Practicing modern day vinyasa yoga takes a little more than just flowing from one pose to the next. A lot of teachers believe alignment is key to learning yoga and I think a lot will agree that knowledge on your own body anatomy helps with one’s practice. But how do we balance out the thinking part of yoga vs. the feeling part? Click on the play button below and listen to in to Part 2 (of 4) of my conversation with Jason Crandell.
NICA : As a practitioner and teacher, how do you balance out the thinking part about what to do in the pose (alignment, cues) and with just feeling and being in the pose?
JASON: I think about it like learning a language. Learning to do yoga is like learning a language or learning to play an instrument, or learning to play a sport is like learning a language and there are some real similarities. And, part of learning a language is just immersing yourself in the environment and doing the practice is just…if I was trying to learn Tagalog or whatever it is, I would have to relax a little bit and hear it. You know I just have to hear it and I’d have to sort of feel it and just try it. I have try and let myself say the words without worrying about grammar and syntax. You know so there’s a part of yoga that it’s like that, that’s like learning a language, you just have to settle in, you just have to put yourself in the environment and you just have to go along with the flow and not worry about getting things right or wrong. Just know that it’s a long road. Another part of learning a language is actually learning grammar and syntax. It is actually learning and studying tenses and translations and verbs and nouns and like all of those sort of boring details that we don’t want to do but ultimately help us become much better at that language. So part of learning yoga is relaxing, feeling breathing, not worrying about it, just putting yourself in the environment. And, part of learning yoga is learning the information, is listening to the details, doing some drills and being willing to repeat the same pose or ask your teachers questions before and after class about things you’re not quite understanding. Maybe it’s something that a teacher is saying that you’re not understanding or maybe it’s a position you don’t understand and so I think we learn yoga best when we do both. When we relax and breathe and surrender and just put ourselves in the environment and when we try to pay attention to the details and learn some more of the minutia ultimately is going to help develop our skills.It’s both. Its always both.
Jason Crandell, a San Francisco based teacher, holds regular classes there and conducts workshops and teacher trainings around the world. Together with his wife, they also manage JasonYoga.com with regular asana guides and podcasts on Yogaland.