Made for Anusara Yoga {In Spanish & English}

Via on Jun 19, 2011


(Para leerlo en español, haga clic aquí.)

I think I have become a “snob”…but not in the traditional sense of the word.

In fact, I like to consider myself on the more “down to earth” end of the human spectrum, and I think my friends would agree with that. However, when it comes to my yoga practice, I have become rather picky. While I have practiced various different types of yoga in my life, it wasn’t until I discovered Anusara Yoga that I chose to follow only one. I now find myself turning down invitations from friends to practice any other type of yoga. And it’s not that I have anything against those other types of yoga, in fact I fully respect and admire all of the different yoga traditions for the diverse teachings and benefits that they bring to mankind. But the truth is that none of them have done for me what the Anusara has done, and therefore I have chosen to devote myself to this path, and only this path.

It’s honestly as if Anusara were made for me, and I know many of my fellow practitioners feel the same way. John Friend, the founder of Anusara yoga, has designed Anusara on the following philosophy: “The vision of Anusara yoga is grounded in a Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness. In this philosophy we take the premise that everything in this world is an embodiment of Supreme Consciousness, which at its essence pulsates with goodness and the highest bliss. All of creation is divinely danced into existence for the simple delight and the play of embodying the Supreme’s own blissful nature.” (Anusara.com) Friends who have known me all of my life will tell you that I have never been a religious person, but I have always been a spiritual one. I have always felt that I was connected to something greater. This connection to Supreme Consciousness (in whatever manner, shape or form that may exist) has become more tangible to me since living through a “dark night of the soul.” Since emerging out of that dark period and into the light, my life can be very aptly described by the Anusara philosophy above. I am open to and aware of the Divine Dance that is taking place in my existence and I marvel constantly at the goodness and bliss that is all around me.

It is clear that the Anusara philosophy resonates with me. But beyond that, its main principles not only play out every time that I step onto the mat, they have also woven beautifully and magically into my everyday life. Among those principles are the 3 A’s of Anusara: Attitude, Alignment, and Action.  Let’s examine how these principles have played out in my life, starting with the first A: Attitude. All of my life the idea that “attitude is everything” and that we must maintain a positive attitude has been instilled in me. It started with my Grandpa Monks, who himself was a living, breathing example of a positive attitude. He truly believed in the intrinsic goodness of people and of life. In addition to him, I was blessed with two parents who have always fostered in me a positive attitude and the idea that I could do anything on which I set my mind.

This brings me to my current career path. I am currently working on a book of which the sole purpose is to encourage people to have a positive outlook on life, to focus on the intrinsic goodness (notice the tie-back to Anusara philosophy!) in every day. I spend my days musing about positive thoughts and inspirational stories to share, in order to help people to overcome pain and suffering in their lives and instead to foster a positive attitude. Is it by accident that one of the main Anusara principles is metaphorically aligned with my own intention? I think not.

Now let’s look at the second A: Alignment. Years ago I practiced other types of yoga, but I was forced to stop because of an old rotator cuff injury, leftover from my high school colorguard days (yes folks, I was a bank geek!). The more Vinyasas and Chaturangas I did, the more I would aggravate my rotator cuff, until it reached the point where the pain was simply too much and I had to stop. Years later when I wandered into an Anusara studio, having no knowledge at all about the practice or its principles, I was skeptical that this injury would allow me to be able to start-up a yoga practice again. How wrong I was. I immediately learned about Anusara’s second A of Alignment and little by little I learned everything that I had been doing wrong in my Vinyasas and Chaturangas, everything that had been further aggravating the rotator cuff injury. As I began to practice more and more, in alignment, magically the rotator cuff injury healed itself…permanently. After having had that injury and the pain associated, for years, I was suddenly without any injury at all. A miracle I’d say: The miracle of Anusara.

Of course that is talking of merely physical alignment, but if I take my metaphor further, I can also apply this second A to a philosophical alignment. I am a huge believer that when one is out of alignment with their true desires, their higher purpose, that their life will be fraught with difficulty and frustration (and boy do I speak from experience here!). But if one can listen to their inner voice, get in touch with their own wisdom and guidance and follow their true calling, they will align themselves with the Divine Dance that will allow magic to happen in their lives. I have experienced this over and over again since discovering Anusara yoga. Most recently this was illustrated by my losing my job. I was out of alignment, I was doing the wrong thing, I was unhappy. But the moment I lost my job, I was given an opportunity to shift and I grabbed that opportunity and ran with it. I have now shifted to following my true bliss: to write inspirational stories and to use my own healing journey to help others with theirs. I am now in alignment.

