Jason Anderson, ex-professional basketball player, got his 500 hours certificate and became a yoga trainer, teaching for his followers and upcoming instructors. Now, as he changed a basketball field for a yoga mat, Jason is following the ‘Keep it simple’ way of living and practising yoga. His Vinyasa flows serene yet aggressive, strong yet tranquil, in motion yet graceful, mixing the will for competition and meditative mind. Jason is sharing with us how yoga came into his life in the interview below.
You were a basketball player at the past. Tell us please about your sport career and how did you come into yoga?
I was a professional basketball player. And I got injured. Many people advised me to try yoga. So I found a studio and I started practicing. And what I realised that yoga was more than a physical thing, it influenced spiritually. I start practicing twice a day. And it changed a lot inside me.
I started playing basketball when I was 7 years old. And the idea of competition and desire to win was deep inside my habits. I competed with other players. But when I got a familiar and yogic approach, I understood that the real competitor is inside me. I felt like the most important is to deal with what is going inside of me. And I became able to observe what the ego is about.
What is the yoga style you are teaching about?
When I practice, I pay a lot of attention to breathing. It is vinyasa style. It is a combination of finesse and power. Playing basketball, I was used to rhythm, it is a very rhythmic sport. But yoga is about moving slow, about fluidity, not about forcing yourself.
I am teaching yoga mostly to professional sportsmen these days. And my approach incorporates two ideas: playing sports, you can mentally do yoga, and doing yoga, you can play on the mat, competing with yourself. The mat is a playfield and you act, move and play to win the Ego. This is how I am trying to help my students to separate from the idea of external competitors. And this is where breath is quite useful.
People who got this feeling of yogic state use it in their professional sport out of the yoga mat.
How does yoga practice influence the players? Does yogic state of mind help their success and victories?
One of the important parts of success in sports is to have a strong, and healthy body. In fact you should be superfit. Here yoga works great. And despite the game is emotional, if you are not overreacting and keep some peace inside it helps you to see the situation clearly and your actions lead to better results in the game.
There is a phrase on your website “I instruct conceptual practices combining power and finesse that urge you to evacuate that which does not serve so that in clarity you can see, feel and realize your greatness”. From this point, do you believe that greatness is not something we should achieve, but something we can simply free up?
Yes, I believe that everyone is truly great, but this natural perfection is clouded with illusions: self-limitations, self-resistance and insecurity. These three create an umbrella of illusion in our mind. If you breath with full concentration, you can breath out the illusions of your mind, and breath in the energy of the true self, you can feel this greatness inside you.
If you follow your breath during the practice, your mind becomes much cleaner, and you can keep this state of mind, which is about greatness and freedom out of mat in your life. You can notice the influence of illusion in your life — emotions, words and actions and liberate yourself.
And this is not about sportsmen, it works great for business people, for parents, for everyone. If you remove the illusion, you get in touch with peace and greatness.
Jason will give us his yoga class on Grand Masters Stage at Avatar festival 2021.