Jivamukti means “liberation while living.” This modern style of yoga emerged in 1984 from one of New York City’s best-known yoga studios. Founders David Life and Sharon Gannon combine Ashtanga yoga with spiritual teachings, placing special emphasis on how to apply yogic philosophy to daily life. Jivamukti is a vinyasa style practice, so classes can be quite physically rigorous. Each Jivamukti session has a theme that is explored through yoga scripture, chanting, meditation, asana, breath work and music.
The five tenets of Jivamukti are as follows, not presented in any particular order of importance:
1. Ahimsa - A nonviolent, compassionate lifestyle extending to other animals, the environment and all living beings, emphasizing ethical vegetarianism (veganism) and animal rights.
2. Bhakti - 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.
3. Dhyana - Meditation: connecting to that eternal unchanging reality within.
4. Nada - 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.
5. Shastra - Study of the ancient yogic teachings, including Sanskrit chanting, drawn from the Focus of the Month to the extent possible.