Anusara vs Iyengar Yoga – Are they the same?
Yoga branches into many categories based on the different philosophies behind them. Some are fast-paced and better suited to people looking for a quick program, while others are slow-paced and suit the needs of people who do yoga for meditative purposes only. Most are a combination of the two, creating a well-balanced mind-body workout for overall well-being.
Here we will compare the similarities and differences between two popular forms of yoga; Anusara and Iyengar. Both have many similarities, like the founder of Anusara; John Friend was originally a student of Iyengar’s founder, BCS Iyengar. John studied with Guru Iyengar for several years and was a certified Iyengar instructor in the US before introducing Anusara. After practicing Iyengar for several years, John Friend realized that his philosophies were not entirely compatible with those of B. K. S. Iyengar. So he developed the Anusara with the basic structure, both of which are similar to each other in terms of focusing mainly on proper alignment.
Although Iyengar is alignment-oriented, it supports building strength, while Anusara is more fluid and encourages heart-opening postures. Anusara also differs from Iyengar because of its use of tantric teachings. They reflect Hindu or Buddhist religious ideas of improving the mind and body in a positive way. Another difference is that Iyengar leads yogis through a series of poses that are held for longer periods of time, while Anusara follows a flow of poses with a smooth transition between each change. This creates a very fluid yoga session and relaxes the mind to focus on the heart.
The practice of Iyengar and Anusara follow the same basis of alignment, but due to the different philosophical views, Anusara is more detailed oriented to the subtle body and the energy body, which are called energy spirals, and Iyengar is more inclined to the technical orientation.
The word Anusara means to move with the flow of grace, so it tends to open up every part of the soul and see it as something sacred or as supreme consciousness. Unlike Iyengar, Anusara does not divide the body into two different systems; the spirit and the body; instead, the body is disciplined to penetrate the spirit and see the whole as beautiful, dignified, and divine.
So if someone has attended both Iyengar and Anusara classes, they can easily point out the similarities as well as the differences. People who are more relaxed prefer to follow the Anusara path, while people who are more rigid in their lives tend to follow the Iyengar method of alignment because it provides them with a set of rules. It is entirely up to the student to choose between the two, and some end up pursuing both sequentially.
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