Your words mean a lot Part 1- Pay attention to what you are saying

Maybe it is because I was an English major in college, or maybe because my German mother always took pride in being fluent in English and has been correcting my grammar since I started speaking, but I really think that the words you use when teaching a Yoga class matter a lot.

In teacher training, you are taught how to lead people into and out of poses. You are taught many words like “allow”, “let go”, and “melt” and how to use your voice in a soothing way to set the background for students to have a completely relaxing and mystical experience. Even passed down through the generations of Yoga teachers are phrases like “gently open your eyes” and “release into the pose” and even the typical directions like “come to a flat back” or “knees chest chin” to get down to the floor. Have you ever really listened to those words and directions? Have you ever really thought about what exactly you are trying to convey to your students? Most of these words and phrases come out of your mouth from habits well ingrained from years of Yoga classes and from a notion that Yoga teachers are supposed to be mellow and accommodating.

    Have you ever really listened to those words and directions? Have you ever really thought about what exactly you are trying to convey to your students?

The thing is…when I am taking a class that has so many of these cliché and blanket words I start to get twitchy.  Certain expressions leave me feeling like Yoga is kind of a big joke and Yoga teachers really don’t know what they are doing because they are merely regurgitating the stuff they learned in training and from other teachers. Other expressions like “starting to” or “begin to” followed by a lot of “ing” words, called gerunds make me feel like class is one big run on sentence and there are no boundaries. I know the intention of the teacher is to be kind and offer students a place to “listen to their body” but perhaps too much of that is not a good thing. Over the next few days I will share the language I think is problematic and how you can make your language powerful, effective and concise.

Zaidee Bliss