If you have expectations… leave them at the door. Allow the energy to guide you… unroll your mat. What follows cannot be taught… experience is the only way.
“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” – a chant often heard during a Jivamukti Yoga class meaning may all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
Jivamukti (pronounced Jee-va-mook-tee) is a name for a type of Hatha Yoga practice branded in the early 1980’s by David Life and Sharon Gannon to reflect the true aim of yoga, which is liberation and self-realization. Every Jivamukti Yoga Class includes 5 tenets: Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Bhakti (Devotion), Dhyana (Mediation), Nada (Music) and Shastra (Scripture).
Purpose Of Jivamukti Yoga
The purpose of Jivamukti yoga is to remind the Western Civilization of the original intention of yoga, which is to provide a practitioner with a path to enlightenment; to intertwine a holistic approach to living into every class, and allow that approach to life to flow with grace into every moment through compassion for all living beings.
Benefits Of Jivamukti Yoga
The physical benefits of Jivamukti yoga practice are similar to what you get from a vigorous yoga practice, including an increase in strength, balance and flexibility, detoxifying the body and improving circulation, and a decrease in stress and toxins. According to David and Sharon, there are too many positive physical benefits to list but the main thing is “you build up a body of light” and feel more comfortable with who you are.
Spiritual benefits of Jivamukti yoga include dissolution of separateness, the realization of oneness and the discovery of lasting happiness. Yoga practice nourishes The Self by establishing a direct pranic connection with the source of infinite bliss – The Divine.
Is Jivamukti Yoga For Me?
Jivamukti Yoga is a style of yoga that incorporates physical and spiritual applications into each and every class. It is a vigorous style of yoga that anyone can do if you are willing to listen to your own body and modify postures as needed. According to David Life, Jivamukti Yoga is for students “with imagination, a sense of adventure and the courage to change.” In addition, Sharon adds that the perfect candidate is one “who wants to be absolutely free… to live their life in ways that matter.”
We all have to start somewhere on this quest we call life, so I encourage you - wherever you may be on your map - to try a Jivamukti Yoga class; to enter with an open heart and an open mind, and let the vibration of sound and fierce asana practice lead you down a pathway unimaginable.
This Yoga 101 is written by guest columnist Julie Keel, RYT E-200; Founder of River’s Edge Yoga in Louisville, KY.