Rozhovor se Sharon Gannon - spoluzakladatelkou Metody Jivamukti Jógy

21.09.2018




V srpnu jsem oslovila Sharon Gannon, se zatajeným srdíčkem a s přáním, zda by pro nás neodpověděla na některé otázky. Nadšeně přislíbila. Rozhovor je na světě, někteří jste si ho již přečetli na webu Jóga Dnes. A tady Vám ještě přináším i jeho originální verzi v angličtině.

Introduction by Nadezda: My very first introduction to Jivamukti Yoga and Sharon was in 2008 by one of my dear friends. I met Sharon in person in Washington DC, I took my very first class and went to her "Yoga and Vegetarianism" book signing event in 2009 and based on my experience I decided to do the Jivamukti Yoga teacher training in 2010. Sharon and David Life, who co-created the Jivamukti Yoga Method, began their yoga journey in the eighties in hippie and art New York and now live in Woodstock, NY, USA. They have influenced my life on many levels. Through their teachings Yoga started to all make more sense to me. I practiced yoga for some time before I met them and my life and practice took on whole different meaning because of them. I am most grateful for them to be in this life and to be sharing ancient teachings with those who are interested in a way that is sincere and true to the meaning of Yoga.

They taught me, and all of us mantra "Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu", which Sharon translates to mean: "may all being everywhere be happy and free and may my thoughts, words and actions contribute to the happines and freedom to all". And with this mantra I am trying to live my best.

Sharon Gannon is not only a great teacher and a caring person, but dares to care for those beings without voices, she writes beautiful books, sings and cooks and is thought of as talented Renaissance woman of our time-continuously bringing fresh views relevant to today's world of yoga.

I have put together several questions for Sharon-let's read what she has prepared for us. I am very excited for this moment.

Q.: Please, can you tell us how and why you decided to create (with David Life) the Jivamukti Yoga Method?

SHARON: We wanted to find a way to contribute to reducing the amount of suffering and violence in the world-especially the suffering and violence that is inflicted upon animals and our precious planet Mother Earth. The yoga teachings that I had been studying seemed to provide a perfect platform for animal rights and environmental activism as well as to provide a way to enlightenment for everyone.

Q.: Your Teacher Training Course is considered one of the best, intense and highest level of quality among worldwide yoga trainings. How did you put together such complex, dense, containing high level of teachings, discipline demanding as well as great and life changing experience training?

SHARON: I just took the things from various sources that were important to me-the concepts and practices that had transformed me and put them into a codified easy to understand format that could be taught to others in such a way that those others could then be empowered to teach others.

Q.: I have visited Woodstock a couple of times and I loved the place. Can you tell our practitioners little bit about your lovely place?

SHARON: It is a 125-acre wild forest sanctuary, 100 miles from New York City that provides a safe haven for many wild animals as well as wild trees and plants. It has two large ponds, but mostly wild forest. In 2003 David Life and I became aware that a large track of land in Woodstock, New York was for sale and that a developer had put in a bit with the intention of clear cutting the forest and sectioning the land into plots to build houses upon. The sale price that was being asked was very high-beyond our economic means, but we secured a mortgage and bought the land. We have continued to maintain the land, planting wild indigenous fruiting trees and bushes that provide food for many animals. We also feed the animals several times a day: organic grains, seeds, nuts and fruits to supplement the food they find foraging in the forest. We do not invite human people to hike through the forest so as to keep it private-so the wild beings who live here feel safe from the intrusion of humans-so it is truly a sanctuary for them. We have built a "deer house"-a structure that acts as a shelter especially favored by the deer who often can be seen sleeping in the soft hay under it's roof with their babies especially when it is snowing or raining heavily.

The Wild Woodstock Forest Sanctuary is home to wild deer, bears, foxes, raccoons, rabbits, opossum, marmots, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, moles, ground hogs and many species of birds. We maintain it ourselves and do not ask for any donations or help from others.

Q.: You are many times described and thought of as animal rights activist, beautiful Renaissance woman who inspires many and many. How do you maintain your energy, your will and efforts to pursue your dreams and such a wonderful glow?

SHARON: I don't know-I don't think about it much. My life like all of our lives is in God's hand. Everyday I offer my life to God and ask that He might use me as his instrument. I want His Will not "my" will to motive my actions. I try to be useful to others, doing what I can to enhance their lives and continue to learn how to be better at that.

Q.: Can you tell us how one of your days look like when you are not touring or teaching?

