Inhale....exhale....stretch...keep breathing....be mindful.... Yada. Yada. Yada.
We Yoga teachers all have the same basic vocabulary. It's part of the brainwashing process I like to refer to as 'Yoga School'. The magic happens when the words are strung together, during asana (postures), with inflection and personality. Most classes the same spiel is used and it can get very boring when you are saying pretty much the same thing over and over and over. I often wonder if my students get tired of this dribble but then I remember that it's me, not them, who has to listen to me speak at every class...
Sometimes though, true pearls fall out of mouth and I amaze myself. Those are moments I treasure during class and I'll silently tease myself that "I haven't heard that one before!" Then I wonder if I'll remember to use the new phrase again next time I'm leading that certain asana. Many times I don't.
A lot of the language is actually taught in Yoga school but a great deal of it comes out through the asana itself. It is during the times of holding a posture when I intuitively vocalize a stream of consciousness that is generated through the energy of the asana. I have studied Sanskrit and I am a firm believer in the science of it. I strongly feel that it should be used in Yoga class because much of the energy of the posture is actually in the name itself. There are a lot of teachers who don't use the Sanskrit names of postures and feel they don't need to. That's fine for a lot of people but I'm a traditionalist.
I love Sanskrit. It is a mathematical language; genius in it's development and powerful in it's vibrational frequencies. It is beautiful to look at in written form. Chanting the names of the divine in Sanskrit leads to pure bliss. Don't believe that? Check out a Krishna Das kirtan then get back to me. In fact, I can't count the times I have had a new student come up to me at the end of class and ask, "What IS that music you are playing??? I loved it!" Take one look in their glassy eyes and you'll see the power kirtan.
There are days in class when the language won't flow the way I want it. I'll be so tongue tied between English and Sanskrit that I won't know my right hand from my left leg. I can laugh at myself and it's always funnier when the students catch me before I can catch my own flub. Sometimes I get so blissed out that I'll lead them, accidentally, into a physically impossible pose. I'll realize what I've said when I see the looks on their faces trying to figure out what I just asked them to do. My regular students know my shtick, if you will, but the newbies get caught off guard when I make these gaffes. I'll catch myself and the whole class will have a laugh.
My first Yoga teacher, in all the years I studied with her, made only one verbal flub that I ever heard. This made me put so much pressure on myself when I became a teacher. I was so focused on clear speech during class that the first time I got tongue tied I almost cried. Finally I realized that I just needed to be myself regardless of the flubs and the students would just have to come to terms with my humanness.
Every now and then something slips out that isn't a flub that turns into 'Yoga Twister' but just comes out not how I intended. When you are talking about the human body this is pretty easy to do. It's during those awkward moments that I never know how to get myself out of it but just keep going and hope no one holds it against me. Such as the time during an intense asana that I announced to the students, "Now's a good time to explore your body.".....
Breathe in. Breathe out. Move on.