Classes We Love: Jivamukti Vinyasa Yoga

This class at Karma Yoga provides a physical and mental workout.


Jivamukti yoga at Karma. Photos by Jamie Ducharme

What it is:

Jivamukti, a new addition to Karma Yoga‘s line-up that we took at the brand new Newbury Street location, is a style of vinyasa flow that combines two sometimes contradictory elements of yoga: athleticism and zen. The style was developed in the ’80s, and emphasizes yoga philosophy and spirituality more than many mainstream practices. But just when you’re lulled into a false sense of security by the opening segment of meditation, alignment, and chanting, the class shifts into some seriously physically challenging yoga—we’re talking plenty of twists, strong flow, arm balances, back bends, and more. You will leave feeling like you got a workout, but also feeling mentally and physically lighter.

Know before you go:

If you’re the type to roll your eyes when teachers lead an “ohm” chant at the end of class, Jivamukti probably isn’t for you. Sanskrit chants are mixed in throughout the class, and there are plenty of references to chakras and energies. It’s also a very hands-on style of yoga, with the instructor frequently adjusting students to ensure proper alignment and comfort. Added bonus: Our instructor also gave each student a luxurious shoulder massage during the final resting pose.

The class also felt like it was catered to those with at least some experience in yoga. Each pose is fully modifiable and using props is encouraged, but it is a fast-moving class, so beginners could easily get confused or fall behind.

The vibe:

Welcoming and relaxing. Our instructor made a point to introduce herself to each student before class began and spoke to individuals by name throughout class, which helped establish a friendly feeling of community. Karma’s new studio is also gorgeous, with plenty of natural sunlight, calming colors, and even skylights. It’s the perfect place to banish the stress of your week.

The cost:

Drop-in classes starting November 1, 2013 are $15, and a monthly membership is $95. The first 300 people to sign up for memberships receive a special “founders’ rate” of $75 per month.

What to bring:

Just your mat, though they can be rented at the studio for $3 if you don’t have one.

The bottom line:

Jivamukti is the perfect marriage of two yoga disciplines. You’ll feel it in your abs, arms, and legs the next day, but it will also help you de-stress and tap into the philosophy that informed yoga in the first place. It’s also worth mentioning that we left the studio feeling a noticeable improvement in the computer-induced tension that builds up in the shoulders and lower back. We say that alone is worth the price of admission.

Karma Yoga, various locations;


Karma’s new Newbury Street studio