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jivamukti FAQS

New to Jivamukti Yoga? Find some answers to frequently asked questions on this page. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please feel free to contact us.

about the method

What is Jivamukti Yoga?

As a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings, Jivamukti Yoga is grounded in the original meaning of the Sanskrit word asana as “seat, connection” – relationship to the Earth. Earth implies all of life.

Citing Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which states that asana should be sthira and sukham, Jivamukti Yoga maintains that one’s relationship to others (asana) should be mutually beneficial and come from a consistent (sthira) place of joy and happiness (sukham). This is a radical idea that, when put into practice, can dismantle our present culture, which is based on the notion that the Earth and all other animals exist for our benefit and to be exploited for our own selfish purposes.

So the practice of asana becomes more than mere physical exercise to keep one’s body fit or to increase strength or flexibility; it becomes a way to improve one’s relationship to all others and thus lead to enlightenment – the dissolution of the sense of separateness, the realization of the oneness of being, the discovery of lasting happiness. This core philosophy is expressed through five tenets which form the foundation of Jivamukti Yoga: Ahimsa, Bhakti, Dhyana, Nada, and Shastra. Jivamukti teachers embody these tenets, so that they color all of his or her teachings, whether in Basic classes, Open classes, other classes, workshops, or even just interactions with others in the Jivamukti community.

In classes other than Open classes, the teacher does not necessarily teach the five tenets explicitly or even state them out loud. In an Open class, however, the five tenets have a special role, because it is part of the teacher’s job to give the students an experience of all five tenets in each Open class, though again not necessarily by teaching them explicitly or even stating them out loud, but by allowing them to inform the class plan and teaching style.

Each of the five tenets should be clearly identifiable in every Open class, even though the names of the tenets may not actually be spoken. By doing this, students learn not to see asana as separate from spiritual study or chanting or meditation, but rather to integrate all of the elements that make up Jivamukti Yoga into one unified practice. This provides for a well-rounded approach to our goal—enlightenment through compassion for all beings.

Learn More about the Method Here.

Who Founded Jivamukti Yoga?

Sharon Gannon and David Life founded Jivamukti Yoga in NYC in 1984.

Learn all about the history of our lineage here

Where can I practice Jivamukti Yoga?
There are Jivamukti Yoga studios and teachers all around the world. Search Teachers or Search Studios to find a Jivamukti Yoga Studio/Teacher nearest to you. Don’t see a teacher near to you? Consider attending a Retreat, Immersion, or even bringing Jivamukti Yoga to your community by attending the Teacher Training.
What Happened To the Jivamukti Yoga School at Union Square in NYC?

We were sad to announce our NYC school would have to close its doors in December 2019 due to a multitude of challenges with the space that evolved over the years. Jivamukti Yoga, however, will endure in the New York area and all over the world through our teachers and studios. Sharon Gannon wrote: “the enrichment that we have all received from our association with it will endure – if we nurture the eternal positive principles we have all received, during our time spent within its walls.”


What Kinds of Classes does Jivamukti Yoga offer?

There are seven types of classes and one standardized warm-up sequence unique to the Jivamukti method: Open Class, Spiritual Warrior, Basics Series, Beginner Vinyasa, Magic Ten and Beyond, and Meditation. Learn more about them here.

How do I decide which class is right for me?

If you are looking for a well-balanced and transformative class where you can work at your own pace, then a Jivamukti Open class is for you. The teacher offers a creatively sequenced class with detailed alignment instructions and yoga philosophy weaved together. Options will be provided for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, although some yoga experience is recommended.

For those who are busy and looking for a “get-in-shape” class or are comfortable with more minimal instruction, then Spiritual Warrior Class is the perfect choice. Spiritual Warrior is a fully balanced 1-hour set sequence that is the same every time, so students will pick it up quite quickly after only a couple classes.

Beginners will feel comfortable attending any week of Jivamukti Basics Classes. During a Basics Class, the teacher will provide more detailed instruction on “how to do” the postures, emphasizing alignment of the body and the use of props such blocks, belts and blankets. More experienced practitioners looking to deepener their practice are also welcome to attend, as all students are encouraged to ask questions throughout the class. Check local studios and read their class descriptions for additional offerings. Asking a local yoga teacher can also help to inform your decision about what classes are best for you and your body. Don’t be afraid to try something new!


Can I take any week of the Basics course?
Yes, it is perfectly fine to begin taking Jivamukti Basics Classes at any point during the month. Each Basics class is designed as a stand-alone course. It is preferred that complete beginners take a class from each of the four weeks.

Jivamukti Yoga is a smart choice for beginners. Our teachers are some of the best in the world and go through a rigorous training program considered to be the “gold standard” in yoga. You will be confident that you are developing good habits as you begin to move the body in new ways. Jivamukti Yoga is connected to a long, rich lineage so you will be learning the ancient teaching of yoga that have been adapted for modern times.


Yes, Jivamukti teachers offer variations for all levels of yoga practitioners.


Many practitioners find yoga to be vital in the healing process. However, we recommend that you consult with your physician first. Please inform your teacher about any injuries you would like them to be aware of.


Spiritual Warrior is shorter in length, but covers many of the same points found in a Jivamukti Open class. In Spiritual Warrior Class, the teacher keeps the class moving quickly and provides minimal instruction so some experience with yoga is preferred.


Absolutely not. Members of the Jivamukti community belong to a wide variety of religions. We believe that yoga is for everyone and our school is committed to being a space that is tolerant and free from discrimination of all forms.

At The Studio

Do you have a yoga mat I can use?

Most Jivamukti studios have high-quality yoga mats for rent. Please check in advance on their individual websites.

We encourage you to bring your own mat (BYOM) and help us conserve water & electricity, as mats are laundered between each use.

Will I need a towel?

Sometimes it’s helpful as you might sweat a lot during class! Feel free to bring your own, or your Jivamukti studio might have one to rent.


If you need to leave early, please let your teacher know. We ask that you please leave before Shavasana, the final relaxation, or meditation begins, so the other students won’t be disturbed.


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