Jivamukti Yoga- In 1984 Sharon Gannon and David Life created the Jivamukti Yoga Method, which is a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. They are pioneers in teaching yoga as spiritual activism/activation. The JY Method emphasizes vinyasa, scriptural study, devotion, prayer, music, chanting and meditation as well as animal rights, veganism, environmentalism and political activism. Jivamuktis passionate focus on the original meaning of the Sanskrit word "asana" as seat, connection, relationship to the earth is as practical as it is radical at this time of global and consciousness shift. 

 Sharon Gannon (Tripura Sundari) Sharon Gannon started her quest for liberation upon her birth on July 4th in Washington, DC. Sharon views art as a means for uplifting the soul and her artistic pursuits enriched the community by educating and inspiring. In 1984 she shifted her main focus from the performing arts to teaching yoga in the hope of giving practical methods that would benefit people more directly and immediately. Sharon has studied yoga since 1976 with many teachers around the globe, most notably with Shri Brahmananda Saraswati, Swami Nirmalanada, Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, Swami Shankarananda, Shyam Das and Bhagavan Das. She brings a rare blend of scholarly study, artistic pursuits and a highly disciplined asana and meditation practice to her offerings as a teacher. 

 As a poet, musician, dancer and producer, Sharon views art as a means for uplifting the soul and her artistic pursuits seek to enrich the community by being both inspirational and educational.  She holds a BA in Dance and has studied ballet, modern, classical and various forms of Indian Dance; as well as music, poetry, painting and alchemy. During the 1970's & 80's first in Seattle and then in NYC she was the vocalist and violinist for the jazz/rock band Audio Letter as well as directing and choreographing for the dance company 'Moon-Food'.  Her choreography is featured in the Video: Asana: sacred dance of the Yogi.  In 2003 she produced the CD Neti-Neti, a remix of the 1987 Audio Letter album of the same name, receiving rave reviews and critical acclaim from Billboard Magazine, Rolling Stone, Yoga Journal and others. She collaborated with Janet Rienstra of Meta Records to create the cd: Chakra, seven centers. She collaborated with Raven Recording to produce Sundari, music for a Jivamukti Yoga Class.  In 2004 she co-produced with White Swan Music Records, the CD, Jai MA, a collection of divine women singers. Sharon is a guest vocalist, appearing on CDs with innovative world-beat musicians including Bill Laswell, Mike D., Sean Dinsmore, David Newman, Shyam Das and DJ Cheb I Sabbah. 

 Together with David Life and Janet Rienstra, she established the Animal Mukti Free Spay & Neuter Clinic, which was the first free spay and neuter clinic in New York City, at the Humane Society of NY in 1999. In 2004 she was recognized as "Friend of Ferals" by the Humane Society of New York and Neighborhood Cats. She is a long time vanguard member of PETA, working with them on various projects and campaigns to help make this world a kinder place. In 2003 she appeared on a video screen in Times Square behind the New Years Ball advocating Yoga and Vegetarianism as a step toward world Peace. Along with Life she has established a 76-acre Wildlife Forest Sanctuary in upstate New York.

Sharon has co-authored two books on Yoga with David Life, Jivamukti Yoga, Practices for Liberating Body & Soul  and The Art of Yoga. She is the author of Cats and Dogs are People Too and the newly release  Yoga and Vegetarianism . She contributes the Focus of the Month, a monthly essay, focusing on yogic topics, which can be read on www.jivamuktiyoga.com.  She is the compiler and translator of the Jivamukti Chant Book. She has contributed essays and short stories to Semiotext(e). She was a past editor of Patio Table Magazine.  She is a member of the Woodstock Poetry Society. A collection of her poems and essays are complied in the book Freedom is a Psycho-Kinetic Skill. She is currently working on three soon to be published books, The Yogic Art of Assists, a book of Poetry as well as a Vegan Cookbook. 

 David Life (Deva Das) David Life was born in a small town in Michigan where his Catholic upbringing inspired devotion to the Christian mystics St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila. He holds a BA degree in Art with minors in Poetry and Psychology. He has had a lifelong interest in metaphysics and spirituality. David spent several years as an initiate of a lineage of yogic monks.

He has studied yoga around the globe with many teachers including Shri Brahmananda Saraswati, Sri Swami Nirmalananda and Shri K. Pattabhi Jois.

