Well SF Yogis, the Yoga Journal Live event is just around the corner! And we can’t wait for the master classes to begin. In the meantime, we caught up with SF’s own master of yoga anatomy, Jason Crandell…
How did you get involved with YJLive events?
This might be the 15th year I’m teaching Yoga Journal conferences! I have a long history with YJ. When they were SF-based, I was their in-house teacher, so I’ve created podcasts for them, DVD’s, and I tour the country teaching at many of their events; NY, Colorado, San Diego, and many other cities…
So what do you most look forward to about each event?
I love the opportunity to work with really eager yoga students from around the world. Also, it’s so nice to be able to get together with all my colleagues. All of us travel so much, we don’t see each other except for at these events.
What would you say is your signature style?
I’m on the more technical mindful side of Vinyasa Yoga. I want people to move, breathe and sweat but I want them to do it with focus and precision and I want to help them have a sustainable, long-term, bio-mechanically informed practice so they minimize the potential for injury and maximize efficiency of postures. We have to remember yoga postures aren’t all about hard work - the energy should be skillfully directed. We want to make sure the hard work that everyone is engaging in is directed toward the outcome they want to generate...moving energy, getting deeper into the body, breathing practices, etc...
What inspired you to become so anatomy focused?
First off, the philosophical side of yoga teachings came easier than the more technical anatomical side of the equation, so I had to work for it. It was once my weakest component as a teacher and I decided to dedicate my time to learning more about it, to teach the part of the discipline that didn’t necessarily come naturally.
Secondly, I had a lot of injuries. I played ice hockey and skateboarded for 15-16 years. Yoga poses have never come easily for me. I needed to understand the technical details that made the poses more accessible and safe. I’ve also needed to learn the technical details that help me do the poses. I can’t do difficult poses on effort alone. I have to understand the details and points of leverage in order to do the harder poses safely.
Last, I find that anatomy is a good tangible access point for us to train ourselves to pay attention. It’s not just anatomy for anatomy’s sake but another component of training ourselves to pay deep attention.
Do you get a lot of students who’ve had yoga injuries?
Yes. And I have worked with orthopedists and physical therapists.
Yoga seems like a great complement to physical therapy! What inspires you about this work?
I still want people to be able to move and breathe [even with an injury]. I don’t want people to just have to do physical therapy based work. I want them to be able to figure out how to adapt this big movement oriented practice of yoga to the needs of their bodies.
...Sounds like we're in good hands. To find out more about the upcoming YJ Live event in SF, check it out on our events page or visit www.yogajournal.com/events/sf.
Photo: Tony Felgueiras
Post written for SFYogaMag.com