We are so excited to have Katie and Clare joining us this weekend for Wellington’s first ever Anusara workshop! They will be introducing us to Anusara’s set of alignment principles and sharing some of the philosophical values of the Anusara style of yoga.
The foundational set of values in Anusara yoga is referred to as “The Three A’s”. The Three A’s are Attitude, Alignment and Action. There are many ways to define and apply these core values.
At a very basic level, my understanding is that “Attitude” refers to the quality of heart and intention that we bring to the practice. “Alignment” refers to the quality of mind and the knowledge of technique that we bring to the practice. “Action” is the use of the body to actually do the practice from a place of clear intention with an open heart and applying the knowledge that we have.
Those of you who have been practicing for a while now know that some days it’s easy to be positive and open and enthusiastic about getting on your mat while other days it’s just hard work. The Anusara style of yoga puts a priority on choosing your “Attitude” from the moment you step on the mat. Before anything else happens, the yogi is encouraged to open to grace, to possibility, to interconnectedness.
In my experience, it is uplifting and transformative to bring mindful intention and open heartedness into my consciousness before embarking on the physical practice. And I’ve found the effect is especially powerful when practicing with a group of yogis who are cultivating this attitude as well.
When it comes to considering “Alignment”, Anusara calls on five main principles of alignment. These Universal Principles of Alignment have been distilled from a wealth of anatomy and physiology knowledge and have been heavily influenced by tantric philosophy. One does not need to be an expert about the background of the science or philosophy behind the principles in order to reap the benefits of applying them in practice. These five principles can also be applied theoretically to the non-physical aspects of the practice, to dramatic effect.
From my perspective it seems that Anusara’s Universal Principles of Alignment are simple enough to be accessible for yogis at any level. At the same time, they are also extremely profound so that even experienced practitioners can continue to experience new insights and deepening levels of healing through consistent application of the principles.
Coming from a place of open heart and sound knowledge, the “Action” of the practice becomes easy and pleasurable. The balance of effort and surrender that we continually seek in our practice seems to evolve organically from consciously cultivating our “Attitude” and applying considered “Alignment”.
In my experience, working with Anusara’s Three A’s is powerful and transformative. The world looks brighter, my body becomes more comfortable, old injuries and niggles seem to begin to heal themselves and my heart and mind become clearer. I’m really looking forward to soaking up some of the shakti (life energy) that Anusara teachers are so skilled at helping us to experience. And I’m looking forward to seeing you at the workshops so we can experience it together.
~article by Kelly Fisher