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In Praise of the Quiet Yoga Class

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 and music | Jason Ceandell Vinyasa Yoga Method
In 20 years of teaching yoga, I’ve never played music in my class. Not once. If you play music in your class — or you prefer to go to classes with music — I don’t blame you. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons to listen to music when you practice and teach yoga. Playing music is emotive, it’s motivating, it’s enjoyable, and it creates an ambiance. Even more, music can help hold the space for your students and allow you to rest your voice more often. Still, I don’t play music in any of my classes, and, while I’ve changed my tune about countless other things in the past, I don’t anticipate a James Taylor accompanied Savasana in my classes any time soon.

I get asked all the time why I don’t play music in my yoga classes and my immediate answer is that I would never subject anyone to my record collection. Unless you already listen to Sick of It All and Avail in steady rotation, we’re not on the same page with our musical preferences. I respect that most of my students’ musical sensibilities are different than mine and I don’t want to make them suffer through my taste. Here are a few other reasons I prefer a quiet classroom.

Yoga and Music: Reasons Why I Don’t Play Music in My Yoga Classes

BECAUSE IT’S QUIET

I live in San Francisco. Our street is not particularly busy, but our upstairs neighbors are loud enough to drive me to the brink of insanity each day. I use a laptop, an iphone, and a Kindle each day. I listen to the radio, I watch television, I interact with the world around me and I’m also overstimulated. The majority of my students are the in similar circumstances and the yoga room is one of the few environments where they can get peace and quiet. I cherish the silent moments of Tadasana, seated meditation, and Savasana. I revel in hearing everyone’s breath in Surya Namaskar and knowing that when I am quiet for a moment when the entire room settles.

BECAUSE IT’S A [email protected]#$%!! CLASSROOM

Alright, alright, alright, I know I sound uptight. So, let me own this one: Yes, I’m being uptight. That said, I still think that yoga is a subject matter. It’s a discipline. It’s not just a 90-minute thing that makes you feel better about existence for a little while. Yes, thank god, it does have this effect. But, to me, yoga classes are learning environments. We learn how to use our body with greater skill, care, and efficiency. We become more adept at focusing our attention. We learn about the philosophical and historical context of the yoga tradition. We learn to become a witness that observes ourselves more objectively and compassionately. We learn to unplug for 60, 75, or 90 minutes at a time. For me, a quiet yoga room provides the best opportunity to have these experiences.

IT’S OLD SCHOOL

Sometimes I feel like I’m a dinosaur because I don’t play music in class. But quiet classes are old school. Meditating on subtle sound — -nada yoga — is old, but that’s not the same as doing Sun Salutations to beats supplied by your studio’s in-house DJ. The saints, sages, and mystics after which many postures were named weren’t concerned with their playlist. Krishnamarcarya and his principle students who have had such a lasting impact on contemporary practice taught in quiet rooms. And, very few of the West’s first generation of master teachers play music in their classe. Maybe they’re just fuddy duddy and I’ll be standing in the unemployment line with them soon. Maybe they just didn’t have the interest or technology, or maybe they were on to something important. I don’t have all the answers, but if you’re a dinosaur — or, if you choose to become one  — you’ll have decent company.

I originally wrote and published this article for yogaglo’s blog. In case you missed the news flash, yogaglo is really awesome and you should practice and train with me on their streaming service. Please check them out!

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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?

Subscribe via: iTunes | Acast | RSS

RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
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

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

WRITE A REVIEW
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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5 Tips For New Yoga Teachers

5 Tips for New Yoga Teachers | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method
Before you read this post, I encourage you to listen to Episode 3 of Andrea’s podcast! In the episode I expand on the ideas presented here, plus you’ll get to hear my opinion on the concept of “yogalebrity.”

Like all livelihoods, teaching yoga comes with challenges that can lead to burnout if they’re not managed. Here are five essential tips to help you manage the stresses of teaching yoga so that you can savor your career and guide your students without crashing and burning.

