Avoiding Cliches: Teaching Authentically

Kat Heagberg of Yoga International does an excellent job of explaining the “yoga voice” or “yoga-speak” and why teachers are encouraged to minimize it:

By yoga-speak, I mean the speech patterns, habits, and clichés that we tend to fall into when trying to sound how we think a yoga teacher should sound. The trouble with yoga-speak is that it creates a barrier between teachers and students, often making us come across as perfectly polished, sing-songy yoga-robots (yobots?) instead of real, live, flesh-and-blood humans. And most of all, it prevents us from teaching as ourselves—the unique, interesting, adept, yet (charmingly) flawed teachers that we are. – Kat Heagberg

Related to the idea of being “perfectly polished” is attempting to be inauthentically “deep.” See Theresa Elliott’s comment:

The Temptation to Sound “Deep”

When I teach, I find it tempting to use words and phrases in class because they sound deep. And my using them implies I know what I am talking about. But I wonder, do I really know what these words mean? And then a more troubling question arises: does my use of buzz words like “karma”, “heart”, and “prana” really communicate meaning, or does it get in the way? I have a rule around asana that is shared by many teachers. I do not teach poses I am not intimately acquainted with. I have extended this rule to philosophical or esoteric concepts. I do not talk about the human condition, life or mystical experiences that I have not personally been through. – Theresa Elliott