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General Cues for Yoga Teachers to Keep Students In the Moment

by Marianne Navada
Yoga cues teachers can use for most poses.

Verbal cues keep yoga practitioners engaged. If you’re a yoga teacher, you know how it goes. You don’t want to overwhelm your students with cues and details about anatomy. But you also want them to stay focused and be in the moment. Sometimes, silence is good, but at times, they can tune out without a teacher’s gentle reminders. You don’t want to tell stories while students are shaking in boat pose, waiting for you to count faster. For those moments, when you want students to know you’re there with them, but don’t want to overwhelm, here are general cues to keep students engaged.

I curated these 10 cues from some of my favorite teachers over the last 23 years of practice, both in yoga studios and online and some I say to myself in my home practice. These words resonate with me and help me get the second gear or put me back in yoga mode when I find myself checking out. 

Yoga Cues

  1. Notice where you can find length in this pose. Find a bit more extension and space to breathe. 
  2. Are you present in this pose? If you find your mind wandering, focus on the breathe. Listen to your inhales and exhales.
  3. Use the last 3 breathes to find more depth in this pose. Where can you give a bit more and where can you release. 
  4. Where is your gaze? Try focusing your gaze on a specific point. Allow your eyes to ground you in this pose. 
  5. Lift up the corners of the mouth. There! We added a smile to this pose. 
  6. Observe how the breath feels. Is there room for the breath to expand?
  7. Briefly close the eyes and then open them again. See if you can find a different sensation in this pose, a fresh perspective. 
  8. Pay attention to where the body feels ease and where you’re feeling resistance. Consciously direct the breath to the spots that you want to soften. See what happens.
  9. Aim for consistent effort in this pose. There’s no need to do the maximum, just feeling and knowing that your body is finding space is enough. Give yourself grace.
  10. Soften the gaze. Relax the face. Notice how the whole body might find more peace in the pose, when the face calms down. 

I hope you find this useful. Practice more. Stress less. Join the lifdb newsletter for everything yoga and commitment to living:

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