What is Ananda Marga Style Yoga?
The Ananda Marga Yoga Teacher Training course is designed both as a mechanism for learning yogic practices and teaching techniques, and as a three week intense spiritual retreat to immerse oneself in the yoga lifestyle. We don’t just teach yoga; we live yoga.
The 200 hour yoga teacher training program is accredited by Yoga Alliance and facilitated by an experienced professional faculty. Ananda Marga (Path of Bliss) Yoga is a deeply devotional spiritual practice that is at the same time rational and scientific.
Ananda Marga yoga encompasses the 8 Limbs of Astaunga Yoga:
- Yama – The ideal manner in which a person interacts with the World
- Niyama – The ideal manner in which a person interacts with one’s own self
- Asana – The physical practices that maintain a balance with the body-mind.
- Pranayama- The yoga practices for controlling the vital energy.
- Pratyahara- The yoga practices for withdrawal from the external world.
- Dharana – The yoga practices for concentration on The Divine.
- Dhyana – Mantra & yoga practices that create a flow towards The Divine.
- Samadhi – The ultimate goal of yoga, merger with The Supreme.
Ananda Marga spiritual practices also include chakra purification that is not part of Astaunga Yoga.
Ananda Marga yoga also places a strong emphasis on service to all of humanity and to the entire creation.
Ananda Marga defines yoga as the effort to merge the individual identity with the Infinite.
Much, but not all, of Ananda Marga Yoga Teacher Training centers on the third limb of Astaunga yoga, asana practice.
Asana practice is a set of physical exercises that:
- increases the flexibility of the body
- helps maintain hormonal balance
- establishes balance between body and mind
- prepares the mind for subtle thinking and deeper meditation.
The relationship between the physical body and the mind is very close. Many physiological and psychological irregularities are due to hormonal imbalances. Hence Ananda Marga asanas have either a pressurizing or depressurizing effect on specific points in the body in order to establish and maintain an appropriate hormonal balance.
Asanas are postures in which one can remain in physical comfort and psychic composure. In the Ananda Marga system asanas are practiced for physical health and spiritual elevation. They are best performed twice a day if possible usually following meditation.
Asanas are practiced with devotional sentiment and ideation:
“… during this practice s/he will have one thought uppermost in (the) mind – that the Entity on whom s/he is ideating is (the) nearest relation, and no one is nearer…than (the) Lord.Because of this, a devotee’s mind will become highly expanded in a short period.” P. R. Sarkar
Ananda Marga recommends customizing the asana practice for each individual.
This personalized asana regimen would ideally include postures that will provide the mechanism for balancing the nerves, tissues, glands and organs of the practitioner’s body to facilitate personal well being and advancement on the spiritual path.
Some of the specialties of Ananda Marga Asana practice include:
- breath pausing or kumbhakas
- application of mudra
- devotional feeling
Asanas may be practiced with individual repetitions or vinyasa style with repetition.