Jivamukti Yoga is a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. An internationally-recognized form of hatha yoga, Jivamukti Yoga is founded on five tenets—ahimsa (non-violence), bhakti (devotion), nada (music), shastra (scripture) and dhyana (meditation). The method emphasizes enlightenment or Self-realization as the goal of the practice. Thrive Yoga is an affiliate studio of Jivamukti and offers open classes and Jivamukti Spiritual Warrior classes. Each yoga class will be connected to the Spiritual Focus of The Month.
Sharon Gannon & David Life
The gurus and founders of the Jivamukti Yoga method are Sharon Gannon and David Life. They met in 1983 in New York City and in 1984 created Jivamukti Yoga. David being initiated into the order of Sannyasa by Swami Nirmalananda in 1989. Sharon with Swami Nirmalananda. In 1986 they traveled to India and met their first guru, Swami Nirmalananda. On subsequent trips, they met their guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and later in upstate New York, they met their guru Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati. Each of their gurus guided them further on their individual spiritual paths, and the teachings of their gurus helped shape the development of Jivamukti Yoga. Sharon and David studied with their gurus for many years and received their blessings to incorporate their teachings into the Jivamukti Yoga method. They have also studied with many other prominent yoga teachers.
jivamukti Open Class
Whether you're a beginner, deciphering the difference between vrksasana (tree) and sirshasana (headstand) or an advanced yogi who can put both feet behind their head, the Jivamukti Open class welcomes you, as it is open to practitioners of all levels. You work at your own pace, following the teacher's verbal as well as hands-on guidance. Asana options will be provided for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. A typical Open class incorporates the five tenets of Jivamukti Yoga:
- shastra (scripture)
- bhakti (devotion)
- ahimsa (kindness)
- nada (music)
- dhyana (meditation)
An Open class presents classical yoga teachings as relevant to one’s life on and off the mat, drawn from the Focus of the Month essay, supported by chanting, breath awareness, flowing vinyasa sequences, alignment exploration, hands-on assistance, relaxation and meditation. All Open classes include 14 points—asanas, meditation and spiritual teachings—in a sequence creatively designed by the teacher. Exuberant, eclectic music plays an integral role: you might practice to a shifting soundtrack of ragas, global trance, hip-hop, spoken word, George Harrison, Sting, Krishna Das, Donna de Lory, Michael Franti, Bill Laswell, Alice Coltrane and Mozart.
The class is called “Open” because it is open and suitable to all levels of practitioner. Even so, beginning level students should know that there will not be much detailed “how to do” descriptions; for that a student is advised to attend a Basic or Beginner Vinyasa Class. The length of an Open class may differ at different centers, so please check the schedule for the center you are attending.
jivamukti Spiritual Warrior
Jivamukti Spiritual Warrior classes are designed for busy people who only have an hour to practice. The class is fast paced and invigorating and is certainly a “get-in-shape” class. The structure is a fixed set sequence instructed in a vinyasa style. It is a fully balanced class which includes asana warm-up, chanting, setting of intention, surya namaskar, standing poses, backbends, forward bends, twists, inversions, meditation and relaxation. The teacher focuses on keeping the pace moving and does not stop to give spiritual discourses. Since the asana sequence is always the same, a student will pick it up quite quickly after only a couple of classes.
In many Jivamukti Yoga Centers this class is also offered as the International Spiritual Warrior class, which is taught in languages other than the national language of the country while maintaining standard Sanskrit terminology, making it a wonderful language immersion experience. You could actually learn another language by taking this class regularly. Many yoga teachers find that they learn essential key terms in other languages to enable them to teach yoga in foreign countries. Spiritual Warrior and International Spiritual Warrior Classes are best for intermediate and advanced students, although beginners as well as anyone with a sense of adventure are welcome! Spiritual Warrior classes are one hour in length.