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Instructors adjust postures at an Anahata Yoga class

Anahata Yoga is a meditative hatha yoga developed by Ana Costa. It was registered with the Yoga Alliance in 2002. More than 90 teachers have received certification since then.

The method was inspired by this quote from Yogananda Paramahansa: "It is slow but sure suicide to walk, sit, rest, talk, or lie down with a caved-in chest. The cells of the lungs become starved thereby, and maladjustments of the vertebrae often occur."

The focus of Anahata yoga is the opening of the anahata chakra, or heart center: simultaneously correcting bad posture, opening the chest, shoulders, and lungs, and allowing the life force to flow into the body.


Anahata yoga
Religious origins: Non-denominational, inspired by Hinduism
Regional origins: United States
Founding Guru: Created by Ana Costa
Mainstream popularity: Most popular in Southern California. Teachers in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, and New Zealand, etc.
Practice emphases: Meditative flow of yoga postures
Derivative forms: Meditative Anahata, Recuperative Anahata
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Anahata (heart) chakra

Anahata prescribes a flow of exercises, postures and short meditations. As a rule, the flow is not designed to be physically taxing, but rather to encourage full breathing, heart awakening, and calmness.

An Anahata flow usually takes the form of a class, which typically involves a small group of participants led by an instructor, and lasts about an hour. The class is held in a gently lit environment with plenty of fresh air. Typically meditative or devotional music is played during the class.

The instructor leads the class with short descriptions of each step of the flow, spoken quietly (although in some cases, classes may be silent). During the flow, the instructor may adjust and correct individual's postures with gentle touch guidance. Breathing in unison with movement is emphasized.

A typical flow begins with seated meditation and breathing (pranayama). The instructor invites each student to set an intention for the class.

Next come a set of gentle spine-awakening movements, both seated and on all fours. These are followed by extended downward-facing dog posture, followed by a forward bend (Uttanasana). Students then stand and meditate for a short time.

Standing postures at an Anahata Yoga class. Concentration, calmness and improvement are stressed, not perfection.

Next follows a set of standing postures, including standing bends, balancing poses and lateral stretching poses, again followed by a short, standing meditation.

Next follow a set of floor-based exercises on hands and knees. These are followed by a short kneeling meditation. The instructor reminds the class to recall its individual intentions.

Then come a series of seated postures including forward and lateral stretches, followed by a short meditation while reclining on the back.

Finally come a number of reclining postures. These are followed by reclining pranyama, and an extended reclining meditation, during which the instructor adjusts each student with gentle touch designed to encourage deeper relaxation and meditation.

The class then returns to a seated position. The instructor reminds the class to recall its individual intentions. All then typically join in repeating three Oms, which ends the flow.

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