NYC yoga teacher launches vegan cookbook in Whistler

Sharon Gannon will host an event on Oct. 29 at Nita Lake Lodge

Sharon Gannon, co-founder of the Jivamukti Yoga method, is returning to Whistler on Oct. 29 as part of her Simple Recipes for Joy book launch tour.

Gannon is currently touring North America to promote her vegan cookbook, which features over 200 recipes she has created in over 30 years of veganism.

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Gannon co-founded the Jivamukti Yoga method with David Life in 1984, and is a world-renowned animal rights and vegan activist as well as an accomplished writer, dancer, painter, musician and chef. In 2006 Gannon and Life opened the New York City Jivamuktea Café to complement their New York yoga school. She is currently on the West Coast leg of her tour, working her way up to Whistler via California, Seattle and Vancouver, and said the warm reception she has received has been the highlight so far.

“I have been giving lectures and doing a lot of Q&As and so many people seem to be genuinely interested in veganism and learning more about cooking and the link between veganism and yoga,” she said in an email.

Gannon will teach a yoga master-class suitable for all levels, followed by a book party and Q&A. Local raw food chef Sarah Uy will be preparing some recipes from Simple Recipes for Joy, followed by a book signing session.

“The subject matter that I will be speaking about is relevant to everyone whether or not he or she is a vegan or yoga practitioner,” Gannon said. “The Simple Recipes for Joy event will explore practical, simple ways that each one of us can do to bring more joy into our lives, into the lives of others and into the world and decrease the amount of unhappiness, suffering and violence.”

Gannon emphasized that not only is vegan food good for you, animals and the planet, it is also simple, easy and fun. She wrote many of the recipes down by hand over the years, which eventually grew into the book. “Over the years, every time I would make something for dinner and it turned out to taste pretty good, I would try to remember to write down the recipe,” she said.

This morphed into word documents bound into a book, and eventually into Simple Recipes for Joy. Her favourite colour is green, so she is partial to the raw green soup, nettle soup and spirulina millet.

Her food philosophy is simple: live simply and make compassionate choices when it comes to food. “We live in a culture that has told us that the earth belongs to us and gives us the right to exploit the environment and other animals if it promised to bring monetary benefit to us,” she said. “To challenge that mind set — and expand our awareness of how interdependent we are with all of life is radical and very much needed at this time.”

There are Jivamukti Yoga centres in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia and the UK. Gannon last visited Whistler in 2008, to open the Whistler studio with owner/director Tina James. “I am very much looking forward to seeing all of the students that Tina has inspired, and to support the good work that they are doing to raise consciousness and make this world a kinder place for all beings,” Gannon said.

James too is a dedicated animal activist and has been vegan all her life. She feels a particular affinity with bears and works closely with the Get Bear Smart Society, contributing proceeds from the centre’s “$5 Friday” classes to the organization on a weekly basis.

“I am over the moon that (Gannon) is coming home to the centre,” James said. “It means so much to me because of the animals. Awareness about what we eat and how we treat our world is the most important and critical thing to the future of our existence. I absolutely believe that the way we treat domestic animals has to end ASAP. Sharon’s book is a good step towards that with easy, inexpensive recipes, and her philosophy, which is so useful to people. The book will help people realize that veganism isn’t all expensive.”

The event is from 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the ballroom at Nita Lake Lodge. Tickets are $85 plus tax (includes the book), available at Jivamukti Yoga located at Nita Lake Lodge or online at loka-yoga.com.

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