Choosing Different Types of Cues: Choosing Cues

  • Alignment cueing can be delivered in so many ways! We encourage you to consider your go-to way and work to expand your skills to speak to all learning styles.
  • Alignment may be taught with hands-on touch, demonstration or verbiage. At minimum, verbal cues can be anatomy-based, energy-based or feeling-based.
  • Anatomical cues can be highly useful and effective. And in some cases, they can cause some students to “get stuck” trying to understand and apply the cues.
  • Increasing sensitivity to internal sensation is a vital goal of asana practice. Therefore, in addition to anatomical language, guide students to accessing a feeling state. Teach them to go beyond only relying on their external senses. The primary tool to supporting students in this practice is the question, “What are you feeling?”
  • When offering alignment cues, begin with positive reinforcement.
  • In addition to self-reflection on which types of cues you use, make an effort to constantly guide students to connecting with their breath. Connecting with the breath is considered the fundamental aspect of a yoga practice and is also said to facilitate alignment.

See Also

In Addition to Anatomy, Speak to Feeling

Asking students to make subtle adjustments in the pose will help to inform them of where their body is in space. But don’t speak solely in anatomical terms; most students don’t have an extensive background in anatomy. When students hear a cue that they don’t understand, they often get stuck trying to process it. Instead of accessing the feeling body, they get stuck in the thinking mind. I often ask students to move into an asana with their eyes closed so that they can access the feeling state vs. relying on their external senses only. – Coral Brown

Guiding Students Toward Awareness of Sensations

Those of us who practice and teach yoga are like the blind men in the fable who describe the elephant in a different way depending on which part of the animal they’re touching. None of us are wrong, exactly–indeed, all of us have a firm grasp on some part of the truth. But no single teacher can wrap his or her arms around the whole practice, or perceive the whole truth within each and every student. In a sense that’s what makes yoga an exciting and dynamic art, and not a finite, fully-graspable science… The most masterful yoga teachers… [are] the ones who can speak the language of sensation most clearly and vividly. – Jonny Kest

Let the Breath Be Your Guide

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to facilitate alignment is to connect the movements of the breath to the movements within a pose. – Coral Brown