Blossom and Grow


By Andrea Ferretti   |  

Sharon Gannon and David Life, creators of the Jivamukti Yoga method, place compassion first and foremost in their teaching. “We see yoga as a path to enlightenment by being compassionate to all beings,” says Gannon. It’s no wonder then, that they relate the following poses with being kind and compassionate. “In this sequence we embrace our sexual and creative partnerships and let go of blame. We remember our intention to bring liberation to others.”

The hip-opening and twisting poses activate the second and third chakras, respectively, helping to free energy in those areas, and move it up the spine so that, as Gannon says, “you can give back to others in creative ways.” At the peak of the sequence you embody a luminous lotus flower emerging from muddy water. In yogic lore, the lotus is a metaphor for how past experiences can be used as fertile soil for blooming into a more awakened soul. “We can all be like Martin Luther King Jr. or Julia Butterfly Hill,” says Gannon. “You can embody that awakened state of spiritual activation and really send compassion into the world.”


Before You Begin

Chant

Jivamukti classes typically begin with a chant such as this one:
Lokah Samasta
Sukinoh Bhavantu

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute to happiness and freedom for all.

Prepare Your Body

Prepare for this sequence with flowing Sun Salutations and standing poses. Then do seated poses and twists such as Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), and Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend).


Home Practice Sequence by Sharon Gannon

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Begin in Baddha Konasana. Bend the knees and press the soles of the feet together. Reach down and press your thumbs into the soles of your feet, opening them up like a book. Take your gaze up toward the sky and breathe deeply as you open your hips for 5 breaths.

Vikasitakamalasana (Blossoming Lotus Pose), preparation

Sit firmly on the ground and spread your legs wide. Bend your knees and brace the outsides of both feet against the floor. Hold on to the ankles or shins. Take your awareness to the lowest part of your spine, and with an inhalation extend up. Fix your gaze on a steady point on the horizon and stay for 5 to 10 breaths.

Parivrtta Vikasitakamalasana (Revolved Blossoming Lotus Pose), preparation

Exhale as you lean forward, placing your left shoulder in front of your left thigh. Thread your left arm under your left thigh and place it on the floor behind you. Inhale as you reach your right arm up and gaze toward your right thumb.

Parivrtta Vikasitakamalasana (Revolved Blossoming Lotus Pose)

Bend your left elbow and reach your left hand up near the small of your back. Reach your right arm behind your back. Grasp your right wrist with your left hand. Stay for 5 breaths, gazing over your right shoulder.

Parivrtta Vikasitakamalasana II (Revolved Blossoming Lotus Pose II)

From there, press your right palm down firmly into the floor as you turn the chest open to the right. Keep both sitting bones firmly on the ground as you twist in your upper spine. Stay for 8 breaths.


Vikasitakamalasana (Blossoming Lotus Pose)

From Baddha Konasana, inhale and lift both feet off the floor, keeping your heels pressed together. Exhale as you thread both arms under your knees. Inhale as you join each thumb and forefinger together. Open your chest, lift your heart, and take your gaze up toward the heavens. Hold for 5 breaths.

Utthita Vikasitakamalasana (Extended Blossoming Lotus Pose)

Exhale as you release your arms from under your knees. With your first two fingers grab your big toes and on an inhalation extend both legs up and into a straddle. Gaze
up toward the heavens as you stay for 5 breaths.

Vikasitakamalasana (Blossoming Lotus Pose), preparation

Return to the Blossoming Lotus preparation and observe any transformations that have occurred in your body and mind as you take 5 deep breaths.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Finish the sequence by coming back to Baddha Konasana. After 5 to 10 deep breaths, repeat the whole sequence, twisting to the other side.


After You Finish

Go Upside Down

Move into Supported Shoulderstand and stay for up to 20 breaths, unless you feel any neck pain. From Shoulderstand, transition to Plow Pose for 5 to 10 breaths. Both poses stimulate the fifth, or throat, chakra—the visuddha (purification)—to help you express yourself creatively.