I know my body parts and I know my right from my left, so I assumed that cuing yoga poses would be a cinch. But somehow, when I get in front of a group of eager students, I’m suddenly at a complete loss. What’s that bendy thing that connects the lower arm to the upper arm? What are those wiggly things at the ends of my hands? And which leg is crossed over the other when I’m looking at a twisted mirror image? I don’t know what comes over me, but suddenly, English is a foreign language!
Of course, teaching yoga is more about love and compassion than it is about calling out the poses. But at the end of the day, you can’t have one without the other. So in teacher training, there’s equal emphasis on both the philosophy and mechanics of yoga. Communicating it all clearly, elegantly, and accurately is the challenging part.
Like everything else, it all comes down to practice. Only with practice do the jitters fade away, leaving space for the words to flow more freely and effortlessly; only with practice does the mind begin to calm long enough for the sequences to pour out with grace and eloquence. It takes time, patience, and dedication.
So next time your yoga teacher asks you to place your left head behind your right set of knees and clasp the back of your shoulder with your interlaced forearms, just smile, breathe, and take your best guess. That’s yoga!