Why Yoga?

"The aim of Yoga is to realize that we are all connected. We share one heart, one consciousness and one Divine Source. Yoga's method is to provide us with experiences that help us to grasp this." -- Sharon Gannon & David Life, Jivamukti Yoga.

Yoga is a healthy way to achieve freedom of your soul and thoughts. Freedom that goes beyond rules and normality. Yoga shall, above all, also happen in the time you are not on your mat. To be free and to live a non-violent life and to avoid violent thoughts is achieved slowly, just as it can be a long process to learn how to do a headstand. Yoga is usually defined as Union. The term yoga comes from the Sanskrit word "yug" which means to yoke or bind together. Yoga is Enlightenment. Yoga is the experience of bliss that lies beyond the veil of thought. A comprehensive yoga practice uses the mind (meditation), the body (posture or asana), and the spirit (Bhakti) to shed the layers that stand between us and our hearts - where knowledge and truth transform into wisdom and happiness. We don't do yoga. Yoga is the goal. We do practices that may lead to yoga.
What is Jivamukti Yoga?

Jivamukti Yoga is a method of yoga that was created by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984, which reintegrates the physical, philosophical and spiritual aspects of Yoga. The emphasis in the west has been on Yoga as mostly a physical practice. More and more people are achieving firmer bodies through regular yoga classes. But many are finding something more: what starts out as a purely physical practice creeps into the hearts and minds of even the least spiritual practitioners.

David and Sharon became teachers because they were passionate about communicating Yoga as more than just a system of exercises, but also as a spiritual practice; a path to enlightenment. From their earliest classes, they have taught a living translation of the Indian system of yoga in a way that western minds can comprehend.

That is why Jivamukti Yoga emphasizes vigorous asana as its primary technique, but other practices such as meditation, devotional chanting and study of the ancient texts play an important role as well. And that is why we are happy to say: The average Jivamukti student is more educated about the philosophy of yoga than most yoga teachers. Or, to quote Christy Turlington: "I always learn something at Jivamukti; they really educate the students."

The Jivamukti method of Yoga is one of the nine internationally recognized styles of Hatha Yoga. The other eight being: Ashtanga, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Sivananda, Integral, Bikram, Kripalu, and Kundalini.

Jivamukti Yoga offers vigorously physical and intellectually stimulating yoga classes. Classes include Vinyasa (flowing asana sequences), hands-on adjustments, Pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, Sanskrit chanting, Yogic philosophical teachings and deep relaxation. To keep the practice inspiring, asana sequences are ever-changing. with music playing an integral role in the class. Classes are 60-90 minutes and open to all levels.

Union Square at Broadway in lower Manhattan, a promenade long associated with cutting-edge trends in fashion, music, and fitness, is also the home base of the Jivamukti Yoga Center, one of the busiest, most popular and innovative yoga centers in the world. Described as "the wild child of yoga" by Paper magazine, Jivamukti certainly attracts its share of wild children from a wide mosaic of backgrounds who are undoubtedly drawn to the vigorous Hatha Yoga classes and the deeply spiritual sense of community found at the center. The thousands of students that pass through Jivamukti seven days a week are proof that Westerners are ready for Jivamukti’s mix of the earthy and the ethereal.

What does "Jivamukti" mean?

"We chose the name Jivamukti (pronounced Jee-va-mook-tee) Yoga to reflect the true aim of yoga, which is liberation. Jiva means individual soul and mukti means liberation. The exact transliteration of the Sanskrit word from which Jiavmukti is derived is jivanmuktih, which means liberation while living. The name Jivamukti Yoga reflects the fact that it is possible to have a beneficial and fulfilling life in the world, and also progress spiritually-perhaps even attaining liberation (Samadhi) while living." -- Sharon Gannon and David Life
What are the main tenets of Jivamukti Yoga?

Jivamukti Yoga is based on five main tenets:

1. Scripture
The study of the ancient yoga teaching, i.e. the yoga sutras of Patanjali, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and the Sanskrit alphabet and grammar

2. Bhakti
Recognition that God realization is the goal of all yoga practices is a tenet of Jivamukti Yoga. The promotion of inter-religious understanding and tolerance toward all forms of religious and spiritual beliefs. Creating a mood conducive to a devotional state of mind through altars, religious pictures and iconography, and providing a large selection of books and spiritual tools. Chanting of the names of God.

3. Ahimsa (Non-Violence)

A non-violent, compassionate lifestyle which emphasizes ethical vegetarianism and animal rights. In our Jivamukti Yoga Classes we, therefore, also discuss ethical vegetarianism, animal rights, environmental concerns and the need to take social/political action. And Jivamukti Yoga Berlin is active in all of these fields, too. For instance through donation projects and events, by using environmentally friendly power suppliers like Greenpeace Energy, washing detergents and cleaning supplies etc.

4. Music
Promoting the study of Nada Yoga (the yoga of sound) as an essential part of Hatha Yoga practice. We are listening to elevating music, do Kirtan (call and response singing) and provide and distribute the newest, most cutting-edge of spiritually elevating music.

5. Meditation
We are ncouraging meditation as an essential part of Hatha Yoga practice. Each class includes meditation instruction and practice Once a week in-depth meditation classes and/or Satsang is offered.

Interview with Sharon Gannon & David Life @ Jivamukti Yoga Berlin
What is Jivamukti Yoga? Yoga & Art. The worldwide Jivamukti Community. The future of our planet.

What's the "BUZZ" on Jivamukti Yoga?

