Jivamukti Yoga is a method of yoga that was created by David Life and Sharon Gannon in
1984, which reintegrates the physical, philosophical and spiritual aspects of Yoga. The emphasis in the west has been on Yoga as mostly a physical practice. More and more people are achieving firmer bodies through regular yoga classes. But many are finding something more: what starts out as a purely physical practice creeps into the hearts and minds of even the least spiritual practitioners. David and Sharon became teachers because they were passionate about communicating Yoga as more than just a system of exercises, but also as a spiritual practice; a path to enlightenment. From their earliest classes, they have taught a living translation of the Indian system of yoga in a way that western minds can comprehend. That is why Jivamukti Yoga emphasizes vigorous asana as its primary technique, but other practices such as meditation, devotional chanting and study of the ancient texts play an important role as well.
The Jivamukti method of Yoga is one of the nine internationally recognized styles of Hatha Yoga. The other eight being: Ashtanga, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Sivananda, Integral, Bikram, Kripalu, and Kundalini.
“We chose the name Jivamukti (pronounced Jee-va-mook-tee) Yoga to reflect the true aim of yoga, which is liberation. Jiva means individual soul and mukti means liberation. The exact transliteration of the Sanskrit word from which Jiavmukti is derived is jivanmuktih, which means liberation while living. The name Jivamukti Yoga reflects the fact that it is possible to have a beneficial and fulfilling life in the world, and also progress spiritually-perhaps even attaining liberation (Samadhi) while living.”
— Sharon Gannon and David Life, Jivamukti Yoga
Scripture — Study of the ancient yoga teaching including Sanskrit chanting.
Bhakti — Acknowledgement that universal consciousness is the goal of all yoga practices.
Ahimsa — A non-violent, compassionate lifestyle which emphasizes ethical vegetarianism and animal rights.
Nada — The development of a sound body and mind through deep listening.
Meditation — Connecting to that internal unchanging reality within.
Over 50 yoga classes per week are currently offered at Sangyé Yoga School. The centre also hosts a mindfully selected range of workshops, lectures and performances by internationally renowned teachers and artists.
The studio first opened its doors as Jivamukti Yoga London by Manizeh Rimer in July 2005. We are grateful for her and her husband Danny’s vision and dedication to bring the method to this city before it became the internationally well-known brand it is today.
In 2016, the next stage of the Yoga school’s evolution and development came in the renaming of JYL to Sangyé Yoga School, still continuing under Co-Directors, husband/wife, best friends, Phil Douglas and Cat Alip-Douglas
Manizeh Rimer: Founder, Jivamukti Yoga London & Advanced Certified Teacher
“Manizeh was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and as a child moved with her family to Geneva, Switzerland. She received a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University. After graduating she moved to San Francisco where she worked in the high-tech field. After years without sleep she began taking desperately needed Yoga classes. The physical practice was rewarding, but the philosophical and spiritual aspects were missing.
Soon after, her sister, Mithra, took her to a Jivamukti Yoga Class in New York. This was what she had been waiting for: in addition to a vigorous asana practice, she learned about karma, she meditated and chanted: the doorway to Yoga was opened.
In 2001 she moved to London with her husband and knew right away that Londoners were missing out on Jivamukti Yoga. She opened the centre in July, 2005 and could not have done it without the amazing contribution of Durga, cat, Emma and Danny. In 2009 she started the Yoga program at Maggie’s Cancer Centre and taught weekly Yoga there.
In 2003 she completed Jivamukti teacher training with Sharon Gannon and David Life, and an apprenticeship with Yogeswari at the Jivamukti Yoga centre in NYC. The following year she received her Advanced Certification. She gives thanks to Sharon and David for having created such an incredible method of Yoga. She also thanks Yogeswari, Patrick and Ruth for being such wonderful and generous teachers.
In July, 2011 her husband convinced her to move back to San Francisco for a few years, where she is currently teaching yoga to the techies at Dropbox and Twitter. She’s grateful to cat and Phil for assuming responsibility for Jivamukti Yoga London and blesses them daily as part of her meditation practice.”
Jivamukti Yoga London Press Page
What happens on the mat should be reflected in our vision of the world and our actions in it. When we think of inversions, those classic images of handstand (adho mukha vrkshasana), forearm stand (pincha mayurasana) and supported headstand (salamba sirsasana) are most likely the first things that will pop into our imaginative eye. Rarely would one think of wealth redistribution, reduction of human waste or the abolishing of animal agriculture. If you think of inversions in a purely asana sense, inside of a classroom at your local yoga school, this is a start but it is by no means an end unto itself. It is interesting to note that one of the most powerful inversions is not an asana but a mudra – v?parita karani which is translated as “attitudes reversing” in the Bihar version of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Essentially, all of the ?sanas that have a high degree of bodily inversion have the power to reflect back our attitude, disposition or feeling. It shines a spotlight on our tendencies and orientations, especially those manufactured by the mind. When upside down, our relationship with reality has flipped and can bring about fear or even a feeling of unworthiness or weakness. When inversions are practiced safely, and with clear guidance, fear dissipates and strength increases. We are immediately aware of a lack of proprioception when our bearings change. Through practice we can learn to get comfortable, firm and capable in the new world view.
The ?sana practice helps to confront our ways of being, and we may begin to see where else we can replicate this process of inversion in the broader and deeper sense of the word. The strength and mental fortitude to meet a fear-inducing situation like a handstand in the middle of the room can, and should, transfer into daily life. It can be scary to speak up against what we see as wrong in the world. We may fear being ostracized from friends or family if we do. We may see that our lifestyle causes an unnecessary amount of harm in the world, but may not be sure how to adopt a lifestyle that is less toxic or harmful. It can all be scary and we can start to lose sense of where we belong or who we are. In those moments, the residual effect of the ?sana practice can remind us of our resilience. With practice and patience, the right choices will present themselves, and we will have the courage to choose them. What once seemed impossible becomes possible, placing what seemed unreachable, within our grasp.
As in all shifts, preparation is of the upmost importance. Otherwise, we run the risk of not only draining ourselves but also those around us and devaluing the potential of any action. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika refers directly to the ordinary movement of consciousness beginning in the skull and eventually moving down and out, essentially being wasted in the process. We have all had this experience, when we are around a certain person, place or environment that we feel has a negative attitude or impact and it drains us. What we choose to eat, expose our minds to (movies, books, magazines, etc.) can add to or diminish our pranic storehouse. Even a poorly planned asana practice can leave us feeling more wiped out than before. We want our practice, food choices, friendships and jobs to help raise our energy and expand our consciousness. We want each practice to bring about a greater sense of being whole.
A yogic practice always begins with self and radiates outward into relationships with others. Use these precious moments inverted to see through new eyes. Be open to the effect that each ?sana has, and be in dialogue with it through listening to what comes up. The goal is never to accumulate an ever-growing list of circus tricks; it is always to help wipe away the impurities in our vision and hesitation in our action.