Ridiculous Things Yoga Teachers Say

2011/12/27 § 9 Comments

Since I’m going to be teaching quite a bit more regularly in the next coming weeks, I’ve started preparing a bit for my classes ahead of time, because I’m both a chronic procrastinator, and someone who dislikes being unprepared (what a great combination that is!), and I don’t want to say anything ridiculous. One of the ways I’ve best found to prepare, and avoid saying stupid things, is to write notes clarifying what I want to say, and reading them out loud, which probably sounds like overkill, but its helpful.

Yoga teachers say a lot of ridiculous things. Trust me.

I was scared of going to anusara classes for awhile, because after the first class, the teacher said both, “flower your buttocks”, and “let your anus blossom”. I’m still not 100% sure what either instruction ,means, but they both horrify me, and sound like something from a really bad porn film, rather than a yoga class. Try not laughing when someone tells you, in a really happy voice, to “let your anus blossom”. I dare you. As you can probably, correctly, assume, I’m not really a “flowery, rainbow, hearts and sun-rays”, kind of person…

Despite all the preparation, I sometimes use silly instructions when I teach, too, like “find your breath”, and “return to your breath”, as if you lost it in the first place. I guess the nice thing about Swedish is that for some reason, ridiculous instructions sound even more ridiculous than they do in English, so you don’t often hear them.  About 80% of the time I go to an English-language class, I have a hard time holding back my laughter. Some of my favourite, ridiculous instructions over the years have been:

- “flower your buttocks”

- “let your anus blossom”

- “melt your heart”

- “brighten your chest/heart”

- “shine your collarbones”

- “imagine your thighbones are rainbows, spiraling outwards”

- “puff your kidneys”

- something about “blossoming your perineum”

They are a lot of flowers blooming around the asshole-area…
I mean, fuck, its no wonder some people head to the hills when they find out you’re a yoga teacher. The problem with those instructions are they’re ridiculous, and they’re not clear. I can’t even say, with 100% certainty, what the teacher is asking for. I can assume, but I don’t know for sure. “Melt your heart” usually means to draw your shoulderblades together, but I’ve heard it so many times in contexts where its impossible to draw your shoulderblades together, I’m not even sure if the teacher knows what they’re instructing…

How many people find these kinds of instructions useful? Surely someone must if they’re so prevalent. I never went back to the teacher who told me to “flower my buttocks”, mostly because when I pay to go to a yoga class, I want to, clearly, know what I’m supposed to be doing. I want to assume the same thing for my students – the clearer I am in projecting what I want them to do, the more likely they are to come to my next class. Am I wrong in that assumption?

If I ever start talking in terms of flowery metaphors, or applying verbs that don’t clearly project what a body part is supposed to do, can someone please, please shake me?

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