Meet Jason, one of our teachers at Yoga District. Learn how yoga transformed Jason’s relationship with running, and how he creates a welcoming environment for all of his students.
“Something that has always stuck with me: ‘Yoga makes everything else easier, and everything else makes yoga harder.’”
Check out Jason’s current class offerings below and sign up here.
- Saturday, 10:45AM: Sweaty Flow (All Levels) @ H Street
Introduction to Yoga
During my fourth year of undergrad, I had to fulfill a kinesiology requirement. Yoga was the most popular way to knock that out, so I registered. I enjoyed the class, and when I finished college there was a hot yoga studio near my apartment. Over the years, I frequently practiced yoga. When I moved to DC, I had the opportunity to enroll in Yoga District’s 200-hour intensive teacher training.
Yoga and Running
Yoga changed my relationship with running. I used to view running (and all forms of cardiovascular exercise) as a necessary evil to stay in shape. It was something to dread and just push through. Yoga has increased the flexibility of my hamstrings and hips and has made running and CrossFIT significantly more enjoyable for me. Flexibility isn’t the only benefit that yoga offers, nor is it a prerequisite for doing it. My greatest gains were a direct result of yogic breathing, and I credit yoga with providing the foundation that allowed me last year to reach a personal record for a full marathon. I think about breathing a lot when I run, and this makes training for and running marathons attainable.
Something that really resonated with me during teacher training was: “Yoga makes everything else easier, and everything else makes yoga harder.” A runner is going to have tighter hamstrings and struggle with certain postures. Ultimately, yoga will improve his or her running capacity over time. Find a weekly class or two that fits your schedule and come to the mat. Don’t burn out by practicing constantly. Coming to class once or twice weekly is plenty for most people, and you can build up accordingly.
Motivation for Sharing Yoga
I am not a super bendy natural yogi. Because of my inflexibility, yoga was a fun challenge for me. From the start of my practice, I immediately observed improvements in my body’s capabilities. I also noticed my yoga classes rarely had male students, and I saw even fewer male teachers. I was inspired to become a teacher. Teaching allows me to the chance to share my experience with others who might not ordinarily take yoga classes. One of my preferred classes to teach is at the CrossFIT gym I go to because those students tend to be the last people you would expect in a yoga class. I tailor the class to align with our weekly workouts, and they love it!
Creating a Welcoming Space for Yoga
Before class begins, I always introduce myself and ask students if they have any requests, injuries, or conditions. If they report injuries, I demonstrate the suggested modifications and try to mention their options throughout the practice. It is important to remind folks that nobody keeps score in yoga and to focus on listening to the breath while having fun. I begin class by telling my students that yoga is a bit like a golf swing: any adjustments are meant to help you move more safely or take something a bit deeper if you’re ready.
My approach is to always ask my students to opt-in to physical adjustments instead of opting out. I find especially for newer students that this sets a warm and inviting tone from the start. Strong verbal cues are the foundation of my classes, and I provide physical adjustments for those who want them.
Yoga Benefits for the District
Previously, I worked on the Hill. Now, I teach a weekly morning flow class at the House of Representatives Staff Gym. If your work is directly affected by Congress, your pace of life tends to be at top speed and then halts to a crawl. It can be hard to find steady ground and yoga could help someone feel more grounded and centered. Physically, the lower back releasing benefits of yoga are compelling enough reason to try it!