At Yoga Union, we practice Rajanaka Yoga, a Tantric philosophy seeking to draw the highest good from the full spectrum of human emotion and experience. To understand and experience the divine and enlightened consciousness through any means possible from the extravagant to even the most mundane human experience. Rajanaka yoga is a branch of tantrism growing from the practice and teachings of Douglas Brooks, [http://www.rajanaka.com/] a world-renowned Tantric scholar. According to Ulla Lundgren, a certified Anusura Yoga instructor who has studied with Brooks:
A branch of tantrism, [Rajanaka] is part of a South Indian tradition called Shri Vidhya (auspicious wisdom). Rajanaka says that, as embodied beings, we will and should have the full spectrum of human emotions and experiences including anger, fear, happiness, courage, desire, grief, wonder, disgust, and peace. Yoga is not about stopping these experiences from happening, but how we can open to receive the gifts that these experiences offer us. Practicing our yoga, we can turn a seeming curse into a blessing, a kleesha (stain) into a lakshmi (a mark of beauty). We do this by engaging life and stepping into its currents of joy and challenges — not by turning away or trying to stop the flow. [http://www.abundantgraceyoga.com]
Thus, instead of only seeking to transcend, or leave behind, the tangible human experience of life, Rajanaka encourages us to find the higher consciousness within ourselves — to see ourselves, body and mind, as manifestations of the divine creation. Where more classical yoga traditions believe the body and mind are a diversion (or an illusion), and that the real stuff the divine can’t be manifest in physical form, our purpose within the Rajanaka practice becomes one of balance, of affirming every aspect of our reality (including the painful and difficult) in order to experience and delight in every possible good. We seek enlightenment through a heaven-on-earth mentality: this is heaven and we ought to recognize that this life is an absolute gift.
Are all of the teachers at YU teaching Anusara yoga? and following the philosophy of Rajanaka yoga?
Thanks for the question, Candace. To be clear, we are not an Anusara Yoga studio, although we are heavily influenced by it’s philosophy, skillful approach to aligning the body, and it’s teachers. We do however, plan to someday become Anusara certified (a certification process that is by far the most involved of any certification available to yoga instructors). Todd and Annie, the owners, of Yoga Union have studied with Anusara Yoga’s founder John Friend, as well as a great many of his master teachers who often teach workshops at YU.
We are also influenced by Vinyasa yoga, a type of yoga with Shiva Rea and Baron Baptiste at the lead.