Gannon is a renowned yoga master, instructor and animal rights activist. In 1984, she and her partner David Life created the Jivamukti Yoga Method, which is a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. They are pioneers in teaching yoga as spiritual activism/activation. The JY Method emphasizes vinyasa, scriptural study, devotion, prayer, music, chanting and meditation as well as animal rights, veganism, environmentalism and political activism.
Jivamukti's passionate focus on the original meaning of the Sanskrit word "asana" as seat, connection, relationship to the earth is as practical as it is radical at this time of global and consciousness shift. The Jivamukti Yoga Method is taught worldwide at Jivamukti Yoga Schools in NYC, Detroit, Toronto, London, Berlin and Munich. The Jivamukti practice is also available on DVDs Yoga Journal has recognized Gannon and Life, as innovators in Yoga and "The New York Times" says, "Without Jivamukti, yoga in the U.S. would still be the obscure practice of a few."
"Time Magazine" recognized Jivamukti Yoga as one of the nine methods of Hatha Yoga taught in the world today. JY is featured in the acclaimed documentary film: What is Yoga? Sharon is a featured yogini in various books: "Yoga" by Linda Sparrowe, "American Yoga" by Carrie Schneider, "Yogini" by Janice Gates and "Women to Women" by Christina Lessa.
Topic: The Importance of Music
Sharon Gannon: Music. In Sanskrit, the term is “nada”. Nada. And nada, the word means “stream, or river, or flow, sound current.” And of course the ancient yogis, the seers knew that all of life was made of sound. Meaning everything vibrates. Everything is singing. Everything is music.
And of course, in our contemporary times, the physicists have come to the same realization; the quantum physicists that everything is sound. Everything is vibration.
And so to quote Hazrat Inayat Kahn, a great Sufi mystic yogi, he said, “For those who know the mystery of sound, the mystery of the universe is revealed.”
So we are very committed to developing, in the Jivamukti method, an awareness of nada or sound through the developing of the ability to listen, which has been very much lost in our culture. We are very eye oriented.
You can deceive people through manipulating the look of something. It’s very much more difficult to deceive people through the sound of something. In fact, a more telling representation of a person lies in the sound of their voice more so than how they look. And you feel it on a very deep feeling level. You sense something about somebody through hearing their voice.
So in our method; in the classroom, the teacher doesn’t demonstrate something that says, “Watch me and then imitate me.” We have shattered or tried to shatter that kind of, we feel, an old fashion way of teaching which implies imitation, because we want to nurture the student’s own awakening from within. And so we use the teacher’s voice. The teacher will describe something and the student will have to listen to then be able to incorporate the teacher’s suggestions into their own physical experience. And so then it becomes their own experience. We also play music, because certain types of music can develop our ability to listen deeply and to actually listen in a particular way. We don’t think that all types of music are necessarily good for yoga practice; but certain types definitely can be very helpful in training one to listen deeply.
Recorded on: October 31, 2007