double Breathing:
Bring your arms straight to the shoulder level and do a double breath. Bend your knees and bring your arms to the front until your palms touch. Again breathe twice, bring your arms back out and straighten your legs. Relax your body with a double exhalation again. Do this for about three to five times. This is a perfect relaxation pose that will help you understand the flow of energy in the body.
8. Body Recharging:
Stand straight and inhale. Tense the body slowly in such a way that it vibrates. Gaze upwards between the eyebrows and feel the energy flowing through your body. Hold the tension and then let it relax. Repeat this exercise for about one to three times. Do not forget to relax and feel at every step.
9. Double Breathing Without Tension:
For this, you need to relax completely. Bend your elbows and bring it towards the chest. Exhale slowly and then extend your arms in front of you. Close your eyes and say it within your mind, “I am free. I am free.” Do this six to ten times.
Thus the aforesaid is the detailed explanation of Ananda Yoga, and also the various Ananda Yoga poses that form an integral part of the Ananda Yoga. Ananda Yoga is more about meditation and raising the level of consciousness rather than exercising and pose correction. So if you are willing to identify your true nature and experience the oneness with your divine self, then this is the way you should follow? Are you a practitioner of Ananda Yoga? Do share your experience with us in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Question:
Question 1: What Makes Ananda Yoga Unique?
Answer 1: In Ananda Yoga, the primary focus is on the energizing exercises and positive and silent affirmations and not on the correction of the poses. Ananda Yoga has a set of uniquely designed 39 energy control exercises developed by Paramahansa Yogananda that helps you in increasing the focus and control the life-force. Besides each of this pose is paired with its own set of affirmations which the practitioner makes silently while practicing these poses.
Question 2 : Who is The Founder of Ananda Yoga?
Answer 2: Ananda Yoga has been founded by Swami Kriyananda, one of the close disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogananda is the first great master of yogasana who settled in the West to spread the teachings of Kriya Yoga. Yogananda is also the author of the famous book on yoga called the Autobiography of a Yogi. Swami Kriyananda systematized the teachings, thoughts, and practices of Swami Yogananda and gave it a definite form and named it as Ananda Yoga
Question 3: How is Ananda Yoga Different From Hatha Yoga?
Answer 3: Ananda Yoga is an extension of the Hatha Yoga with a few more added frills to it with the aim of raising the experience of the practitioners. Ananda Yoga aims to increase your awareness about your inner self and true spirit. When your consciousness is aware, there is hardly any possibility of you staying sad or gloomy. You are always happy and energetic, and that is the aim of Ananda Yoga.