Austin moved to Jersey City in 1988 to enroll in the Design and Production Department of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
After graduating with his Masters degree in set and costume design, he spent the next eighteen years as a designer in the American theater. His work as a professional designer has been seen on Broadway, in regional theaters and operas, on cruise ships, in circus extravaganzas, and in numerous television commercials and industrials.
In 2008 he was introduced to Jivamukti Yoga during a yoga class taught by Susan Steiner at Club H Fitness. As he continued to take classes with Susan and other Jivamukti teachers, he underwent a life changing experience. He knew he wanted to learn more and share with others what Jivamukti Yoga had given him. His vision of opening his own yoga studio in Jersey City, the place that he had called home for most of his adult life, became his goal.
In 2011, Austin attended and graduated from the Jivamukti 300-hour, teacher-training program at the Omega Institute. He went on to receive his 800-hour, teacher-training at the Jivamukti Yoga School in New York City in 2012.
Austin has taught yoga at locations throughout New Jersey. But he is most proud to have been placed on the Jivamukti Yoga NYC School instructor rotation after earning his 800-hour certification. He has taught Basic, Open and Spiritual Warrior classes. He is most fond of the 8:00am, Sunday morning Open class, where he plays only African American Gospel music.
In the fall of 2012, Austin and his life partner, Robert Hranichny, began their search for the ideal space in which to create a yoga studio in Jersey City. His teachers and Guru Sharon Gannon suggested that the new studio be a Jivamukti Yoga Center, the first of its kind in NJ. Austin was grateful that his Guru had confidence in his abilities to entrust him and Bob to expand the Jivamukti brand. With the love and support of friends, family and teachers, Austin and Bob embarked on their dream, not just of creating another yoga studio, but a Jivamukti Yoga Center, which they foresaw as the centerpiece of the northern New Jersey Yoga community. That is the space in which the students of Jivamukti Yoga Jersey City stand today.
Austin is extremely grateful to all his teachers, but most of all to Sharon-ji and David-ji for giving him the amazing gift of Jivamukti Yoga. Thank you both for your love and support. You are both an inspiration to me — teaching me and being a part of my life.
All my love goes out to Sandhi Ferreira, my teacher, friend and mentor for your love and wisdom during my 300- and 800-hour Jivamukti teacher certifications. You were always there to support and love me through the often-difficult process of becoming a yogi.
To my mother, sister and, dear friend, Fred Kaplan: Without you this dream and the next stage in my life would not have become a reality.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” This is the lesion that Jivamukti yoga has taught me.