So what about the 3rd A? Action. How do I take this beyond the mat and apply it to my life? This one is powerful for me. Anyone who has known me for a long time will tell you that I am someone with a supreme ability to take action and get things done. I have always been proud of this: I have always been a go-getter, someone who goes after things and makes things happen. Whether it be moving to a foreign country, moving across country, getting a new job, making a dramatic career change, or publishing a book (this is the next one!), I have always had a powerful ability to take the right actions that allow me to manifest what it is I am striving to achieve. Of course such Action is only positive and fruitful if first you have the right Attitude and if you are in Alignment. If either of those two principles is out of whack, one will be unlikely to be able to take the right Action to achieve their dreams. So here I am, someone who has been raised to follow these principles, and whose own experiences have further fostered my own knowledge of these principles and low and behold, I find a yoga practice that teaches exactly the same principles. Are you convinced yet that Anusara was made for me?

If not, let’s look at one of Anusara’s main goals: to open the heart. By opening one’s heart, one can open his/her spirit up to the intrinsic goodness and Supreme Consciousness of which Anusara’s philosophy speaks. And by doing so, they can then attract back to themselves more love, kindness and magic, all of the things needed to help one to have the proper Attitude and Alignment to be able to take right Actions and manifest their goals. So what about my heart? Is it open? Ask my mother this question and she will probably tell you that I am too open and that I wear my heart on my sleeve too often. She has been telling me this all of my life. Of course as a mother she has only meant well and wanted to prevent her daughter from getting hurt. However, as I move further down the path of being an inspirational writer, I discover more and more that my open heart is a gift. It is allowing me to share my own profound experiences in such a way that it is connecting with others and helping them to cope with and overcome their own grief and suffering.

Here’s the part I love the most. Any of my yoga teachers will tell you that I have very tight hamstrings and quads. This frustrates me on a daily basis. What I wouldn’t give to be able to touch my toes with straight legs and without the aid of blocks; to be able to hold my leg up high and perfectly straight. This continues to evade me… at least for now. But every time I express frustration over my tight muscles, my teacher Sean Haleen always says to me, “But Jeannie, you are so open in your heart.” And I smile… because I know that he is right, and in more ways than one. I can do a kick-butt standing back-bend, my heart wide-open and love emanating out and blasting up towards the sky. But in addition to the physical, as I write my heart-felt words, I know that my heart is open emotionally and energetically. And I know that it is no accident that while my hamstrings scream at me on a daily basis, that my heart is blowing wide open.

So what’s my conclusion? I of course know that John Friend did not design Anusara yoga for little old me. But I do know that I was designed for it. And while I may be a “snob” and I may turn down the opportunity to practice other types of yoga, I’m ok with that, because I know that I have found my true path. And I know that this path is helping me to align with my true purpose on this Earth. I can only hope that others will find a path that resonates as powerfully with their spirit, as Anusara does with mine….. whatever that path may be.

About Jeannie Page

Jeannie Page is a reformed .com management professional who has made a dramatic shift in her life, a shift to follow her bliss and to get into alignment in order to be a force for good in the world. Martha Stewart’s Blogger of the Month in Whole Living Magazine, Jeannie is also the founder of The Yoga Diaries and also maintains her own blog The Awakened Life. Jeannie, and details about her current book project, can be found on Facebook here and on Twitter at @jeannienpage. Jeannie's Spanish Facebook page can be found here. Jeannie also previously served as the Spanish Language Editor for Elephant Journal. Click here for the Elephant Journal en Español Facebook page. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Jeannie Page es una profesional de gestión reformada quien ha hecho un gran cambio en su vida, un cambio para seguir a su felicidad, para entrar en la alineación y ser una fuerza del bien en el mundo. Ella mantiene un Blog a Despertando a la Vida. Jeannie, y detalles sobre su proyecto de libro actual, se pueden encontrar en Facebook aquí y en Twitter a @JeanniePageES. Jeannie también fue la Editora del Idioma Española para Elephant Journal. Haga clic aquí para la página de Facebook de Elephant Journal en Español.

4,003 views

37 Responses to “Made for Anusara Yoga {In Spanish & English}”

  1. Shannon Lee says:

    My response the "question" or "issue" of why I just take Anusara Yoga Classes sounds like this . ."I find when I focus everything in my life expands."

  2. Beth Williams says:

    Jeannie, I felt exactly the same way when I found Anusara yoga. Your story parallels mine in many ways. Thank you for your beautiful words. I had the joy of meeting Sean when I was last in SF finishing up the Anusara Yoga Teacher Training with Darcy Lyon. All the best to you on your journey.
    <3
    Beth Williams

    • Thank you so much Beth. Sean is wonderful, one of my absolute favorites. : ) Best to you on your journey as well. I'm sure our paths will cross at some point. : )

  3. Guest says:

    what a very "glass is ha;f empty" attitude you have. Finding your path and following it can be completely liberating and inspirational.

