Sharon-Seated

Sharon has been walking the talk for more than 40 years.  She opened her first restaurant in Seattle in 1971–a hippie whole food hang that served too big portions for not enough money.

The latest iteration of her passion to feed people with healthy blessed food is the Jivamukti Cafe attached to Jivamukti yoga studio near Union Square in NYC, and her new cookbook Simple Recipes For Joy that shares the vegan recipes for the dishes served up to hungry yogis there.

Between the cafes, she has blossomed into a renaissance woman, distinguishing herself as a dancer, singer, musician (one of my students wants to see her because he’s a fan of her music), performance artist ( with David Life), poet, author, philosopher, animal rights activist, and most prominently as the founder (with David) of Jivamukti Yoga 30 years ago.

They started in the empty apartment below theirs on East 11th St. in the lower East side of Manhattan, and now have studios worldwide in eight countries, and affiliate studios in many more.  ( Bethel Farm is an affiliate studio).

Jivamukti is a physical, ethical and spiritual practice.  What we now think of as a typical vinyasa class with flowing inventive, dance-like transitions, consistent attention to the breath, inspiring musical play list that is a featured part of class, integration of chant, philosophy and spiritual intentions–these were features pioneered by Sharon and David to bring the full depth and breadth of their yoga experiences in India to Westerners.

Not surprisingly, they have taught or inspired many of today’s well known teachers,  and numbered lots of celebs among their students.  Sting , SJ Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mike D, Michael Franti, Russell Simmons, Madonna (remember her Hindu phase?), Steve Martin, Uma Thurman, Donna Karan, Diane. Keaton, Kris Carr (Crazy Sexy Kitchen),…

In a way, the cookbook is an expression of Sharon’s passionate call to her students for spiritual activism.  Taking the transformative energy of yoga off our mats and out into the world. She has transmuted her animal rights activism into irresistible recipes that use no animal products.

The story of Sharon coming to teach in Northern New England for the first time is also a story of transmission from teacher to student.

When I took my first Jivamukti class 11 years ago, all the bits of yoga came together in an integrated practice, blossoming open onto a different path for my life.  Sharon and David taught me how to teach yoga, and even while I was at the teacher training, I caught a glimpse of Bethel Farm as a place for people to immerse and retreat into the physical, ethical, and spiritual practices of Jivamukti.