It was Paul Simon who told us about the fifty ways to leave your lover – I’m sure there are just as many to teach a yoga class. When in New York City, it was most obvious that I had to visit the Jivamukti Yoga School NYC where that particular type of yoga started some thirty years ago. And so I registered for a class with one of my favorite Jivamukti teachers, Dechen Thurman (yes, Uma is his sister). He has been teaching yoga for many years all over the world, plus he’s a great story teller. His broad experience and his fancy styles always make for a wonderful class.
Jivamukti is something like the wild child of yoga. It’s quite a vigorous and flowing version of hatha yoga, combined with meditative elements in the beginning and/or the end of the class, some chanting, and music. Strange but fascinating tunes with Sanskrit lyrics, maybe, or long forgotten folk, pop or rock songs from the eighties, depending on the teacher’s taste. But always carefully chosen with regard to the asanas you are practicing. If they are getting too tough, just sing along. It’s a sure relief. Laughing, by the way, is always an option, too.
Jivamukti’s co-founders Sharon Gannon and David Life put a pronounced spiritual approach to their method and strongly support vegetarism, environmentalism and social activism. Even if you don’t share all of it and some principles of the Yogi scriptures cited in class remain strange to you, they are always great food for thought. Maybe just because they are so completely out of your daily routine, they accompany you on an exciting 90-minute voyage on your mat. Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. Namaste, everybody.