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: My name is David Life. I guess usually I’m labeled as the co-founder and . . . the co-founder of Jivamukti yoga. As most Americans, I’m a European. And that’s where I was from originally. In America, I was born and raised in Michigan. And I moved to New York in 1989. I’m sorry, 1979 I moved to New York. Earlier yet. I’m afraid of those years. They’re piling up fast. In America children aren’t . . . are raised to . . . with this idea that you should . . . you should become someone. “Who are you going to become? What are you going to do?” rather than “Who are you?” And I was kind of caught . . . locked in between those two questions. “Who am I?” and “What am I going to become?” Becoming something, or choosing an occupation to me was actually less important than who I was. What was my identity? Not so much what am I gonna make of my life, but why am I here? Why was . . . Why am I here at all? And it was that investigation that led me to art, and eventually to what I do today – teaching yoga. Recorded on: 10/31/07