One of the things that drives me crazy about yoga cues is when we ask people to do things without sharing the “why” behind why we are asking them to do whatever it is.
This also applies to using props.
Many people think props have to do with your skill level in yoga but really it has to do more with how to create “right action” in the pose. What is the “right action” really depends on the pose; it could be that the prop is creating leverage, or height or stability. Again, it depends on the pose itself.
Many teachers share cues and then occasionally add in, “You could use a strap here if you want.” I find that this is really lacking in detail. If I was the student, I’d wonder, “Why does the teacher want me to use the strap? What’s the point?” As teachers, integrating the use of a prop with the regular cues we give helps connect the dots for our students. Further, it’s the perfect chance to share some of the related anatomy with them.
Also, there are quite a few cues that I still hear that really don’t make sense in my opinion. One of the big ones is the use of a block under the hip in Pigeon. The block is too hard, it jams the femur into the hip socket and forces the student’s head lower than the heart, unless then know to put a block under the head. Students feel though, that they need a block because somewhere along the way, they heard that the hip of the bent knee must be touching the floor. Hogwash, I say. This is just one of those “things yoga teachers say” that really has, again, in my opinion, no basis in anatomy. The hip of that bent knee will be in flexion, thus the gluteus maximus will be in extension whether the hip touches the floor or not.
I cover all of this and more in my latest You Tube video which you can watch here.
If you’re looking for a quick review of some of the anatomy involved in the hips, shoulders and in backbends, download my 3-pack of anatomy below:
If you’re a teacher and you want a quick guide to creating yoga sequences, download my free template here:
Thanks for reading!