Yoga Teaching 101: How Much Should a Yoga Teacher Talk During Class?

Brad Korpalski
Yoga Teaching 101: How Much Should a Yoga Teacher Talk During Class?

A consistent conversation around our dinner table centers upon this question: how much talking should a yoga teacher “do” during a yoga class?

The impetus behind this inquiry rests with a dilemma likely present for any discipline involving teacher and student; namely, how much should a student be instructed and how much should they be left to their own devices—to allow the wisdom of the practice guide the “learning”?

For purposes of clarification, the “talking” we’re waxing philosophical about concerns not only the queuing of poses, but also (and more specifically) the engagement of the “deeper lessons” of the practice—those that we experience on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual plane.

Chances are, if you’ve taken a few classes at different studios with various teachers, you’ve experienced a range of approaches to instruction.

Bare Bones Style Or Themed Teaching?

Some teachers prefer a bare bones, 3 queues into a pose and not a word more style—perhaps with an occasional reminder about breath or drishti.  Others will open class with a “theme,” a subject to focus the practice around, and then refer back to this theme throughout the practice.

Personally, I feel a preference that is mood-specific.  Sometimes, a teacher will say just the right thing, at just the right time, and will really help me move through a mental block, or will seemingly “6th sense” an emotional hang-up that I’m dealing with.

Often I like to be put into a pose, and prefer to figure the rest out on my own.

As is the case…with anything really—there isn’t a right answer.  Nonetheless, we’d like to invite you over for dinner.  Make yourself at home.  And let your opinions be heard.

How much and what kind of instruction do you prefer from your yoga teacher?