Ella Isakov, Yoga Editor: I have had the privilege to study and practice with Jason Crandell on several occasions. Jason is knowledgeable, caring and dedicates much of his time to helping maintain the integrity of the yoga community.
Parvati Magazine: You have been practicing for 20 years. What has been the key element that has kept you practicing all these years and dedicated to this journey?
Jason Crandell: I just really enjoy it! By nature I am self-inquisitive and curious. I have a fascination with the human condition and how the mind works, and all of these things just tailor together and yoga is the perfect physical thing for me. It’s physical but it also lets me check into what is playing out inside my head, and gives me good skills to manage my anxieties.
PMAG: What advice do you have for people that are going through a challenging time and finding it hard to stay committed to their yoga practice?
JC: We all go through trauma and difficult periods. We all go through big life changes that shake us to our core. I will tell you how I dealt with my yoga practice during the difficult time when my wife, Andrea, was diagnosed with breast cancer: I went to the gym. That was a period when I didn’t want more quiet or processing. I didn’t want something still or even to close my eyes to meditate. I allowed myself that time not to do those things. I knew I was not escaping the hardship, as the hardship was so in my face daily and the stillness of the yoga practice made it too loud. I started running and training with weights as I wanted something really physical while I was dealing with that fear. I knew that my practice would always be there. People share that they have a hard time practicing when they are dealing with trauma or tough times, and I tell them that if they don’t want to practice to at least do something else that gives some physical satisfaction. Tell them to commit to something.
PMAG: Busyness has become a big word these days as everyone seems to be hustling with family, work and extra-curricular activities. What three pieces of advice do you have for people to keep up their yoga practice in busy times?
JC: These three things have worked for me to keep balance in my life:
1) Look at your choices, step back and ask yourself: is what you are doing contributing to your quality of life? Is this additional stuff improving your sense of day-to-day living?
2) Schedule the time off in your calendar. I tell people to literally book time with themselves. I schedule out my yoga practice, martial arts training and meditation, just like I do my clients. If you don’t schedule things then you will be the prisoner of the moment, and there are many things that can take you captive.
3) A support network is important. Have people in your life that will help you slow down. Otherwise you overwork, burnout, and resent it.
PMAG: What does committing to your practice look like to you?
JC: There are the microcosm and macrocosm. The microcosm is still having an asana practice. Maybe it’s asana, kriya, meditation or chanting. There has to be some actual engagement with the technology of yoga. Macrocosm is all the other things, like time with my daughter. The practice of having patience to not get frustrated when she is in her four-year-old mode. When I am more patient with my daughter, I am more patient with everyone else, including myself. Stepping back and taking in the joy and really registering all the good and not just enjoying my time with my family but acknowledging that I am enjoying my time with my family. Actually stopping and registering that this is a magical thing and to take it in.
Jason Crandell is a yoga teacher and author with 20 years of experience. His accessible, grounded classes integrate power yoga, anatomical precision, and mindfulness teachings. Considered a “teacher’s teacher,” Jason has taught on countless teacher training faculties, and regularly presents at esteemed conferences. Jason is a contributing editor for Yoga Journal magazine and has written more than 25 articles. Jason’s primary teacher Rodney Yee has said “Jason is taking the art of teaching yoga to its next level.” www.jasonyoga.com