Teaching Yoga with a Poet’s Heart: 101 Guided Yoga Imagery Phrases

 


 

The following 101 guided yoga imagery phrases is just one resource within The Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.

 

If a picture is worth a thousand words why aren’t more yoga teachers using “imagery words and phrases” in their classes?  Below are 101 ways to paint a picture in your student’s minds.

 

Use them in your classes. And come up with your own.

 


 

Guided Yoga Imagery: By Asana 

 


 

Backbends

 

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

 

Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) 

 

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

 

Breathing Exercises

 

“Imagine you’re made of butter and it’s a hot day. Feel yourself melting until nothing is left but the real you.”

 

“At the end of each exhalation observe your tension melting like ice cream on a hot day.”

 

“As you breathe feel your lungs receiving the air with a smile.”

 

Imagine you have a laser beam gadget thingiemagig. Laser your attention on any part of your body that needs healing.”

 

“Think of your breath moving like a snake, gliding up and down your spine with the greatest of ease.” {According to Tantra, kundalini energy rests like a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. When this dormant energy is given permission to glide up through the seven energy centres (chakras) you can’t help but shed any psychic debris and transform your inner world.”}

 

“Imagine your belly is a hot air balloon that inflates fully when you breath in…but when you breath out it gets struck by lightning causing your belly to deflate so fully that your belly button almost touches your spine.”

 

“Imagine the breath spiralling up your spine like a mini tornado.” 

 

Bridge Pose (Dwi Pada Pitham)

 

“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.”

 

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

 

Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

 

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

 

Cat Pose (Marjaryasan)

 

“Lets do a bit of laughter yoga. Meow in cat pose and moo in cow pose.”

 

“Imagine yourself turning into a cat.  Arch your back towards the ceiling like a cat and look at your furry belly.

 

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

 

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

 

Child Pose (Balasana)

 

“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 cat  looking for lunch.”   Walk around and say, “Stay still and breath smooth and slow so the cat doesn’t find you.”

 

Cobra (Bhujangasana)

 

“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 (Adho Mukha Svanasana) 

 

“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 (Ananda Balasana) 

 

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

 

Knee To Chest Pose (Apanasana)

 

“When bringing noise to knee, imagine wringing toxins from your body by visualising your body as dirty towel.  See yourself dunking that dirty towel into a sink of crystal clear water and then twisting and wringing the dirt out of it.  Each time you bring your knee to chest, you are wringing toxins from your body.”

 

Forward Bend (Paschimottasana)

 

“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 quiet pelvis.”

 

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

 

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

 

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 Wonderland 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.”

 

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

 

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Kapotasana) 

 

“Pigeon pose 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 (Vrksasana) 

 

“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.”

 

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

 

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

 

“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.”

 


 

Guided Yoga Imagery: A to Z

 


 

Alice In Wonderland

 

When stretching your hands up in Mountain Pose, feel yourself becoming taller and taller, like Alice in Wonderland after drinking a bottle of potion.

 

Anchors

 

In Bridge Pose, visualise your feet dropping anchors into the ground.

 

Balloon

 

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

 

Big Foot

 

When in mountain pose, imagine your feet growing bigger with each exhalation…until you’ve turned into Big Foot.  Feel secure and strong (and a wee bit hairy).

 

Boxing Glove

 

In Downward Facing Dog, imagine a boxing glove nestled into your lower abdomen

 

Break Through

 

With a daily yoga practice, you have the power to break through and break with that which holds you back.

 

Bricks

 

In Butterfly, imagine a stack of bricks on top of each thigh.  Feel the thighs sinking deep into your mat.

 

Chain

 

In the same way that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, you are only as strong as your core.

 

Chain Mail Cape

 

In Mountain Pose, picture yourself wearing a heavy chain mail cape and let your shoulders surrender under the weight.

 

Chisel Away

 

Like Michelangelo’s statues, within each of us lies our authentic body and inner light; all we need to do is chisel away all that does not belong in order to reveal it.

 

Clamp

 

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

 

Cultivate

 

Cultivate stillness in your life through a daily yoga practice.

 

Edge

 

If you want big results, find your edge in every pose.

 

Epicentre

 

Draw attention to the core your body, the epicentre of all movements.

 

Excavating

 

We soak up life like a sponge, holding tensions, fears, and anxieties in our body.  In yoga practice you reach down into all the nooks and crannies and hidden pockets of tissue, excavating all this clogged, unwanted stuff.

 

Fan

 

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

 

Floor’s Perspective

 

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

 

Flower

 

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

 

Friendship With The Floor

 

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

 

Gap

 

The gap between poses are poses.  Ease out of a pose the same way you got into it.

 

Gift

 

Pigeon pose (eka pada kapotasana) is a gift to your hips.

 

Glass

 

Imagine being held between two large sheets of glass, like being supported inside a large double glazed window (e.g in a balance pose such as Triangle).

