Anusara yogis don’t hang out in cremation grounds, but we seek to embody Tantric philosophy, orient ourselves around Tantric texts, and perform Tantric practices. We follow many of Tantra’s fundamental principles, but adapt them to modern Western society.
Let’s start by defining Tantra: it’s a technology for expansion of Spirit. Tantra uses the manifest world as a means to experience Enlightenment. Unlike other yoga philosophies, Tantric Enlightenment doesn’t transcend the everyday world; it points us back to it, in a more joyful, appreciative way.
Although yoga and Tantra are living, ever-evolving traditions, there are key distinguishing principles of Tantric philosophy that transcend historical, cultural, and religious parameters. For example: tantrikas identify everything, absolutely everything, as Supreme Consciousness and Creative Power—including body, mind and Spirit.
Anusara yoga’s Shiva-Shakti Tantra philosophy is easily identifiable as Tantric. We teach that Spirit is Good, Free, Full, Pulsating, All-Knowing and Blissful. We teach that yoga is a practice that celebrates this Supreme Spirit as it manifests in ourselves and the world around us. We teach that humans have the common desire to experience the freedom of our true nature. We teach that through skillful action, we can reflect upon and joyfully recognize who we really are, who we always have been and what we may yet become.
In this way, Anusara yoga holds a tradition that has been around for thousands of years, yet is still as relevant and applicable today in our 21st century as it was at its inception. John Friend didn’t invent these ideas: he learned them over a lifetime of study and practice.