If you are considering taking up yoga, it can be difficult to decide which form of the discipline is best for your needs. There are a number of types of yoga, each focused on different methods and techniques intended to achieve physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Jivamukti yoga is one form of the discipline, which has become popular with celebrities like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Learn more about this type of yoga and whether it is suitable for you.
History. Jivamukti yoga first started in 1984, when it became a branded, proprietary method of yoga. The discipline was founded by Sharon Gannon and her partner David Life. Shortly after traveling to India, the couple opened the first Jivamukti yoga center in New York. Jivamukti yoga centers now exist in various cities around the world.
Basic Description. The name "Jivamukti" is adapted from the Sanskrit "jivanmuktih." "Jiva" refers to the individual soul, and "mukti" refers to liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. The method therefore literally translates as "liberation while living." This method of yoga is based around five key tenets:
- Shastra refers to the study and exploration of the four central texts of yoga, as well as the study of Sanskrit.
- Bhakti is the practice of devotion and humility, regardless of whom or what the object of your devotion is.
- Ahimsa refers to the principle of nonviolence and/or nonharming. Jivamukti yoga advocates vegetarianism, for example.
- Nāda centers on deep inner listening and chanting on the basis that everything consists of sound vibrations called nāda.
- Dhyana is the practice of being still and meditating.
Equipment and Class Format. There are six different types of Jivamukti yoga classes. Open classes focus on a monthly theme and mainly comprise a series of poses, followed by deep relaxation and meditation. A basic four-week class introduces students to the principles of the method. Beginner classes introduce students to the principles adopted in the open classes, and there are also Spiritual Warrior classes targeted to busy people with limited time. One-on-one classes are also available, as well as classes dedicated to meditation.
Benefits. Jivamukti yoga is a great way to increase energy, and a full class is akin to an energetic gym workout. This benefits blood circulation and can help people with respiratory problems. It is effective in building muscle flexibility and strength, and in helping individuals develop relaxation techniques. Many people believe that this form of yoga helps develop mental alertness and decision-making skills.
How to Find a Class. The best way to find a Jivamukti yoga class is to search for a certified instructor in your area on the list of teacherspublished on the Jivamukti website. Full contact details for each instructor are provided on the Web page.