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.
Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?
David Life: That’s hard. I mean yoga philosophy is my philosophy. And what yoga philosophy says simply is, “You are it,” and, “This is it.” There’s no other place and there’s no other you. And so I think that that’s my personal philosophy too – is that I’m not looking for someone to save me or to save the world. I am the one I’ve been waiting for, and we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. You know so often today in these troubled times, I hear, “Well we need to educate the children. We need to get the young people interested in global warming, and in overpopulation, and in . . . in the troubling things in the world, and then they’ll fix it in their time.” I don’t believe that. I believe that action needs to be taken now. And the only thing stopping us from acting is our . . . Basically we’ve given up on ourselves and we feel our time is over. Well it’s not over. The change could be instantaneous, and that is my philosophy. I believe that I’ve felt the instantaneous change that is the just changing your mind. And that’s . . . that’s what I try to do. I try to change my mind a lot, and I try to change it back to its original nature, not a . . . not a covering over with reaction.