Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Cuing Three Different Ways

Posted by terrepruitt on May 3, 2017

When teachers cue students as to what asana to do and how to move in a yoga class, they can use three basic ways to do it.  The three basic ways to cue are Anatomic, Sensory, and Imagery.  Most of the time you will find, when you are in a yoga class, the teacher uses a mix of all three.  Other types of classes might stick to just one form, but yoga and Nia use all three.  Different ways appeal to different people.  With the three different ways it can also elicit different responses in the body.  I thought I would share in a few posts different poses cued with the three different styles.

With strictly anatomic the cuing is all about the body.  Instructing on how to move a body part and where.  Using the body and its parts as destinations (move your arm up to your ear).  With sensory it is all about what you are sensing (feeling) in the body (move your arm up, yawning open the side of the body).  And with the imagery the movement is connected to the imagination or thought (lift your arm as if you know the answer in class).

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Rotated Side Angle)

Anatomic
Step right foot forward into a lunge, knee centered over ankle.  Rotate your torso moving your left shoulder towards your bent knee.  Rest your left elbow on your right thigh.  Your left leg remains straight or you may bend the knee and rest it on the floor.  The front of your left leg is getting the stretch.   Bend your right elbow bringing your right hand to meet your left hand in the center of your chest.  Or you can twist further to your right, letting the left triceps can press against the outside of the right knee.  No matter how far your twist your gaze is to the area on the right side of your knee.  It could be on the floor on the right of the knee or on the wall to your right.

Sensory
Step right foot forward into a lunge, allowing you to sense an elongation in your left leg.  In addition to the stretch sense the strength in your left leg keeping it straight.  Sense the stability in your ankle as your right knee is centered directly over it. Pull your torso to the right, letting your right shoulder lead, as you sense your left shoulder moving towards your right leg.  Place your left elbow on your right thigh.  Take a deep breath encouraging your chest to remain open.  If you think you would be more stable with your left knee on the ground, you may lower it down.  If your twist is deep, you may notice your left arm as it seeks to press against the outside of your right leg.  Your right arm bends allowing your hands to come together with thumbs resting in the center of your chest.  The energy in your right shoulder keeps pulling your shoulder back to help deepen the twist, you may feel your left triceps on your right thigh.

Imagery
Imagine taking a big step with your right foot over a puddle.  The puddle grows as you are stepping so you end up in a lunge.  Your right knee is bent and your shin is straight up from the earth, with the knee centered over your ankle.  You’ve missed stepping in the puddle and you are keeping your left leg straight so as not to touch the water.  You notice a beautiful rainbow out of the corner of your right eye, so you turn to look.  You want to get a better look so you gently rotate your torso towards the bright colors, allowing you to place your left elbow on your right thigh.  The puddle has miraculously dried up so if you want you can place your left knee on the earth.  Your right arm bends at the elbow and your hands meet at your heart center.  You bask in the beauty of the rainbow.

Is there a particular type of cuing you are fond of?

2 Responses to “Cuing Three Different Ways”

  1. I attend a couple yoga classes a week at the gym. I didn’t realize there were multiple cuing styles. I suspect what I hear is the anatomic and the sensory most often. Or they just give the name of the asana and expect us to know what to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unless you are trying to figure out what type of cuing/cueing (I like it with an e, but didn’t post it like that) :-), the instructor is doing it will all just sound like a blend. Different people like, and respond to, different types so most teachers blend it all up so everyone gets into the pose to the best of their body’s ability.

      Even when you are told the asana and expected to just know what to do . . . does the instructor ever say anything else? Listen to see if s/he says something after s/he names the pose. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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