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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- adhho mukha svanasana: Perro boca abajo
- ardha chandrasana: Media luna
- baddha konasana: El zapater
- chaturanga: El baston con apoyo
- dandasana: El baston
- dhanurasana: El arco
- garudasana: Entrelazar los brazos
- gomukhasana: Agarre de manos
- halasana: El arado
- janu sirasana: Cabeza contra rodilla
- Marishyasana: El sabio
- parivritta trikonasana: Triangulo invertido
- parsvottanasana: Estiramiento lateral
- prasarita padottanasana: El gran angulo
- salabhasana: La langosta
- sarvangasana: La vela
- savasana: El cadaver
- sukhasana: Postura facil
- supta baddha konasana: El arado con piernas abiertas
- supta padangusthasana: Estiramiento de piernas en suelo
- supta tadasana: La Montana tumbada
- supta virasana: El heroe en el suelo
- tadasana: La Montana de pie
- ustrasana: El camello
- utkatasana: La silla
- uttanasana: Flexion hacia delante sentada
- utthita hasta padangusthasana: Estiramientos de piernas
- utthita parsvakonasana: Angulo lateral extendido
- utthita trikonasana: El triangulo
- virabhadrasana: El guerrero
- virasana: El heroe
- vrksana: El arbol
Here is a list of some useful verbs when giving cues to enter, hold and leave poses.
- to extend: extendirse
- to get up: levantarse
- to lower: bajarse
- to lie down: acostarse, tumbarse
- to lie down, face up: boca arriba
- to lie down, face down: boca abajo
- to align: alinearse
- to stretch: flexionarse,estirarse
- to breath: respirarse
- to adjust: ajustarse
- to transfer: transferir
- to maintain: mantener
- to hold: sostener
- to place: colocarse
- to stabilize: establarse
- to sit: sentarse
- to hold onto or grab: agarrar
- to bend: doblarse
- to hold ( a pose): aguantarse
- to focus: concentrarse
- to turn: girar
- to separate: separarse
- to support: apoyarse
Some adjectives and adverbs you may find useful:
- straight: recta,
- bent: doblado
- deeply ( breath): profundo
Some phrases you may find useful:
- forward: adelante: hacia delante: hacia el frente
- backwards: detras: hacia detras
- towards: hacia
- inside: adentro: hacia dentro
- 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.