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April 26, 2021 4 min read

The words you use have power. Even if it's unintentional, your words can have a profound negative impact on your yoga practice. When used consciously, words can be an incredibly positive force. Substituting high vibrational verbiage for discouraging or abrasive language can be the difference between spiritual awakening and trauma.

Today we're sharing 26 words and phrases that have no business being in your yoga practice. We'll also give you some great alternatives to replace them with so you can continue to progress on your journey to your best self!

UM/ SO/ LIKE/ HERE- These are all filler words and create an energy that comes across as being unsure. Practice removing filled space with expansive words or breath expression.

YOU KNOW- This is an assumption/ filler word/ people come to yoga to learn depth. Take this entirely out of your teaching speech.

KILL- Kill your ego... kill your self (Bikram)... my so and so is killing me..... Remove any language that indicates the word kill in it. Not only is it a low vibrational word, but it is also a manifesting word that allows dis-ease in those around you and yourself.

SHOULD/ NEED- These are judgment words. Avoid "You should feel this, or you need to feel that." Replace these phrases through explorative speech such as "You may begin to feel..." or "Explore through sensation..."

ING words- Be as present with your directions as possible. Be in the now. Place vs. placing, breath vs. breathing, inhale vs. inhaling, etc...

OUR/WE/LET'S- Speak to the individual as you teach. When speaking of human characters, it is acceptable to use a collective form.

REACH- Creates space for unaligned postures and compromises the integrity of the joint. Exchange this phrase for words like extend, lift, float, enhance, expand, lengthen, contract and press.

GUNNA- Truly, let go of this word while you're teaching.

Want even more yoga language tips? Try our Yoga Teacher Training Module on Effective Language In Asana, totally free!

YOU/YOU'LL WANNA- Exchange for create, explore, invite.

GOING TO- Swap for create, advance, open, step into, explore

COMING INTO- can become redundant and out of the present tense. Instead, use come to, expand, advance, create depth, or a simple direction.

SPREAD- This is a trauma word and can be anxiety inducing. You can spread love, joy, happiness. All other body parts replace this word with extend, outward, expand, lengthen to, widen, and place apart from.

TOUCH YOURSELF- This is a trauma/trigger phrase. Instead, use place a hand, add depth by, press your hand into.

FEEL YOURSELF- this is a trauma/trigger phrase- other options - witness yourself, experience the sensations of.

I WANT YOU TO...- This is a forceful demand. Instead, substitute for invite, explore, explore the sensation, try, invoke, create.

MAYBE- This word can be used to find exploration after you have given proper placement. Be directive, then open the door for options. Use sparingly as when used too often, it gives the effect of uncertainty.

THAT...- Ex: that leg, those hands, the foot. Personalize the practice by using your foot, your hand, etc.

WE- If it's a personalized movement, pretend that there is only one person in the room. You can say we as a collective description to the human force.

JUST- "I just teach yoga." Just is a dangerous one. Using it reduces something to trivial, insignificant. When you feel this word start to come up, use it as a powerful reminder to declare boldly and with pride.

Want even more yoga language tips? Try our Yoga Teacher Training Module on Effective Language In Asana, totally free!

DON'T- The phrase "I don't" is an affirmation of your determination and willpower. When using don't, you can choose that for your personal power and will when making decisions and directions for yourself, to write or use in speech to others. "Don't" gives the same effect as "should." It is a judgment. Create an invitation to more instead of don't do this or don't do that.

BUT- Leave this out of your teaching verbiage altogether. This is the number one stagnant word of the English language and devalues anything you stated before the placement. Exchange for however, furthermore, etc.

CAN'T- Same as with "never." Every time we say can't, it's a declaration that whatever it is we aren't yet able to do is ultimately out of reach. The truth is, how do we know? Tell yourself you can, always. And keep practicing until you get it.

WRONG (OR RIGHT)- If you're breathing, focusing, and staying fully present, you're doing yoga. Obsessing over doing Warrior Two "right" implies there's only one way to do it. Fact is, none of us look the same in Warrior Two, and even the same person may look different on any given day. Every yogi is unique, bringing to the practice his/her own genetic code and fascinating yoga journey.

PERFECT- Coming to yoga class allows you to fail (first attempt in learning), to be imperfect, with no repercussions. Our practices grow stronger by playing on the edge of our limits, falling out of poses, and letting out our emotions. Perfection doesn't belong on the yoga mat or in life, and no one is perfect. We practice every day to serve the self to serve others.

FIGHT- Fight or flight is part of life. Using the word fight in life allows "fight" to manifest.

F#!$?%!*- Cursing is a direct route into frustration and even anger. Notice what happens to your heart rate, your breath, and your jaw when you inwardly curse. Even if you aren't cursing aloud, the yogi next to you will surely feel the negative energy. So flip it around and choose love.

How about you? Do you avoid these words during your yoga practice? Bring your attention to the words you use in your next yoga practice and see what words come up for you. We encourage you to seek out more loving, supportive alternatives to complement your practice.

Want even more yoga language tips? Try our Yoga Teacher Training Module on Effective Language In Asana, totally free!

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