Tuesday, September 03, 2013

yoga teachers:: we say the strangest things

A big thank you to Misty Pittman for bringing us this entertaining and enlightening blog post!
Mexico yoga teacher trainees demonstrating "root and extend" beautifully. :)

Us yoga teachers can say some really strange things during a yoga class. Swan dive, smile your collarbones, root and extend. Wha???

We love to use pretty imagery to help you get into the movement, pose, and flow, but sometimes our translations can get lost.

For newbies and experienced students alike, here’s a little guide to help you understand your teacher the next time you are in class.

Special thank you to the Barefoot Works teachers for your contribution.

Root/ground – whether you’re standing, sitting, or lying down, imagine that the part of you that is connected with your mat is feeling stable and supported. Consciously become aware of that connection and find steadiness there.

Extend/lengthen – allow the parts of your body that are lifted (spine, arms, legs) to grow long and spacious. Being mindful to stay active throughout fingers, toes, crown of head.

Breathe into the tightness, soften and release – I say this one over and over again and get asked the most questions about it. While this one is fairly simple, it is not always easy. Become aware of a part of your body that is holding tension and visualize your inhale moving into that body part. As you exhale, remain focused on that area and consciously work to let go. This is a beautiful standalone practice that you can do at home, systematically working your way through your entire body.

Julie’s favorites ::


Soften through the chest – relax, let go of tension/holding in the chest, breathe.

Draw your belly button towards your spine – engage your core.

Keep your spine long as you fold – fold from the hips, keep the shoulders pulled back, don’t cave the chest or let the head fall forward.

Meredith’s favorite ::

Smile your collarbones – pull the shoulders back and down to encourage the chest to open.

Connect to your core – engage your abdominal muscles to protect your lower back.

Meghan’s favorites ::

Squeeze your shoulders blades together behind your heart – lift the front side of your body, relax shoulders away from ears, lengthen neck.

Pull your heart through your shoulders – open the chest, take a mini backbend in the thoracic spine (mid back).

Make the pose dynamic – continue to breath deeply when holding a pose, allowing the body to flow in and out of ease and effort, lengthening and reaching, rather than becoming stagnant in your holding.

Move like you’re flowing through water – maintain grace and integrity through transitions.

Let something go – could be a physical release of tension, restless thoughts in the mind, or fear/emotional connection to a pose.

Flow – move in and out of poses using your breath to guide your timing

The next time you hear your teacher using their yoga phrases and you are not sure what they mean, don’t be afraid to ask.


Happy downward dogging!

1 comment:

Valencia Merble said...

I love these things that teachers say. I usually find that they help me visualize poses well. I don't usually find them confusing, but sometimes they make me laugh :)