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Episode 40: Alexandria Crow on Transparency in Yoga Teaching

Alexandria Crow grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family and her grandfather was a traveling preacher. These days she travels the country teaching yoga — and it recently dawned on her that there are parallels between the two. Because of this, she’s careful about not cultivating a guru persona — her hope is to teach her students to use the yoga’s tools to investigate on their own and think for themselves. We talk about this idea of being “transparent” as a teacher, the role of charisma in teaching yoga, and the vulnerable place that students can unconsciously find themselves in if they have a teacher who isn’t clear about their role and boundaries.

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Alex’s web site — Yoga Physics
Questions for My Mother — Alex’s most recent essay on YogaPoetica
The Art of Teaching Yoga: 3 Ways I Stay True to My Teaching Style

Jahzzar — Sappy
Krackatoa — Turtleneck Foxtrot
Podington Bear — A1 Rogue

If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! I’m learning that it really does help others find it and it helps me to know which episodes resonate with you! You can also follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast.

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Episode 25: Q&A — Andrea + Jason and Have a Lot of Opinions

YOU GUYS! I just want to say a big thank you and I love you. I have heard from so many of you over the past few months and it really does keep me going. This podcast is, right now, a labor of love and it makes a world of difference that it is reaching you and making a difference in your practice and teaching. Thanks, also, for the iTunes reviews. We got 10 after Jason’s last Q&A! So we’ve decided to do another.

On this episode, Jason answers questions submitted by listeners (thanks to shannon6, erin jorich, veganbunny, tlcrec, and kalamanayoga):

* What are your views on what it means to be a yoga student today?
* What’s the difference between a yoga student and a yoga consumer?
* How do you deal with the yoga community where there is so much inconsistency and fakeness?
* What do you think will be important for yoga teachers to focus on in the next decade?
* What do you think about yoga hybrids like Yoga HIIT, Pi-Yo, etc.?
* How do you and Andrea work together and find a balance between work and family time?

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When Students Behave Badly, Part I
When Students Behave Badly, Part II
A Clear Approach for Dealing with the Stresses of Teaching Yoga
20 Insights to Set You Up as a Successful, Skillful, Happy Yoga Teacher

David Szesztay — The Dance
David Szesztay — Cheese
David Szesztay — Coffee Shop

If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! I’m learning that it really does help others find it and it helps me to know which episodes resonate with you! You can also follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast.

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When Students Behave Badly, Part I

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

Yoga Etiquette | Jason Crandell teaching | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

I love my students, I respect my students, and I fully appreciate the fact that I wouldn’t have a job without my students. And, dear reader, you feel the same: You love and respect your students, and you know that you wouldn’t have a job without them. In fact, I’m going to take this a step further and confess that I’m hugely affected by whether or not students come to class. When my students show up, I’m stoked. When they don’t, I’m bummed. Despite my efforts toward non-attachment, I’m a codependent.

So, yeah, we love our students and we’re here to support them. That’s a given. But, you know what? Sometimes our students get…weird. Class can get loose. And, it’s tough to know when to intervene. During my Advanced  500-Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings and Teacher Renewal programs, questions about managing student behavior are near the top of everyone’s list.

See also When Students Behave Badly, Part II


First, I have to credit Elena from my online sequencing program for the above phrase. It’s classic. And, we all know exactly what she means. I could write for hours about this topic and we could all share some stories, but let me cut to the quick. The conundrum in this scenario is straightforward. On one hand, we want our students to listen to their bodies, respond to their own needs, and develop a personalized experience. On the other hand, it’s group class, there’s a sequence being taught, and it doesn’t take a ton disrupt the cohesiveness of the group. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s yoga and students should be able to focus on their own experiences. But, we’re human. We’re social creatures. When we’re packed into little rooms and John Doe is pressing into his 10th Handstand while everyone is trying to do Savasana, it’s wicked annoying.

