Words leave such a lasting impression. In a rush to make sure that everyone is safe physically through alignment and positioning, I love being reminded that the words spoken during a Yoga class are so significant. As an instructor, I often never know what my words mean or do for someone in that moment. On the occasions where I do get feedback from a student, it is hugely appreciated. I am pretty confident on how to take people safely through poses, but find myself much more focused on the transformational language and meditation scripts. I believe that both are equally important. When I am guiding a class, I know that some folks are needing the physical benefits while others are allowing my words to aid their mind. I will admit that it is beautiful to watch these two play out during a class. There is a natural beauty in watching someone connect physically or emotionally in the present moment during a class.
“Some teachers talk about the physical body in a Yoga class – the placement of the feet, the alignment of the spine, and so on. That may suit you fine, and as long as you are breathing consciously and the sequence of poses is complete with forward and back bends, side stretches, twists, and inversions, you will begin to feel better. But your recovery may be hastened by language in your Yoga class that speaks to the unconscious. Many teachers feel that the language used in class can have a direct effect on their students’ experience of releasing and going deeper in a pose.
Metaphors can speak directly to the physical and emotional bodies, circumventing the analytical mind. What would it be like to ease into a posture and, as international Yoga teacher Angela Farmer describes, to slither like a serpent, letting the inner body – the belly, the kidneys, the vital organs – initiate the movement? Or as Farmer’s partner, Victor Van Kooten, says, to “move like a snail emerging from its shell, carrying the outer body along”? Julia Mines, a Kripalu Yoga teacher, watches her students’ response to her language while they are holding a posture. “I observed that as students lengthened or twisted to ‘this body is a good one, this body is worthy of your love,’ they responded the way a flower turns toward the sunlight for sustenance.” These instructors and others believe that visual metaphors transcend the conscious mind and speak directly to the body.
I open my heart to explore the divinity inherent within my body,
I recognize that my body is the temple of the divine,
and I am not just this body but the embodied spirit itself.
During this sadhana time, my intention is to be present
in my body and in the light of consciousness.
Your body, mind and spirit will come into balance through the everyday practice of Yoga, including pranayama breathing and meditation, and your depression will lift.
BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab