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Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul Paperback – Apr 23 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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  • Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (April 23 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345442083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345442086
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Jivamukti has been a big influence in my life. I’ve read this book twice and expect to read it many more times. It’s the bible of my spiritual practice.”

“David and Sharon are great teachers in the fullest sense of the word–as guides and mentors they challenge and inspire. Their book gives readers a glimpse of the power of yoga to transform lives.”
Cofounder of the Rainforest Foundation

“Sharon and David sing the essence of yoga in their new book Jivamukti Yoga. Their book is amazingly accessible without being compromising to the tradition of yoga. In the same breath I applaud them for their courage to be creative and daring in expressing their unique and gifted voices.”

From the Inside Flap

"The long-awaited, "complete guide to the popular, vigorous American method of yoga that is deeply rooted in ancient wisdom and scriptures
"In this day and age of health and fitness trends, it is assuring to know that Sharon and David encourage their students to draw inspiration from the classical texts of Yoga and timeless scriptural sources. What I appreciate so much about David and Sharon is how they help their Yoga students to understand and appreciate the wisdom of all the great saints and jivamuktas who have contributed to raising consciousness. Ultimately, it is Self-Realization, that is the true goal of Yoga."
Creators of the extremely popular Jivamukti Yoga method and cofounders of the New York City studios where it is taught, Sharon Gannon and David Life present their unique style of yoga for the first time in book form. As they explain their intensely physical and spiritual system of flowing postures, they provide inspiring expert instruction to guide you in your practice.
Unlike many books about yoga, "Jivamukti Yoga focuses not only on the physical postures but also on how they evolved-the origins of the practices in yoga's ancient sacred texts and five-thousand-year-old traditions-the psychotherapeutic benefits that accrue with a steady practice, and the spiritual power that is set free when energy flows throughout the mind and body. Jivamukti Yoga, which means "soul liberation," guides your body and soul into spiritual freedom, physical strength, peace of mind, better health, and Self-realization-the ultimate goal of any practice. Gannon and Life help you understand each of the practices that comprise the yoga path toenlightenment:
AHIMSA-"The Way of Compassion: choosing nonviolence, respecting all life, practicing vegetarianism, living free of prejudice
ASANA-"The Way of Connection to the Earth: postures and sequences, breathing, transforming energy, understanding the bandhas
KARMA-"The Way of Action: creating good karma, giving thanks
NADAM-"The Way of Sacred Music: appreciating the sacred sounds of yoga
MEDITATION-"The Way of the Witness: how to sit still and move inward
BHAKTI-"The Way of Devotion to God: living with love, grace, and peace
Whatever yoga you practice, "Jivamukti Yoga will help you to strengthen and deepen that practice and lead you onto a path of spiritual clarity and self-discovery.
"If there is only one book you read about the practice of Yoga, this should be the one. Sharon and David are deeply dedicated students and teachers of Yoga who have the rare capacity to translate their profound understanding to the reader. This book is for anyone who wishes to find transformation through Yoga. I'm grateful for their work and teaching."
Co-founder & CEO, Omega Institute

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This has been a very interesting read for me. I attempted to read the book without thinking about things that I have heard about the authors. Sharon and David are much discussed in yoga circles - they are considered fairly radical - and I have heard many good and bad things about them. I also tried not to let the views of the authors that I don't entirely agree with influence my view of the book. In the end, I was quite please with this book.
First of all, I think the overview of yoga philosophy, is good. This is the main focus of this book. As an introductory book on the philosophy aspect of yoga, it does not go into great depth. The authors believe that this aspect has not been being spread as much as the physical practice of yoga. However, be forewarned, the authors practice veganism as a part of their ahimsa (non-harming) practice and they are strong advocates for animal rights. This stance is presented throughout the book. While I don't entirely agree with them on this, if you read the entire book, they do explain where they are coming from on this issue.
As far as hatha yoga / asana practice / the physical postures of yoga, there is some of that in this book. The authors assume you have studied asana previously. They point out there are many books and teachers availible regarding hatha yoga, and they don't feel compelled to repeat this. What they do is dedecate a few chapters to demonstrate their style of vinyasa krama (linking the postures together with breath in a dance/tai chi like flow series). They give 5 sample 'lessons', three for beginners and two for intermediate/advanced. They also give numerous flow sequences you can put together yourself in various ways or incorporate as a segment into your own practice.
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Format: Paperback
This book Jivamukti Yoga is very different than most yoga books in that it is about Yoga in a more holistic sense. It has some material on asana sequencing (very interesting I might add), but that is the smallest part of the book. I would also agree with others that the photographs have a lot to be desired in their size and the way they are cropped. Not user friendly at all. It seems as they were willing to sacrifice clarity for the sake of being "artsy".
Jivamukti Yoga is more of an overview of the more spiritual aspects of yoga and puts the asana practice in the context of this more complete picture. It truly treats asana as just one limb of yoga practice.
While I enjoyed it on many levels, I must also say that there are many times where I felt the authors got very preachy and sometimes seemed a bit off base to me.
For example, Gannon and Life's view of "Ahimsa" compared to other authors on the subject. Most writing on this concept of non-harming that I've read also stresses not harming oneself, Gannon and Life don't give very much importance to this aspect of it which has a bit of a "martyr-like" attitude to it.
In Desikachar's book "The Heart Of Yoga" he says (I'm paraphrasing) that "Ahimsa also means acting in kindness toward ourselves". and goes on to say for example that " if one is a vegetarian but are in a situation where one must eat meat in order to survive then one must do what they need to do so they can continue to take care of their family and other responsibilities" and goes on to say that "it would show a lack of consideration and arrogance to become stuck on one's principles".
Gannon and Life often seem to be stuck on their principles which I found to be a bit of a turn off.
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Format: Paperback
I think I have read many of the books on yoga today, some of them are really good about telling me where I should be putting my left toe, during my practice, where I should be looking when I do a headstand, really good about telling me how my body will get better , more flexible etc. etc. but none where more powerful in changing my perception of the world than this book.... Yoga is a spiritual practice an ethical way life , a compassionate way of living a political and social movement that cares about the environment and all living beings . This book brought the teachings of yoga to me in a straight way , it gave me more information about what yoga is than all those other books combine. Is a book that i keep coming back to ... I can pick any page and fine a teaching , to me that's the mark of a powerful and timeless book.. I don't really understand how can one compare Jivamukti Yoga to any other style or book out there...Its the only book in the market I feel that presents Yoga as a spiritual practice . OM
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Format: Paperback
Wow, here it is: the embodiment of the wisdom of two of the greatest Yoga teachers alive! Sharon Gannon and David Life have rocked (and shocked) the American Yoga community for the last 15 years. I guess it's hard to find a yoga practioner (or even a teacher) in new york who wasn't influenced by Sharon and David's approach to Yoga as a spiritual discipline. This book reminds us that the goal of yoga is not a healthier or stronger body (even if that some nice by-products) but the realization that "we can become God even while living in a human body - become a real jivanmuktha"! How do we get here? We have to start to purify our intentions and actions from selfish desire and start to create the least amount of harm to all the others around you, regardless of which race or specie. If we get our intention straight than our actions start to reflect our own divinity which is pure Love. This challenging concept seems to condense the core of the Jivamukti Yoga method. So, why don't we start today and dedicate the fruits of our practice to the happiness and freedom of all beings, each and everywhere. Peace!
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