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: You mean collectively as human beings, what should we be doing that we’re not? Do more yoga. (Chuckles) It’s really the only . . . Yoga is the only hope I have because it’s very practical and it works, and I’m seeing it form communities. I think that we’re being separated more from each other. In some ways that’s calculated by people who don’t want people communicating to each other. They find that a threat. So I think we need to connect more in a real way, in a vital way. And I like yoga class ‘cause people do that – they do connect on an essential level vibrationally. And they sing together, and they move together, and so then it creates common ground. You know when I was teaching in Israel it was very interesting. We had . . . we had both Muslim and Jewish people in classes, and in the beginning there was a kind of wall between them that was tangible because everyone came with their agendas intact. And through the process – through the yogic actions, those walls were broken down. And by the end they were all dancing together and hugging each other because they’d all experienced struggling together to do simple things like bend forward, or twist, or go upside down. And that became their meeting point, their common ground, their common struggle; not their individual differences. And I think that’s what we need to do more of. We need to find common ground more. Recorded on: 10/31/07