  4. Jen says:

    It was a BEAUTIFUL article! If this makes her happy, why not?

  5. Jen says:

    Wonderful article! I feel the same exact way about vinyasa. I do love the heart centered philosophy of anusara, though!

    • Thanks Jen! And I know loads of people who love Vinyasa for the flow element. I used to do Vinyasa, but I think it was my heart needing to heal that brought me to Anusara. : )

  6. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Jeannie, thanks for sharing such a positive article! Thanks for sharing your inspiration. I know that the times that I have practiced Anusara, it's been uplifting and extremely positive.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  7. Adele says:

    Awww, I think John Friend did design Anusara for little old you… and me, and everyone else! Such a sweet ready, thank you!

  8. Yogini5 says:

    Is there a kind of Anusara that is middle path and you don't seek the edge everywhere?

    I like OM-inspired yoga for that awareness, middle path reason …
    It's not the only kind I do, but I tend on the mild styles …

    • Hi there, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "don't seek the edge". Are you referring to pushing to achieve harder poses? If so, I can say that Anusara is taught at all different levels and teachers generally cater to the class to the level of the students present. That said, one principle that all of my teachers stress is to be happy with whatever level you are at, to push yourself only when you are ready and it feels right, and to embrace and love whatever your poses look like now. Does that answer your question?

    • Yogini5 says:

      If I find that I am pushing, goaded to push, or being pushed physically by the instructor to my edge or any space beyond it; and I feel pain or uncomfortable, I would not seek to transcend that pain (except in the rare instance I am in a stress-free, secure frame of mind); and instead retreat to even within my comfort zone.

      This is what middle path is. I do not try to change the body with consciously slowing down my breath, when playing beyond my edge. I listen to and, above all, honor my body. Not the breath. The body, as imperfect as it is, comes first. It is not to be "transcended" before its time.

      "Retreat" is the seven-letter dirty word in many forms of yoga (as a verb), unless it refers to the noun referring to prepackaged travel with a yoga teacher.

      So many schools of yoga make the claim that they fit the yoga to the person, and not the person to the yoga …

      I have been mistaken for being a "resistant student" because of these philosophical differences.

  9. Monica Muniz says:

    Beautifully expressed! I feel the same way, after 5 years of "hot yoga" practice and several dips into other styles, Anusara felt like putting on a glove! I was actually most intrigued and inspired to learn that there was actually a philosophy that so closely aligned with my own philosophy and ideas about life, about why we are here and the oneness of it all. Not to mention, as a teacher, to be given these principles of alignment that have now empowered me to truly help my students when they have injuries or pain, these elegant principles that work like magic and science all at once!! I loved reading your article and I look forward to reading you book! Good luck and congratulations!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Monica. When you said "felt like putting on a glove", you pretty much hit the nail on the head for me! It has felt the same for so many other people that I know as well. It has truly been a gift in my life.

  10. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  11. [...] burns on average about 200 calories per hour, but it really depends on the type of yoga you practice. Also, learning how to intensify your practice and challenging yourself personally during class can [...]

  12. iloveginger says:

    awesome piece thank you for sharing! WOW i must learn about Anusara!!

  13. just me says:

    the article is beautifully written, and of course i am happy that the author has found her niche and seems to be respectful of other styles of yoga. i also see the value of committing to one path, as many seekers spend too much to floating from place to place without a sense of being grounded and/or committed to ongoing and consistent practices.

    that being said i have on multiple occasions encountered quite a few anusara practitioners that present a cult-like "my yoga is superior" mentally that i find to be extremely off-putting. i also see this attitude reflected in articles written by about anusara and interviews that i read about john friend.

    and yes, i have taken several anusara classes (some with john friend himself) just to see what the hype is about – honestly it just feels like iyengar with little hearts drawn around it me. to each his own, i suppose.

    • Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your sentiments. I can only speak for myself when I say that in no way do I think that Anusara is superior to any other type of yoga. I have loads of friends that practice other types and love them just as much as I love Anusara. All I was trying to express is that Anusara truly did "fit like a glove", if i can take the good words of my friends above. To each his own, so they say. I fully respect anyone else's path and I deeply respect and admire all types of yoga for the light that they bring to humanity.

  14. [...] did Kundalini, Anusara, Vinyassa flow, and trance danced my way to multiple blisters on my feet and a profound release of [...]

  15. [...] case you haven’t had the experience, Tigress Yoga is a two and a half-hour, advanced Anusara yoga class taught by Boulder’s internationally recognized Anusara Yoga teacher, Amy Ippoliti. [...]

  16. [...] (Click here to read in English.) [...]

  17. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Hi Lisa, have you experienced this? What types of yoga do you practice?

