May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Yoga

Created by David Life and Sharon Gannon, Jivamukti yoga is a yoga style that combines physical, spiritual and philosophical aspects of traditional yoga. Jivamukti is recognized at the international level as one of the main yoga practices together with Bikram, Kundalini, Viniyoga, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Integral and Kripalu. In the western world the stress has been on yoga as mostly a physical practice. More and more people are taking yoga classes in order to make their bodies firmer and fitter. Nevertheless some of the yoga practitioners find out during their exercises that what has started out as purely physical practice may transform into a more spiritual experience. David Life and Sharon Gannon took up teaching because they felt the need to share the fact that yoga is more than just some physical exercises, but a path to enlightenment and a spiritual practice. Jivamukti yoga thus becomes a relevant translation of the Indian system of yoga for the approach of the westerner mind so that it can be easier to grasp. Among the elements emphasized by Jivamukti yoga we can count meditation, devotional chanting or the study of the ancient texts.

The meaning of the word Jivamukti (pronounced Jee-va-mook-tee) can be translated as follows: Jiva means individual soul and mukti means liberation. The word is derived from the Sanskrit jivanmuktih, meaning liberation while living. The name Jivamukti yoga indicates the fact that it is possible to have a beneficial and fulfilling life in the world but also progress spiritually, perhaps even touching the liberation state.

Think about the five tenets of Jivamukti yoga before starting to practice it. The first one is the study of the ancient yoga teaching including Sanskirt chanting. The second one is the acknowledgment that universal consciousness is the goal of all yoga practices, known under the name of Bhakti. The third tenet is Ahimsa, that urges for a non-violent, compassionate life-style, which stresses the importance of ethical vegetarianism. Nada comes forth, as the development of a sound body and mind through deep listening. The last tenet of Jivamukti yoga, although not the least, is meditation, that paves the way to the ever-lasting reality inside of us. Another fact to be considered before taking on Jivamukti yoga is the fact that the classes tend to be quite physically intense. Although it may seem difficult, the great fame of Jivamukti yoga in the United States cannot pass unnoticed; there is a Jivamukti yoga School in New York, and there are trained teachers teaching it all over the country.

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