Written by: Brittany Greer
I think one of my favorite aspects of being a yoga instructor is how you choose your words. Really, I guess choosing your words in any life situation shows experience, wisdom, knowledge, personality, humor, etc. It is extremely important to effectively communicate what you’re trying to get people to do when it comes to yoga. It can change the entire class experience
Many of my favorite instructors use their words in such beautiful and eloquent ways. Aside from really knowing their alignment cues and transitions, they also get really crafty with HOW they say things. Instead of “put your right hand on the mat” it could sound like “sweetly float your right hand softly towards your mat” and it totally changes the energy with which you do the thing you’re doing. It’s almost like listening to poetry or creative writing. I, however, am not and have never been a wordsmith. What I am good at is fumbling around my words, being awkward, and losing my train of thought….and subsequently making people laugh.
Recently I was teaching a large group of yogis at a monthly event called Austin Yoga Meetup. Everything was going well; swimmingly in fact, until Tree pose. Often times many students will come out of and back into Tree pose while trying to steady their balance. I’ve heard and used the expression “sometimes trees sway in the breeze” when relating the swaying bodies to actual trees. In an attempt to make the expression more personalized, I chose to follow it up with “That’s what my mom used to say” when, in fact, she has never once said that to me in my life. Upon realizing what I had just done (lied), I couldn’t help but come clean. “She actually has never said that,” I admitted, which was greeted with full belly laughs and lots of trees swaying in the breeze because of the giggles. It was such a humbling moment…and such a fun community moment, and most of all—-a human moment.
Often times I think most of us tend to find particular teachers we love and elevate them on this pedestal. They become more of an ultra-enlightened, magnificent yoga guru helping us explore our bodies and minds in class, but we sometimes forget that they’re just as human as we are.
Although we are great at many elements of yoga, we are still just human beings doing our best and continuously learning. We put our yoga pants on one leg at a time. We fumble our words. We lose our balance. We forget things. But at the end of the day, I think we all just want to feel good and help each other feel good. Whether it’s through a good stretch, or a good laugh, if you’re feeling good, then…..that’s yoga.