Yoga Cues to Have a Second Look At

1. “Engage your core (or glutes) to protect your lower back.”

This is another thing that’s often said in a yoga class as a sort of absolute truth that I think is, at its very best, a helpful relative truth, a guide towards something, not a something unto itself.

In this case, it begs the question, for me, protect from what? (Again, I get how it can be a helpful cue. I also think it can easily lead towards a sort of alignment / tone / thinking rigidity that has lots of people trying to set up a home in the middle of a river. It doesn’t work that way; you’ll be disappointed every time.)

Here’s my whole list, when I sat down and jotted the ones that came to mind:

2. “Put your shoulders on your back.” (Or “rounding your shoulders is bad.”)

3. “Hip openers are hard on the knees.”

4. The thinking that if you have tender knees, that’s just the way it is and you should keep doing the same poses but just put padding under your knees. I’m not saying endure unnecessary pain, I’m saying let’s look at that pain with the same kind of rigor that we look at, say, tight hamstrings. Something can likely be done, but it’ll feel like a backwards step to the One Used to Doing Poses a Certain Way.

( ^ same goes for always using knee pads in Contact Improv.)

5. The whole squeezed butt, retracted scapulae, supinated forearms in tadasana (mountain pose) thing. I totally don’t get it. (Willing to learn if someone has a compelling case!) But I think, man, if we’re emulating a mountain here, mountains sure don’t have to work so hard to be mountains. They stand with regality and ease.

6. The cue “start to ______ (listen to your breath, feel your body, whatever).” The teacher has no idea if you’re already doing this or not. So maybe it’s a start, maybe it’s a continuation.

7. And I wrote a whole thing about this one a week ago: “putting your knee past your ankle is bad for your knee.” (Maybe in some cases, but definitely not an absolute truth.)

Okay friends, there’s all that. If one or more of these sparks something for you: wonderful! If you want to share an idea back with me on one or more of these, for real, please do.

I am always learning, modifying what I’m thinking, and overall trying to be less of a grump-ass in my own mind in the back of a class and just enjoy what’s being presented!

I think getting this list out helps me with that ;) Love, LB