Yoga Phrases that Befuddle & Bewilder

Poll time! What’s your pet peeve yoga-ism? Some phrase you’ve heard in yoga class that makes you go “Huh? Are you Kidding?” And of course they aren’t – that’s the funniest part 🙂

Have you been asked to “Bloom your sitting bones” and thought you’d rather Bloomin bloom bloom, if you only knew what it meant?

Leave your favorite – or least fave! – yoga-ism in the comments below and I’ll do my best to de-mystify or at least de-sanctify it! Sometimes, we just need to take it all a little less seriously, so we can get on with the parts that really matter.

8 thoughts on “Yoga Phrases that Befuddle & Bewilder

  1. I’m lucky.. my teacher was an English Lit major for her undergrad… She doesn’t say half-arsed things like that. As for me, I’m still working on a way to talk about chakras that doesn’t make me want to hurl.

    • I think its one of the hardest edges to manage in learning to teach, at least for me! To use descriptive, colorful, imaginative language that actually communicates. I find myself going back over & over to anatomy and simplicity. Chakras… ahhh. I usually refer to their effects or functions, say the kinds of feelings that tend to originate or get stuck there, or the physiological processes with which they’re associated. & then I just ask people to see what resonates with them, because whatever is true really will show up for them whether I point it out or not. When we use bija mantra chanting, I’ll sometimes ask the students where they feel the sounds they’re making. Love to hear what you’re doing with chakra reference, too!

  2. I’m still uncomfortable with chakras, because I know I don’t understand them. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around are they “merely” the language of metaphor or are they “real”? Or, given that it’s yoga, more than likely, both. It’s just so foreign to my mental view that I am dancing around it. I had to bring it up in class last week so I just threw myself to the mercy of the class and confessed in the first breath that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not entirely comfortable with it, and I’m still working through it. One of my students after class said “I’m glad you just said you don’t fully get it because it doesn’t make me feel like a dummy.” Who’d a-thunk that satya works in the classroom too??!!

  3. bandas – last i looked, i do not have a body part called a banda.

    also, “breathe into (whatever body part) – I don’t know about anyone else, but the only thing I can breathe into is my respiratory system.

  4. Patti, I love your examples! Precision in language really helps us to identify the corresponding sensations and feelings when following instruction.
    Ask your teacher next time to describe the bandhas: they actually correspond to connective tissue in the body. Mulabandha is the pelvic floor, uddiyana is the compression of all the abdominal muscles in toward the spine & up towards the diaphragm, and jalandara involves muscles that control the glottal opening and secure to the hyoid bone. If you’re an anatomy stickler, you’ll want to look these up and practice actually feeling them in your practice.

    As for breathing into (fill in the blank), again, ask your teacher what specific actions he wants you to take or feelings he wants you to feel. So many times we use sloppy metaphorical language because we’re trying to teach our students to sense their bodies and their experiences in a new way – maybe even sense a part of their anatomy that until now has eluded awareness!

    I avoid “breathe into your belly” specifically because free air in the belly is a bad sign! But, when a teacher says this, she usually wants you to relax the transverse abdominus & pelvic floor on the inbreath. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system & induces the ‘relaxation response,’ slowing the heart, dilating the vasculature.

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