Yoga of Liberation | Bio
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Jill Abelson

My yoga journey started in my family’s living room, watching the American public TV series “Lilias Yoga and You.”   I found Lilias Folan — who introduced the magic of yoga to the American mainstream, and whom I later met in 2012 — fascinating and beautiful. After this yogic discovery, older sister says that thereafter I spent most of my time upside down. A love of movement drew me first to gymnastics and then to ballet lessons which I continued through University and in San Francisco to this very day.




I “rediscovered” yoga at age 25 while living in Washington, D.C. and dancing with a local chamber ballet company. By the late 1990s, I was exploring Ashtanga Yoga with local teachers David Ingalls and Gail Harris, and Vinyasa Yoga becoming popular at the time, and Jivamukti Yoga in New York City. I studied and trained with Shiva Rea, David Swenson and Lex Gillan, then in 2005 completed Jivamukti’s 300HR TT program. I brought Jivamukti to Flow Yoga Studio, my home studio in Washington D.C. where we built a tremendous and legendary satsang.  I completed the Jivamukti apprenticeship program in 2008 and became Advanced Certified in 2012, and served as a Mentor at the Jivamukti TT at Omega in 2016 working alongside my beloved teachers and colleagues Sharon Gannon, Emma Henry, Camilla Veen, Hachi Yu and John Smitic.

As a yoga teacher and dancer raised on the East coast of the U.S., one could not hope for a more artistically inspiring hub than San Francisco. Living here for 9 years has shaped my practice, teaching and outlook on life.  I am grateful to all of my teachers who have had such a profound influence on my own teaching style and understanding of yoga, to name a few: my primary teachers Sharon Gannon, David Life, mentors Nicole Nichols (founder of Republic of Yoga in Cary, N.C.) and Vanessa Kennedy (original founder, Jivamukti Yoga Toronto), my Sanskrit and philosophy teacher Manorama d’Alvia,H.G. Vaisesika Dasa of ISKCON Silicon Valley and the incomparable Lee Wei Chao of Alonzo King Lines Dance Center SF.



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) both at Kripalu Center for Yoga

Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with Lex Gillan (1999)