Yesterday I dashed off a FB post. Originally I’d intended to jot down a couple of instructions I no longer use in my teaching. As I composed the post, it generated into a list. That list inspired such a long thread and interesting conversation, I thought to share it here.
When I dashed off that list I didn’t take the time to create context, so I’d like to set at least a bit here. These are instructions that I personally no longer use in my own practice, or in my teaching. I don’t think you’re a bad teacher if you use these cues. I’m SUPER NOT INTO the whole shade-throwing, shame inducing tenor that I think the conversation about yoga alignment has taken in our current milieu. I know wonderful yoga teachers who use cues that I don’t use, and who don’t use cues that I love.
Nothing is carved in stone. It’s great to have a spectrum of tools in our toolboxes. There are no one-size-fits-all instructions. When working with real humans, with real differences, IT ALWAYS DEPENDS.
In this past year, I’ve observed myself feeling triggered and defensive by articles that seem to aggressively fault-find and nit pick yoga teachers. That’s not my goal here. Nothing about this post is a reflection on anyone’s value as a teacher, or as a human.
I could explain why I have discarded each of these instructions, but it would be a long-ass post, and I only have a few minutes this morning. I’m going to rely on generating interesting conversation in the comments rather than detailing each item in the body of this post. Feel free to comment with questions; I’ll try to answer them when I can.
What instructions have YOU originated, discarded, deepened or evolved in your practice or teaching?
15 Instructions I No Longer Use:
1. “Press into the 4 corners of your feet.”
2. “Lift your toes.”
3. “Draw strength from your feet up into the core of your pelvis.”
4. “Hug your leg muscles in toward the bones.”
5. “Rotate your sit bones in, back and apart.”
6. “Blossom your butt.” (Okay, I never used that one to begin with.)
7. “Scoop your tailbone.”
8. “Draw your front hip under/ Externally rotate your front hip.”
9. “Puff your kidneys.”
10. “Lift your sternum/ Lift your heart.”
11. “Melt your heart.”
12. “Draw your shoulder blades more firmly onto your back/ Squeeze your shoulder blades toward one another.”
13. “Plug your arm bone in,” in poses that don’t bear weight on the upper body.
14. “Move your shoulders back,” in poses that don’t bear weight on the upper body.
15. “Open to grace.”
Cues That Feel Great in My Body and That I Currently Love to Use in My Teaching:
1. “Try lowering your toes so you can relax your feet and better engage your abdominals.”
2. “Consciously set the 3 corners of your feet upon the earth.”
3. “Keep your front heel heavy and pay attention to what you feel in your hip.”
4. “Turn your kneecaps to face in the same direction as your toes, then tone your inner thighs.”
5. “Press more into the inner edge of your back foot and observe the response in your hip.”
6. “Tone your pelvic floor.”
7. “Tone your abdomen.”
8. “Lower your front ribs as a way of engaging your core for support and decompressing your back.”
9. “Let your sternum drape down.”
10. “Imagine your arms are rooted in your low back.”
11. “Let your shoulders simply drape.”
12. “Lift up the back of your head and feel the length of the back of your neck.”
Did you enjoy this article?
Sign up and stay in the loop with my latest posts and info!