Ashtanga knows almost everyone these days – but have you ever heard of Jivamukti yoga? We'll explain to you what US-style yoga is all about
Jivamukti is currently on everyone's lips. In Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, classes are going wild, everyone wants to try it out. But what is the secret behind the yoga style invented by two Americans in the 80's?
Our author Maren Schwarz has reached the bottom of things. She met Sydney-born Jivamukti teacher Doug Whittaker at Hamburg's Roots yoga studio, talked to him about a new yoga class, and tried it out immediately.
What is Jivamukti Yoga?
Jivamukti yoga is more than pure asana exercise. The Jivamukts were developed in 1984 by Americans Sharon Gannon and David Life and have since made a triumphant march through the world. One reason for success: The yoga style is different, it incorporates many elements of familiar yoga styles, but is still unique.
Important key elements: the music is loud, the sequels are fast, the combination of sweaty asanas. Yoga teacher Doug says, "Jivamukti is not something. That's all." This includes exhausting, Ashtanga-like sequels, chanting spiritual mantras, fast flowing and deep meditations. Jivamukti yoga is movement meditation.
Doug also loves the so-called "Satsang", a global community that shares the spirit of Jivamukti. "It's great. I can go to America, Germany, India or wherever and always find people with the same views and practice Jivamukti with them."
Notable for Jivamukti Yoga: Ujjayi Breathing
The peculiarity of Jivamukti yoga is that the breath and movement are synchronized. You should practice so-called Ujjayi breath while exercising. It is inhaled and exhaled over the nose, however the exhalation narrowed the groin so that the breath could be heard. Doug: "It's best to imagine yourself breathing in a mirror. Only with your mouth closed. The breath then escapes the soothing sound from your nose."
During the exercises, the teacher breathes constantly. So every breath movement becomes one and helps the yogi stay in the perfect flow.
What seems overwhelming to many yogis in the first few lectures on Jivamukti has one goal: the path to "enlightenment." This is to be achieved through compassion for and towards all living beings. This track is based on 5 pillars that go beyond physical practice.
The essence of Jivamukti: 5 pillars
Jivamukti yoga is based on five pillars designed to help the yogis on their journey to enlightenment.
- Ahimsa: Ahimsa comes from Sanskrit and means translated "not hurt". It advocates nonviolence against all living beings and therefore a vegan lifestyle.
- Bhakti: Devotees refer to devotion in practice and devotion to something higher than one's ego. This applies both to physical exercises and to the singing of kirtans and mantras.
- I hope: Hope stands on the one hand for judging oneself, for oneself. But also outward-facing, listening to what's going on around you.
- shastra: In almost every Jivamukti lesson, traditional texts and scriptures are taught and explained. The study of these texts is called Shastra.
- dhyana: At the beginning and end of each lesson, Jivamukti meditates briefly. Through the so-called Dhyana, one should establish a connection with spiritual unity.
What does Jivamukti mean?
The word Jivamukti is derived from the Sanskrit word "Jivamuktih" and signifies the release of the still-living soul, and thus the liberation of the soul even during life. Thus the practice of Jivamukti pursues the goal of salvation. This can be achieved through the practice of asana, but also through a peaceful way of life and meditation.
Where does Jivamukti Yoga come from?
Jivamukti yoga originated in the early 1980s in New York. Sharon Gannon and David Life have opened their own Jivamukti yoga studio after a spiritual trip to India to New York City. More than 30 years later, this studio still exists, and yoga style followers include celebrities like Sting or Madonna.
Doug completed his training right where the Jivamuktis came from. "There used to be an opportunity for teacher training to only take place in New York. Today, there are trainings for teachers all over the world, from Germany through Costa Rica to Australia."
Jivamukti yoga is therefore a Western type of yoga. Yet very spiritual. Because unlike other styles influenced by the West, quoting and discussing ancient letters and chanting mantras play a big role.
For whom is Jivamukti yoga suitable?
Jivamukti yoga is suitable for anyone who has already experienced Ashtanga or Vinyasa Yoga. The so-called "open class" works at all levels, as teachers always show simpler or more difficult variations.
That fast flows are unusual at first is normal – especially since the teacher does not convert asanas, but merely announces them. Not looking forward will also help you stay with you both on the mat and in your practice.
Are there people who should not practice Jivamukti?
Doug says, "If you don't want to change, you shouldn't do jivamukti. Because that will change everything. I like that with Jivamukti. It's not just 90 minutes on the rug, every practice gives you food for thought and encourages you to develop more compassion and thinking about her actions. ”Doug says that Jivamutki yoga is intelligent, but about physical Exertion outside.
Is Jivamukti Yoga Suitable for Beginners?
Those who are not yet experienced in dynamic yoga styles are best for beginners. The so-called "basic class" explains asanas and flows in more detail, also the breathing and mantras approach yogis.
In this case, it is also helpful not to place the rug in the front row, so that in case of doubt you may occasionally look at the front woman or the front man. This facilitates practice at first.
How is Jivamukti yoga class?
Each teacher makes a lesson according to his or her own taste. Basically, sessions always follow the same principle:
- Warm-Up: Before you begin, your body usually prepares for asanas with two stretching and stretching exercises.
- meditation: To fully reach yourself and the mat, one meditates briefly.
- singing: Then the mantra is sung. From classic Om to Lokah Samastah – teachers decide which mantra is appropriate for the lesson. Mantras are often sung with the help of an accordion.
- shastra: In the transition from chanting to strenuous asana practice, the yogi teacher approaches a selected aspect of the ancient scriptures, illustrating the intention of jivamukti yoga.
- Flow Sequence: The main component of the watch is the dynamic asana that flows with loud, atmospheric music. Mostly saluting the sun (A and B) with variations is practiced here.
- Static asanas: Dynamic asanas are followed by a static series of balance exercises, inversions (inversions such as head feet, forearm posts, shoulder rests), rotational exercises, or stretching exercises.
- shavasana: After that, the yogi was allowed to slip into the well-deserved Shavasan. Deep relaxation gives the necessary rest, all tension needs to escape from body and mind.
- meditation: Shavasana is usually followed by a brief meditation.
- singing: Finally, the mantra, classical Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Hari-Om, is sung again.
Is there Jivamukti yoga training?
Yes of course. Jivamukti yoga training takes place as a so-called teacher training. It starts with 75 or 200 hours of training and then continues with 300 or even 500 hours. Trainings are held several times a year around the world and confirm you as a Jivamukti teacher.
Jivamutki Yoga: Best Exercises
The classic exercises in Jivamukta are:
- Greetings to the Sun A
- Greetings to the Sun B
- swivel seats
- stand shoulder to shoulder
- the bridge
- Warrior I
- Warrior II
- Warrior III
- Permanent cleft
- Under bad condition
Jivamukti in your city
Jivamukti yoga is taught in almost every major city. We have selected several studies throughout the country where you can practice.
- Berlin: Peace Yoga or Jivamukti Berlin
- Hamburg: Root Yoga
- Munich: Jivamukti Munich or Patrick Broome Yoga
- Stuttgart: Yoga13
- Freiburg: Ommm.Yoga
What do I need for Jivamutki Yoga?
For the Jivamukti yoga class, you need sportswear in which you can move well and are relatively close to your body. Mattresses, belts, blankets, blocks and supports are usually available in yoga studios and you don't have to bring them alone. Since it is quite exhausting, it is advisable to bring a small towel.
If you are new to Jivamukti Yoga, you should not take open classes, but really try the beginner course first. Jivamukti is energetic, sweaty but relaxing and can be a lot of fun, but if you haven't learned the basics, yoga classes can be daunting.