Jason was on a panel discussion about physical and subtle anatomy of yoga asana, sponsored by Yoga City NYC. We've posted the write-up of the event by YogaCityNYC here, or you can head over to Jason's ASFYT blogpost about it, which includes the full audio and a breakdown of the questions.
On Wednesday, September 25th six yoga teachers and scholars, Alan Finger, Alison West, Amy Matthews, Jason Ray Brown, Swami Sadasivananda and James Bae, gathered at Yoga Union to discuss how the physical and subtle anatomy interrelate and contribute to a serious yoga practice. Sponsored by YogaCity NYC, the free event marked the third in the Deeper Learning Series. Publisher and founder of YogaCity NYC, Brette Popper, moderated the discussion.
In September 2011 Jason was interviewed by online blog Yoga Dudes about the need for yoga teachers to study anatomy and yoga-related anatomy injuries.
Jason Brown has been a student of the contemplative and movement arts for over 30 years, and a student of yoga since 1996. In 2007, he created Zenyasa Yoga as a way to synthesize interests in Zen Buddhism, vinyasa yoga, and exercise science.
Q: Why do yoga teachers need to learn so much anatomy? How does it help their teaching?
A strong understanding of musculo-skeletal anatomy, injury awareness and kinesiology can help yoga teachers in a million different ways. We routinely ask students to take their joints to the edge of their range of motion, and sometimes toward more extreme ranges of motion. Many yoga postures can put tremendous stress on the shoulders, wrists, knees and intervertebral disc joints. So first and foremost, a strong foundation in anatomy can give teachers the knowledge required to help keep their students safe and prevent injury. But also, teachers with a strong understanding of anatomy can also “see” their students more clearly, as if with x-ray eyes, and more quickly identify the causes of misalignment within any given posture — which muscles might be tight or weak, or just not working, or if there are skeletal issues causing the misalignment. And they can then give more meaningful verbal cues and hands-on assists, as well as potentially recommend specific postures or exercises to the student that could enable them to more effectively evolve in the posture. Understanding anatomy can also help teachers become more skillful and creative in their sequencing, especially when sequencing toward a peak posture. Or work therapeutially with clients who have specific concerns. I could go on and on.
Frances was interviewed by Upper West Side Spirit about the proliferation of yoga studios on the Upper West Side.
It used to be that if you were looking for a good yoga class in New York City, you naturally gravitated toward Union Square. Within a small radius of the park, a cluster of studios's with respected names like Om Yoga, Bikram Yoga and Integral Yoga's have prospered over the years. So many studios, in fact, that people in the yoga community started jokingly referring to the area as “YoHo.”
But at least one of those people thinks there’s a new YoHo in town. Frances Taylor-Brown, who runs Zenyasa Yoga on West 72nd Street with her yogi husband, says the Upper West Side is giving Union Square a run for its money when it comes to the quantity and quality of yoga offerings.
Back in February, 2011 Jason was interviewed for a New York Times article, "the delicate art of hands on adjustments", and both Jason and Frances were photographed at the Zenyasa Studio for the piece. Check it out!
THINGS can get awkward when a group of strangers strip down to their spandex in a steamy, sweaty room. This is especially true in yoga class, where getting into a camel pose, for instance — thrusting your hips forward while kneeling — can feel, well, a bit “porny,” as Claire Dederer put it in the prologue of her memoir, “Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses.”
The self-consciousness that Ms. Dederer felt performing said porny poses is one hurdle that can get in the way of achieving inner peace. Having a teacher stand behind you and place his or her hands on your lower back or tug at your hips can be enough to turn some people away from yoga altogether.
"Yoga Sleuths" are sent out into the NYC yoga scene by YogaCityNYC to take yoga classes and share their experiences. Dana Melillo, one of our early teachers, was “Sleuthed” at the Zenyasa® Studio in early 2011... shortly after we first opened. Below is a transcript, which can also be found at Yoga City NYC ( search for Zenyasa).
Zenyasa with Dana Melillo
On a cold day, Yoga Sleuth headed over to the new Zenyasa® Studio on the Upper West Side. Up above the hustle and bustle on the street, I entered a cozy space with bright orange walls, large windows with sun streaming in and hitting the shiny wood floors…a little piece of heaven! I took my jacket off and checked in with Dana, my teacher for the class. While I filled out first time student paperwork, Dana set up a mat with a meditation cushion and a blanket on it for me. I immediately felt welcomed and warm inside.
Jason was interviewed by Joelle Hann of Yoga City NYC over the summer of 2010, about the Anatomy Studies for Yoga Teachers program that he created. We’ve copied the entire article here, or you can click here to read the article on their site.
When Jason R. Brown completed his teacher training in 1998, it met the minimum standards set by the Yoga Alliance. But he felt bewildered by his lack of knowledge in anatomy. In too many situations he was making educated guesses about people’s injuries and limitations. So he took some workshops, only to find that three-hour intensives were still not enough to help him feel confident in the classroom. If you’re a yoga teacher, you might relate to Jason’s frustrations. Depending on which training you did, the anatomy coverage might have left you feeling less than equipped to meet your students’ various needs and to plan effective classes. Luckily for you, Brown’s long road of self-education motivated him to become an educator himself. After training at the Swedish Institute as a massage therapist, Brown went on to design a rigorous program called Anatomy Studies for Yoga Teachers (ASFYT) which does much more than fill in some gaps—it completely educates yoga teachers in the anatomy they need to know.
Jason was interviewed by Katie Clancy of Yoga City NYC in the Spring of 2009, when he was teaching Zenyasa® at Pure Yoga East. We’ve copied the entire article here, or you can click here to read it on their site.
Do you ever feel like it takes an entire class just to settle down and become present - let alone go deep into inner silence? Or that you couldn’t possibly learn to meditate - just focusing in yoga is hard enough? Strugglers may have a new option. Jason Ray Brown has created a practice that blends Zen meditation, exercise science, and Vinyasa yoga into an hour and fifteen minute class. YogaCity’s Katie Clancy sat down with this respected teacher, who can be found at Pure, Yoga Works, and Reebok Sports Club, to find out about Zenyasa®.
Yoga City NYC has a feature that they call “Yoga Sleuth,” where they send journalists around the city to take yoga classes and then write about their experience. The teacher doesn’t know that they are taking the class, or that they’ll be writing about it later. Jason was “Sleuthed” during the Spring of 2009, while he was still teaching Zenyasa® at Pure Yoga. Below is the transcript of what was written up over at Yoga City NYC -- just search for “Zenyasa" if you want to read it there.
In 2003, Jason Brown was one of the main “yoga models” in the book, American Yoga: The Paths and Practices of America’s Greatest Yoga Masters, by Carrie Schneider. This is a great coffee table book, featuring interviews with some of the pioneers of yoga in America, including Richard Freeman, Beryl Bender Birch, Erich Schiffman, Mary Dunn, Tim Miller, Rodney Yee, Judith Lasiter, John Friend, Patricia Walden, Stephen Cope, Dharma Mittra, Richard Miller, Gary Kraftsow and many others.
Here's a few images of Jason from the book: