Dear Yoga Teacher: Please Never Say these 5 Things Again


I have been practicing yoga (sometimes inconsistently) for the last 10 years and while almost every class has taught me something, others have taught me certain phrases that should never leave an instructor's lips.

While most of them have given me a good chuckle, some have made me question the teacher's motives and left me shaking my head.

Though no one is perfect there are five specific, cringe-worthy phrases I have been privy to that I hope I never have to hear again.

“Today's theme is letting go, something I've been trying to learn since my boyfriend left me last week.”

Yikes! Awwwkward.

Though I feel bad for anyone who is blindsided and broken up with, this is just not something you should announce to a room full of strangers balancing on all fours.

We all know yoga is about loving your flaws and focusing on the positive aspects of life but there is simply no good reason to try and induce sympathy in your students.

Remember, yoga is not about the teacher's personal life it is about helping your students improve and move deeper into their postures and poses.

Save the commiserating for a bottle of wine with your girlfriends.

“Let's work off that holiday fat with a three minute plank!”

While yoga is one of my favorite ways to get fit, it is not about the aesthetic appeal or dropping weight quickly.

I mean, a three minute plank? Within the first 60 seconds I was shaking like a leaf, cursing my yoga teacher and resenting myself for slathering my mashed potatoes in that much gravy—pretty much the exact opposite reason of why I do yoga.

No instructor should ever aim to set any beginners up to fail. It only dissuades them from coming back and usually leaves them with negative feelings about their abilities.

Instead, focus on giving different students different options. Trust me, us holiday food fanatics will thank you for it.

“Suck your gut in!”

Bleh! Not only do I hate the word “gut” (it makes me picture an overweight, sweaty man eating chips and slugging beer in a recliner chair) but the last thing I want to be reminded of is the fact that I may or may not have a gut to suck in.

Besides, there are a plethora of ways to say “engage your core” without making us feel as though we have excess fat to draw in while quivering in Warrior Two or perpetuating any existing body image issues.

“Don't stop, V! Maintain your position!”

While I'm sure she meant it in the nicest and most motivating way, she singled me out, causing others to break their concentration, watch me lose my balance and focus on my lack of stamina.

Not exactly the kind of attention I was looking for.

Instead of announcing it to the class that one person is faltering, walk over to them and help them out.

Don't make us blush with embarrassment. The only reason our faces should be rosy is because your class is challenging, not because we just got called out.

“Who is menstruating today? Hands up! Okay, this pose is not for you, just take Child's Pose.”

I cringe and start to sweat just writing it.

I mean, who says that? Well, for starters, my old yoga instructor. All. The. Time.

And while I understand the reasoning behind it—inversions are not ideal when menstruating—it can be downright stressful to have to announce to a class full of strangers that you are surfing the crimson wave; especially when there are men present.

Alternatively, offer one or two less obvious poses that others can do instead of having to physically acknowledge Aunt Flo and single themselves out.

Phew! It felt good to get that off my chest!

What is the most embarrassing, most gave-you-goosebumps-and-made-you-wince-with-awkwardness phrase you have ever heard a yoga instructor utter? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and let's all have a good laugh.

Tagged under: funny, yoga culture