What If You Keep It Short?

I tend to be wordy. It’s no secret. I’m a writer, but that’s no excuse. I often have to go back over my writing more than once and edit it down. I just have so much to say, and sometimes it doesn’t come out in the most succinct manner. I work through my thoughts out loud, or on the page.

Unfortunately, I can’t go back and edit myself in real life – unless it’s a recording! I tend to talk a bit much when I teach. I know this. It’s not a glaring issue with more energetic styles of yoga, where we are moving constantly and heating the body. In slower classes, though, I need to remind myself – sometimes you just gotta keep it short.

I mean well. There is so much to yoga, so much to know, so much to understand. Just giving appropriate alignment cues could keep me blabbing on continuously all class long. The point is not to impart everything I know in one session, even though I’m trying to help. It’s better for me to step back, think how I can best and most simply utilize my words, and allow my students the space of silence. If I never shut up, they never get the chance to go inward and find that yogic union of body, breath, and spirit. I myself don’t particularly love when a teacher talks the entire class – and yet, sometimes I find myself doing it.

You don’t have to be a yoga teacher to use this advice in your own life. Keep it short. Choose your words wisely. Think about what’s most important to say, because after a certain point people stop listening anyway. You can use this effectively in nearly any situation. Pay attention to whether you really have something relevant to impart, or you just fear the silence. Trust yourself. Trust that pauses, silence, space – are okay. Your worth is not dependent on how much you talk. And I won’t kill anyone if I eliminate a few cues from my teaching.

In that spirit, I’m going to wrap this one up. I offer you the yogic term satya for consideration, which stands for truthfulness. Before you speak, think: is this true? is it kind? is it necessary? I’ve used this mantra extensively in my own life, and I’ve found that often what we have to say does not tick all three boxes. Using this simple method of discernment has saved me a lot of energy by leaving unsaid what is simply unnecessary. I highly recommend it.

Sending you love. You are worthy even when you speak not a single word.

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