Summer Solstice Yoga Fest

by Austin Sanderson |
June, 2019

How Did the Five Tenets of Jivamukti Yoga Influence?

As Jivamukti teachers and students, the five tenets developed by Sharon-ji and David-ji have helped guide us in many ways and in many different situations. Some of the time, we may even be unaware of how we have incorporated these teachings into our lives. There are the obvious ones, like choosing veganism over a SAD diet (standard American diet) that involves the killing and harm of animals. But the tenets also start to work on a subtle level, elevating our creative decision-making process.

Over five years ago, while Bob and I were opening Jivamukti Yoga Jersey City, I had the vision of a large-scale yoga festival that would be open to the public. This free public festival would encourage the five tenets of the Jivamukti, expressing them in a way that would allow the public to be exposed to the Jivamukti method in an exciting, festival environment.

It almost seemed too easy to design a Yoga Festival around this but with this in mind, Yoga Fest Jersey City came into being in 2018.


Ahimsa (nonviolence, non-harming) — the festival had to be vegan and eco-friendly. It would showcase both local and regional food vendors that are passionate about plant-based food. Craftsmen and artists, who are working with recycled and sustainable materials. This year we have added over 41 vegan vendors, and by doing so we are encouraging our local government to sponsor more public events that are not harmful to animals or the planet. Public Ahimsa events that promote awareness and consciousness of what we consume.

Dhyana (meditation) — has become so popular in recent years, it is very uplifting to see so many people looking to find new ways of calming the mind, the one problem is many people do not know where to go or maybe can’t afford classes. At the festival throughout the day we would offer meditation, involving other traditions of Dhyana. We are offering everything from Japa meditations, silent meditations and gratitude meditation.

Shastra (scripture) — a little harder, but can be done at a large scale public street festival. While MCing the yoga stage, I weave in sutras and ideas from Patanjali Yoga Sutras that all can relate to. Sthira-sukham asanam (YS 11.46), “The connection to the earth should be steady and joyful” (Sharon Gannon) is a scripture that can become the foundation for any yoga event, and we can all relate to it no matter where we are in a yoga practice.

Nada (sound) — you can’t have a festival without music, but to have Nada you need to right music. If the vegan food is there to feed the body, then the music must feed the soul. Kirtan, ragas, and spiritual music should fill the air. These vibrations bring bliss to those who are familiar with the sounds of yoga and will introduce the magic of Nada to the many who don’t know of it.

Bhakti (devotion) — in the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna tells Arjuna “surrender yourself to me and act without attachment”. By offering thousands of people the opportunity to try yoga free of charge, with no strings attached, it a karmic service that will benefit all. It becomes a devotion to one’s community and one’s global family, giving them the gift of yoga.


Yoga Fest Jersey City will be held on June 22, from 7am-6pm, downtown in Jersey City (at the Grove Street PATH Stop). If you come because of the music, the vegan food, the yoga, the meditation, or the community, it does not matter, just come and be a part of the Bhava.

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