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Sunday, January 13, 2008

hip tranquil chick podcast #116: spiritual activism with Sharon Gannon

Bonjour! Welcome to the 116th edition of the Hip Tranquil Chick podcast: a guide to life on and off the yoga mat.

Today’s menu features a must-have pose in On the Mat, an interview on spiritual activism with Sharon Gannon in Off the Mat, and we’ve got Omwork and Savvy Sources for you too. View our shownotes at

On the Mat: Deep lunge

Check out Hip Tranquil Chick on YouTube!

Off the Mat: Today’s podcast is an interview with Yogini Sharon Gannon. Her quest for independence began with her birth on July 4th in Washington, DC. Her interest in mysticism was nourished by her Catholic upbringing.

Jivamukti Yoga-
In 1984 Sharon Gannon and David Life created the Jivamukti Yoga Method, which is a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. They are pioneers in teaching yoga as spiritual activism/activation. The JY Method emphasizes vinyasa, scriptural study, devotion, prayer, music, chanting and meditation as well as animal rights, veganism, environmentalism and political activism. Jivamukti?s passionate focus on the original meaning of the Sanskrit word "asana" as seat, connection, relationship to the earth is as practical as it is radical at this time of global and consciousness shift.

The Jivamukti Yoga Method is taught worldwide at Jivamukti Yoga Schools in NYC, Detroit, Toronto, London, Berlin and Munich. The Jivamukti practice is also available on DVDs

Yoga Journal has recognized Gannon and Life as innovators in Yoga and the NY Times says, "Without Jivamukti, yoga in the US would still be the obscure practice of a few." TIME magazine recognized JY as one of the nine methods of Hatha Yoga taught in the world today. JY is featured in the acclaimed documentary film: What is Yoga? Sharon is a featured yogini in various books: Yoga by Linda Sparrowe, American Yoga by Carrie Schneider, Yogini by Janice Gates and Women to Women by Christina Lessa.

Yoga Master- Sharon has studied yoga since 1976. Her guru's are Shri Brahmananda Saraswati, Swami Nirmalananda, and Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. Sharon brings a rare blend of scholarly study, artistic pursuits and a highly disciplined asana and meditation practice to her offerings as a teacher. Sharon is a renowned teacher around the globe. She has taught yoga and meditation throughout the United States as well as Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Turkey, Israel, India, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Bali, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. Her high profile students include Sting, Trudie Styler, Russell Simmons, Gabriela Bozic, Mike D. Donna Karan, Michael Franti, Geshe Michael Roach and Christy McNally.

Since 1993 she has presented annually at various national and international conferences hosted by The Omega Institute, Yoga Journal, Asian Conferences and others. Each year, along with David Life she teaches a one-month intensive Jivamukti Yoga Teacher Training course which is offered in the US at the Omega Institute, Rhinebeck NY and in Germany, 100 km from Berlin in Lychen,

Artist- As a poet, musician, dancer and producer, Sharon views art as a means for uplifting the soul and her artistic pursuits seek to enrich the community by being both inspirational and educational. She holds a BA in Dance and has studied ballet, modern, classical and various forms of Indian Dance; as well as music, poetry, painting and alchemy.

During the 1970's & 80's first in Seattle and then in NYC she was the vocalist and violinist for the jazz/rock band Audio Letter as well as directing and choreographing for the dance company 'Moon-Food'. Her choreography is featured in the Video: Asana: sacred dance of the Yogi. In 2003 she produced the CD Neti-Neti, a remix of the 1987 Audio Letter album of the same name, receiving rave reviews and critical acclaim from Billboard Magazine, Rolling Stone, Yoga Journal and others. She collaborated with Janet Rienstra of Meta Records to create the cd: Chakra, seven centers. She collaborated with Raven Recording to produce Sundari, music for a Jivamukti Yoga Class. In 2004 she co-produced with White Swan Music Records, the CD, Jai MA, a collection of divine women singers. Sharon is a guest vocalist, appearing on CDs with innovative world-beat musicians including Bill Laswell, Mike D., Sean Dinsmore, David Newman, Shyam Das and DJ Cheb I Sabbah.

