Why I Love Jivamukti Yoga (And You Might Too!)

By Christy C

Editor’s note: Our editor in chief Ayinde Howell has previously served as Jivamukti yoga school’s Executive chef and also has been through the teacher training. Go Javamukti!

You may all remember my post about how hot yoga changed my sex life, but I’ve found a new-to-me type of yoga that’s changed more than just my sex life—it’s basically life altering. There are so many things I love about Jivamukti yoga that I don’t think it’ll all fit in one post. I’m going to start with the most obvious reason I was drawn to this NYC LES Manhattan grown yoga.

The philosophy of Jivamukti yoga was built largely on a sanskrit phrase “Lokah samastha sukhino bhavantu” or “may all beings should be free from suffering and may the thoughts words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and that freedom for all.”

Is it just me, or does that not scream GO VEGAN.

After studying yoga in india with yoga masters such as Sri k Pattabhi Jois, partners Shannon Gannon and David Life returned home to New York and created the Jivamukti (“liberation while living”) style of yoga in 1984.

They wanted to teach a form of yoga that was both physically challenging and equally spiritual. You know how sometimes you go to a yoga class and it’s all chant-y and not much of a workout? Then other times you go to a hot yoga class and spirituality means nothing in there and you’re just in it for the workout?

Well Jivamukti is a perfect balance between the two. I always break a sweat (not Bikram status, but still), and I always leave uplifted spiritually. This has really seeped into other parts of my life. I no longer head to a yoga class just for the workout—I’ve realized that if I don’t meditate or take time to just feel my body and gauge it’s capabilities that day then I’m all off balance.

What to expect in a Jivamukti class:

Chanting. I know it sounds frightening, but the way the Jiva yoga system is designed it incorporates shastra (scripture), they believe blending the timeless with the modern is important. And it really puts you in the yoga mindset and prepares you for a class that actually has meaning and depth, beyond the physical aspects. Woah, starting to see why it’s 20 bucks a class.

Awesome music. Or nāda the sanskrit word for music, Jivamukti instructors are taught to be a “good DJ” as well in teacher training and most take their mix very seriously. The best is when they blend classic yoga tunes with modern uplifting music that seriously make every asana more enjoyable.

A Workout. Jivamukti is rooted in ashtanga and vinyasa a style that basically mean you do  lot of sun salutations and it has a nice flow to it. All levels are usually welcome and my instructor always offers more or less advanced variations depending on your needs.

Philosophy. My Jivamukti instructor always begins class with an idea or theme. This comes from bhakti (devotion), another core element to this style of yoga. It gives you something to think about during class and often helps you set an intention for to devote your practice to. This month the theme is death—I know, sounds f*cking nuts, right? But his idea was that we change the way we view death. If we’ve lost someone, instead of continuing to mourn, we could live for or through our lost loved ones. It’s some beautiful shit man.

So, if you want to practice a form of yoga that advocates non-harming and supports veganism with an on-site cafe (the menu was designed by Bossman Ayinde), then head to Jivamukti.

I’m so in love with it that after I obtain my 230-hour teacher training this summer I’m going to continue my yoga training by attending the Jivamukti teacher training school!

What’s your favorite type of yoga to practice?

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One Response to Why I Love Jivamukti Yoga (And You Might Too!)

  1. “David and Sharon have inspired and encouraged us to think of yoga not just as a system of exercises but as a door to the infinite.” – Sting.

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