The best thing about going to a yoga class is practicing with people. The energy of the room can help boost your energy and keep you engaged. Working with a teacher will inspire sequences and poses to try at home.
If you’re lucky a teacher will give you a specific correction to work on, or guide you in more challenging postures. Yet every once in a while you will be in a state of yogic bliss, totally present and one with the universe, then your teacher will say some wacky shit that almost makes you fall over.
Here are my top 8 phrases that maybe teachers can retire:
1. “Breathe into your perineum. The space between your anus and genitalia.”
This one is rivaled by, “allow your anus to blossom” which was a close second! I think anyone that goes to yoga at this point knows what a perineum is – there really is no need to describe it.
And if they don’t know and are new to yoga, you are only going to give them a visual that will undoubtedly distract them – for they WILL picture it on themselves and everyone around them. Trust me, they will learn what a perineum is on their own time.
Although I appreciate the sentiment of breathing into one’s taint, I’m not sure that is exactly what is meant. Perhaps awareness, softening, or lifting up would be a little more specific. Breathing into it makes me feel that either my ass or vagina should be breathing, which is the stuff nightmares are made of.
Nothing is less relaxing then someone telling you to relax. In fact, I would feel more relaxed if a marching band came and stood on my chest while playing When the Saints Go Marching In.
3. “Getting into the pose is not the point of yoga.”
Well…yes and no. I can’t just sit on my couch mindfully and call that yoga. Attempting the postures is yoga. For goal-oriented people, “accomplishing” a pose is a major motivator.
The truth, rather, is that there is NO PERFECT POSE – there is always something to be worked on, developed, and go further with. Even when you see a picture of Master Iyengar folded up into a fan, there are still elements he is refining that we just can't see.
4. “Now a few more breaths on the left side…mumble mumble correcting someone for 86 breaths.”
If you are an OCD person like me, symmetry is pivotal to mental sanity. When I do something on one side, I have to do it the SAME on the other side.
So it drives me batshit crazy when on the left side, a teacher starts correcting someone while I’m sustaining some super difficult posture, and they literally work with them for 100 breaths before they tell me to come out of the pose.
5. “Curve through the spine while keeping it straight.”
Sometimes teachers will make statements that are just blatantly contradicting.
6. “Picture your neck curving over a giant cloud of kittens meowing softly into a bed of dreams while licking dandelions and holding tenderly a basket of pussywillows.”
I am all for metaphor and descriptive language, but sometimes teachers can take it too far and I end up having no idea what to envision after 8 minutes of elaborate description.
7. “Lengthen through your fibularis longus, and find space in your rectus femoris.”
Knowledge of anatomy is really helpful in learning how to engage and release certain muscle groups. But sometimes teachers can get a little too technical and need to remember not all of us have our pre-med degrees.
8. “Don’t focus on anything in particular, just be present with your body.”
Okay, if I am not supposed to pay attention, should I not have even heard that you said that?! And if I didn’t hear it, how could I know to not hear it!!!??”
These are just some of the phrases that I feel yoga teachers can just go ahead and stop using now. Do you have any funny or interesting ones you want to add to the list?