See also 5 Vital Things to Look for in a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

1. Adjust Your Expectations

Teaching yoga is a soulful, satisfying job, but it’s not for the faint of heart. You’ll go through significant financial ups and downs. You’ll have your ego over-inflated one day and raked through the coals the next day. And, you’ll probably work more hours than you think. This isn’t to dissuade you from being a teacher. It’s to help you have clear expectations about the livelihood you’ve chosen. When your expectations are in-line with the reality of teaching yoga, you’re much more likely to be happy and satisfied as a teacher.

2.Consider Why You Want To Teach

Teaching yoga and practicing yoga are not the same thing. Most of us start teaching yoga because we love practicing yoga. But, eating food is not the same experience as cooking food — or running a restaurant. If you want to teach yoga — especially if you want to teach yoga full-time and support yourself or your family — you’ll need to love teaching yoga, not just practicing yoga. You’ll need to love the subject matter of yoga, the experience of running a small business, and the process of engaging with students and community.

3. Try to Work Efficiently

Inefficient teaching schedules are one of the biggest sources of burnout in our livelihood. Simply put, most teachers are spread too thin. Most teachers only teach a couple of classes per day, but they’re almost never back-to-back. You might teach a class in the morning followed by one several hours later in the afternoon or evening. This type of schedule makes it hard to get things done or fully relax. This leads to a feeling of always “being on.”

One way to counter this is to teach more back-to-back hours. This might mean scheduling a few private clients at the studio before or after your class. Another effective strategy is to start teaching a series or two per quarter — or occasional workshops — in order to earn enough that you can let go of a class or two in your schedule that is stretching you too thin.

4. Find a Mentor

Everyone needs to know that they’re not alone. And, in fact, you’re not alone. Every yoga teacher experiences the same range of emotions, challenges, and joys at some point in their career. Some teachers are further ahead of you on the path just as you might be further ahead on the path than others. One of the most important ways to stay inspired, focused, and grounded is to develop a professional relationship with a more seasoned teacher. Receiving a mentor’s guidance and support will help you stay connected to your practice and your teaching for many, many years.

5. Remember That Social Media Is Not Real Life

Social media is not real life. This isn’t to say that it’s fake, unreal or insincere. It’s simply to say that social media does not reflect the totality of people’s lives. It’s a curated slice of life that skews toward the more exciting and appealing events that people experience. Personally, I think this makes sense. That said, it’s important that we remember these dynamics so that we don’t feel like we’re being left behind or failing when we see other people’s big classes or beautiful postures. Every well-known teacher has small classes sometimes, and they have postures that don’t feel good or balanced in their body. Everyone. Even more, life is more than big classes and awesome poses. So, be sure that you take what you see in social media in stride. Accept it (and maybe even appreciate it for what it is) without letting it drive you crazy.

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A New Program For Yoga Teachers!

Jason Crandell teaching

I’ve developed a new program — the 3-Day Teacher Renewal Program + Weekend Workshop Intensive. I wanted to take a minute to explain my thinking behind it. It’s a program that I’m genuinely excited to share…in fact, it’s exactly the program I would have loved to attend about 10 years ago.

In a nutshell: It’s a 3-day program for teachers of all levels to help you return to your center and reconnect to your practice. Think about this program as part retreat, part yoga teacher training in the company of your peers.

Here’s why I created this program:
If you’re a yoga teacher, your practice is no longer yours and yours alone. Your practice has mostly likely gotten tied up with your identity as a teacher and the challenges of making a living. Ironically, you might practice less consistently and intensely than you did before you taught. And, when you do make it onto your mat, it can be hard for you to find the steadiness of mind that once came so easily because you’re thinking about your sequences and which postures you’re going to teach your students this week.

I’ve taught for 20 years and I don’t know a single teacher who hasn’t gone through the same challenges. I’ve been there myself–more than once. That’s why I created this program.

I understand that yoga teachers don’t just need the type of information they typically receive in trainings. They also need to steep themselves in a supportive environment where they can reconnect to their practice and to the essence of why they started teaching in the first place.

