What Does Ananda Mean?
Ananda is a Sanskrit word that means ‘joy’ or ‘pure bliss’. Joy and bliss are two emotions that are our natural states of being. As children, we are born into this state; light, free, and blissfully joyful.
This yoga class theme helps us all to remember that natural state of being – of pure joy. When we align with this powerful feelings, we find more joyful things in our lives to celebrate. As we ignite ourselves with pure bliss, we are also naturally inclined to want to share that joy with others – by spreading our light and joy into the world through our interactions and choices.
As humans, we naturally experience a wide spectrum of emotions, including some that are the complete opposite of joy, like sadness. But in life, in order to truly appreciate pure joy; experiencing those contrasting emotions actually help us to appreciate the joy in our lives.
The joy that we create in our lives on a daily basis works as a guide to help bring us back to this way of being during times of darkness. And we choose to let it, that light of joy can overpower any sadness we may be feeling.
Through meditation and yoga practice, we can also choose to make joy a choice in our lives. As we experience different emotions, we can learn to become observers of our emotions and learn to be aware of them.
As our emotional awareness increases, we can find that we have the power within us to always choose our emotions, no matter the situation. All it takes is just a little bit of awareness of our choice and a shift in perception.
Class Theme Intro – Mantra Meditation
Begin the class by introducing the theme with a quote, related reading passage, or simply speaking a few sentences on the topic. Ask students to sit in Easy Pose and close their eyes. Instruct them to take a big inhale in, and imagine they are breathing in the word ‘Joy’. As they inhale, also ask them to bring a gentle smile to their faces. As they take a long exhale out, ask them to imagine that they are breathing out the word ‘Bliss’. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
You could also choose to end the class with this mantra meditation practice or choose a related reading, or quote, to help seal your student’s practice in joy. You could also ask students to bring to mind 5-10 things that they feel joyful for in their lives. This could be experiences, loved ones, goals, past accomplishments, etc.
How To Sequence A Yoga Class For This Theme
When sequencing a class for this theme think of poses that inspire joy, bliss, and lightness. Playful poses, and power poses are great to sequence for this weekly theme. Poses such as the Warrior poses, Bow, or Dolphin are good examples of poses that help students to reignite their inner joy and playfulness.
Heart opening poses such as Camel, Cobra, or Upward Facing Dog are also good to include in this sequence. Heart opening poses help us to activate our heart centers so that we can reconnect with our joy.