  18. Bobbi (Seattle) says:

    Jeannie –

    This is a superbly written blog/article – concise, nice structure (built around the 3 A's), your voice and personality shining through. There were so many places where I was right with you, nodding my head, in agreement with your thoughts/observations. I agree that Anusara is not just about the physical practice and that our work on the mat carries out in symbolic ways in our lives; the practice teaches to not only align our physical, but our spiritual bodies as well, to align ourselves to a higher power, allowing us to attract and manifest goodness in our lives. I also agree that having an open heart is a true gift, a sign of strength and courage. My favorite paragraph was your second to last paragraph – loved it!!!

    I came to this article today after attending an non-Anusara class last night and feeling the lack of emphasis on refinement. Personally, I like to hold poses, to fine tune my alignment. My body needs time to move in and out of poses. For me, if the movements are too fast, I do not get to fully experience a pose and I think our bodies are more physically challenged the longer we ask them to hold the pose. Like you, I am also being a "snob" and am realizing Anusara is the best practice for me.

  19. Bobbi (Seattle) says:

    oops, meant to say "becoming" a snob. Sometimes being a snob is a good thing.

  20. Jeannie! Thank you so much for sending me the link to this. I love seeing how so many of us who practice Anusara write about it differently. There is so much to explore & to write about! Beautifully done! Bernadette Birney, Emma Magenta, & BJ Galvan are also writing some interesting blogs for elephant. It's a party! http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/08/saying-tha

  21. [...] themes have been aptly captured and beautifully woven into the 3 A’s of Anusara: Attitude, Alignment and Action. Our Attitude is our Iccha, the mindset that we choose to set to [...]

  22. [...] Anusara was everything I already believed but for which I myself was unable to find the words. The Universal Principles of Alignment absolutely worked and immediately began to relieve pain in my body; I was finally getting stronger [...]

  23. [...] my personal case, Anusara Yoga, with its Universal Principles of Alignment, has given me the tools of self-care as much as of joy, aligning and connecting me with the optimal [...]

  24. [...] than one year ago I wrote a piece about how I felt that I was “Made for Anusara Yoga.” When I wrote that piece I could never possibly have imagined that for the past two weeks, I, [...]

  25. [...] “by accident”) a style of Hatha yoga that was largely focused on spiritual alignment and the opening of the heart. It was as if the Universe knew exactly what balm my wounded soul needed to heal, and this yoga [...]

  26. eu4vlm says:

    Hybrid golf clubs have exploded nike free 5.0 v4
    onto the golf scene over the last two to three years. It seems that every time you are out on the golf course, you see a golfer who has made the transition from traditional long irons and drivers to the hybrid drivers and irons. Why the big switch? Hybrid golf clubs are nike free tr fit
    much more forgiving than a traditional club and they are also much lighter than your old irons nike free tilbud danmark
    or drivers because of the composite material used in creating these clubs.

  27. Thanks Lisa and Thaddeus for your comments. Lisa, if you read you saw that you I used to practice other types of yoga and I enjoyed them while I did them. But none have resonated with me as powerfully as the Anusara does. I truly feel "at home" with the practice. It's like when you find the perfect guy to marry, you don't (or at least shouldn't!) feel the need to sample anymore. That's how I feel about the yoga. I love it and it really resonates with me deeply.

  28. Hi there, thanks again for your follow-up reply. What I can tell you is that from my own experience I have seen every city has its own style of teaching and it varies greatly from city to city. I first learned in Los Angeles and I later learned that classes are known for being taught at a very high level: we did a lot of handstands and inversions, but ONLY in level 2 or mixed level classes. Nobody was ever forced to do them and it was by no means in every class, and I can assure you that none of my teachers would have ever stated that beginners should do a handstand, in every class. No way Jose.

    When I moved from LA to San Francisco, I discovered that the classes weren't doing nearly as many inversions and arm balances as we had done in LA: SF had its own style, which was a bit more mellow. Don't get me wrong, we definitely do inversions, and seems more so recently, but it's by no means all the time, and certainly not ever forced on beginners.

    Outside of those 2 cities, I also took 1 Anusara class in Boulder, and I was completely blown away by the fact that every single person in the class was doing extremely advanced poses, and I felt like VERY much like a beginner in that crowd, even though I was on the more advanced side in my own classes. My point being that every city really does have its own style, which can be shaped by the teachers in that city, the overall energy and culture of the city, as well as the level of the students in the class. No 2 classes, and no 2 teachers will ever be the same. If you haven't yet found a teacher that resonates with your style and your level, I would encourage you to keep trying until you do find the right one. I can tell you that I have several teachers that I love, and go to consistently, and none of them have ever forced me to do anything; everything has always been at my own pace, and when I am ready.

    I hope that helps to give some perspective, and I hope you're able to find a style and a teacher that resonates with your needs. : )

Leave a Reply