SHARON: My day is spent practicing yoga and that takes on various forms including, cleaning the house, cooking meals, practicing piano, feeding the birds, riding my bicycle, studying Sanskrit texts, reading books, writing, painting as well as pranayama, meditation, chanting, asanas and other more traditional or obvious yogic practices, but whatever the activity may seem like on the outside, inside I am engaged in doing my best to remember God and to be kind to others.

Q.: And of course, the new book, The Magic Ten and Beyond - what inspired you to write this lovely book and how did the idea of Magic Ten came along? And magic? What magic has in common with yoga practices :-)?

SHARON: Magic happens when there is a shift in perception-when what you thought was real appears not so real. Your perception of yourself, others and the world starts to mysteriously shift. I was compelled to write the book because for years people have asked me to share with them my personal home practice. In this book I reveal my secrets-what I do everyday at home or in a hotel room when traveling. I also wanted to share with readers my theory that yoga could have been practiced in ancient Egypt and not be the sole property of the Indian culture. So the book has actually two parts: the 10-week do-it-yourself practice sequence and the Egyptian adventure story, where I describe my theory about the connection between yoga and the ancient Egyptian magical mystery schools and how I discovered the magic ten practices while conferring with an Egyptologist in the basement of the Cairo Museum who showed me some hieroglyphs etched into a three thousand year old stone cartouche that looked to me like the magical practices I did.

Q.: Is there something you would like for the readers and practitioners to get from the book?

SHARON: Yes, something useful. I want to provide a ten step simple spiritual practice designed for busy people who want profound results. Attending yoga classes is great, but often, for financial reasons, time constraints or otherwise it is not practical, to do so. That shouldn't mean you couldn't practice. What I reveal in my new book, The Magic Ten and Beyond, is my personal sadhana-which I have done every day over the years in the privacy of my home or in a hotel room or wherever I happen to be. The Magic Ten and Beyond offers simple ways to become a better, kinder, calmer, healthier, more spiritual person. The ten practices, presented as a ten-week course, provide the beginner as well as the seasoned yogi
with a how-to-do-it-yourself formula that includes, prayer, affirmations, visualizations, mantras, kriyas, pranayama, asana, meditation, deep relaxation and feeding birds.There are practices for how to wake up in a good mood every morning and for how to become more saintly; practices that reveal the secrets to wealth and abundance and that will increase your vital energy by teaching you how to conserve and direct your prana, or life force. There are practices that will help you resolve old relationship issues by detoxifying your body and purging your thoughts of negative emotions, and that will keep you limber and fit well into old age. There is an easy step-by-step meditation practice as well as a way to free yourself from the fear of death and live at ease comfortably in your own skin for the rest of your life.

Q.: What is your intention or desire for today's yoga practitioners? What would you tell them to start with or carry on with?

SHARON: I don't feel that yoga should be proselytized. Yoga is not for everybody. Who am I to tell someone what they should or not do?. What to do? is an important question that each person must contemplate for themselves. Unless a student comes to me with a specific question it is not my place to give advice. Yes a teacher's job is to provide guidance, but only if that guidance is asked for.

That being said, in answer to your question, I'd suggest to yoga practitioners to engage in the adventure of discovering who they really are beyond the body and mind mind. In order to facilitate that enquiry it is helpful to embark on a self-prescribed practice that involves letting go of complaining, blaming and explaining. Try to catch yourself before you complain about someone or blame others. Also be aware when you fall into the habit of defending your actions by explaining to others why you felt you needed to do a certain thing. The first step to Self-confidence is to let go of explaining your reasons for doing something. It is not necessary to defend every action-let go of defensiveness. Take responsibility for your actions. Do you best and let God take care of the rest.

Q.: Jivamukti Yoga is becoming more popular now in Czech, can you send any encouragement to Czech yoga practitioners?

SHARON: I am thrilled that the philosophy, methods and techniques of Jivamukti Yoga are being embraced by the Czech yoga practitioners and am grateful to the adventurous Czech yogis who have become Jivamukti certified teachers. I am also thankful to teachers like, Jules Febre, Yogeswari and others for visiting the Czech Republic and helping to build the community there. (many others Jivamukti teachers invited by Martina Procházková, Praha and Lenka Knag, Ostrava) Jivamukti Yoga is a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. To extend compassion to other animals and to the Earth is a radical concept and if put into practice has the potential to dismantle our present global culture-a culture founded upon enslaving and exploiting animals and the Earth. Don't be afraid of following your heart. Don't be overly concerned with the approval of others. When you devote yourself to yoga with love, joy and sincerity great and wonderful things are bound to happen. Others are always intrigued and inspired by someone who lives by their principles. Teach by example. Be a joyful vegan, rather than an angry judgmental one who poses as superior to others.

