Yoga Talk: What I say vs. What I mean

“Turn inwards”

Yoga teachers are notorious for flowery language and ambiguous instructions, so I decided I begin a series of posts to help you decipher and decode what we are rambling on about whilst you’re in Downward Facing Dog.

Turning inwards basically mean focusing on yourself, bringing your attention to whatever part of the class you are in, noticing how your body feels and trying not to get distracted or distract others.

Take a moment and think back to all the times you have become slightly distracted during a yoga class.

Maybe it’s during the pranayama, you’re concentrating on the breath, letting the breath fill the belly, the ribs, the chest and… ok, there’s a draft, I feel chilly, I can hear someone’s nostril whistling as they inhale, the fan is noisy, did I leave the oven on? Turn inwards and refocus on the breath.

Maybe it’s during the asana, you’re flowing through the poses, you feel strong and grounded, arms reaching up for the sky, energy into the fingertips and… oh my gosh, I didn’t shave my armpits, I am a hairy yoga sasquatch, the guy at the front is really good looking, this pose is really making me sweat, there’s sweat dripping down my nose, Hot Yoga Guy does not want a sweaty hairy sasquatch as a girlfriend, wait, are my yoga pants see through? Turn inwards and bring the focus back to the asana.

Maybe it’s during the meditation, you’re comfortable, sitting up straight, focusing on your breath, you’ve given a banana to the monkey mind and… I have so much work to do tomorrow, I should have made a list, I can’t believe Sharon took all the credit for our presentation, why didn’t I stand up and say it was my idea, I wonder if there’s still that piece of cheesecake in the fridge? Turn inwards and bring the focus back to the meditation.

So, when I say “turn inwards” in my classes, it means I have noticed your attention has slipped and I am gently prompting you to find your focus and bring your attention back to whatever we are currently practising.


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