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.
Question: What does it mean to travel the yogic path?
Sharon Gannon: It means that you’re political. To travel along the yogic path is another way of describing someone who is committed to political activism. And we shouldn’t be afraid of being political.
I have to tell my students that sometimes, because we’ve been conditioned not to mix religion and politics. And some people feel that yoga is religious, which I don’t feel it is. I feel it’s very spiritual. It’s a spiritual process.
But still there’s this conditioning about mixing spirituality or religion and politics. But once again if you’re a radical, then you delve deep. And you look at that word “politic”. And politic means body. It comes from a Greek root which means “the body”. And it actually refers to the greater body, meaning the body of the community, the larger body that we all share. And so the term “political” originally meant; to be political originally meant that you cared. You were somebody who cared about the greater community and wanted to contribute to the happiness or well being of that greater community. So to travel the yogic path to me is to be a political activist.
Recorded on: October 31, 2007