Jivamukti yoga includes mainly vinyasas, so its practice remindes a smooth and beautiful dance. Except them this type of yoga implies singing mantras, meditation, ancient sacred texts learning, and listening to the music. A person who chooses Jivamukti yoga to improve his body and mind must adhere to vegetarianism.
The word “jivamukti” is translated from Sanskrit as “liberation of the soul while living” or “a person who is no longer affected by the laws of karma”.
This teaching is primarily mental. Its main goal is to present yoga as one system that combines physical and spiritual aspects. As a result, it leads to the achievement of the main goal of Eastern teachings – enlightenment.
Therefore, this school is of great interest for people who wish not only to develop their body with the help of exercises, but also to improve their psychological state; go beyond the current physical abilities and form a clear understanding of what is the inner and outer world.
The person who liked this style should understand that Jivamukti Yoga is relatively tough; therefore, mastering it will take quite a lot of time. In order to begin, the practitioner must be sure that he has sufficient reserves of physical and mental strength.
History of Jivamukti yoga
The history of Jivamukti yoga began when two Americans, Sharon Gannon and David Life were traveling in India. During their travels, they were lucky enough to learn from many Indian gurus.
According to them, the idea to create a new direction came when they saw that many of those who practice yoga are missing its main component – philosophy. Upon their return to the United States, they decided to acquaint their compatriots with a true teaching, the purpose of which is self-improvement and liberation.
To be honest, Gannon and Life were the first Westerners who used this approach to the practice and teaching. After returning from India, they began to pay more attention to the study of religious texts, chanting mantras, and breathing practice.
When the style was more or less formed, in 1989, Gannon and Life gave the first public informal lesson. It was the first time when the world heard about Jivamukti yoga for the first time. Now, after more than 20 years, Jivamukti yoga centers exist in the USA, Canada, England, Russia, and Germany.
The style is based on Vinyasa of Sri Pattabhi Jois and 5 main components:
Scriptures. The sources of the study are the ancient Sanskrit texts: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras; Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Hatha Yoga Guide); Bhagavad Gita (here Krishna expounds the three main paths of yoga: bhakti – devotion; karma – service; jnana – knowledge); Upanishads (fundamental sacred texts).
Bhakti (Devotion). It is believed that the goal of all yoga practices is the union of the soul with God. Therefore, an atmosphere of mutual understanding and tolerance between different religions is encouraged. Altars, religious paintings and icons, religious chants create a sublime mood.
Ahimsa (Non-violence). Non-violence is the basic moral principle of yoga; therefore, moral veganism, animals’ protection, environmental protection and social activities are an integral part of it.
Music (Nada Yoga). In Jivamukti yoga classes, inspirational spiritual music refines the ear.
Meditation. Without meditation no achievement in yoga is possible. Performing asanas without meditation makes no sense.
Unlike many other directions, Jivamukti Yoga allows and supports a creative approach to the practice. The founders of this style believe that creativity allows a person to think less about material things and concentrate more on spiritual.
The lesson includes the practice of each element of this yoga. Thus, the practice can start with the study of religious scriptures; later, the student takes the desired posture and enters into meditation. After that, a yogi moves on to performing asanas and singing mantras. Such approach leads to the complex development, to the harmonious improvement of the body and mind.
It is noteworthy that an order of these elements in the class may differ from what is described above. Thus, for example, asanas almost always go before meditation. The thing is that in the process of practicing certain poses, the body produces special chemicals, and it helps to enter into a deep meditative state.
Jivamukti yoga, as noted above, aims at the human body development and the mental balance. Theoretical part of this teaching is needed to have a correct attitude, and to understand how the exercises may help to get rid of existing problems. In turn, the exercises themselves help to eliminate energy blocks. Jivamukti yoga teaches people to be happy, despite all the negative events that once happened in their life. It gives the strength and energy to cope with existing problems.