Consider yourself a yogi? This class could elevate your practice to a whole new level
If you’re reading this magazine, the chances are you’re familiar with yoga. Likewise, you know just how many different types are on offer, from Ashtanga and Bikram to Sivananda and Vinyasa. But, Jivamukti takes the five yogic principles of exercise, diet, breathing, relaxation and meditation to a new level.
“Jivamukti yoga is a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings,’ says Nicole von Grünigen, Jivamukti expert at balanceholidays.com. “The practice itself combines the physical element of yoga with the spiritual and philosophical components, set to music.”
Founded in 1984 by David Life and Sharon Gannon, Jivamukti literally means ‘liberation while living’. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Whilst it’s a unique practice, it’s a form of Hatha yoga and is similar in style to Ashtanga or Vinyasa.
“The practice is integrated with some other special ingredients,” says Emma Henry, Jivamukti teacher at Triyoga, “This is what drew me personally to Jivamukti, because it was so much more than just asana.”
Over the past 30 years Jivamukti’s popularity has spread and now there are 13 centres worldwide, with celebrities such as Maggie Gyllenhaal and Heidi Klum among its devotees. And with strength, balance, flexibility and a decrease in stress and toxins among its health benefits, we can understand why. “In general, those who practise Jivamukti yoga also identify a deeper connection to themselves and raised awareness to the environment,” adds Nicole. If you turn up to a Jivamukti class, as well as meditation, chanting and music, you can expect to hear a short dharma talk built around a theme of the month, which is followed by Jivamukti teachers worldwide. Class goers are also encouraged to set an intention, such as dedicating the practice to someone they love. Classes incorporate the five basic tenets of Jivamukti, which are: Shastra (the study and exploration of the four central texts of yoga as well as to the study of the Sanskrit language in which they were first written); Bhakti (the practice of devotion and humility); Ahimsa (the practice of non-violence); Nada (deep inner listening chanting and elevated music) and Dhyana (meditation).
With Jivamukti, your practice doesn’t end as you roll up your yoga mat at the end of your session, though. Teachers encourage students to apply yogic philosophy to their daily life.
“What I love most when I practise a good Jivamukti class, is it gets me thinking beyond the mat,” adds Emma. “How am I living? How am I relating? How can I be happier and how can I make others happier?”
So, will we be signing up to a class? Jivamukti, you had us at Namaste.
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