Here’s Why Curse Words and Teaching Yoga Go Together

When I first started teaching yoga, I quickly gained a reputation for using curse words in class. The students who were comfortable with it found my classes more appealing. And those who didn’t . . . well, they either put up with it or simply didn’t come back.
When you picture teaching your ideal yoga class, are curse words involved? Would it stress you out or make you feel more authentically you? As a yoga student, would cussing make your teacher more human, or would you deem a teacher using curse words vulgar and unnecessary in a class setting? Why or why not?

It’s not about saying bad words just to say them – it’s about expressing yourself in alignment with how you authentically want to.

Yoga teachers are often expected to be and act a certain way – calm, enlightened, always emanating love . . . Any of these stereotypes sound familiar? Yet many yoga teachers feel stifled by this stigma because we’re all human and we’re allowed to act in alignment with our authenticity, even if that means dropping the occasional f-bomb, right?!

Cuss and Let Your Authenticity Shine Through

This article is not advocating for the person not comfortable with cursing to do it anyway. No – this article is for the yoga teachers who do cuss in their personal lives but aren’t sure how to approach profanity in a yoga class. This isn’t about saying bad words just to say them – it’s about expressing yourself in alignment with how you authentically want to.
Lindsay Istace, the creator of ‘Rage Yoga’ gets it. She found that it felt damn good to scream and curse on her mat, and this practice helped her release tension, stress, and anxiety. Students clearly agree. ‘Rage Yoga’ has taken off in Istace’s hometown of Calgary, where she regularly teaches yoga at a bar, with beer included in the class fee.
Have you heard about the growing Beer Yoga trend? Check out Beer Yoga Is Beckoning Yogis with Stretches and Stouts
For many of us, curse words are simply a part of our speech patterns and communication styles. They’re a natural extension of how we maneuver the world. They separate us from feeling conservative and uptight, and it feels so f*cking good to express how we really feel in Chair Pose.

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Curse words can be a complement to yoga. Here’s why:

If you’re attracted to curse words, it feels good to say them. Sometimes no vocabulary can punctuate how you feel quite like the word ‘f*ck.’
Saying ‘f*ck’ or any other curse word in class tends to have the ability to disarm students. It has the potential to make them feel more comfortable because it empowers students to live and practice authentically, and dials back the intensity and seriousness of the yoga class experience.
This more relaxed atmosphere helps students leave with less stress and a new perspective on what yoga can be. It empowers students to be who they really are and accept themselves as perfectly flawed. We can all use the reminder from time to time to take ourselves a little less seriously.


Curse Words or Not, Authenticity Matters!

When yoga teachers teach, it’s really all about building a community of likeminded individuals. This doesn’t mean everyone who loves to curse is going to be instant besties, but if it creates laughter and helps students connect, then cussing in class is one fun way to offer a sense of community.
If you wanna throw around a few colorful words in your class, you should! But be mindful of offering too much of a ‘good’ thing. Curse words are potentially distracting if they’re every fourth word out of your mouth.
Just be yourself. The haters will be there, but the likers are gonna come back for more – and feel more inclined to be around others who don’t take themselves too seriously. Offer a class that shows all that yoga is to you. Philosophy, intention, excellent instruction, thoughtful sequencing, moments of meaningful reflection, and sweetness all still need to work into the equation.
Opinions are just that: This is mine, but please share yours. Why do you agree, and just as importantly, why don’t you? Please share in the comments below. We educate one another with our opinions and give each other new things to think about.

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Lara Falberg

Lara has been teaching yoga since 2006, trained in Atlanta, now residing in Columbus Ohio. Her website is a yoga teacher resource offering verbals cues, mini sequences, class themes, and studio reviews. Her novel Yoga Train is about a group of people who travel through the yoga teacher training experience together. Follow her on Instagram (@iworkbarefoot), Facebook and Twitter.

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