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 language of yoga teachers creates a unique reality.
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.
Conversely, the name of the plant “Scotch Broom” doesn’t tell you as much. Maybe it came from Scotland? Though I do see how it could be used as a broom.
As students of yoga, we can be thoughtful about the words we speak and the effect they have; even more so when using the language of yoga teachers. This can be a little daunting for newer instructors.
This is certainly understandable and very common. In the beginning, teacher training students struggle to translate their own thoughts and words into a corresponding response in someone else’s body. They may know what they mean but it does not always register for the one who hears them.
Clear communication is the difference between
saying the “right words” and being heard and understood.
With time the aspiring student learns to use the language of yoga teachers more effectively. They learn to communicate not only the basic instructions about how to get into and out of a posture but they learn to do so with grace and poise.
They come to read the expression on people’s faces with greater clarity, observe bodily posture, and interpret subtle cues in how students breathe. All of which inform their spoken instructions
Ultimately, the job of a yoga teacher is to invoke an experience inside of the student. They can guide them to recognize deeper parts of themselves not only through the techniques but also through the thoughtful use of language. The words we speak awaken a particular reality.