I remember the days of my first yoga teacher training, studying and memorizing the right words to say to get a group of people to experience a certain yoga pose: “cues” as they’re called in movement teaching. There was a part of me that so enjoyed hearing them, just as I enjoyed reciting them. Maybe it was the to-do list part of me that enjoyed feeling the success of each small feat… “place your feet at 30 degrees.” Done. “Bend your knee on top of your ankle.” Done! Even if I couldn’t completely perform a yoga pose, I could at least turn my feet in…and that always felt like success. It’s a beautiful system of instructing a group and it does offer the feeling of fulfillment in a way that relaxes that thinking part of the brain. By having a teacher instruct the recipe for the yoga pose, you are just being guided in every step of the way. What a wonderful experience!
However, in my first few years teaching, I realized that one cue does not fit all, as we’re luckily realizing in our yoga world where now-finally-adaptive-options-exist. I also started to realize that once you teach groups of people twice a week for many years, there comes quickly a need to replenish and rejuvenate cueing/instruction. I sought out other yoga trainings and learned new words and new ways to tell people how to build their asanas and that helped for a while.
Honestly, I miss those days. I miss the feeling of just saying “turn your feet like this,” or “reach your arms like that.” It was so much easier to learn words than to seek for meaning behind them.