The primary purpose of Ananda Yoga is to raise consciousness hence its full name is "Ananda Yoga for Higher Awareness". Ananda Yoga includes asanas and breathing techniques, but also meditation and the classical teachings of yoga philosophy.
The Spirit of Ananda Yoga
Swami Kriyananda, who developed Ananda Yoga describes the practice this way. while doing yoga postures you are practicing what might be called "meditation in action: movement meditation". As if you were doing almost a kind of spiritual dance.The way you get into and out of a pose is almost as important as the pose itself. Your state of consciousness while doing the poses is a very important part of the poses. Because finally speaking, these poses are intended to change your whole being.
Origins of Ananda Yoga
Swami Kriyananda was the direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. He meditated on hatha yoga and realised that there is very close connection between the positions of the body and the attitudes of the mind and also of the soul. He added to asana practice the tool of affirmation, which Yogananda emphasized as a powerful technique for raising consciousness. Here is how he describes it's main emphasis:
In Ananda Yoga, the main thing is its contribution towards meditation and an inner life
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