“Sharon Gannon und David Life who founded their own yoga method called Jivamukti Yoga in the late 80ies and, with it, made Yoga for the first time ever socially acceptable for western urban dwellers. Among their students are Sting, Madonna, Christy Turlington and basically all other non-overweight famous american actors and musicians. Many speak about them as Gurus. With their mixture of old Indian tradition and modern lifestyle like rock music they were the ones who were majorly responsible for the Yoga boom, which from New York has long spilled over to Germany: Three million Germans are said to regularly practice Yoga these days ... in Berlin-Mitte it appear to be two million alone.'
--Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Germany

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

"It has the full package, more than just exercise. I always learn something at Jivamukti; they really educate the students."
-- Christy Turlington

“Without Sharon and David, yoga in the US would still be the obscure practice of a few devotees.”
--The New York Times, USA

“The pioneers of yoga in the United States, inspire us to appreciate life’s depth and breadth.”
--25, Japan

“Jivamukti Yoga offers the tantalizing promise of not only a well-toned body, but salvation too.”
--Hinduism Today, USA

“Es handelt sich dabei um eine kraftvolle Praxis, die Körper und Intellekt stimuliert und zu spirituellem Bewusstsein führen möchte.”
--Yoga Aktuell, Germany

“Meshing the spiritual and psychological elements of yoga with the physical ones, Jivamukti yoga forces students to confront both their bodily and emotional limitations. It's this dedication to promoting an integrated practice that makes Jivamukti the absolute antithesis of 'McYoga'. Without Life and Gannon and their rigorously 'pure' teaching, the West's yoga scene would have been left wide open to 'disco' yoga and yogalates."
--Harpers and Queens, UK

“..holistic vision extending to strict vegetarianism and hard-core animal rights activism”
--Vanity Fair USA

“Lean, flexible, vegetarian, poetry writing, theosophist, celestial American yogis…their salutes to the sun are done by the stars.”
--Sunday Morning Post, Hong Kong

"These two pioneers, (Sharon Gannon and David Life) are consummate showmen as well as shamans, injecting yoga with a healthy dose of New York Chutzpah along the way."
--Vanity Fair USA

“Meet the innovators, David Life and Sharon Gannon are American originals who are shaping yoga today. Looking for a highly meditative but physically challenging form of yoga? Try jivamukti.”
--Yoga Journal, USA

“The shape of things to come.”
--London Observer, UK

“Lo yoga e uno stile di vita: fatto di meditazione, di posizione, di musica, canti, letture.”
--Corriere Della Sera, Italy

"There's a level of spiritual activism here. It's not just what you do on the mat. You are surrounded by it the second you walked into the door, and it's infectious."
--Yoga Journal USA

"Once you make Jivamukti yoga part of your life, you will look different to the world and the world will look different to you"

- -Yogi Times USA

"Gannon and Life work hard to show that yoga is not just about health and fitness, and that spirituality can be congruent with the high-energy, vibrant lifestyle of New York."
--Yoga Journal

"Jivamukti Yoga (which means "liberation while living") fuses Dynamic vinyasa, music, chanting, and the embodied commitment to yoga's ultimate goal, enlightenment."
--Fit Yoga USA

"The hottest and best yoga in town is performed at the unapologetically spiritual Jivamukti "
-- New York magazine

"All the spirituality of traditional yoga, but with a modern twist"
--Red Magazine

"It's a very liberating concept and, suddenly, I don't quite feel so self-conscious. All I can hear are Gannon's peaceful words: "Let go. Let go. Let go." And then a funny thing happens: I let go and manage to stretch quite a bit further. And it feels great."
-- The Independent

"Classes are demanding, physically and emotionally, in keeping with Life's intention to re-spiritualize what the West was teaching as a purely physical exercise."
-- Connect, Hong Kong

"Blows away the competition in acuity of teachers, beauty of space, and precision of work-out."
--New York magazine

"In New York, Sting and fashion designer Donna Karan are flocking to the Jivamukti Center, where the spiritual aspects are emphasized."
--US magazine

"More fast-paced and strenuous than other popular forms of yoga, with a glamorous following, including Russell Simmons and Christy Turlington."
--Time Out New York

"Beautiful-people clientele."
--Time Out New York

-—New York Press

"Gannon and Life work hard to show that yoga is not just about health and fitness, and that spirituality can be congruent with the high-energy, vibrant lifestyle of New York."
—-Yoga Journal

"Many people were surprised when the God-centered, incense vibe proved to be an immediate hit."
-—Yoga Journal

"I travel into an altered state of consciousness; the class passes by like a dream."—Yoga Journal "Looking good becomes even more esoteric at Manhattan's Jivamukti Yoga Center, where Sting, Christy Turlington, and downtown hipsters stretch toward Nirvana."

"The single largest yoga center in the U.S."
-—New York Times

"If a teacher doesn't bring in the spiritual element, it cheats the student and dumbs down the teaching."
-—David Life (New York Post)

"We make God hip."
—-David Life (Hong Kong magazine)

"Our responsibility as teachers is to generate independence and share knowledge freely, not portion it out according to how much we get from the student."
—-David Life (Yoga Journal)

"Many yoga teachers today cheat their students by not emphasizing the importance of a vegetarian diet and its relationship to the practice of yoga."
—-Sharon Gannon (Yoga Journal)

"It has the full package, more than just exercise"
—-Christy Turlington (Allure magazine)

"They have a very intriguing, mystical, enchanted realm."
—-Daren Friesen (Chicago Tribune)