When did you discover yoga?
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: When did you discover yoga?
Sharon Gannon: Well I have always been interested in what makes form form. Like how things that we see in the world become that way. I guess that’s what it means to be a radical, and I proudly consider myself to be a radical because the root word of radical is “rad”, which is the same root as radish, and it means root. So a radical is someone who tries to get to the root of something or to uncover causes, and not just be content to live a superficial life or wrapped up in symptoms.
I was a librarian for a short time at an esoteric library at the _________ Library in Seattle. And during that time I read a lot of eastern philosophy and books on yoga. I read the yoga sutras because all of this was available in the library that I spent many, many hours in. And when I was a dance student at the University of Washington, I also started to take classes in Indian philosophy, and Indian culture, and studied Indian dance there, and Indian music. And so this opened up a whole other world. I was a very spiritual, spiritually inclined younger person.
I was raised Catholic, but none of my other family members really embraced the religion. And I was the only one that went to church, and I walked there. And so I have this kind of spiritual unrest or yearning always. And so one time I read, the __________ yoga sutra. The first __________, and this is yoga. Now. Ata means now.
This is yoga, as I’ve observed it in the natural world around me. That was like, “Oh my god,” because what he was saying was such a positive and optimistic way to began this whole discourse of yoga. It was so optimistic and positive because it implied that any one of us could come to this yoga, or this realization. Yoga is really the realization of how we are all connected. It’s the realization of the oneness of being. And that is what is realized in the enlightened state, and that is what all the practices of yoga are geared towards experiencing. And so when he said that implying that any one of us could experience this realization of the oneness of being, of the inner connectedness of all things and beings; if we were willing to look deeper into things; if we were willing to go to the cause, the underlying cause which basically answered my question about what makes form form, what brings things about.
Recorded on: October 31, 2007
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