I'm garnering so much goodness from Sharon Gannon and David Life these days. These creators of Jivamukti do such a rich, intelligent, elegant job of melding art, music, movement and philosophy in the name of yoga.
Give this interview a quick read. It's an excellent taste of the overarching spirit of Jivamukti philosophy: the beauty of work toward union encapsulated in a wild and radical vision for being alive in relationship that transcends Otherness. Love.
Here's a blurb:
We were both radicals and devoted to challenging the norms of our present culture and we were trying to do that through art. We were artists who practised yoga but over time, our audience became more and more interested in our yoga practices and less interested in our music, poetry, dance or painting. We began to realise the inherent potential of yoga, more than art, to elevate consciousness and dismantle our present culture. I believe this to be true at this time of global consciousness and shift on the planet. For the most part, art has become commodified and because of that, lost its spiritual potency to shift consciousness. Our present culture has successfully buried the spiritual potency of art, which was once able to move people into a higher realm of awareness. Culture has pushed the arts as well as the spiritual into a state of dormancy.Great, right? Love, love the marriage of radical countercultural vision with yogic principles. There are so many overlaps here between this philosophy and many of the progressive Christian and Buddhist theologies out there right now: the emphasis on compassion, the erasure of otherness, the interconnection of all beings, the push toward mindfulness in relation, the potential for art and the sacred to intertwine in celebration and affirmation of our own aliveness.
We started teaching yoga by default, but when we did we just thought to share with the students who showed up. Everything had personal meaning to us on our spiritual journey, hence, the emphasis on compassion for all beings: animal rights, veganism, environmentalism, political activism, the music, the scripture references, personal meditation techniques and reflections, and of course the love of God we integrated into our classes.
Yoga was exciting to us because of its spiritual activism. Swami Nirmalananda encouraged our activism. He taught us the mantra Lokah Samasta Sukhinoh Bhavantu. If the practice of yoga wasn't going to make us better people who were better able to contribute to the happiness of others and the upliftment of the planet, then why do it?
Dig into the whole thing - the bits on ahimsa and compassion, the baubles on art and commodification, the beauties on yoga as a practice of dying. And then swim around in this final last gem:
To live in a way that our own life would enhance the lives of others is a radical concept as it gets to the very root of how happiness comes about. ....Yogis by nature are radical, not content to live superficial lives, but instead enjoy diving into cause.Amen, babydolls. Amen.
Pure Yoga: Sharon Gannon and David Life