Yoga of Liberation | Bio
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Jill Abelson

  My first yoga teacher was Lilias Folan, star of the American public TV series “Lilias Yoga and You.” My older sister says that after finding Lilias,  I spent most of my time upside down or hanging from the kitchen cupboards. I took gymnastics as a kid and then moved on to classical ballet, my first love, really.

Right after college, I found yoga again. At first, practicing in the Sivananda tradition.  I started to explore Ashtanga, Vinyasa Yoga and Jivamukti Yoga in the late 1990s and felt that, personally and professionally, all roads were leading me to Jivamukti. And that’s how it panned out. While working full-time, I did teacher trainings with Shiva Rea (Vinyasa Flow), David Swenson (Ashtanga) and Lex Gillan (Hatha). In 2005, I went to Jivamukti’s 300HR teacher training program, the last year taught entirely by my teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life.  I did the Advanced apprenticeship program in 2008 in NYC, became Advanced Certified in 2012 and was a Mentor at the Jivamukti teacher training in 2016. This was an amazing opportunity to work alongside some of Jivamukti’s best: Sharon, Emma Henry, Camilla Veen and Hachi Yu.

My teaching style is creative, engaging, challenging and heartfelt. I like to weave together elements of my background in Prana Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hatha and Jivamukti Yoga, and always including lots of individualized attention. The insight I find in my own practice inspires me always to be a student first, full of curiosity. I love to experiment, with movement and music, and every class is unique on its own.

My original East coast U.S. yoga teachers are Ashtangis Gail Harris and David Ingalls; Stephen Cope and Michael Carroll at the Kripalu Yoga Center; and in NYC Jivamukti Yoga founders Sharon Gannon and David Life. The other teachers who have influenced and supported me over 20 years would fill pages. Special love and appreciation goes out to: Sharon Gannon, David Life, Rima Rabbath, Nicole Nichols, Debra and Ian Mishalove of Flow Yoga Center/D.C.; my Sanskrit and philosophy teacher Manorama d’Alvia; H.G. Vaisesika Dasa of ISKCON Silicon Valley; SF Bay Area yoga teachers Mark Morford, Rusty Wells, Stephanie Snyder and Amanda Moran; my Jivamukti colleagues in Europe Antja Schaefer, Emma Henry, Gabriela Bozic, Nadja Palmers, Petros Haffenrichter and Magali Lehners; and my dance teacher Lee Wei Chao.

I teach at several studios/venues in the S.F. Bay area, on the East coast and in Europe.

May all beings everywhere be happy and free.


I am often asked, What is Jivamukti Yoga and what makes it special?

Jivamukti Yoga is a method of yoga created by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984, which reintegrates the physical, philosophical and spiritual aspects of Yoga. The emphasis in the west has been on Yoga as mostly a physical practice. More and more people are achieving firmer bodies through regular yoga classes. But many are finding something more: what starts out as a purely physical practice creeps into the hearts and minds of even the least spiritual practitioners. David and Sharon became teachers because they were passionate about communicating Yoga as more than just a system of exercises, but also as a spiritual practice; a path to enlightenment. From their earliest classes, they have taught a living translation of the Indian system of yoga in a way that western minds can comprehend. That is why Jivamukti Yoga emphasizes vigorous asana as its primary technique, but other practices such as meditation, devotional chanting and study of the ancient texts play an important role as well.  The Jivamukti method of Yoga is one of the nine internationally recognized styles of Hatha Yoga.



500E-RYT – Yoga Teaching Certifications:

Jivamukti Yoga 300 hour (2005) + 800 hour Teacher Training (2008) + Advanced Certification (2012)

Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training with Shiva Rea (2001)

Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training with David Swenson (2001)

Art of Assists Studies with Yoganand Michael Carroll  (2003) + Raja Yoga Studies with Stephen Cope (2002) at Kripalu Center for Yoga

Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with Lex Gillan (1999)