A Guide to the Five Principles of Jivamukti Yoga
Jivamukti is a deeply spiritual type of yoga. The practice goes beyond each class, and students are encouraged to include the five key principles in their every day lives.
These will help you improve various aspects of your life, building your relationships with yourself, others, and the planet. Here’s a brief guide to the five key principles:
Ahimsa is the practice of living a compassionate, non-violent lifestyle. Whilst each of the principles are important, ahimsa provides the caring and considerate outlook that underpins the remaining four principles. When you decide to follow the Jivamukti way of life, you must aim to adhere to this principle at all times. You should avoid, and actively discourage, any form of harm. For many followers of Jivamukti, this includes the decision to exclude meat from the diet. Traditionally, this was much more commonplace. Today, it’s accepted as a personal choice. However, if you decide to eat meat, you should always buy from an ethical source.
The next principle, Bhakti, outlines expectations in terms of religious and spiritual devotion. When you dedicate yourself to the Jivamukti way of life, you acknowledge that, in the grand scheme of things, you are no more important than anyone else. Traditionally, central to this principle was the belief that Jivamukti followers should devote themselves fully to God. Today, religion is seen as a personal choice. Instead, Bhakti relates to the premise that you should devote yourself to the greater good, rather than seeking to serve your own interests.
Dhyana refers to the process of meditation. The ultimate goal of meditation is to silence the mind entirely, and disconnect from the outside world. The modern world is demanding, both physically and emotionally. As such, the Dhyana principle is extremely relevant. Regular meditation is essential to restore an inner state of calm, and takes place during each session. This takes time to master, but becomes a valuable life skill that can help you deal with challenging situations, reduce stress, and promote good health.
Jivamukti yoga encourages you to be introspective at all times. Listen to your inner thoughts. How does your mind work? What does it mean? What can you learn from introspection? The process takes a while to master, and is encouraged using a combination of chanting and music. Your instructor will guide you through this practice during each session, developing your internal listing skills as you progress.
The final principle is Shastra, which focuses on the following key Jivamukti scriptures:
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
- The Bhagavad Gita
- The Hatha Yoga Pradipika
- The Upanishads
These scriptures should be studied carefully, to gain an insight into the history and theories behind the Jivamukti practice. The texts are written in Sanskrit and, whilst translations are available, you are also encouraged to learn as much of the original language as possible. Although the translations are largely accurate, interpretations can vary. If you’re able to learn Sanskrit, you’ll be able to gain a much deeper understanding of the key texts.