David is a certified Advanced practitioner of the Ashtanga Yoga method of Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, which he began studying in Mysore, India in 1988. He spent several years as a sannyas (renunciate) initiated by Swami Nirmalananda in 1989. He has received Kalachakra and Bodhisattva initiation from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. His interest in yoga is supported by his artistic, literary and metaphysical studies. His classes are filled with metaphor, musicality and spirituality, spiced with humor, vigor and spontaneity. He is considered to be a "teacher's teacher" and his teachings are internationally renowned. 

 Along with Sharon Gannon he teaches a one-month intensive Jivamukti Yoga Teacher Training course offered at various locations. He has written articles as well as being featured in many articles in Yoga Journal and is featured in Yoga an encyclopedic collection of asana by Linda Sparrow.

He has lived in New York City since 1979. When he created Life Cafe in 1980 it was a coffeehouse with vegetarian chili, and espresso made one-at-a-time on an electric hotplate. Life Cafe featured jazz, art, and poetry. David became an influential performer, artist and spokesperson in the political and social foment and lively arts community in the1980's Lower East Side of New York City. Life Cafe has been featured in Newsweek, and in the Broadway play "Rent" as the setting for "La Vie Boheme." 

 He is a long time vanguard member of PETA, working with them on various projects and campaigns to help make this world a kinder place. 

Sharon & Davids Teachingschedule follow the link


Transform Yourself with Jivamukti Yoga

  1. A vigorous Jivamukti Yoga class focusing on the integration of yoga practice and life and how this is reflected in asana sequencing, breathing, relaxation and meditation.Is activism a natural outgrowth of yoga? -- Isn’t yoga about focusing inwards? Yoga teaches us that there really is no “out there,” out there. Everything we see out there is coming >from inside of us. We create the world we live in. Our present reality is a projection of our inner reality. Our inner reality comes from our past actions, which are continuously shaping the way we think, speak and act. Our own thoughts, words and actions have created the world we live in, with all of its disconnection and disease. When we begin to take responsibility and embrace this idea, we discover the inherent power within ourselves which could transform the world into a place of harmony and ease. We realize that the transformation “out there ” starts by first transforming ourselves from the inside. If we want to be happy the best way to uplift our own lives is to uplift the lives of others. The popularity of yoga at this time of global transformation and shifting consciousness is no coincidence. By definition, a yogi is someone who is striving to live harmoniously with the earth and all earthly beings. A yogi purifies his or her karmas through good relationships

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, lovingly known as “Gurmukh” in the yoga world, loves to celebrate life.  And how?  People are always around her, eating, meeting, talking, having fun.  She loves to bring people together.  Every Sunday night after a hearty 2 hour yoga class, up to 90 to 100 people gather for a Sunday night dinner, creating the feeling of the old time “Family Get Together.”

What warms her heart the most?  Watching the pregnant mamas be pregnant and then bringing their babies back after 40 days. She loves to see the mothers and their children as they grow up.  And she loves to watch the children as they grow and blossom.

One of her greatest loves of the day is rising in the early morning, and meditating before the sunrises.  She loves to sit on her Indian swing, and swing in her garden as she chants sacred hymns. 

Her interests, besides yoga, include rollerblading, swimming at the YMCA, and working in her garden and caring for her six dogs.  She loves to go to India as many times as she can, up to three times a year. She hikes in the Hollywood Hills with her 23-year old daughter, her husband of 25 years, and the dogs. 

Gurmukh is the co-founder and director of Golden Bridge, the premier center for the study and practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation in Los Angeles, CA, and now also in New York City. Golden Bridge also offers classes in Hatha Yoga, Buddhist Meditation, Bellydance, and much more! Gurmukh was given her Sikh spiritual name by Yogi Bhajan, her Spiritual Teacher since 1970, meaning “one who helps thousands of people across the world ocean." Since then, Gurmukh has dedicated her life to fulfilling her namesake. For over three decades, students in Los Angeles and around the world have sought her classes in Kundalini yoga, meditation and pre and post natal training.

Recently she has undertaken a new project that is dear to her heart: helping orphanages in India, Tibet and Mexico. Gurmukh is working closely with the Amrit Davaa World Health Organization to bring much needed medical supplies and attention to the children.

