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The Art of Verbal Communication

Learn five essential insights that will help you refine your language and connect with your students.

By Jason Crandell

To do this successfully, delve deeply into the sensations of your body as you practice, and describe what you are feeling. One day when I was practicing Ustrasana (Camel Pose), I thought, "It feels like my lungs are full of helium today—like that lead balloon that I sometimes feel in the pose is gone." So, as I teach backbends, I'll often ask students to float their chests as if they have helium in their lungs. And, much to my pleasure, it actually works—people's chests will vault and float spaciously.

To contextualize these five steps, think about your exploration of Downward-Dog for a moment. When you were a beginner, you probably struggled just to do the pose, let alone make subtle refinements. Then, as you practiced, you developed a deeper understanding of the posture's essence and it became more satisfying and interesting. The process of developing your language skills as a teacher is similar. As you practice these steps and develop your ability to effectively communicate with your students, you'll find that you are teaching with greater depth and ease. In the process, you'll help touch your students and support their growth by conveying the essence of your teaching with clarity and grace.

Jason Crandell is the yoga director at the San Francisco Bay Club, a regular presenter at Yoga Journal conferences, and staff instructor at Yoga Journal magazine. He is Yoga Journal's "Basics" columnist and has been featured in Natural Health, Yoga for Everybody, 7x7, and San Francisco Magazine.

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Reader Comments


A very good approach of the subject!
And some of the tips are very usefull for me!

Om Shanti.


Just bring yourself into the present moment......meditate before your class and "stay there" it comes naturally and the class will feeeeeel it! Teaching students to be present needs to come from a present voice.....
I like to think that teaching Yoga isnt a job but a sharing of your life (style)


As a new instructor I am learning the art of verbalizing what I have been practicing for many years... But I am struggling to find the right words/phrases that are descriptive and detailed as well as poetic enough to portray the essence of the pose. Is there a source you can suggest where I can read/watch to build up my "teaching language" to get me started?

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