Ideally, you will learn to allow for your students to have a personal experience while at the same time fostering group cohesiveness. This means you have to ask yourself a few questions: First, is the student who marches to the beat of their own drummer safe? Second, are the people around him or her safe? For example, is the student who pressed into Tripod Headstand from Wide-Legged Forward Bend in control? Or, does he look like he’s are going to break his neck, fall over, and take out a row of classmates? If the students appear to be genuinely unsafe, it’s important to step in and ask them to come out of the pose. Unfortunately, it’s surprisingly common for the student who’s decided to launch himself into a tough pose to be ill-equipped for the task.

The second question to ask yourself is whether or not the student doing their own thing is disturbing the group. Ask yourself, is the behavior truly disruptive to the group, or it is simply bugging you? This will help you answer the inner debate of whether to take control of the situation to protect the group experience or to let go and let it ride. If the behavior is disruptive, you need to address it as discreetly as you can. If you lack discretion, you may create even more disturbance for the group than was occurring in the first place.

The most common disturbance that I’ve had to manage over the years is when students are still doing active postures during Savasana. In these cases—and there’s been a lot of them over the past 20 years—I simply walk over to the student, tell them that I understand they want to keep moving, but it would be nice for the group of they could be still because they’re making more noise than they’re aware of.


OK, OK, OK, I understand that yoga feels good and it helps us let go of chronic tension. I understand that we’re all a little wound-up and there aren’t many places where we can let loose. But, unless you’re sitting in the back of my class polishing off a box of Whitman’s (which would earn its’ own category of behaving badly), I fully admit to getting rattled by the moans, groans, ooohs, and aaahhhs that sometimes unfold. And, I’m not the only one.

First, know that you’re probably more aware of this yoga etiquette issue than your students are. The same goes for students doing their own thing. You’re overseeing the entire group, while they’re doing their practice. This means that you’re going to be more sensitive to the group as a whole, while each student is going to be more tuned into what’s going on in their own world. So, most students aren’t going to notice the small moans and groans. In fact, who cares about the small moans and groans? They’re going to occur—and, they’re probably a good sign that class is working.

But if someone is doing her best imitation of Monica Seles in the back of the room, everyone is going to be affected. There are occasions where the oooohhhs, ahhhhhs, and mmmmms are so intense that it’s just too much to handle. If it’s getting out of hand I’ve got three recommendations: Keep class moving, keep your instructions flowing, and talk to any serial offenders after class. Moaning kicks in more fervently when class slows down and the teacher gets quiet. It’s as if the cosmos needs to fill any quiet void with a reminder that we’re still human and yoga feels good. Of course, you shouldn’t derail your class, but I can think of several classes over the years that I kept things motoring longer than I planned because every quiet moment was answered by a distressing amount of vocal applause.

Again, if you genuinely believe that it’s disruptive to the group, you should talk to the person about it after class. This may seem un-yogic and exclusionary, but I don’t see it that way. People who conduct groups have the right to address disruptive behavior and provide clear boundaries. I’ve probably addressed five students over the years. It’s uncomfortable, but in my estimation it’s been necessary. I’ve simply said to the student that I’m happy that they’re savoring the practice and getting out some of the demons, but could they please be a little quieter and minimize their moaning. It’s a tough call, but sometimes teaching yoga presents you with challenges. On the other hand, if you don’t mind the sounds and you don’t think they’re a problem for the group, you’re more than welcome to let it ride.

Students doing their own thing and making class sound like they’re sampling a 12-course dinner at The French Laundry aren’t the only idiosyncratic student behaviors that students exhibit. Make sure to check Part II of Students Behaving Badly next week, when we look at the exciting task of managing “Savasana, No Thanks!” “Shirtless, Sweaty and Proximate” and “Shower, Soap, Deodorant? Nope, I’d Rather Not!” If you have thoughts — or good stories shared in good spirit, without names — feel free to post them in the comments section below.

