Qualities of Yoga Teachers: Thirty Day Personal Challenge – Day 21

“Being deeply learned and skilled, being well trained and using well spoken words; This is good luck.”    ~Buddha

Quality 21:  Well-Spoken

Good yoga teachers have a deep grasp of their native language and usually some understanding of Sanskrit.  They must be able to verbalize abstract ideas, poses, and anatomy.   They continually cause their students to move into properly aligned poses through mostly verbal cues.

A simple explanation of the shoulder alignment while doing Table pose:

“Spread your fingers wide and with energy press into the floor through your hands as you simultaneous lift the heads of the arm bones toward the front of the room.  Engage your lats to draw your shoulder blades downward while externally rotating the arms so that the bends of the elbows face forward.”

With the above verbal cue, students learn to fully engage their upper body while creating strength in their arms, hands, and shoulders.

Well-spoken yoga teachers are able to make very simple poses challenging for all levels of yoga students.  With a sound understanding of the principles for proper engagement and alignment, good yoga teachers articulate the “how-to” for students.  Students leave the studio feeling refreshed and revitalized but also yearning to learn more.

Well-spoken yoga teachers challenge their students with verbal cues that shed light on deeper alignment.  While instructing class, they observe where students struggle and immediately issue verbal instructions for coming into better alignment.

Good yoga teachers learn to become better speakers as their experience grows, but you may find beginning teachers who naturally possess gifts for understanding alignment and are able to translate the “how-to” in a well-spoken and meaningful way.

Have you had a teacher who was able to enlighten you, or someone who shed light on a topic that opened your eyes to seeing something in a brand new way?

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2 responses

  1. A good teacher can appropriately use a yogic metaphor, but it’s truly an artform. There are so very many bad, overused, incorrect or downright confusing yogic metaphors out there. “puffing your kidneys” is one of the worst ones out there…kidneys dont’ puff, they filter, lungs puff!!

    1. LOL – I totally know what you are saying. Yoga-speak is definitely confusing, especially for the beginner. I like to use a blend of both visual imagery and straight-forward speech seasoned with a dash of anatomy :)

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