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
Jivamukti classes typically begin with a chant such as this one:
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
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.