I encourage you to continue to delve deeper in the practices and hope that the various, books, CDs and DVDs that we have made are useful to you in that respect. Continue to build community-get together with others and engage in Satsang. Read uplifting books out loud together, meditate and sing the names of God together.

Q.: I heard that Jivamukti Yoga is now run by new people. What is your present connection with Jivamukti Yoga?

SHARON: I am the co-founder of the Jivamukti Yoga Method and will always be that. In December of 2017, the ownership along with the administration of Jivamukti Yoga was transferred to two wonderful, intelligent, caring people, Hari Mulukutla (NYC, USA) and Camilla Veen (Stavangar, Norway). Both of who are Jivamukti practitioners, vegans and have been our close friends and for many years. David and I are very happy and grateful to Hari and Camilla, who have taken the burden of administration off our shoulders and are doing a much better job than we were able to do. We feel relieved that our life's work is now in their capable and loving hands. Because of them we see a bright future for Jivamukti Yoga world-wide.

Q.: How many years have you been practicing yoga? Has your perception of yoga/jivamukti yoga changed over the years? If so, how?

SHARON: I have been practicing yoga for fifty years-since 1967 when I started a meditation practice and discovered the yogic teachings through reading books and listening to spiritually inspired music.

Q.: You have finished and published your yet another book. What are your future plans?

SHARON: Recently, while leafing through a "Women's" magazine I came across a questionnaire designed to help the reader discover something about herself through citing their preferences. There were questions like: City or Countryside?, Mountains or Beach?, Coffee or Tea?, Morning person or Night Owl?, Need a Plan or Like to Flow?, Fiction or Non-fiction?, Creating or Organizing?.

When it came to the last question, do I prefer creating or organizing?, without hesitation my answer was organizing. Although I consider myself a creative person, I also know enough about my creative process to know that I can't create if my workplace, home, or mind is a mess. If I have left things in disarray, I have to first clean up, put in order, then the space for creativity naturally arises. The old has to be put in order before the new can emerge.

Because I am now freed up from the administration of the Jivamukti Yoga School, I have some time to put my life in order. Since I am 68 years old, I can't be sure that I have a lot of time left and feel the urge to clean and organize. Writing this new book, The Magic Ten and Beyond was actually not purely a creative project for me but rather one of organizing. I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. I had to put my own daily practice into an organized readable format. Now that it is codified, printed, published and being read and used by others I feel almost ready for a new creative project. But before that happens I still have a few unfinished messy things in my life that I need to organize. I have a lot of paintings lying hotchpotch in boxes in a closet and some messy manuscripts, perhaps unfinished books in the works. There is also a lot of old clothes cluttering up my closets and drawers with stuff that I need to sort through and get rid of. I look forward to cleaning my house.

Q.: What makes you happy?

SHARON: Remembering God and contributing to the happiness of others.

Q.: I would like to know what are the causes and organizations that Jivamukti supports?

SHARON: Mostly Animal Rights causes. For years we have supported the work of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA, Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepard, The Animal Mukti Clinic NYC, Farm Sanctuary, Karen Dawn and DawnWatch, Julia Butterfly Hill and Circle of Life. I also joyfully support organizations that support art, artists, music and musicians. For example, The Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock, NY.


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Jivamukti Jóga [Džívamukty Jóga] se u nás stává více známější. Lektorů v České Republice není mnoho. Snad jen 6, ale zato jsou to nadšenci do předávání této metody. Jivamukti Jóga vznikla v New Yorku, USA v 80. letech. Kdy Sharon Gannon a její partner David Life propojili to, co pro ně bylo důležité. Sami se nechali inspirovat třemi učiteli a na základě svých vlastních zkušeností a potřeb sestavili metodu, dali základ vzniku novému způsobu předávání jógy v tomto dnešním, moderním světě, ale pořád vycházející z tradičních jógových textů, tradičních praktik, pokory, sebestudie, oddanosti, fyzické praxe, pránájámy, meditace, hudby a neubližování. Slovo Jivamukti původně výchází ze Sánskrtského slova Jianmukta - osvobozená duše. A tak tato metoda nabízí kroky, nástroje, techniky, cestu, jak dojít k ovobození v tomto nynějším životě.  Osvobození od čeho? Co hledáme a jak to hledáme? Osvobození od všeho, co nám brání prožít náš přirozený stav - stav radosti a pokoje...Jóga je stav, kdy nám nic nechybí. Jógu nelze dělat, lze dělat praktiky, které nás na tento stav připravují a připomínají nám ho.