101 Yoga Guided Imagery & Techniques
So You Can Teach With A Poet’s Heart


One of the best ways to spice up your classes is to imagine you’re a yoga teacher poet, and have the courage to paint vivid pictures with your words.  It makes the difference between teaching an average, run-of-the-mill exercise class or an inspired class that students will remember.

Jesus was a poet.  And his poetry (parables) has attracted 2 billion followers.  He was interesting to listen to.  His parables are oozing with imagery.

So, my challenge to you is to become a yoga teacher poet and entertain your students, instead of just instructing them.  Until now, you may not have known how to become a yoga teacher poet, but with this comprehensive list of asana imagery, you can open the hearts and minds of your students”.

Backbends

“Feel each individual vertebrae of your spine saying goodbye and moving away from each other.”

Bow Pose 

“As you rise into bow  feel like a sugar cube dissolving in a cup of hot tea.”

Imagine your feet growing roots.  Feel secure and strong.”

“Imagine a magnet under your feet and hands.  Feel secure and strong.”

Bridge Pose 

“Your thigh may feel like a tight rope right now, but as you stay in bridge pose feel the rope going slack.”

“Visualise your feet dropping anchors into the ground.”

Butterfly Pose

“Imagine a stack of bricks on top of each thigh.  Feel the thighs sinking deep into your mat.”

Chair Pose 

“Lift your arms as if they are a train barrier at a crossing.”

Child Pose

“Imagine a sandbag is placed on your hips.  Feel your hips sinking down.”

Tell your students that Child Pose is now called ‘Mouse Pose’, then say:  “I’m a big old pussycat  looking for lunch.”   Walk around and say, “Stay still and breath smooth and slow so the pussycat doesn’t find you.”

Cobra

“As you’re lying face down, think of the bottom half of your body, from your pelvis to your toe tips, being like a tremendously powerful crocodile’s tail. One unit stretching back and down.  Now lift your upper body from that firm support.”

Downward Facing Dog 

“As you plant our hands down, spread your fingers wide like ducks feet!

“Feel your hands sprouting roots.  Feel secure and strong.”

“Imagine a boxing glove nestled into your lower abdomen.

“Imagine a hook attached to your sacrum and a pulley is pulling you to the ceiling.”

Happy Baby Pose

You could call this pose: ” Please No Photos Pose”.

Forward Bend 

“As you lengthen into a Forward Bend, imagine your pelvis becoming a fan that opens as you flow down.”

“Feel the entire lower back soften like melting ice-cream.”

“Feel as if your head is a floating like a balloon as you rise up.”

“Feel each individual vertebrae of your spine saying goodbye and moving away from each other.”

“Hinge slowly and calmly over a quiet pelvis.”

“Imagine you have a giant who’s 10 foot tall as your yoga partner.   The giant is standing behind you while you’re in folded over in Forward Bend and is leaning his weight onto your pelvis with his hands, while at the same time holding your heals down with one of his feet.”

“Imagine the Incredible Hulk leaning his weight down onto your pelvic rim, while firmly holding your heels down.”

“In Mountain with each out breath imagine your entire upper body melting like butter.    Now your upper body is soft, it’s time to hinge gently down over a quite pelvis.”

Mountain Pose 

* Many of these “Mountain Pose” imagery phrases can be used with other standing poses.

“Feel your feet firmly planted to establish a friendship with the floor.”

“Feel the exhalation flow down the centre of your spine and through the tailbone to become a tail.”

“Imagine looking at the soles of your feet from the floor’s perspective.”

“Imagine your feet growing roots.  Feel secure and strong.”

“Observe your legs becoming two heavy pillars.  Feel secure and strong.”

“Picture yourself wearing a heavy chain mail cape and let your shoulders surrender under the weight.”

“Reach from not just your fingers but your toes up to the sun, then as you bend forward let your body drip down towards the core of the earth.

“Stretch your hands up and feel yourself becoming taller and taller, like Alice in Wanderland after drinking a bottle of potion.”

“Imagine you’re Alice in Wanderland and have just taken a drink from a bottle of potion that causes your feet to grow bigger and bigger with each exhalation.”

“When you open your feet and toes, feel as if they are a flower opening.”

“To lengthen the space between the ears and shoulders imagine a golden thread on your head pulling you up to the ceiling.”

Pigeon Pose 

“Pigeon pose (eka pada kapotasana) is a gift to the hips.”

Savasana 

“Allow your whole body to melt like an ice cube on a sunny day into the floor.”

“Before relaxing your brain may feel like a blackboard having chalk screeched across it. As your mind starts to focus on your breath, feel the chalk crumbling into powder.”

“Imagine you’re lying on top of a massive magnet that is gently pulling you into the floor.  Enjoy the feeling of surrender.”

“Imagine your attention is a puppy that’s just seen a squirrel.  Instead of running after the squirrel, remain still.”

“Imagine your attention is an over eager puppy on a lead.  Train the puppy (attention) to “stay” so it doesn’t run off.

“Instead of constantly going to your mental court and putting yourself on the dock to be judged by yourself, become an an unborn baby in your mother’s womb.  Let go of your ego.”

“Say silently to yourself – Welcome to the world of bliss.”

“Your head may be pounding like a jackhammer right now, but imagine the hands of a well trained masseuse giving you an Indian head massage.”

“Slowly start to open your eyes, printing a gentle smile on your face and feel the beauty within.”

“When thoughts blow through your head, observe them as though are clouds. Notice them and let them float by.  Then come back to your breath.”

Tree Pose

“Feel your foot sprouting roots deep into the ground and the rest of your body becoming light as air.”

“Hold the pose for 6 full breaths.  That’s about as long as a traffic light in London [enter your own city].”

“Imagine your leg becoming as strong and rooted as a tree trunk.” 

Triangle Pose 

“As you flow down into Triangle Pose, imagine a clamp on your back hip, holding it exactly in place.”

“Exhale through the heel of your rooted back foot to deepen the pose.  Feel secure and strong.”

“Imagine being held between two large sheets of glass, like being supported inside a large double glazed window.”

“If a student has their hips out of alignment, ask them to keep their flower petals in their own garden.”

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George Watts

BWY Yoga Teacher at George Watts Yoga
This post was lovingly morphed into reality by BWY yoga teacher, George Watts. If you're looking for a treasure trove of yoga lesson planning goodness, take a quick peek at Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.

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