We caught up with Sharon Gannon at The Yoga Sanctuary in Toronto during a book tour promoting her latest work Simple Recipes for Joy. Sharon has an extremely diverse portfolio as a yoga teacher, animal rights advocate, musician, author, dancer, choreographer and painter. She is the co-founder, along with David Life, of the Jivamukti Yoga Method.
Yoga is about finding the cause, seeking the cause and taking responsibility. It starts with how you treat others. How you treat others will determine how others treat you. How others treat you will determine how you see yourself. How you see yourself will determine who you are.
~ Sharon Gannon
In this interview, Sharon shares her insight into how to create positive change in the world. She observes that our current culture teaches us that our happiness is achieved by taking it from others, that freedom comes by exploiting our environment. While many people are unhappy in their lives, Sharon asserts that few people look at the cause of their circumstances and take responsibility for their lives.
Sharon Gannon on Animal Rights
Sharon is a renowned animal activist. She is the co-founder of Animal Mukti in New York, which was established to provide sanctuary and a better life for animals. She is a committed vegan and proposes that people continue to eat meat due to low self-esteem. The thinking here is that people undervalue the impact of their actions and fail to realize that “what you do makes all the difference to your reality.”
On a personal note, the thing I find most striking about Sharon Gannon is her sense of individual responsibility and personal empowerment. It’s cliché and perhaps a little pedantic to point out that we are personally responsible for our own happiness.
Yet I found this point driving home during our talk. I was left with the sense that, while we don’t all have the star power of Sting and Madonna backing our actions, we all have the ability to affect radical positive change.
We live in an age where many feel that pointing out the faults of others is a radical action in and of itself. We lash out, we point fingers and we lay blame on those we feel cause harm in the world. But what are we doing about it for ourselves?
To use animal cruelty as an example, many of us feel satisfied to sign online petitions, share links on Facebook and maybe even attend the odd demonstration. While this serves to raise awareness of what we believe others are doing wrong, what are we doing to make it right?
By taking responsibility for the happiness of others, through our individual actions, we invite happiness into our lives. To view more of this interview, check out the accompanying article on our sister site Animal Equity.
Photos and video by EK Park.