Ananda yoga promotes a harmonious union between the body, spirit, and mind. It raises awareness of the self and consciousness through the basic tenets of traditional yoga: asana, pranayama, meditation, and philosophy.
Paramhansa Yogananda is given the credit for the ideas on which ananda yoga are based, and his life is chronicled in Autobiography of a Yogi. Taken from the traditions of Kriya yoga, ananda yoga was created by one of Swami Yogananda’s closest disciples, Swami Kriyananda.
Ananda is a passive form of yoga which centers on the correct alignment of the body during poses. It stresses relaxation during the entire session and positions are always checked for safety. The medulla oblongata is thought to be the portal through which energizing forces enter the body. Ananda yoga works with the energy generated from the body through the various asanas, and each pose can be modified, through props if necessary, for individual participants and ability levels.
Ananda yoga incorporates thirty-nine energization exercises and special affirmations to keep the mind and body working in unison. These exercises take about ten minutes from beginning to end. Ananda yoga allows the mind and body to reinforce the positive aspects of each other. The affirmations are silently acknowledged as the participant moves through each position, helping to increase the focus.
Double breathing is done to bring oxygen into the bloodstream and remove toxic elements from the blood. Double breathing may be used while performing a wave movement with the body with the palms together in front. Body recharging is done by putting so much tension on the body that it actually begins to shake, and then releasing it with an exhalation of breath.
People interested in spirituality or in need of better health and vitality find ananda yoga a great place to begin to discover new truths. Ananda yoga is also an excellent way to relieve stress and learn to calm emotions through meditation.