What is a Jivamukti Yoga class?

There are six types of classes and one standardized warm-up sequence unique to the Jivamukti Yoga method.

Open Class

Whether you're a beginner, deciphering the difference between vrksasana (tree) and sirshasana (headstand) or an advanced yogi who can put both feet behind their head, the Jivamukti Open class welcomes you, as it is open to practitioners of all levels.

You work at your own pace, following the teacher's verbal as well as hands-on guidance. Asana options will be provided for beginners, intermediate and advanced students.

A typical Open class incorporates the five tenets of Jivamukti Yoga:

  • shastra (scripture)
  • bhakti (devotion)
  • ahimsa (kindness)
  • nada (music)
  • dhyana (meditation)

An Open class presents classical yoga teachings as relevant to one’s life on and off the mat, drawn from the Focus of the Month essay, supported by chanting, breath awareness, flowing vinyasa sequences, alignment exploration, hands-on assistance, relaxation and meditation. All Open classes include 14 points—asanas, meditation and spiritual teachings—in a sequence creatively designed by the teacher. Exuberant, eclectic music plays an integral role: you might practice to a shifting soundtrack of ragas, global trance, hip-hop, spoken word, George Harrison, Sting, Krishna Das, Donna de Lory, Michael Franti, Bill Laswell, Alice Coltrane and Mozart.

The class is called “Open” because it is open and suitable to all levels of practitioner. Even so, beginning level students should know that there will not be much detailed “how to do” descriptions; for that a student is advised to attend a Basic or Beginner Vinyasa Class. The length of an Open class may differ at different centers, so please check the schedule for the center you are attending.

Basic Class

Each Jivamukti Basic class is part of a four-week fundamentals course that explores a different theme each week:

  • week one: standing asanas
  • week two: forward bending asanas
  • week three: backward bending asanas
  • week four: inversions, meditation and "putting it all together."

Whereas in the Beginner Vinyasa and Open class vinyasa is emphasized, in the Basic class alignment is the emphasis. Students are taught “how to do” asanas as well as the use of props. The Basic Class provides the underlying structure to help a student be able to eventually enter into an Open class intelligently and safely. Beginners are encouraged to take all four weeks of the Basic course. Intermediate and advanced students will also benefit from exploring the alignment essentials presented in these classes. It is advisable that a student register for the full 4 week program starting with week one, but a student can also drop into any class at any time during the month and can also take as many classes as they want each week. This class is suitable for beginners, but open to all levels of practitioner. The length of a Basic class may differ at different centers, so please check the schedule for the center you are attending.

Review the Basic class curriculum.

Spiritual Warrior

Jivamukti Spiritual Warrior classes are designed for busy people who only have an hour to practice. The class is fast paced and invigorating and is certainly a “get-in-shape” class. The structure is a fixed set sequence instructed in a vinyasa style. It is a fully balanced class which includes asana warm-up, chanting, setting of intention, surya namaskar, standing poses, backbends, forward bends, twists, inversions, meditation and relaxation. The teacher focuses on keeping the pace moving and does not stop to give spiritual discourses. Since the asana sequence is always the same, a student will pick it up quite quickly after only a couple of classes.

In many Jivamukti Yoga Centers this class is also offered as the International Spiritual Warrior class, which is taught in languages other than the national language of the country while maintaining standard Sanskrit terminology, making it a wonderful language immersion experience. You could actually learn another language by taking this class regularly. Many yoga teachers find that they learn essential key terms in other languages to enable them to teach yoga in foreign countries. Spiritual Warrior and International Spiritual Warrior Classes are best for intermediate and advanced students, although beginners as well as anyone with a sense of adventure are welcome! Spiritual Warrior classes are one hour in length.

Review the Spiritual Warrior class curriculum.

Beginner Vinyasa

Jivamukti Beginner Vinyasa classes are designed to provide the student with the underlying basics of how a vinyasa practice works. Vinyasa is a method of practicing asana (physical poses), where the asanas are presented in a sequence, flowing one to the next. The practice focuses on trying to align one’s breath and spiritual intention with movement. The class follows a set sequence of asanas but is presented at a slower more relaxed pace than in the Spiritual Warrior class. Beginner Vinyasa classes provide a good transition for a beginner student from a Basic to the Spiritual Warrior or an Open class and gives the opportunity to the more advanced student to refine their skills through a deeper, slower exploration. This class is suitable for beginners, but open to all levels of practitioner.  The length of a Beginner Vinyasa class may differ at different centers, so please check the schedule for the center you are attending.

Review the Beginner Vinyasa class curriculum.

Meditation

The Jivamukti Yoga method of meditation is a mantra form of meditation, instructed in three steps: Choose your seat, Be still, and Focus.  Mantra provides the focus. With the mantra “Let-Go” the practitioner is instructed to align the silent repetition of the mantra with the incoming and out-going breath. By allowing a continuous movement of breath through the body and thoughts through the mind, with the suggestion of let-go, the practitioner can eventually let go of identification with the body and mind and allow Self-realization to arise. The class begins with Sanskrit chanting to purify the atmosphere, followed by detailed meditation instruction. The actual sitting time for the meditation practice is usually 20 minutes, but it could be longer or shorter according to the discretion of the teacher.  Afterwards there is a Q&A session with the teacher, followed by closing prayers. No prior experience in meditation is required. The class is open to all who have a sincere desire to learn a simple, yet effective way to not only quiet and calm their minds but also move toward enlightenment.

In-Class Private (ICP)

Traditionally, yoga was taught one on one—one teacher teaching one student at a time. In modern times, yoga is more often taught in group classes. The Jivamukti Yoga In-Class Private (or ICP) is a unique way to experience both methods of teaching: the student and his or her private certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher together attend a regular group class. From beginning to end, the student practices with the hands on assists of their private teacher, who safely guides them through every minute of the class insuring correct alignment in all asanas as well as deep understanding of all other components of the class (e.g., breathing practices, chanting, etc.). ICPs always conclude with a special deep relaxation yoga massage in shavasana.  This is the ultimate yoga class experience. An ICP can be adapted to and given in almost any Jivamukti Yoga class. The most popular class in which to receive an ICP is the Open class.

Magic Ten

The Magic Ten is a series of ten simple exercises that can be done in about ten minutes. It is a good way to warm up for an asana class or to get your body moving first thing in the morning or at any time you need a “pep up.”  It is the warm up for the Spiritual Warrior class, and the first six exercises are the warm up for the Basic class.

Review the Magic Ten

Watch the Magic Ten Video