It was a very rainy afternoon, and Sleuth was eager to escape the damp weather to take a hot yoga class, heated to a balmy 95-99 degrees, according to Prana Power’s website.
“I don’t teach like other teachers. You’ll see what I mean when we get going, ” Jason Morris told me, as I finished paying for class. “My focus is on core work and anatomical authenticity,” he continued. This piqued my curiosity.
Jason Morris hails from Essex, England, and is very chatty, with a rapid-fire, flowing way of articulating his ideas. He has an impressive background in movement and body awareness as a dancer and actor, and has studied acupuncture at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
Later, taking a seat at the front of the room, Jason explained more on what he meant by “anatomical authenticity.” He tries to give students opportunities to express themselves and explore movement, he said, always bearing in mind that we each have different body proportions and issues. So warrior one, for example, can look and feel different for each one of us.
Not messing around, Jason started us off in a series of abdominal poses including, of course, navasana. But Jason’s sequencing style is to have his students constantly moving and exploring our range. Poses were rarely held. Even in navasana we moved up and down, and twisted side to side, and in cobra we would tent the fingertips and move the spine up and down and side to side. Each time, Jason would encourage us to investigate the nooks and crannies of our bodies and observe where we might be feeling stuck or stiff.
Later, we would explore prasarita padottanasana, and Jason would encourage us to sway side to side, move up and down, and twist. Most of our standing poses from warrior one to triangle to peaceful warrior had this sense of exploration in them. Jason would also rarely call a pose by its name, but rather would demonstrate and then describe ways of moving into the pose.
Even crow looked a little bit different with Jason encouraging us to get very low to the ground, and bend our elbows so they almost touched the floor, then use our abdominals and breath to get buoyant and lift-off.
Jason also likes to give lots of variations and options. For headstand, he walked us through stages and variations, and as we wound down into seated poses, he gave us variations and options for janu sirsasana. Of course, all of this takes place in a heated room, helping to leave the body feeling more open to new ways of trying poses.
As Sleuth left class, feeling exhausted and sweaty, Jason was continuing the lesson as some students were asking him about his description of downward dog in which he suggested pulling the spine toward the crown of the head to create length. Jason, who clearly enjoys discussing alignment, had a lot to say about this. And his students get a lot to learn, in return.
—Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $22. New students can try one week of unlimited yoga at any of their five locations for $30.