When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And so it was for certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher, John Smrtic. After making major life changes, John cosmically stumbled upon Jivamukti Yoga creators, Sharon Gannon and David Life, through the music of Michael Franti. The love affair with yoga and the Jivamukti method began in 2006 at Power to the Peaceful, a music, yoga and spiritual activism retreat led by Sharon, David and Michael at the Omega Institute.
John returned to Omega less than one year later to complete the 300 hour Jivamukti certification program and began teaching in Albany, NY, in spring 2007. Since meeting the Jivamukti founders, John has spent an extremely rare 600+ hours studying directly with Sharon and David. He continues to study with his teachers at every possible opportunity and has had the honor and privilege to teach at Sharon and David's home on numerous occasions. Soaked in this direct transmission, John is passionate to convey their teachings and method as purely as possible. Using these teachings and traditional yogic scripture as a foundation, John blends wit, music and challenging, intelligently sequenced asana from a vinyasa format to make each class a unique experience.
John has gained acclaim for his class music mixes, affectionately referred to as Bhakti Groove. John approaches each Bhakti Groove like a DJ, carefully crafting a mix keeping with the theme and bhava (divine mood) of each class. The title Bhakti Groove refers to Johns belief that there is no yoga without devotion, and that groove, the timeless state where nothing is missing, can be reached through yoga asana with lively music and elevated intention. In his everything is sacred approach, bhajan, reggae, hip hop, electronic, bluegrass, world and jamband creatively commingle to facilitate a global vibratory shift toward love, unity, devotion and groove.
John was the assistant at the 2007-2008 Yoga Teacher Empowerment Training (YTET) in Albany, NY, the Assistant Director of the YTET in 2008-2009 under Senior ParaYoga teacher Lauren Toolin, and co-lead a yoga retreat to Belize with Lauren in 2011. He also ran a yoga program for at-risk, homeless youths through Safe House in Schenectady, NY. John has crafted a unique series of Jivamukti-based workshops which are road tested and in demand.
John graduated magna cum laude from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the School of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University with a dual BA in Broadcast Journalism and Psychology. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School in 2004 and currently practices law part time around the Capital Region, in addition to teaching Jivamukti Yoga.