My latest article on MindBodyGreen:
If you’re lucky, you’ve never heard a yoga teacher say anything awkward or hurtful while leading a yoga class. But the truth is, sometimes we do say silly things. Some of us may cringe when we think back to when we said something like one of the below no-nos while teaching (it happens to the best of us).
That’s why I’ve compiled a few in order for you to be more mindful of the phrases and topics that may cause your students to feel uncomfortable. Just because you’re a teacher doesn’t mean you have to stop learning!
1. Introducing the class with personal problems.
Example: “The class theme today will be letting go, something I’ve been working on this week after breaking up with my boyfriend.” Teaching isn’t about you; it’s about your students. Don’t dump your problems on yoga participants when you’re teaching. Be inspired by life lessons, but keep the drama for your mama.
2. “Let’s work off our holiday belly fat: 20 more crunches!”
Yoga isn’t simply about having a nice ass. Let’s not perpetuate body image issues.
3. “Who is menstruating today? (waiting for a show hands) … please take a modified pose, you should never invert while you’re on your period.”
Offer up a restorative pose for anyone in the room that doesn’t want to invert, don’t make women announce to a group of strangers that they’re riding the crimson wave.
4. Suck your belly in.
There are a lot of ways to say, “Engage your core.” Hopefully, as yoga teachers, we can find a better way to describe activating our center than using cues like this one. Also, it’s important to remind students when they can relax their core.
5. Pointing out someone’s inflexibility, lack of strength/endurance, or inability to do a pose, in front of the whole class.
This happened to me in a master class with a “master teacher.” Don’t make people feel bad about themselves when they’re on their yoga mat. Ever.