KEVIN JONES YOGA & PILATES | ABOUT JIVAMUKTI YOGA
Jivamukti Yoga is about empowering all human beings to cultivate actions based on radical compassion.
Jivamukti Yoga is a method created by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984. It is now an internationally renowned style which embodies yoga as a living translation of the Indian system in a way that Western minds can comprehend. It is a physically challenging, intellectually stimulating & spiritually uplifting practice.
Jivamukti (pronounced jee-va-mook-ti) comes from the Sanskrit word Jivanmuktih, which means 'liberation whilst living'. You might call this the state of 'enlightenment'.
Jivamukti Yoga promotes the educational aspect of the practice. Each class focuses on a theme, which is supported by Sanskrit chanting, reading, references to scriptural texts, music, spoken word, asana (postural) sequencing & yogic breathing (pranayama). Jivamukti students are well educated in the philosophy of yoga.
Jivamukti Yoga students develop a clear understanding of the history & philosophy of yoga as well as a strong asana practice. Classes are both physically & mentally challenging - not only training your body, but also educating your heart, soul & mind. As you learn to move from asana to asana, you'll discover that your yoga practice makes a real impact on the way you live your life.
The practice of asana becomes more than mere physical exercise to keep one’s body fit or to increase strength or flexibility; it becomes a way to improve one’s relationship to all others (human, animal, plant & mineral) & thus lead to enlightenment – the dissolution of the sense of separateness, the realization of the oneness of being, the discovery of lasting happiness.
The Jivamukti method of Yoga is one of the nine internationally recognized styles of Hatha Yoga.
The Jivamukti Yoga tagline is 'a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings'. The method is grounded in the original meaning of the Sanskrit word asana as 'seat' or 'connection' - i.e. relationship to the Earth / all of life!
Jivamukti Yoga maintains that one's relationship to others (asana) should be mutually beneficial & come from a consistent (sthira) place of joy & happiness (sukham). This is a radical idea that, when put into practice, can dismantle our present culture which is based on the notion that the Earth & all other animals exist for our own benefit to be exploited for our own selfish purposes.
Jivamukti Yoga is a holistic & integrated yoga practice which helps to combine both the physical & spiritual aspects of yoga, whilst encouraging practitioners to take their yoga off the mat & into the world.
The method uses sequences to strengthen the body & reduce tensions in order to purify the body of both physical & mental toxins. The effects & benefits of this method reach deeply into every part of your being. It feels like a very thorough workout on many levels, but also very much a "work-in" as you gain access to levels of awareness within yourself that everyday life covers up.
The core philosophy is expressed through five tenets which form the foundation of Jivamukti Yoga. Jivamukti teachers embody these tenets, so that they colour all of his or her teachings, whether in Fundamentals, Open or other classes, workshops, or even just interactions with others in the Jivamukti community.
Each of the five tenets should be clearly identifiable in every Open class, even though the names of the tenets may not actually be spoken. The students learn not to see asana as separate from spiritual study or chanting or meditation, but rather to integrate all of the elements that make up Jivamukti Yoga into one unified practice. This provides for a well-rounded approach to our goal - enlightenment through compassion for all beings.
Jivamukti Yoga is a vigorous, vinyasa-based Hatha Yoga method which includes five tenets:
A non-violent, compassionate lifestyle extending to other animals, the environment & all living beings, emphasizing ethical vegetarianism (veganism) & animal rights.
Acknowledgment that Self-realization is the goal of all yoga practices; can be expressed through chanting, the setting of a high intention for the practice or other devotional practices.
Meditation: connecting to that eternal unchanging reality within.
The development of a sound body & mind through deep listening; can be incorporated in a class using recorded music, spoken word, silence or even the teacher’s voice.
Shastra (scriptural study)
Study of the ancient yogic teachings, including Sanskrit chanting, drawn from the Focus of the Month to the extent possible.
Jivamukti Yoga incorporates traditional yoga practices into a modern lifestyle without losing sight of the ancient, universal goal of liberation. We believe that liberation is possible even whilst living a modern urban lifestyle anywhere in the world. We believe that the ancient teachings & techniques of yoga, as laid out in Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, Bhagavad Gita & Hatha Yoga Pradipika, are as valid & exciting today as they were over five thousand years ago. If you explore yoga yourself by reading the texts, chanting, practicing asana, & meditating, you will begin to feel that it's not foreign or separate from you. It is not not of you or of your culture.
The founders of the Jivamukti Yoga Method are Sharon Gannon & David Life (pictured).
Whilst in India in 1986, they met their first guru, Swami Nirmalananda. On subsequent trips, they met Sri K. Pattabhi Jois & later, in upstate New York, they met their third guru, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati.
Each of their gurus guided them further on their individual spiritual paths & the teachings of each of their gurus profoundly shaped the development of Jivamukti Yoga. Sharon & David studied with their gurus for many years before it was time for each guru to leave their physical bodies. The three 'guruji' offered their most heartfelt blessings to David & Sharon to incorporate their teachings into the Jivamukti Yoga method. Sharon & David have also studied with many other prominent yoga teachers including Master Iyengar & the Sivananda School of Yoga.
The role of the guru is to expose the seeker’s misperceptions & guide the seeker toward self- knowledge. Resting on this tradition, but operating on a world stage, Sharon & David have illuminated the deeper, esoteric truths of yoga, linked them to present-day culture & lifestyle, & encouraged practitioners to let go of what they think they know to be true & embrace the path to liberation in this lifetime. Through the innovations of Jivamukti Yoga, Sharon & David have brought the ancient teachings alive, going to the root of their wisdom & making it relevant to the contemporary world. They are pioneers in teaching yoga as spiritual activism/activation, demonstrating that yoga is a living tradition; a complete system for accessing the lasting happiness that is available to all beings. They incorporate their profound talents & experiences as authors, artists, performers & musicians into their teaching styles, making their teachings compelling exciting & empowering.
The word vinyasa means a 'joining or linking mechanism'. Jivamukti Yoga classes are based on this concept. Vinyasa is a method of practicing asana (physical practices), that are presented in a sequence, flowing one to the next. The practice focuses on trying to align one’s breath & spiritual intention with that movement. Some yoga methods may associate vinyasa with the word “flow” to a certain level. All Jivamukti Yoga classes give students the opportunity to develop an understanding of vinyasa & refine their skills through deep exploration.