“An overwhelming fear of public speaking almost stopped me from becoming a yoga teacher. At one point, I attended several teacher trainings and I could never bring myself to volunteer, stand in front of the group, and deliver a few instructions.
I was close to despair. And then, on a whim, I decided to make a set of āsana flashcards. I got index cards, wrote the posture name on one side and the basic verbal commands for doing the pose on the other side. I quizzed myself and spoke the commands out loud as though delivering instructions to students in a class. And this odd little device gave me surprisingly effective results. I grew confident in my knowledge of yoga and eventually summoned courage to share with others.
These verbal cues are a lot like the original ones I created but also represent a crystallization of nearly 30 years of passionate teaching. I hope you find them easy to use, technically precise, and poetically inspiring! May you learn to articulate the verbal cues, use them to teach your students how to strike the immovable spot in each pose, and know the great āsana technology that helps each yogī realize their intrinsic essence as a spiritual Seer.”
– David Garrigues
— Better understand how to deliver verbal commands and become more effective teaching the poses of the Primary Series.
— Gain expertise in voicing biomechanical alignment principles.
— Help students clarify worthy goal(s) for doing each pose.
— Teach students to activate the whole body, get every tiniest part involved in what they are doing.
— Develop skill in troubleshooting poses and help students lessen or eliminate pain.
— Help students get more control over building strength and creating flexibility.
— Help students better understand what Bandhas are and how to activate them.
— Help students to practice the inner limbs of yoga–dhāraṇā (concentration), dhyāna (meditation), samādhi (absorption).
— Strike down through your hands and firmly brace your arms.
— Imagine your arms and legs are dense and compact; ready for action like loaded springs.
— Strike Samasthitiḥ; align your head, torso, pelvis, and legs into an unbreakable horizontal stick.
— Pull up your navel and strengthen your center.
— Activate the “Big 4” muscle groups that surround your center: hamstrings, quadriceps, buttocks, and abdomen.
— Widen your back ribs and suck your front ribs up towards the spine; lift the top of your sternum and widen your collarbones.
— Hover your firm body just above the earth; focus your gaze forward with steely determination.
— Kick up strongly with your right leg while at the same time bowing forward.
— Lift your right leg up to meet your body rather than forcing your head down to meet your leg.
— Vigorously pull up with your right arm to help lift up your right leg.
— Stamp your left foot down and ground your left thigh.
— Stabilize your pelvis; hold firm to the axis, avoid shifting your pelvis back as you bow forward and lift your leg.
— Gaze forward with focus and determination.
— Engage yourself entirely in the challenging task; purify and grow strong.
— Reach up through your legs in a gesture of brilliant extension and pull down firmly on your feet with your hands.
— Lift up your chest, navel, and draw your torso closer to your strong, unmoving legs.
— Plant your forehead onto your shins; bend your elbows out to the sides and brace your arms.
— Shift forward towards your sitting bones and create a super stable position on the edge of imbalance.
— Gaze along your shins or up towards your feet.
— Allow this super charged version of Paścimattānāsana to teach you that dynamism transforms the dross of inertia into the gold of awakened consciousness.