A few years ago, remaining physically healthy was the prime concern for people. But as times changed, so did people’s opinions about their health and well being. As the world started getting more and more crowded, with stress a constant factor in people’s life, they started looking for a practice that could keep them physically, mentally and spiritually healthy; a practice that would help them find peace within. They turned to the old ways, namely yoga. In practice for over thousands of years, this particular practice comes from the east and has just relatively recently found its way into the west. This approach to well-being is very effective; it keeps the practitioners healthy, physically, mentally and emotionally and it has even been found to cure several ailments. Yoga has many different types,among them, a type knownn as Ananda. This yoga type arises from the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the famed Autobiography of a Yogi, and the first great yoga master to make the west his home. His teachings, however, were brought into shape and were made into a definite system of practice by his close and direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda.
Ananda yoga aims at raising your level of consciousness via the natural effects of the yoga postures. Designed especially to harmonize the practitioners’ mind, body and soul, this yoga type has the original spiritual essence. It includes a series of techniques like Asana (also called yoga postures), pranayama (special breathing and energy-control techniques), meditation techniques and applied yoga philosophy. Gentle for the beginners, Ananda yoga becomes more challenging with time and experience. Never aggressive or aerobic, the practice of Ananda yoga emphasizes on safety and correct alignment while believing in maintaining constant relaxation even amid efforts. This, in fact, can be made the guiding principle of one’s life as well–finding relaxation even in the midst of life’s struggles.
There are two unique aspects that make Ananda yoga stand out; energization exercises and asana affirmations. A series of 39 special energy-control techniques, the energization exercises help the practitioner increase, focus and control his life force. Likewise, asana affirmations are silently practiced with yoga postures to increase their impact on the practitioners’ consciousness, involving the mind directly into the practice.