fitness friday: open jivamukti yoga class

Welcome to Fitness Fridays!

I have decided every Friday I will attend a new class, activity or adventure. My hope is to shed light on a new way of getting your body moving every week. There are so many incredible classes to try and so many styles of yoga to learn, discover and experience.

I’ve always been interested in Jivamukti yoga, it’s my mom’s absolute favourite style. There was one teacher in our area back home that taught but I only attended her class a couple of times. Across from my house here is the Nita Lake Lodge, this beautiful hotel with a yoga studio located inside called Loka. Loka is owned by Tina Maria James who I had the privilege of taking a class from this afternoon. She is an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher and her class was like nothing I have ever experienced before.

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Jivamukti yoga was founded in the original meaning of the Sanskrit word asana meaning “seat, connection” in relation to the earth. Jivamukti yoga is deeply rooted in our connection with the earth, earth being all life. On their website, co-founders Shannon Gannon and David Life explain that “…Jivamukti yoga maintains that one’s relationship to others (asana) should be mutually beneficial and come from a consistent (sthira) place of joy and happiness (sukham).” They also express that in our society we are so disconnected from the earth and each other and that through “…the realization of the oneness of being [is] the discovery of lasting happiness.” This core philosophy is expressed through five tenets which form the basis of Jivamukti yoga.

I attended an Open Jivamukti class today which focuses on each of the five tenets, even though the names of the tenets may not actually be spoken.The purpose of this to allow students to see their yoga practice not only as physical but spiritual, meditative and much more, integrated into one class. Jivamukti yoga is one unified practice. They explain on their website that “…this provides for a well-rounded approach to our goal—enlightenment through compassion for all beings.”

The five tenets of Jivamukti yoga are

ahimsa – a nonviolent, compassionate lifestyle extending to other animals, the environment and all living beings, emphasizing ethical vegetarianism (veganism) and animal rights.

bhakti – acknowledgement of something greater than us; can be expressed through chanting, the setting of a high intention for the practice or other devotional practices.

dhyana – meditation, connecting to that eternal unchanging reality within us

nada – calming the body and the mind through deep listening; used in a class using recorded music, spoken word, silence or the voice of your teacher

shastra – the study of ancient yogic teachings

Tina’s class today was super inspiring and tough! She spoke so confidently and passionately I felt really empowered and in awe of her. She asked us to send our love and intention to someone in need throughout the class. We started the class seated with some chanting which I really enjoyed before moving straight into sun salutations A and then B. We held postures for 5 full breaths and I really experienced my practice in a completely different way. At the beginning of our sun salutations she put a eucalyptus and mint balm on the back of my neck which felt amazing. Her adjustments were incredible and she incorporated beautiful music into the entire class, some of which she played herself. The entire class flowed beautifully with Tina sharing stories, intentions and her incredible knowledge. I felt really connected to my body, my practice and the rest of the people sharing Tina’s class with me.

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Jivamukti yoga is about so much more than just the physical practice but about sharing, learning and growing. I feel like I would leave class learning something new every time. I can see the studio from my bedroom window and look forward to practicing more at Loka! There are a few other classes that are taught there which I can’t wait to check out.

with love and intention,

Sarah Alicia Harvison

to learn more about Jivamukti Yoga please check out http://www.jivamuktiyoga.com this website was also the basis for much of the research obtained for this post 

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