Animal Advocate- Sharon is an animal-rights activist and outspoken advocate of ethical veganism. She was nominated for the "Gutsiest Woman of the Year 1999" by Jane Magazine. She is the author of Cats and Dogs are People Too, an investigation of the corporate profit-driven insensitive attitudes that result in commercial "pet food" and the health risks to companion animals who eat it. Together with David Life and Janet Rienstra, she established the Animal Mukti Free Spay & Neuter Clinic, which was the first free spay and neuter clinic in New York City, at the Humane Society of NY in 1999. In 2004 she was recognized as "Friend of Ferals" by the Humane Society of New York and Neighborhood Cats. She is a long time vanguard member of PETA, working with them on various projects and campaigns to help make this world a kinder place. In 2003 she appeared on a video screen in Times Square behind the New Years Ball advocating Yoga and Vegetarianism as a step toward world Peace. Along with Life she has established a 76-acre Wildlife Forest Sanctuary in upstate New York.

Author- Sharon has co-authored two books on Yoga with David Life, Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body & Soul and The Art of Yoga. She is the author of Cats and Dogs are People Too. She contributes the Focus of the Month, a monthly essay, focusing on yogic topics, which can be read on She is the compiler and translator of the Jivamukti Chant Book. She has contributed essays and short stories to Semiotext(e). She was a past editor of Patio Table Magazine. She is a member of the Woodstock Poetry Society. A collection of her poems and essays are complied in the book Freedom is a Psycho-Kinetic Skill. She is currently working on three soon to be published books, The Yogic Art of Assists, a book of Poetry as well as a Vegan Cookbook.

Omwork: To encourage a sense of diving deeper into today’s podcast, I will post Omwork relating to this segment on our HTC forum. Please connect with fellow HTCs there and play with the following:

1. What is your definition of spiritual activism?
2. In what ways can you take action to make a difference each day?
3. Can you play with the concept of sthira sukham asanam?

Savvy Sources:
Jivamukti Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life
The Art of Yoga
by Sharon Gannon and David Life
Diet for New America
by John Robbins
World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle
2012 Daniel Pinchbeck

Signature Style: Savasana Throw. This yummy eco-friendly accessory can be used as a head wrap, hip wrap, shoulder wrap, or cover-up while resting post-practice in savasana. $68. comes in latte, pink gardenia (pictured), shell, noir, and apple.

Soirees, Chats, Booksignings & Retreats: Celebrate a weekend of all things hip and tranquil in the Catskills of NY in March, plus a WHOLE week in Costa Rica August 30-September 6. Join me for workshops and book signings in Charleston, WV, Charlotte and Asheville NC in February; back to Denver and Aspen in April, Ft. Lauderdale in June, Lexington in October. In addition, we've got a week of hip and tranquil chickness at Omega June 2-6 and Kripalu August 10-15. Details for all special events at I hope we'll get to connect!

Join us for our next le chic teleclass chat focused on "Blooming in Spring" on Monday, March 31 at 8:30ET. Details here.

Mentoring: Interested in diving deeper into hip and tranquil topics 1:1 with moi? If so, view all the scoop here.

Chic Community: Mingle with fellow HTCs on our forums. We’re on MySpace and Facebook, so please connect with the community virtually there, too! If you have a product you’d like reviewed on the blog – send a sample to me at 2024 p street, nw dc, 20036. sending a sample does not guarantee placement but I’d love to support our growing community! Make sure you're getting the hip tranquil times by signing up at the bottom of any page on Check out our new YouTube page at More fun stuff coming soon!

Au Revoir: To close out the show, we’re playing Revealing by Isol8ed from the Podsafe Music Network. You can learn more this week's featured artist, including how to get more of Isol8ed's music at

Thanks for joining me for the 116th edition of the HTC podcast.
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Unknown said...

Absolutely LOVED your interview with Sharon! What an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

I love this podcast - Sharon is not what I expected, which is wonderful!
Please bring us more yogic philosophy, hard to find where I can understand it, that is what I love about your book, website, blog, etc. you reframe things so that we can understand them and live them today to better ourselves and our world!
Thanks Kimberly!

Kate McDowell said...

I'm a big HTC fan: have the book, love the podcast, and I tell my friends. :) I found one jarring note in your interview, and that was when Sharon Gannon said to feed the birds rice (in addition to walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts). Isn't rice a problem for birds, and wasn't this practice stopped at weddings for this reason? I'm no expert on this, but I wanted to put the question out there. It's a caring idea, but if the follow-through results in harm, well... Thanks for reading, and namaste. --Kate

Anonymous said...

Rice does not harm birds; old wive's tale.

Blog said...

This podcast was so freakin' powerful. I listened to it while at my father-in-law's farm. Thank you.