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Episode 50: Any Amount of the Pose is Still the Pose

On this episode Jason answers listener Kat’s question, “How do I make sure I’m not leaving anyone out as I teach my mixed level power yoga classes?”

Jason acknowledges how difficult this can be for everyone in the room and he has some really great tactical strategies to share including:

* Sequencing in such a way that everyone can participate in some way and experience the progression of building a pose
* Diffusing tension with humor
* Encouraging students to engage in their yoga practice as a learning process. No kicking stones because you can’t do a pose!
* Helping students see that thoughts are not always solid
* Pitching your studio to do a beginning yoga series

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Episode 49: A True Story of Overcoming Depression, Panic, & Shame

Hello, all —

On this little bonus episode, I offer my own story of the panic attacks and depression that plagued me in my twenties and the subsequent shame I felt about being a yogi and making the choice to take anti-depressants. If you’re suffering, I created this podcast to let you know that you’re not alone. And if you’re feeling guilty about taking the meds, I want to help you clear that guilt, to help you NOT put another layer of pain on top of the suffering. 

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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Happier Than I Ever Thought Possible (My story of depression + a yoga sequence for Yoga Journal)

MUSIC
Ketsa — Always Late

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Episode 48: Richard Rosen Talks Yoga Camp, Breath-Work, & Parkinson’s Disease

Richard Rosen returns to the podcast and answers some common questions about hatha yoga, including who the “original yogis” were, the meaning of the word “hatha,” plus he opens up about Parkinson’s Disease and shares his love for pranayama (breathing practice).

I also wanted to publish a letter that Richard wrote in response to some feedback on episode 39, where we talked about Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Scroll down to read it.


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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Yoga FAQ: Almost Everything You Need to Know About Yoga — from Asana to Yamas
The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama

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From Richard:
First of all, I’d like to sincerely apologize to anyone who felt put out by my interview, that result wasn’t my intention, and I’m completely sure it wasn’t Andrea’s either. My regular students are aware that I’m a bit of a skeptic, and unfortunately sometimes I take that skepticism too far. I have to admit that I have a thing about the Yoga Sutra, and maybe a caution at the start of the interview, something like you might read before opening a pack of cigarettes, would have been a good idea. Let me explain. This text is without doubt an important document in the development of yoga, since it was the first systematic presentation of a yoga practice. So for the serious student of yoga it’s a must read, as it sets the stage, so to speak, for what will follow in the centuries to come. But as I read it (and there are certainly other ways to interpret it) there are several aspects that I find troubling. One in particular is its utter rejection of the natural world as the source of unremitting existential sorrow, the only relief from which is a kind of “don’t-look-back” transcendence. Again there are going to be extremely smart people who will say I’m missing the mark here, but when I read 2.15–to the “discerner,” that is, the yoga practitioner, “all is but sorrow” (Dr Feuerstein’s translation)–I can’t help but think as I do.

Please understand, yoga isn’t comparable to a block of granite, solid and immovable and unchanging, no matter how much our traditionalists would like it to be perceived. The practice is fluid, it shifts and transforms itself just as does any living creature. So there’s nothing wrong in admitting that the YS, while it may have substantial historical value, as a practical course of action, with its separative, “reducing diet” meditational method leading to its avowed goal of isolation, lacks any appeal to me (many students think the goal of the practice is samadhi, but that’s just a stepping stone to kaivalya, which literally means “aloneness,” the total divorce of the Self (purusha) from matter (prakriti).

I strongly believe that our little world, despite all the myriad problems it’s facing, is a beautiful, awe-inspiring place, and that the purpose of yoga is to bring us into an increasingly intimate relationship with that world. This past 15 March signaled my 30th year as a yoga teacher, and to all those who heard me say (or at least thought so) they were doing the practice “wrong,” I once again ask for your forgiveness. I have a long-time Iyengar training, which as you may know, sometimes prides itself as the practice to end all practices, and I freely admit to being an Iyengar snob in my early years as a teacher. I’m mostly cured of that nowadays (it spills out when new students come to my class and don’t know how to use blankets for shoulder stand), and I’m pretty confident that I would never say to any student that she/he is doing the practice “wrong.” I honestly feel that all yoga practitioners of whatever level of experience, are to be commended and encouraged.

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Episode 47: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champion & Yogi Sebastian Brosche

Two-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world-champion and yoga teacher Sebastian Brosche joins Jason on the podcast this week. As a competitor in his twenties, Sebastian was in a cycle of chronic injury that was so painful, it was a struggle for him to put on his own socks. He had no intention of trying yoga until he saw a beautiful woman teaching class — who is now his wife. Hear him tell the story of how yoga healed his body and how he founded an online training program that helps other BJJ practitioners stay healthy and, as Sebastian puts it, able to keep rolling and grappling for the rest of their lives.

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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Sebastian’s site offering yoga classes for BJJ competitors:Yoga for BJJ
Sebastian Brosche Documentary
Instagram: Sebastian and Stine

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Episode 46: Jessamyn Stanley’s Every Body Yoga

Hello Yogalandia!

This week, I talk to the super sharp and funny Jessamyn Stanley. Jessamyn is a world-traveling yoga teacher who has a new book, Every Body Yoga. I love Jessamyn’s story and she writes about it with such grace and humor in her book: A few years ago she decided to document her yoga practice on a brand new app called Instagram, having no idea that within a few years she would garner nearly 300,000 followers, many of whom begged her to become a yoga teacher. We talk about the evolution of her yoga practice from her early days as a Bikram yogi to a vinyasa teacher, how yoga studios can make efforts toward being more inclusive of different body types and capabilities,and her quest to stay grounded as she spreads her message that, indeed, yoga is for everyone.

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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body, by Jessamyn Stanley
Jessamyn’s Instagram feed and her web site
Jessamyn’s Courses on Codyapp

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If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! It makes it easier for others to find the podcast. If you don’t know how to leave a review, here are some step by step instructions. Woohoo! So easy!

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