What happens when an English teacher becomes a yoga teacher? I can tell you from experience that they (me) instead of being in the practice they just take mental notes of the weird things that yoga teachers say. In an effort to clean up the language of yoga I would like to highlight some of the more common things I hear in the yoga class.
Roll up through each of your vertebrae: Wait…. do I have more than one? Cool! I must have grown another set from all that yoga. If I really concentrate I can feel each of them now. I think I have 3. Super. Yoga really does work. Try roll up through your vertebrae or articulate each of your vertebra.
Breathe: Oh right, gosh that’s useful. I came into the class and remember taking a few breaths at the beginning luckily your reminded me again. I could have died, good teacher, I feel safe.
Breeeeeeeethe. Since when did that word suddenly develop so many vowels?
Breathe into your finger tips: What? I’m going to secretly ignore that. I’m sure the teacher won’t notice if I just quietly breathe into the tips of my lungs instead.
Just: As in, just stand on your head. You know when you say ‘just’ it really does make it a lot easier. How about ‘just relax’. Go on, do it now.
Sparkle out through your fingertips: OK good idea. Also while I’m doing that I’ll try to electrocute myself through my toenails.
‘-ing verb forms: As in coming down to the floor, moving over to your left, lifting your sparkling fingers to the sky, breathing into your heart space. The continuous form of the verb is for actions that are happening in the now. If we are giving instructions we should use the imperative form of the verb; move, lift, sparkle, breathe. Here is an example to highlight it. If you are having dinner with your friends do you say, passing the salt to me. moving to the next chair so I can sit down, shutting up so you can hear what I have to say? Sure we should be in the present when we are doing yoga but not in a grammatical sense.
Allow: Allow yourself to be open to this practice. Oh goody.This teacher is a softy. I can be my own boss and allow myself to do things without a permission slip. While I’m there I might allow myself to drink more wine and eat more chocolate and watch TV shows all night. Feels good to finally be in charge of this practice. I wonder if I could allow the person next to me to get a bit closer?
Sanskrit: Using a foreign language to a bunch of students who don’t know the words is not helpful and doesn’t make you sound like you are a better teacher. It is a way to disconnect with students who don’t know the words. Bungling your sanskrit words is even more criminal. Try English or a combo of both. It really is OK to say pigeon pose instead of eka pada raja kapotonasana.
Open into your heart space: The only people who should say this are heart surgeons. They would probably be a bit more blunt as well. Crack all the bones in your sternum and separate your rib cage. There that should do it.
And no, I can’t do any of the following either;
melt my heart
shine out from my heart or collar bones
widen my sit bones
puff out my kidneys
dump the contents of my head onto the mat
paint the sky like a rainbow
acknowledge my pain
honor where I am at
spread my camel toes or tighten my anus ( although I wish I could because it sounds handy especially in an apocalypse)