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Do American Yoga Teachers Need to Stop Talking So Much?

in YD News

little-miss-chatterbox-yogaIt may be because they love telling stories, or making oodles of verbal adjustments or hearing themselves speak yogic poetry, but some yoga teachers just don’t know when to shut up! At least that’s what Oregon Sports News contributor Lauren Maslen thinks and she isn’t shy to share it:

Yoga is my quiet time. Rather than laying comatose in bed with a package of Oreos and the complete series of 30 Rock on Netflix, I attend yoga class to decompress. My practice is a time for me to feel good about myself, my abilities, and to push my physical body just past the limit I usually think possible.


As both an English teacher and a devoted yoga practitioner, I find it easy to get caught up in language. My meditative asana time isn’t really set aside for me to hear your personal opinions about my ego or how I should let go of judgment, dear yoga teacher;  it’s finally a time during my day when I don’t have to lend a friendly listening ear, so please, just shut up.

The writer/yogi spent time living abroad in South Korea and is trying to readjust to her mother-lovin’ chatterbox of a country.

Korean Yoga Teacher: “It is cold today.”

Me: Yes, yes it is.


American Yoga Teacher: “I was watching squirrels play this morning. Be like the squirrel! Play! Smile!”

Me: It’s hot as Hell in here and I’m sweating my face off, dude. Don’t tell me to play like a squirrel.

Are they talking too much, or just doing too much crazy talk? Surely, though, she’s not alone in this. So we thought we’d put it a poll.


Maslen also added that she may need a little “me time” when a certain song in the playlist comes on, which brings up a whole other boatload of discussions around playlists and the good, bad and ugly of music during yoga class that has been played out like a broken record, and yet is still very relevant.

So when a song comes on during class that reminds me of an ex-boyfriend, I may need to stifle the urge to punch the teacher in the face.

American yoga teachers, are you talking over the best parts of the songs?? Tsk tsk.

Guy yoga teachers this goes for you, too. And you both should seriously consider taking off your shoes.





22 comments… add one
  • Twisted Yoga Sister

    YES!!!! Stop talking during savasana!! I can get there myself!! For the love of Shiva, Stop Talking During Savasana!

    • Amanda

      Really? I love hearing my teacher say “you are not this body, you are not this mind. Relax, relax, relax.” I find it reassuring andit keeps my mind from wandering.

  • Your mom

    Could do without music.

  • Frank

    I’ve never understood music DURING class. Seems like a good way to distract from the teaching, which should be the focus. I’m on the fence, my teacher speaks almost continuously throughout class, and he’s teaching me and my fellow teacher trainees to do the same, but I can see the usefulness of shutting up on occasion.

  • Music is good for almost everything, but when during yoga, I prefer no music. I also agree with Twisted, no talking when you try to meditate.

  • Yoga is about tuning in reaching innerspace and openings, to go beyond the mind and its concepts. Inner silence is where transformation happens. Talking too much for me implies fear fear of silence, fear of transformation 🙂

  • francesca

    isn’t it about finding the right teacher for you though? i mean, some students may like the verbal cues and some hate it. i go back and forth on it, but i have certain teachers i go to for certain moods.

  • Katrina

    I just prefer verbal instruction for the asanas and that’s it. Ok, honest, I don’t mind and occasional word of encouragement but, really even the practices I get from youtube some instructors must have overdosed on their ‘yappy pills’ or something. It interrupts my focus when it’s a continuous stream of chatter.

  • Kristy

    No preference.

  • Vicki Jones

    I don’t mind.quiet cues, but as an.adult.who.has trouble.relaxing my.very active mind anyway, I need as little to ponder as possible. I justwant to focus in what my body is doing and needs….music is important to my yoga experience, but it cannot have words…if.a yoga instructoris.gijng to.play music, it would be wise to study the doctrine of.tonalit to truly find out how music and pitch affect people….I prefer my beautifully tuned chimes from Corinthian Bells or well done piano music that has no words connected to it in my mind…

  • Jessica Powers

    Ideally Savasana should be long enough they can give cues at the beginning and then be quiet for a good, loooooong while. I think that’s an ideal mix for all poses, and most styles: breath cue, instruction, silence to integrate/reflect/explore the pose. Like others have stated, it depends on the teacher’s personality and the student’s preference. Overall however there is a tendency towards cheerleading from yoga teachers that I roll my eyes at.

    One annoying class experience with music that still pops into my mind from time to time: Shiva Rea flipping through her iTunes/iPod to find the next song. It was a great lesson, I learned not to do that. I want my playlist to be quiet and supportive to the class and mainly help fill anonymous space to create a nice environment to practice in or soften the noise from outside it.

  • Amy

    I find it so frustrating to have someone continually talking. I can’t concentrate and having a job where I am talking with people all day, I would like some peace. I don’t care to hear the instructor’s personal views or philosophies. I just want to do yoga.

  • Good point! Yoga is supposed to be peaceful and all about centering yourself.

    I don’t like some of my instructors’ choice of music. Silence would be better.

    I had an excellent instructor who talked either before or after the practice, not during. That was perfect. 🙂

  • Jenifer

    This is so funny.

    When I was in the US, I got fired from several studios for not being “inspiring” enough and because it was “cruel for me to be so quiet.” I also preferred not to play music during class.

    Doesn’t mean class wasn’t fun or inspiring, but it was quiet, and some people do struggle with quiet. I get that. It can be hard. But, it can also be awesome.

    I love to teach and I love to attend quiet classes. With the noise of the world, my kiddo, and my work, silence is SO nice. honestly, it’s why my husband meditate at 8:30. DS is asleep. It’s finally quiet. Thank goodness. Sweet relief. 😀

  • There are so many styles of yoga teaching with so much variation among teachers within each method. If you don’t like somebody’s style, try another teacher or another method– or better yet, cultivate a home practice!

  • Kira

    Ashtanga doesn’t have this problem 🙂

  • Joyce

    I think sometimes teachers EXPLAIN everything too much. There are times when you need to allow the students to experience the yoga for themselves, rather than tell them how they should be feeling. (In my opinion, and how I teach.)

    • Jenifer

      I try to stick with “see if you can feel the posture in the muscle of the hamstring and inner thigh, rather than the back of the knee” for triangle pose (as an example) — just so they know they are getting the alignment right. Followed by “if you feel it in the knee, bend it a little, and see if you can roll your thighbone out from the hip using the gluteus medius. Seems to work for folks.

      Then I shut up and just assist people. Or not. Sometimes I stand in the corner and stare at them intently. LOL

      • Joyce

        I agree! Give students enough verbal cues so that they can be in a pose safely with good alignment….but not every moment has to be filled with talking. Give the students some time to actually *experience* the pose, rather than just listen to chatter!

  • yes. absolutely yes. took a class the other day where the teacher did not even shut up for 30 seconds, literally. every moment was filled with some type of noise either about himself or some other shit.

    note to teachers: if you’re going to play harmonium during class, make sure you know how to play it so it does not sound like goats being sacrificed to Kali.

  • Semper Fi

    All words out of your teacher’s mouth should be about the asana and nothing else during class. I don’t give a #$% about the damn squirrel, your practice, your eating habits or anything else except your teaching me how to do the asana.

  • India Kate

    this just happened to me today. Being lectured during savasana negates the positive effect. Ugh.

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