What is the best language to teach yoga? As yoga teachers, what we say and the manner in which we say it invokes a quality of attention and actionable instruction. This pertains to all forms of communication in general and culture at large.
Encoded within a language is a unique history, set of values and cosmology. For indigenous tribes of the North West their names for a particular plant indicates: what it looks like, the season it grows in, where it is typically found, if it is edible or not, and possible medicinal properties. The name may also carry mythological significance, which unpacks yet more layers of significance.
The words we use and the associations attached to those words tell unique stories. How we use words and language communicates a particular relatedness and brings forth certain possibilities; ranging from confusion to revelation. The spirit of a yoga class rides upon the words you speak.
The spirit of a yoga class you teach rides upon the words you speak.
Of course there are other non-verbal means of communication that also convey a great deal. I look at the model of Baba Hari Dass. He set a powerful example by his actions–and accomplished many great things–all without speaking. He did convey his thoughts on a chalkboard and imparted volumes in a few terse words. Such was his mastery of language, communication, and himself.
He know an unspoken language to teach yoga.
As students of yoga, we can be thoughtful about the words we speak and the effect they have; even more so as a teacher who inspires us to lead a room. This can be a little daunting for new teachers; and we go over this in great detail in our yoga teacher training. Clear communication is the difference between saying the “right words” and being understood and heard.