Tag Archives: Jivamukti

Why I’m a Certified Yoga Teacher

HKD_Jivamukti 800-HourI’m a certified yoga teacher. It’s true – says so right on my certificate: “Teacher Certification”.  My teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life, have certified that I’ve “successfully completed” 800 hours of training that qualifies me to teach the style of yoga they developed, Jivamukti Yoga.

And I’m a teacher of teachers: I participate in a lot of different Yoga Teacher Training programs. I’ve even signed certificates to confirm the successful completion of trainings by program graduates. I’m not just certified; I’m a certifier.

One could make an argument that this makes me complicit in a system that certifies people who are not actually qualified to teach yoga. Well, nolo contendre – some of the people who have successfully completed programs I’m affiliated with are not qualified to teach yoga. And, thankfully, as far as I know, none of those people are teaching yoga.

The question of being “certified” or not, along with nine other teacher training pet peeves, came up recently when my friend and colleague, Peg Mulqueen, kicked the beehive over the fence in her blog post, “Why (Almost) Everything You Learned in Teacher Training is Wrong”.

Continue reading

Wanting The Other To Be

CatAndDogI was particularly impressed by Jivamukti Yoga co-founder Sharon Gannon’s recent Focus of the Month essay, Bhakti Trumps All, in which she made a point of saying that animal rights activism, Jivamukti’s de-facto calling card, is subordinate to devotion to God. She unequivocally states that veganism, environmentalism, and other forms of social activism are not ends unto themselves but, from the standpoint of yoga, are meant to be an expression of something higher, namely, the desire to act in a way that’s pleasing to Krishna.

Continue reading

How to be a Jivan-muktah

“The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.” Bhagavad-gita 5.11

During a class you’ll often hear me talk about yoga as a subtractive process; one of removing all the obstacles of the mind and impurities of the heart that prevent us from experiencing ourselves in our natural state of eternal, blissful consciousness; of being one who is liberated from illusion while still living in this world – a jivan-muktah.

Patanjali defines liberation (or samadhi) as the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind that results from the cessation of our identification with those fluctuations. So can we liberate our consciousness from the fluctuations of the mind and still be engaged with the world? As long as we have a body with which to act and a mind that’s generating thoughts that inspire those actions, we’d still have fluctuations of the mind and desires upon which we’re acting… so how can we say we’re liberated? Or, to put it another way, how is it possible to be a jivan-muktah if liberation is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind? Continue reading