She is the author of “The Eight Human Talents: The Yogic Way to Restoring the Natural Balance of Serenity Within You”, and “Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful:  Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation”.   She also has three videos available, PreNatal Yoga, Post Natal Yoga, as well as“Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh,” and trains yoga teachers throughout the world. 

more info www.goldenbridgeyoga.com


Mark Whitwell has enjoyed a life long relationship with the teachings of Professor T. Krishnamacharya "the teacher of the teachers," notably BKS Iyengar, K Pattabhi Jois,  A G Mohan, Srivatsa Ramaswami, Indra Devi and TKV Desikachar. Having studied since 1973 in the home of Krishnamacharya with his son Desikachar, Mark is committed to communicating the timeless yoga principals with compassion and clarity. 

Yoga is the means by which ordinary people may absorb the nurturing and healing force of Life. This is yoga from the heart for the heart. It is made clear in TKV Desikachar's book The Heart of Yoga, Developing a Personal Practice to which Mark contributed and edited. He also contributed to Desikachar's Health Healing and Beyond. Mark's own book is Yoga of Heart, The Healing Power of Intimate Connection, Lantern Books. 

Mark lives in the USA and New Zealand. He travels throughout Europe, America, Asia and the South Pacific. In 1996 Mark established The Heart of Yoga Association a non-profit foundation that provides yoga education around the world. Having studied with many known and unknown yoga masters, Mark is most interested in revealing actual yoga and how each person effectively practices. 

Yoga is your direct participation
absorption in the given wonder
the extreme intelligence of life
that is of course in every person
every creature
you can do this
it's not a search
it's not to use the mind
it's not to use the body to try to get somewhere
as if you are not "Somewhere" 
as if you are not the full blown wonder of life
dependent on a vast process
for your own existence
so there is a right yoga for you
you learn to do that yoga
and then you too can enjoy this direct absorption
participation in the nurturing force that is life already given to you
you are completely loved
completely loved
you are completely cared for
everybody is completely loved
completely cared for
even if the social conditions are suggesting otherwise
even if your mind doesn't recognize it
by doing your yoga practice on a daily basis
actually and naturally
not obsessively
you too can enjoy this direct absorption
in the wonder that is this life
in all conditions of life including the unseen source
which is responsible for all this appearance here
please enjoy your yoga

This is a simple argument.
It is easier than easy.
So simple, we seldom speak of it and do not grasp it.
But once seen, it is obvious
and we feel the stark reality of our life,
unmediated by the mind of doubt.

The idea of human imperfection
that is deeply ingrained in the social mind,
in old scientific and religious thinking
blinds us to the perfection that is already in us,
as us, as Life itself, as Nature "her"self.

We are not separate;
we cannot be separate from Nature,
which sustains us in a vast interdependence with everything.

The universe comes perfectly
and is awesome in its integration and infinite existence.
It is our natural state.

Our mission and passion
is to provide the spiritual
and healing powers of yoga
to all who recognize the ancient wisdom
and the wisdom of your own body and mind.

Mark's Hridaya Yoga Sutra
describes the spirit of
Yoga of Heart: the Healing Power of Intimate Connection

More Infos about Mark Whitwell unter: www.heartofyoga.com


Brian Kest about Yoga

A fitness routine based on aesthetics feeds your ego, not your spirit. By increasing your ego, you actually become more vulnerable, more susceptible to the everyday occurrences that are out of your control. By feeding your ego, you ignore what you truly need in order to create something your ego desires. Consequently, you end up working against yourself and your goal of health, and you actually create more imbalance.


Power Yoga is directed at creating the highest level of energy, vitality and freedom. The only way to do this is to work with yourself, not against yourself. By working hard sensitively, we create an environment that's healing and that honors each individual, an environment that respects our boundaries and works within him or her. In this way, we create an atmosphere conducive to natural expansion and growth. We're not interested in pushing past our edge to get to a place where we've been brainwashed into thinking we need to be in order to have happiness!

The fact is, we're all different: different faces, shapes, sizes, personalities, etc.... We all shouldn't have and can't have the same bodies. Our life experiences and genetic dispositions make us different. Real health and vitality comes when we stop comparing and competing with each other, and start listening to the voice within that tells us what we need. We don't need to have the "best body;" we need to have our own body. By turning off the controlling mind, we can finally listen to the innate wisdom that waits to be heard.

The sad state of this planet is a prime example of how we've stopped listening. Our egos and intellects have gotten so big we've become enamored with ourselves and our capabilities. Our great societies, with all their cities and technological advances, are monuments to the seemingly unfailing prowess of the intellect. But the fact is, our intellect is only a small fraction of our intelligence. By shutting down our other faculties in favor of the intellect, we move away from our natural balance. Hence, the state of our people and planet.

