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, hence the name Jivamukti, which is a derivation of the Sanskrit word jivanmuktih, meaning “liberation while living.” It centers on the importance of establishing an elevated—i.e., selfless—intention as the motivation for one's practice. Jivamukti is an integrated method, incorporating elements of raja yoga (ethical, physical, breathing and meditative practices), bhakti yoga (devotional practices), karma yoga (practices of selfless service) and jñana yoga (intellectual and meditative practices). In the state of enlightenment, one realizes the oneness or interconnectedness of all being; hence, Jivamukti emphasizes the importance of veganism, environmentalism and political activism as key practices toward the goal. Jivamukti Yoga teachers are trained in a demanding program that covers these practices, as well as the traditional subjects such as asana practice and yoga philosophy. Jivamukti Yoga classes are rigorous, and the goal of the practice—enlightenment—is remembered throughout by the teacher and student alike.
Jivamukti Yoga was created by Sharon Gannon and David Life in the mid-1980s with the blessings of their teachers. The Jivamukti method represents many innovations introduced by Sharon and David to uncover the deeper meanings of yoga philosophy and to make the ancient practices of yoga relevant to the contemporary practitioner. There are Jivamukti Yoga and affiliated centers around the world.