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 rediscovered yoga, initially practicing in the Sivananda tradition.  I started to explore Ashtanga, Vinyasa Yoga and Jivamukti Yoga. By the late 1990s I had a hunch 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.  The Advanced apprenticeship program followed in 2008 in NYC. I 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 Gannon, Emma Henry, Camilla Veen and Hachi Yu.

My teaching is heartfelt, creative, energizing and engaging. I’ve been told my classes make you sweat a lot — without feeling stressed. My training in Ashtanga, Jivamukti and dance equipped me with a great eye for detail and knack for just the right hands-on assists. I love to experiment with movement and music, and every class is unique on its own.

So many teachers have inspired my own teaching, just to name a few: Gail Harris, Stephen Cope, Michael Carroll, 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, Mark Morford, Rusty Wells, Stephanie Snyder and Amanda Moran; in Europe Antja Schaefer, Emma Henry, Gabriela Bozic, Nadja Palmers, Petros Haffenrichter, Magali Lehners and Martyna Eder, as well as my current dance teachers in San Francisco, Lee Wei Chao and Sandra Chinn.

Alongside yoga, for the past 25 I’ve worked on environmental policy,  climate change mitigation and sustainable food systems for such organizations as Greenpeace, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, EOS Climate, EDF and Impossible Foods.

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

May all beings everywhere be happy and free.

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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.

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Yoga Alliance 500E-RYT/YACEP, 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)