Memo To Yoga Teachers: Avoid The Shafted Left

the shafted leftOne simple piece of advice I have for new and old yoga teachers alike is to avoid the shafted left teaching both sides of each pose equally.

I appropriated the phrase The Shafted Left from fellow yoga teacher Deborah Bagg. What a perfect way to describe something happening in too many classes.

Giving equal attention to both sides in a pose is something that I spend a good amount of time focusing on and I still shaft the left more often that I care to admit. And most often I realize it  when it is too late—as students are already in transition out of a pose.

For the last month I have been taping my classes as we get ready to offer them online. Taping and listening to yourself is a highly recommended trip for all yoga teachers, not that I like what I hear though—it is a humbling experience.

And, step your foot forward. And, step back, and, turn left, and and and… I can’t believe how often I say and. And, how often I shaft the left side.

For a number of reasons many yoga classes start each pose from the right side. At the same time a majority of students are right side dominant, which means that it is likely that their left sides need the same if not more work than the right.

So the shafted left packs a double whammy and should be avoided by yoga teachers at all costs. Ideally the practice and pursuit of yoga is about balance across all spectrums and as teachers we owe it to our students to honor both sides of their bodies equally.


Sunday Morning Music: Charles Trenet
Exercise for Inner Thighs, Calves and Feet