January 16, 2011

Chatting with Jason Crandell at the San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference.

On Friday, I took an all-day intensive with Jason Crandell at the San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference. Jason was nice enough to answer a few questions so that I could share with the ele readers who weren’t able to attend the conference.

LJT: It’s not your first time at the Yoga Journal Conference, what keeps drawing you back here?

JC: They keep inviting me (laughs)! I guess I’m inexpensive, I live down the street.

In all sincerity, I think I’ve taught at all of them. I’m not sure if I taught the first one, but I’m pretty sure I did. I think this is the seventh. And it’s great— it’s my favorite conference because I don’t get on an airplane to go to it.

LJT: While you are here do you practice with any of the other teachers?

JC: I do. If my teacher Rodney is here, I take class with Rodney. If he’s not, who do I seek out? I seek out Tias Little, I seek out Aadil, I seek out Cyndi Lee, Patricia Walden. Depending on who’s here. Usually what I want when I’m here to study is I want to work with someone who is going to have a layer of technique and nuance that is going to keep me curious for a long time. Something that I can really chew on for a few months in my practice, and I find that that group of people offers that. Everyone offers all sorts of different things, but that offering is what keeps me curious and engaged.

LJT: We were working on precision today and one of the words that you used a lot was integrity. For the people who weren’t able to join us, how would you explain that as it relates to the yoga practice?

JC: Well, integrity is a big word (laughs). And I mean it in a lot of different ways. And I think that one of the things that happens in our yoga practice is we’re easily seduced by the desire for range of motion. We’re easily seduced for wanting a bigger, stronger, more intense, beautiful pose. And on some level that’s totally fine. But I think that we can very easily sacrifice skill and awareness and comfort to grasp at those things that seem really big and sexy and seductive. And I think in our practice we have to be willing to continue to practice listening and cutting through that drive just to grasp at something because it’s hard and someone else can do it. I think another thing about integrity is just the quality of listening, the quality of deeply listening to what’s happening inside of the body, the breath and the mind and not working so hard that you sacrifice the breath and not working so hard in any one place that other places get ignored. I feel like the whole body should be awake and engaged without over-effort or distortion. To me, on a physical level – that’s integrity.

LJT: I know we’re not really supposed to have favorites, but if you were to only practice one pose what would that pose be?

JC: Can I have three poses? Three desert island poses? I actually think this is important because we do have favorites. Down dog, triangle pose and bridge pose. I feel like with those three poses I could get what I need to get. On a physical, organic level those three poses would tide me over for a long time. It’s like a vegetable, a protein and a grain.

LJT: And again, for people who can’t be here at the conference, what other resources would you have them seek out?

JC: My website is JasonYoga.com. Also YogaJournal.com is a great website. I have a lot of articles and podcasts for them, and so do other teachers. And YogaGlo.com – really great streaming classes. And, of course, elephant journal!

LJT: Thanks, Jason. Any parting words of wisdom?

JC: Enjoy your practice, and practice listening.

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