Interview with Jason Crandell: Humor + Sequencing in Yoga

I have few yoga teachers in this world that rock my boat, and Jason Crandell is on the short list. He is a phenomenal international senior teacher based out of San Francisco, Yoga Journal contributor, and a dear friend. I was so excited to interview him (it took a bit of focus to halt the banter and get to business) for my blog. Here, I asked him about his amazing upcoming projects.

Budig: You’re famous for your amazing sense of humor and wicked attention to detail. How important is the balance between humor and thoughtful teaching in a classroom?
Crandell: There are plenty of people that would take exception to your comment about my sense of humor, but thank you. Honestly, the humor and detailed instructions are just parts of my personality, and they’re tools that I use to provide my students with a balanced approach to yoga. For me, the attention to detail isn’t just for safety and efficiency in the postures—it’s also a way to help students focus their attention. That said, detail can be bone-dry and tedious. So, if something funny comes to mind while I’m telling students which way to rotate their thigh, I’m happy to share it.

Budig: You launched a new website that has a fantastic sequencing blog with illustrations. Please tell us all about this amazing resource!
Crandell: My wife, Andrea Ferretti, has been a content producer for over a decade. We commissioned nearly 200 illustrations for my Teacher Training Manual. As soon as we started working on the project, we realized that we could use the same images on my blog to provide students with a resource for high-quality sequences. Since I’m passionate about sequencing—and providing education about sequencing—we decided to create a monthly blog that helps students and teachers practice at home. Readers can join my email list at jasonyoga.com and have the sequences mailed to them every month. They can also print a PDF of the sequence for easier use on their mat.

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Budig: How often will new sequences go up? Will they all be themed?
Crandell: There will be new sequences every month, and, yes, they will all be themed. For now, the sequences are designed to take approximately 20 minutes and teach students how to prepare for specific postures, like Crow Pose, Upward Bow, and so on.

Budig: Why use illustrations versus photographs?
Crandell: For so many reasons! Let me pick two. First, I’m a verbal teacher, but a visual learner. So, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate both in my teaching. I fell in love with the idea of complementing my classroom style of verbal communication with a training manual and website that presents information visually. I also love design and am excited about packaging information in a clean, clear, modern way. Second, I’ve been looking for a way to feature my teaching online and in social media that doesn’t overly rely on pictures of me practicing. Teaching postures and practicing postures are very different skills, and it’s more important than ever that students [differentiate between] the two. I wanted to figure out a way to emphasize my teaching technique and support students without the stress of putting my practice on display day in and day out.

Kathryn Budig is a yoga teacher behind AIM TRUE is a regular writer for Yoga Journal and presenter at YogaJournalLIVE!.