What is Jivamukti Yoga?
Jivamukti Yoga is a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. The Jivamukti Method 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.
5 Tenets of Jivamukti Yoga
This core philosophy is expressed through 5 tenets, which form the foundation of Jivamukti Yoga. Jivamukti teachers embody these tenets, so that they color all of his or her teachings whether in Fundamentals 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.
A nonviolent, compassionate lifestyle extending to other animals, the environment and all living beings, emphasizing ethical vegetarianism (veganism) and animal rights
Acknowledgment that God/Self-realization is the goal of all yoga practices; can be expressed through chanting, the setting of a high intention for the practice or other devotional practices.
Meditation: connecting to that eternal unchanging reality within.
The development of a sound body and mind through deep listening; can be incorporated in a class using recorded music, spoken word, silence or even the teacher’s voice.
Study of the ancient yogic teachings, including Sanskrit chanting, drawn from the Focus of the Month to the extent possible.
Jivamukti Yoga Classes
There are six types of classes and one standardized warm-up sequence unique to the Jivamukti Method.
In-Class Private (ICP)
The Magic Ten
Yoga means “to yoke” or “to unite”—to know oneself as one with all that is. Yoga practices are a means to overcome avidya, the ignorance that distorts one’s perception of oneself and others. Using asana as a method to attain Self-realization or enlightenment means exploring the true, practical, physical meaning of the term asana as “our relationship to the Earth”—that is, to other humans, animals, plants, things, the planet itself and all of manifestation. What could be more physical than what we eat, where we live and who we live with?
Jivamukti Yoga has been an innovator in yoga for the last 30 years. From raising the bar for yoga teacher training standards with 300-hour and 800-hour programs, to making yoga “cool and hip” according to Vanity Fair, find out how Jivamukti redefines what is means to be practicing yoga today.
- Bringing the ancient teachings of yoga into a modern context without “dumbing them down.” This is done by exploring the original yogic scriptures, written primarily in Sanskrit and finding their relevance to the world today.
- Redefining the concept of asana to align closer to the original meaning of the Sanskrit term, “seat”. Expanding the notion of seatto mean “connection or relationship to the Earth,” with Earth implying all of life, all beings. Citing from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which says 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 or happiness (sukham). That 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 should be exploited for our own selfish purposes. So the practice of asana becomes much 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.