Shit Yoga Teachers Say

11:21 AM 2 Comments A+ a-


Why do yoga teachers say all the shit they do that doesn't make any sense? Most likely because they heard another teacher somewhere say it and it sounded like something they should repeat to their classes. I know I've parrotted quite a few teachers I've had since I started teaching yoga. The skill of leading a powerful yoga class doesn't come to a teacher overnight (not typically). I have had to unlearn many ambiguous cues and remove filler phrases from my speech. My teaching is definitely a work in progress. 

On my teaching journey, I took the audio recording of a powerful class another teacher had taught (with which she achieved Tier One certification with the Baptiste Institute!) and put the audio track through an online speech to text machine transcription service called Cielo24. Using Cielo24 allowed me to turn her audible words into a written document. I used this transcript to take notes on what poses we'd done, how many breaths we'd held them for and what she had said while she was leading the class. This was way before I even knew what "Journey Into Power" was.

Fast forward to 2019/2020, where Covid 19 has had the unexpected positive outcome of yoga training happening online. I've taken several workshops on theming yoga classes and using essential language when teaching. All signs point back to - listen to the words that are coming out of your mouth. I thought I could hear what I was saying as I led yoga classes. Turns out, I can't hear what I'm saying when I'm saying it.

I put a couple of my audio classes through an app called Descript. New users of Descript can transcribe up to 3 hours worth of audio recordings (which is awesome). Descript is super fast to turn audio to text, provides you with a read-a-long timeline view and does so much more than this. The accuracy of the transcription was pretty high, but I did make some minor edits to the final documents so they read more smoothly.

Turns out in a class from 3/3/2021, where I'd said the physical theme was tadasana - I used the full phrase "downward facing dog" 28 times. I also clearly have a habit of saying "so good"(26), "yes" (88) and "yeah" (20). I know exactly where I picked up saying "so good" from - I loved taking Kate Campbell's classes at Breath and Body. She'd say "so good" and it was soothing to hear her say that while I was putting forth a lot of effort, sweat running into my eyes. 

Seeing my words in writing was helpful for me to see where I can allow for more space (silence) for students to practice.

Looking back to an earlier class from 10/03/2018, it is also illuminating to see how what I say has evolved. I used to say all. the. things. all. the. time. every. time. My goodness. No wonder I didn't have enough time to hit all the sequences in Journey Into Power! To be clear, I'm not making myself right or wrong or bad or good - it is just worth noting and noticing. As Luca Richards says "weed your word garden."

If you are a yoga teacher and you haven't gone through this process of reading what you're saying. Stop right now, get an audio recording of your class and put it through Descript. See what you are saying. Why are you saying it? Does it make sense? Is it useful? Is it actionable? Can you say less? Probably.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


Write comments
May 14, 2021 at 3:16 PM delete

Wow. Thank you for letting us know about Descript! What an amazing tool for audio-video-transcript creation and editing. It will be wonderfully helpful on a project I have underway.

I am impressed, too, here and elsewhere, to learn how introspective you are about your craft and how you can keep improving it. That's an outstanding quality in a guide.

Jenn S.
October 13, 2021 at 10:00 PM delete

I appreciate your So Goods so much!