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Episode 14: Jason Crandell – Create a Home Practice You Love

Hi there!

This week Jason Crandell talks all about home practice. We get straight to the point and talk about:

* Where to start if you don’t know how to practice on your own
* Why it’s vital for yoga teachers to have a consistent home practice
* How your relationship to yoga practice changes when you become a yoga teacher
* His thoughts on pushing yourself to practice your least favorite poses
* The ways that your home practice can transform over time to support you in different phases of life and teaching.

If you’re interested in training with Jason, he’s offering an advanced level training, broken into three modules next year in San Francisco. You can do all three next year, or one at a time as your schedule allows. Click here for the details.

“If you’re trying to be consistent with a home practice that soothes you and feeds you and inspires you, then start with the stuff that you resonate with. If that’s what makes you feel motivated and inspired, then that’s what you should stick with.” — Jason Crandell

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The Art of Yoga Sequencing E-Course
Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom, by Colleen Saidman
Yoga: Awakening the Inner Body, by Donald Moyer
Moving Toward Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee
Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, by Erich Schiffman



Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar A)
Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar B)
30-Minute Whole Body Sequence
30-Minute Morning Sequence
Evening Wind Down
Immune Booster
Two Core Yoga Routines
Ease into Urdhva Dhanurasana
Open into Hanumanasana


Quick Hip Openers
Fold into Lotus Pose
16-Pose Sequence to Help You Progress in Compass Pose
Parivrtta Janu Sirasana


The Perfect Shoulderstand Prep
Refine Your Headstand
A Shoulder Opening Sequence to Forearm Balance


Twist into Eka Pada Koundinyasana I
Pigeon + Chaturanga = Eka Pada Galavasana
Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose)
Bakasana (Crow Pose)
Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow)
Build Your Vasisthasana (Side Plank)

Salami Junior — Get Me Out of America
Jahzzar — Cold Like This
The Polish Ambassador — Wonder Continental ft Beatbeat Whisper

If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! I’m learning that it really does help others find it and it helps me to know which episodes resonate with you! You can also follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast.

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Episode 6: Kathryn Budig – Body Positivity, Hard Work, & Aiming True

Hello Yogaland!

On this episode I talk to Kathryn Budig. Kathryn (@kathrynbudig) is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher and she’s just come out with her second book, Aim True: Love Your Body Eat Without Fear Nourish Your Spirit and Discover True Balance.

I’ve known Kathryn for about a decade and she’s the real deal — a gem in the yoga world. She’s hard-working, deeply knowledgeable, an adept practitioner, a compassionate teacher, and a creative, funny soul. In the course of our talk she shared:

* The story behind her “Aim True” message
* The surprising pose that was out reach for her when she started practicing
* Thoughts on body dysmorphia and creating healthier body image within the yoga community
* The importance of honing your craft instead of focusing on popularity
* Her favorite and least favorite yoga poses
* How she came up with the term “meat suit”

And many more interesting tidbits. I hope you enjoy it.

“I get comments like, ‘Oh it’s so great to see you be so comfortable with your body.’ I’m a size 4. If my size 4 body is viewed as something that isn’t tiny in the yoga world, we’re doing something severely wrong.” — Kathryn Budig

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Kathryn’s Web Site
Kathryn’s talk on body image: I Am a Real Woman & So is Every Other Woman
Kathryn’s Aim True Yoga Sequence
Kathryn’s Go To Energy Bar Recipe
6 Steps to Create a Simple At-Home Yoga Practice

Maty Ezraty
Jessamyn Stanley
‘Fat shaming’ doesn’t work, a new study says
Two studies link unhealthy weight to poor body image

Jahzzhar — Flutter
Ketsa — Milk
Nick Jaina — Don’t Come to Me

{photos by Cheyenne Ellis Photography}

If you like what you hear, please feel free to write a review on iTunes! If you share your URL, I’ll be able to get back to you and say thanks. You can also follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast.

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