David Life is a co-founder (with Sharon Gannon) of the Jivamukti School of Yoga and co-director of the Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York. Born in a small town in Michigan, Life – who worked for many years as an artist; moved to New York with his then-wife Kathy in 1980. The couple quickly launched Life Cafe in Manhattan's East Village, which became one of the epicenters of the East Village's thriving artistic scene (the cafe was later immortalized in Jonathan Larson's play "Rent"). Life left his partnership in the cafe in 1984 to establish the Jivamukti School with Gannon. He has since taught yoga to celebrities such as Sting, Madonna, Russell Simmons, Christy Turlington, and Donna Karan. Life is a longstanding member of PETA; along with Gannon, he set up a 76-acre wildlife forest sanctuary in upstate New York.
David Life: Well you know meditation just creates a ground of being stratum for the beginning of your actions that is . . . is free from the normal things that influence our actions – our frustration, our fear, our anger, our . . . our worrying about the world, worrying about ourselves, our children, our families. Usually an action that we would take would be motivated based on that – on fear, insecurity, worry, anger. So we undertake revenge and so forth. What yoga . . . what meditation does is it starts us out at a ground of being free from those reactions. It’s a ground of being of just pure action so that thoughts arise and then subside. And then that becomes our beginning place so that it has to happen on a daily basis. So that, you know, to compare it, let’s say every day you get up and the first thing you do is you turn on the news and the radio. And that becomes your ground of being for your whole day. Your whole day is built on that. So you hear about the war. You hear about people dying somewhere. You hear about the threat of some criminals somewhere or terrorism. You hear about today’s orange threat or whatever it is. So the whole rest of your day is based on that . . . that starting place. And at the end of the day, the same thing happens. Our whole dream period is launched usually by the accumulation of fears, and angers, and so forth throughout the day. So meditation in the morning and the evening is very important just to sort of clear out the clutter inside so that we can undertake actions from a more . . . from a more clarity . . . from a purer space. Recorded on: 10/31/07