HALF RETREAT, HALF TRAINING
3-DAY RENEWAL PROGRAM SCHEDULE

In the mornings, you will be a student again and savor a strong, complete three-hour vinyasa practice. No notes, no analysis–just practice. It’s time to make your practice a sanctuary again and remember why you fell in love with yoga in the first place. You’ll work at your physical edge, refine your technique, and inspire your practice.

In the afternoons, you will refine key components of your teaching. You’ll also create practical strategies to manage the logistical challenges of earning a living as a teacher.

Schedule Detail
A Practice for Teachers
9am – 12pm

Strategy Discussion: How to Make a Better Living as a Yoga Teacher
1:30pm – 2:15pm

2:30 – 5:00pm
Technical Refinement and Renewed Inspiration for Teachers

DAILY TOPICS

Each day we’ll hone in on a specific topic to refine your teaching.

Day One – Sequencing
You will hone your sequencing. You’ll learn how to bring greater focus, consistency and purpose to your classes. You’ll learn the absolute essentials for creating consistent, compelling classes that reflect your values and help your students make progress. You’ll also learn how to structure an entire month of classes and build sequences for workshops. You’ll receive sample sequences for every posture group and two “master” templates that teach you how Jason creates all of his classes.

Day Two – Manual Adjustments
You will fine-tune your manual adjustments. You won’t learn any fancy new tricks, like how to use 7 belts, 4 partners and the tip of your nose to manipulate down dog. But, you will make sure that you’re giving excellent, supportive adjustments that make your students feel safe, secure and knowledgeable in their postures. You’ll learn the most effective, successful ways of adjusting key backbends, forward bends and inversions.

Day Three – Verbal Cues
You will refine your verbal cues. Concise, accurate, accessible verbal cuing is the key to being an effective teacher. In this session, you will learn to trust simple, clear language that everyone can understand. You’ll replace common teaching jargon, cliché’s, and filler-words with accessible teaching cues that will resonate with your students. You’ll make sure that you’re language is inspired, consistent and accurate for every posture category. And, you’ll get advice on how much talking is too much—and, how much talking is insufficient.

WEEKEND WORKSHOPS

The weekend workshop that follows the 3-Day Renewal Program gives you even more time to deepen your practice and refine your technical knowledge of asana, anatomy, and sequencing. In these workshops, you will learn how alignment and attention to detail cultivates greater depth and ease in your flow practice—from arm-balance to hip-openers, from core-strengtheners to backbends. Each workshop will begin with a brief discussion of related anatomy and move into a smart, satisfying flow practice.

The Teacher Renewal Program and the Weekend Workshops are available separately — you can choose to register for one or the other. Or you can choose to do both.

UPCOMING BLOG SERIES! RECONNECT TO YOUR PRACTICE + INSPIRE YOUR TEACHING

In addition to my ongoing posts that feature pose breakdowns, anatomy guides to yoga, and sequences, I’m preparing to launch a new series of articles that provide practical tips for handling some of the day-to-day challenges of teaching yoga. Jump on our newsletter list if you haven’t already so you don’t miss them.

DATES AND REGISTRATION

New York, YogaWorks
August 11th-13th, 2017

Los Angeles, YogaWorks
December 8th-10th, 2017

ABOUT JASON AND HIS TEACHING

Jason Crandell is a natural teacher and author with nearly 20 years of experience. His accessible, grounded classes integrate the best elements of power yoga, anatomical precision and mindfulness teachings. Jason’s articulate, down-to-earth teaching will educate and empower you.

Named “one of the teachers shaping the future of yoga,” by Yoga Journal, Jason has been one of the most in-demand teachers at conferences around the world for over a decade. Considered a “teachers-teacher,” Jason has taught on countless teacher-training faculties, leads trainings globally, and regularly presents teacher-training content at esteemed conferences. Jason was a contributing editor for Yoga Journal Magazine where he has published over 25 articles and created their original series of practice podcasts. His critical-thinking skills will support you on your path of practice, teaching and self-inquiry.

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