Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Do you want to offer bi-lingual, Spanish-English, Yoga classes? 

     I live in Costa Rica.  My mother tongue is English.  Since moving to Costa Rica I have learned Spanish and although it is not perfect I love the everyday challenges of communicating in a second language.  Drawing from personal experience I  want to share with you some of my strategies for teaching a class in more than one language.

First, find a yoga text in Spanish so you have a good reference book to help you with names of poses and cues to give while demonstrating those poses.   Use search engines and Youtube to hear and learn Spanish phrases and cues used in a yoga class.

     For this blog I relied heavily on the Spanish text found in  Los Secretos del Yoga by Jennnie Bittleston and my own personal experience teaching yoga in Spanish and English.
Teaching strategies for a dual language yoga class
  1. If possible try to arrange to have similar levels of yoga experience  among your students.  This greatly facilitates communication in both languages.  Be prepared to physically demonstrate poses and or ask students to demonstrate poses for the class.
  2.   Be consistent  in the timing and the language used when transitioning  to each pose.  For example, if you use English first to cue a transition, and then repeat the cue in Spanish, continue to use English first.  Most people will appreciate having this predictability.
  3. If you are still learning Spanish, or any other second language, practice on your own, before class, and out loud, so you feel more comfortable saying and hearing the sounds.  Practice enunciating your words and yoga cues.  Speak slowly to insure that your students understand you.  
Helpful yoga cues and phrases in Spanish
Names of postures
  1. adhho mukha svanasana:  Perro boca abajo
  2. ardha chandrasana:  Media luna
  3. baddha konasana:  El zapater
  4.  chaturanga:  El baston con apoyo
  5. dandasana:  El baston
  6. dhanurasana:  El arco
  7.  garudasana:  Entrelazar los brazos
  8. gomukhasana:  Agarre de manos
  9. halasana:  El arado
  10. janu sirasana:  Cabeza contra rodilla
  11. Marishyasana:  El sabio
  12. parivritta trikonasana:  Triangulo invertido
  13. parsvottanasana:  Estiramiento lateral
  14. prasarita padottanasana:  El gran angulo
  15. salabhasana:  La langosta
  16. sarvangasana:  La vela
  17. savasana:  El cadaver
  18. sukhasana:  Postura facil
  19. supta baddha konasana:  El arado con piernas abiertas
  20. supta padangusthasana: Estiramiento de piernas en suelo
  21. supta tadasana:  La Montana tumbada
  22. supta virasana:  El heroe en el suelo
  23. tadasana:  La Montana de pie
  24. ustrasana:  El camello
  25. utkatasana:  La silla
  26. uttanasana:  Flexion hacia delante sentada
  27. utthita hasta padangusthasana:  Estiramientos de piernas
  28. utthita parsvakonasana:  Angulo lateral extendido
  29. utthita trikonasana:  El triangulo
  30. virabhadrasana:  El guerrero
  31. virasana:  El heroe
  32. vrksana:  El arbol
Here is a list of some useful verbs when giving cues to enter, hold and leave poses.
  1. to extend:  extendirse
  2. to get up:  levantarse
  3.  to lower:  bajarse
  4. to lie down:  acostarse, tumbarse
  5. to lie down, face up:  boca arriba
  6. to lie down, face down:  boca abajo
  7. to align:  alinearse
  8. to stretch:  flexionarse,estirarse
  9. to breath:  respirarse
  10. to adjust:  ajustarse
  11. to transfer:  transferir
  12. to maintain:  mantener
  13. to hold:  sostener
  14. to place:  colocarse
  15. to stabilize:  establarse
  16. to sit:  sentarse
  17. to hold onto or grab:  agarrar
  18. to bend:  doblarse
  19. to hold ( a pose):  aguantarse
  20. to focus:  concentrarse
  21. to turn:  girar
  22. to separate:  separarse
  23. to support:  apoyarse
Some adjectives and adverbs  you may find useful:
  1. straight:  recta,
  2. bent:  doblado
  3. deeply ( breath):  profundo
Some phrases you may find useful:
  1. forward:  adelante:  hacia delante:  hacia el frente
  2. backwards:  detras:  hacia detras
  3. towards:  hacia
  4. inside:  adentro:  hacia dentro
  5. outside:  afuera:  hacia afuera
This is just a sample of words and phrases you will need to teach a class in Spanish.  It is also very helpful to learn the parts of the body in Spanish.  Counting in Spanish is very useful too.
There is a lot of learning and practicing to do if you want to lead a successful yoga class in Spanish.   With preparation and practice it can be done.  Teaching a yoga class in a second language allows you to share your practice with more people and it helps you to refine your teaching skills as well. 
It also give you a wonderfully interesting opportunity to learn more about a second culture.  So, go for it.  You will find that your students will be very patient with you and appreciative of your efforts.  Yoga is for everyone;  don't let language stand in your way of sharing your passion with others.


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