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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Jivamukti Yoga Founder Presenting Master Class in September

Jivamukti Yoga Co-Founder Sharon Gannon will be presenting a master yoga class and a catered lunch/book party at the Washington Convention Center on September 27. The event is part of a 17 city book tour to promote her new book, Simple Recipes for Joy, a collection of more than 200 vegan recipes which comes out mid-September.

The book release coincides with the 30th anniversary of Jivamukti Yoga, a unique brand of activist yoga that Gannon co-founded in 1984 with partner David Life. In 2006, the pair opened Jivamuktea Cafe in New York City as an extension of their yoga studio and an expression of a compassionate, vegan lifestyle. Gannon created this book from the recipes that were the most popular with her friends and family as well as diners at the cafe.   

In Gannon’s view, the connection between yoga, a vegan diet and the health of the planet is really basic. “It’s about happiness. Everybody wants to be happy. Everything we do should contribute to our happiness, or why do it?”

“In the yoga teachings, it says that our nature is joy, the nature of the universe is joy that everyone, everything, every aspect of life, the essence of us all is joy, and if we are experiencing anything less than that, then we are disconnected from our source.”

She wrote Simple Recipes for Joy as an invitation to “dare to care about the happiness and well-being of others. And ‘others’ includes animals and the whole planet. If we want joy for ourselves, then we’ve got to create it in the lives of everyone around us.”

When Gannon sat next to Al Gore at a brunch, she brought up the meat and dairy issue by asking him, “What about meat and dairy? How about that and the Inconvenient Truth?” Gore was speechless for several minutes. Finally he shared that he had seen a video which explains that cows release more methane gas than any other environmental hazard. The movie ends with the message that if we could go vegan even for one day, this would be a big help.

While it is pretty uncomfortable to see the reality of modern day factory farming, Gannon reminds us, “Education can empower us.” After Martin Luther King saw LOOK magazine photos of civilian casualties in the Vietnam War, he shifted his focus toward stopping the war. Gannon says, “That was because of the power of those photos.”

Americans have deeply ingrained but inaccurate beliefs about the benefits of meat and dairy. One myth is that we don’t get enough iron from a vegetarian or vegan diet. But in fact, vegetarians and vegans get more iron than meat eaters. And more ironically, dairy reduces iron absorption.

Likewise, people are convinced that they have to eat dairy to get enough calcium but Gannon says that dairy products can rob the body of calcium and contribute to osteoporosis while calcium from veggies is more easily absorbed. Gannon says, “In the countries that have the highest dairy consumption, that is where we have the highest osteoporosis and all the things related to that.”

Many people assume that eating meat and dairy products is a natural human behavior simply because we have been doing it for so long. But Gannon says that human beings only started relying on animals for food and profit about 10,000 years ago when we shifted from a nomadic existence to settling in villages.

“The good news is—it is not hard-wired in the human brain. It is a learned behavior. And like any learned behavior, it can be unlearned.”

The Master Jivamukti Yoga Class and the Simple Recipes for Joy book party are hosted by Buddha B Yoga Studio, the only Jivamukti Yoga affiliated studio in Washington D.C.

Register for these events at

Terri Carr is a D.C.-based freelance writer who blogs at 

June 2020




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