I first encountered Sharon Gannon in an elementary school gymnasium turned housing cooperative for artists in North Seattle, the Cedar Park Arts Center.

Sharon Gannon and Kathleen Hunt 1970sIt was the late 90s, almost a decade after Sharon and David Life opened Jivamukti Yoga in New York City and soon after I opened 8 Limbs on Capitol Hill. Sharon and David were in Seattle to teach a weekend of workshops on the invitation of my first yoga teacher Kathleen Hunt, a longtime friend of Sharon’s. Kathleen and Sharon danced together at the UW in the 70s (see photo) and both discovered yoga soon thereafter.

I’d read their book (Jivamukti Yoga), used their practice CDs, and was awed. Both Sharon and David seamlessly wove profound yoga philosophy with their dynamic, creative, and extremely challenging asana sequences. They pushed the edges of the physical, psychological, and spiritual and I loved it. And now it was time for an actual class with these luminaries.

On Friday evening workshop participants lined up along the multicolor lines painted on the wood gym floor. Basketball hoops towered on either end of the room; bleacher seats provided a place to stash our bags. There was some posturing, some hugging, and some nervousness. Kathleen’s student base was full of dancers, artists and very committed yogis and we were all excited to meet Sharon and David. By the start of class the room was full with at least seventy practitioners.

Sharon walked in with a handbag wearing tights, a leotard, a dance skirt and heels. She was so elegant. David had long thin hair and a hallowed face. I can’t remember what he wore, but he looked extreme, and very calm.

Yoga was my rock and roll, and these were the rock stars. And this was a weekend-long rock show, complete with an evening dance performance with Kathleen and Sharon. Each class had a theme that was woven seamlessly into the asana choices and sequences. Their command of yoga philosophy made it both accessible and complex, perfect for my curious and ever moving mind. It was like plugging into a source of inspiration.

The following summer I tacked a week with David and Sharon at Ananda Ashram onto my family vacation in upstate New York. I studied Sanskrit and did homa (fire ceremony) and was moved to tears in a forward bend as the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” blasted in the practice space. I went to their workshops when they returned to Seattle and rented the old Velocity Dance space in Oddfellows Hall, and then again at the Mount Baker Community Center. I couldn’t imagine missing an opportunity to study with such committed, creative and inspirational yogis.

Sharon_Gannon_cakeThis month I have the great honor to host Sharon in Seattle on her national book tour for Simple Recipes for Joy, her vegan cookbook. Sharon will teach a Jivamukti Yoga class, then give a talk and book signing with food tasting. See photographs and a video from the New York book release for Simple Recipes here. I look forward to stepping into the role of student and receive from one of the great influences in my yoga journey.

I hope you will join me in welcoming Sharon to Seattle on Saturday, October 25, 3-7pm. Early registration rate of $85 runs through Wednesday, October 15. Event registration includes a copy of the book, priced at $40. More info and registration.

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, Owner, 8 Limbs Yoga Centers

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