Each morning at Thrive Yoga‘s yoga teacher training (YTT) participants join a 90-minute yoga practice led by the owner Susan Bowen or two other teachers, Sarah Wimsatt or Krista Block. Except for a few yin session that Susan gave as a change of pace, the classes have tested my yoga: I’ve come out of the practice dripping in sweat, buzzing from the intense rinse cycle that my brain has been put through and feeling as if I had had an out-of-body experience. Just when I think I can’t go any deeper, I am led into new territory.
The physical practice is the number one reason I decided on YTT — I wanted to renew my hatha practice, increase my stamina, strength and flexibility, deepen my understanding of fundamentals and get back into my yoga groove that I lost when my parents died two and a half years ago. Continue reading Yoga teachers as rising rock stars→
While you’re at it, you can also check for other Jivamukti-inspired yoga, like at a Full Moon Kirtan Yoga Dance Party at Yoga Chai at 7:30-10:00 pm the same day. Or two workshops with Alanna Kaivalya, The Myths of Asana on Saturday, February 21 at 2:30-5:30 pm or The Art of Adjustments on Sunday, February 22 at 2:30pm, both at Pure Prana Yoga Studio in Alexandria, VA. Alanna is a gifted teacher who also goes by the name of JivaDiva, glows with her own music and spices things up with interesting podcasts.
Also remember that NIH CORE Week (COnditioning and RElaxation, get it!) is coming up next week at the Rockledge, Bethesda campus. Here is the latest agenda. Highly recommended.
The Jivamukti Yoga Satsang and Flow Yoga will bring Sharon Gannon and David Life, the guiding lights of Jivamukti Yoga, to Washington, DC, on September 6-7. They will give four workshops that could not be contained in a normal yoga studio so the Marvin Center facilities at George Washington University will be the event site. Despite the expanded facilities, expect these events to sell out quickly so anyone interested should sign up immediately. Gannon and Life have their high-profile studio, the Jivamukti Yoga School, in New York City. They are charismatic teachers and extremely influential on the US yoga scene.
On a more modest scale, another Jivamuskti instructor, Alanna (Kaivalya), the Jiva Diva, will also be teaching a workshop on “Myths of the Asana” at Flow Yoga August 17. She has a great podcast that you should check out.
Jill Abelson, the lead Jivamukti presence in DC, has been laying the groundwork for these events with her own active teaching activities at Flow and other yoga venues. She’s one of my favorite teachers in the DC area.
I took my first Jivamukti class at Flow Yoga. The teacher was Jill Abelson, who happens to be featured in the December issue of Yoga Journal. There are only two certified Jivamukti teachers in the DC area, and they both call Flow Yoga their home studio. The 300-hour residential teacher training program is demanding and requires big bucks and tons of commitment.
For those who are familiar with this style of yoga, Jivamukti flows from a New York City yoga studio run by Sharon Gannon and David Life. Despite being on the trendy edge of urban chic, Gannon and Life are respected innovators in American yoga. It draws a lot on Hindu spiritual practices to expand yoga beyond being just physical exercise.
The class was fast-paced and I sweated up a storm, in part due to the fact that the class was packed. Jill kept things interesting and challenging. Aside from more chanting and pranayama than in most classes, I was not able to put my finger on what makes the Jivamukti style so distinctive. Of course, one class just gives you a short taste of the approach so I should probably hold off on any judgments.
Alanna Kaivalya is an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga Instructor and is based in Denver, Colorado, but that does really matter because she has taken her act to the web in a big way. Her website, JivaDiva.com, showcases her recordings and jewelry. JivaDiva Yoga Jam (JivaDiva’s Yoga Rush Class & Lecture Series) is a related site for her audio content. She has released a video of a 20-minute arm-balance yoga sequence that is surprisingly good, given the low-cost production factors. She even uses her own compositions and performances as background music. I watched the video, but did not have the time to listen to any of her other podcasts, which include lectures, guide meditations and yoga sessions of varying lengths. The video session is intermediate level, if not more, because the emphasis on arm balances, but it’s great to see a teacher really practicing her routines. Alanna does a very good job of audio clues for the poses and transitions, and paces the sequences well. There are not a lot of Jivamukti teachers out there so the video is a good chance to sample the style without going to New York City. I guess the real taste test would be to do the sequence itself. Alanna began her podcasts in July last year.