Picture a web, with all its strands interconnected and sharing its burden. What's happened to us is, all the weight on the web has been placed on a single strand: the intellect. And we can't survive on intellect alone. The web that holds us together, as humans and as a planet, is ripping apart! The cause is intellect ruled by the ego, which creates a very scary level of self-indulgence. This is a no-holds-barred self-indulgence in which almost everything else is forsaken. And this is planet earth, Twenty-First century style!

To heal our planet, we need to heal ourselves…because we are the source of the imbalance. We need to quiet down, stop thinking, stop controlling, and start listening. Our bodies are the natural world, even as we live in an unnatural environment. If we quiet down and listen to what our bodies need (instead of telling it), we can then feed ourselves naturally and properly, and become more in harmony with the natural world. All our activities and endeavors will resonate with this harmony and we, as well as our planet, can begin to heal. No longer will our actions be governed by ego or intellect; they'll be guided by the deeper wisdom within. We can then use the intellect as it was meant to be used: to help us shape the wisdom coming through.


This brings us full circle back to yoga. Originally, yoga was created to facilitate the stillness in order to emancipate the wisdom. Some still use it for this purpose. Beyond this, yoga is a tool or system created to facilitate balance. In order to facilitate balance, the imbalances need to be exposed and eradicated. This can be a totally possible yet challenging endeavor, and this is where we start losing people.Unfortunately, many people don't seem to want to do the work necessary to create harmony. When you spill something on the floor, you clean it up, right? You don't want to live with that mess. Well, that's all yoga is designed to do: bring awareness to the mess and give you direction to help start the cleanup.

From the first step in yoga, you start feeling better simply because your house has just begun to become cleaner or less cluttered. The move toward harmony begins immediately. You don't need some blind faith that someday down the road yoga will enlighten you. The first class helps us quiet our minds and experience the peace beyond. This same first class helps us release some tension, which gives us a feeling of lightness, balance and connectedness. We've begun to restore the web.

As long as we approach our yoga practice by listening carefully to what the body needs and by moving away from any existing ideas of where our ego wants this body to be, our initial experience can be wholly satisfying.

The hardest part of the practice of yoga can be honoring our bodies and what they need in this moment. Too often we find ourselves slipping back into our old habits of goal orientation, self-criticism and re-activeness, which are the root of so much imbalance, disharmony, misery, and so forth.


Goal orientation, which sometimes is expressed as "I'll be happy when," leads you away from the here and now. Looking outside yourself for happiness doesn't work. If you're not happy now, you won't be happy for long no matter where you go. Why? Because happiness, or wholeness, has to come from within. And wholeness comes with acceptance of Right Now! There will always be another place to go, so there is no such thing as getting there. As far as your potential for happiness is concerned, "You are there."

Self-criticism leads us to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, worthlessness, and low self-esteem, as well as the criticism of others, which keeps us at each other's throat. Re-activeness creates tension. Discomfort is a part of life. Unwanted things happen, and wanted things don't happen. Our comfort zones get trampled. No one, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can escape discomfort. Yet within our discomfort, we actually have a choice: Shall I accept it or not? Accepting discomfort is intentional passivity. Non-acceptance is resistance.

But the truth can't be resisted, so resistance creates disharmony. This resistance manifests itself as re-activeness, and these reactions create internal locks or knots. These locks are held in the body. As we unconsciously react more and more, knots upon knots are built in the body, slowly but surely forming walls or barriers that start disconnecting us from ourselves.

Fortunately, our yoga class helps to create optimal physical health by enlivening and invigorating our whole body, ending dormancy, strengthening the weak links, and releasing the knots. It also energizes the mind and provides a safe, controlled environment for working on all the negative issues that are exposed. This is the real key!

Because the body is a direct manifestation of the mind, as we heal our mind, our bodies naturally follow. Also, our bodies are subject to the laws of nature. Eventually they will dry up and blow away, because all matter is in a state of flux. Yet it seems our minds are subject to no laws. As far as we know, our minds are limitless. So it makes sense that through yoga poses we start to hone and strengthen the unlimited aspect of ourselves, our minds! This leads us into a whole new place of connectedness, balance and satisfaction.

This information didn't come from a book. It came from a yoga practice. We all have deep wells of insight and creativity that are waiting to be tapped by the long, strong roots of yoga.



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