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Here Comes the Sun: Get Enlightened with Some Jivamukti Yoga

It's no secret: this year's Pavillon 21 MINI Opera Space will play host to a plethora of inspiring creative exploits. Super-famous DJs and bands? Yes to that! Enriching films watched drive-in style? You better believe it. And on July 7th-9th and 11th-12th 2011 MINI Yoga will partner with Jivamukti Yoga Munich to help you achieve some spiritual enlightenment.

New to Jivamukti? Here's a primer: the practice was founded in New York in the 1980s by Sharon Gannon and David Life and has since spread to cities around the world. While many yoga traditions first introduced to Westerners focused more on yogic logistics like poses and proper breathing, Jivamukti went further to incorporate a fully integrated approach. Think of this brand of yoga as a full mind-body experience that melds the physical, philosophical and spiritual into one.

Yoga. Pavillon 21 MINI Opera Space.

Interested in experiencing MINI Yoga? Keep reading for our chat with instructor Mark Whitwell and to find out what else you can expect on your date with the sun!

And here's a bonus: the music of Surendra will bring the space to life with traditional melodic forms of sitar and tanpura alongside the rhythm of Erhard Dengl's tablas.

Mark Whitwell is a yoga guru for the ages. Although he currently lives in the U.S. and New Zealand, he's trekked the globe for more than 20 years teaching yoga in places as far-flung as Asia and Europe. His personal philosophy? That ancient wisdom has practical application in contemporary life. Mark believes that true yogic experiences happen in the heart and "not the head." Visit one of Mark's sessions on July 7th and 8th and you're sure to receive some love and wisdom.

The MINI Space Team was lucky enough to chat with the yoga master. Check out what he had to say below.

The Jivamukti method encourages its practitioners to go beyond mere poses to really embrace spiritual awareness and enlightenment. How does this holistic approach benefit followers?

Yoga and spirituality affect the whole person, health, life situation, and relationships. Practicing yoga means opening up to the world and life itself. Yoga is about accepting and affirming all facets of life.

Even though you most certainly follow the tenets of Jivamukti during your sessions, do you add your own special touch? How do you marry traditional Jivamukti values with your own philosophical approach?

My yoga approach is called "yoga of the heart" and my personal motto is "celebrate life". Life itself is a miracle. You yourself are a miracle.

You had a personal relationship with the late Professor T. Krishnamacharya, the "grandfather of modern yoga" who is recognized for introducing the practice to the Western world. Can you pass on any special anecdotes that you shared with the master?

Krishnamacharya was a saint, a scholar, a guru. At the same time he taught daily, was a family man and publicly debated social issues. He championed equal rights for women in India and campaigned for vegetarianism in a very controversial way. When his wife died he cried for months. Clearly, he was also a human being.

Munich's Marstallplatz is a pretty spectacular space. Where's the most unique location that you've given a yoga session? What elements of a space contribute to the yogic experience?

Long ago, people in India practiced yoga on hard-packed cow dung since it had a reasonably smooth surface. I've practiced and taught yoga in every imaginable space: in the most expensive studios in New York, on the beach in Crete and all over the world. Yoga creates its own atmosphere and helps create an intimate space for the practitioner. Space helps with breathing and concentrating, which are the true intentions of yoga.

When you aren't helping others to center themselves how do you achieve enlightenment?

Enlightenment is very normal. Your existence is very normal. Life is not abstract - it does not require enlightenment or lofty concepts. If you open up to life itself, that is true enlightenment!

Mark Whitwell in the zone.

Mark Whitwell won't be the only pro on hand for this year's MINI Yoga. Here's your own personal introduction to some real yoga devotees.

Gabriela Bozic

Meet Gabriela Bozic
On July 11th you can enjoy a MINI Yoga session with Gabriela. Gabriela is co-founder and director of Jivamukti Munich and she spent several years learning the practice with the original founders of Jivamukti in New York. She's known for her lively sessions that incorporate laughter and music, so get ready for some truly positive vibes.

Antje (Amba) Schäfer

Meet Antje (Amba) Schäfer
According to Antje, she's loved the lotus position since she was a child. However, it took a few years and some time exploring India before she became a full-fledged yoga instructor. She now devotes her life to the practice and is co-owner and director of the Jivamukti Yoga Loft in Munich. Be sure to join MINI Yoga on July 12th for a session with Antje!

Petros Haffenrichter

Meet Petros Haffenrichter
Although he lives, teaches and sings in Munich, Petros organizes yearly yoga retreats in Crete. This Jivamukti fanatic believes that regardless of the chaos of the outside world, we should always be able to find peace in our hearts. You know what to do if you'd like to see Petros in action! Be at Pavillon 21 MINI Opera Space on July 11th.

Michi Kern

Meet Michi Kern

A dedicated vegan and teacher at Jivamukti Munich for eight years, Michi describes his yoga style as powerful and uninhibited. Join MINI Yoga for a session with Michi on July 12th, so you can have your own taste of his unique approach.

Patrick Broome

Meet Patrick Broome

Patrick has a doctorate in psychology under his belt and is founder and co-director of the Jivamukti Yoga Center in Munich. Patrick received training in New York with teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life of the Jivamukti Yoga Center. The yoga instructor belives that the art shows you how to let go of your ego and allows you the courage to embark on adventures. All you need is curiosity, an open heart and a love of the unknown. You can join Patrick on July 9th!

Okay, now that you're armed with all the details, you know this is one cant-miss series of yoga sessions. Did we mention that mats will be provided? Let's greet the sun together!

Register at info@jivamukti.de or call 089.45 22 65 22.

Related Links:

Pavillon 21 MINI Opera Space Event Calendar

Jivamukti Yoga Munich

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