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Ananda Yoga is a spiritually-oriented yoga practice that uses physical yoga postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and silent affirmations in order to experience higher states of awareness and to recharge oneself with cosmic life-force. The philosophy and practice of Ananda Yoga draws on classical Hatha and Kriya yoga traditions as well as on the teachings of Parmahansa Yogananda, who taught that the human physiology is designed to act as a “battery” that can be “consciously charged from the unlimited supply of cosmic energy.” Ananda Yoga practice is intended as a preparation for Meditation.
What to expect
Ananda Yoga is an inward-directed practice that places emphasis on subtle energy awareness rather than on physical achievement for its own sake. Students are guided through a series of gentle Hatha yoga postures with attention placed on proper alignment and graceful transitions between poses. The asanas are practiced for their effect on the consciousness, and are accompanied by inner affirmations intended to enhance this effect. Classes also include Yogananda's 39 Energization Exercises designed to increase focus and control of the subtle energies within oneself, such as the energy of the chakras.
Swami Kriyananda created his "Ananda Yoga for Higher Awareness" system in the 1960s after a period of intensive yoga training in India with his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, the creator of the Self-Realization Fellowship. Ananda Yoga is based on the Kriya Yoga tradition Yogananda practiced and taught, as well as on Yogananda's own innovations, particularly his Energization Exercises.