 

Golden Thread

 

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

 

Goodbye

 

Feel each individual vertebrae of your spine saying goodbye and moving away from each other (e.g. forward bend or back bend).

 

Home

 

Relax and let your bones find their own way home. 

 

Ice cube

 

In Savasana, allow your whole body to melt like an ice cube on a sunny day into the floor.

 

Incredible Hulk

 

When in Forward Bend, imagine the Incredible Hulk leaning his weight down onto your pelvic rim, while firmly holding your heels down.

 

Light

 

With a daily yoga practice, the better you feel, the stronger you become, and the brighter your light will shine.

 

Liquid Quality

 

When you bring flow into your practice, you let go into the movements and create a liquid quality that inspires deep release.

 

Meditation In Motion

 

Flow sequences encourages meditation in motion.

 

Open A Rose

 

If you try to open a rose before its time of blossoming, you break off the petals.  So, too, if you rush your own unfolding you will cause greater harm than good.

 

Pillars

 

In Mountain Pose, observe your legs becoming two heavy pillars.  Feel secure and strong.

 

Pulley

 

In Downward Facing Dog, imagine a hook attached to your sacrum and a pulley is pulling you to the ceiling.

 

Quiet

 

Hinge slowly and calmly over a quiet pelvis (forward bend).

 

Rewire

 

Your yoga mat is a place to invite in stress and meet it head-on, to rewire your mind on a daily basis.

 

Roots

 

Exhale through the heel of your rooted back foot to deepen the pose (e.g. Triangle). Feel secure and strong.

 

Roots

 

Imagine roots growing through any part of your body that is touching the floor.

 

Roots

 

In Downward Facing Dog, feel your hands sprouting roots.  Feel secure and strong

 

Roots

 

In Mountain Pose, imagine your feet growing roots.  Feel secure and strong.

 

Roots

 

In Tree Pose, feel your foot sprouting roots deep into the ground – rest of your body becoming light as air.

 

Roots

 

In Tree Pose, imagine your leg becoming as strong and rooted as a tree trunk.   

 

Roots

 

Observe roots under your feet growing deeper, wider and stronger with each exhalation.

 

Sandbag

 

In Child Pose, imagine a sandbag is placed on your hips.  Feel your hips sinking down.

 

Sand pouring

 

Imagine sand pouring out of your knees in the same plane as your toes.

 

Sinking

 

Sit bones sinking to the earth.

 

Sliding down

 

Feel your scapulas sliding down your back as you raise your arms.

 

Stream

 

Let go of tension from the backs of your legs, as you would throwing a stick into a stream.

 

Tail

 

In Mountain, feel the exhalation flow down the centre of your spine and through the tailbone to become a tail.

 

Train Barrier

 

In Chair Pose, lift your arms as if they are a train barrier at a crossing.

 

Wet Soap

 

Kneecaps sliding forwards like a bar of wet soap.

 

World

 

In Savasana, say silently to yourself, “Welcome to the world of bliss.”

 


 

Yoga Philosophy Imagery Phrases

 


 

Asleep

 

Don’t be asleep to who and what you truly are in this moment – perfect.

 

Awakened

 

Our ideal selves are already within us, just waiting to be awakened.

 

 

Brazilian Traffic Controller

 

Yoga is all about moving energy.  Imagine you are a Brazilian traffic controller moving your energy along.  If you stop moving the energy along the energy piles up into an energy traffic jam.  So, it is important to practice yoga daily even it’s just a couple of minutes.

 

Chasing

 

Stop chasing the illusion and be comfortable sitting quietly with the real You.

 

Cup

 

In mediation, empty your mental and emotional cup.

 

Domino Effect

 

Yoga is pure cause & effect; the smallest daily practice can have a profound domino effect as you journey through life.

 

Door

 

The only person who can open the door that leads to the light is You.  Have the courage to open that door and allow love and light in.

 

Fix

 

Stop trying to fix yourself and start being yourself.

 

Flow

 

Rather than fight against your problems, forgive and let go. Resist less. Struggle less. Fight less. And flow more.

 

Fool

 

Any fool can get into a pose, but only a wise person can move out of it with conscious grace.

 

Forgotten

 

The goal is not to try and find yourself, for you were never lost. Forgotten maybe, but not lost.

 

Igniting

 

Feel your spirit igniting into an eternal flame of self love and approval.

 

Inner Peace

 

Make inner peace the only aim for your yoga practice.  Everything else is just a bonus.

 

Journey

 

A yoga practice is a journey with no end.

 

Life Changing

 

Put up a poster in your yoga class saying:  For average results, once a week.  For good results, three days a week.  For life changing results daily.”  (this can also be a mantra during your class).

 

Light

 

Mentally step out of the darkness and switch the light on.

 

Luggage

 

Our only task is to get rid of the luggage we’ve accumulated in life and accept what was there from the start: light and love in our hearts.

 

Mask

 

Soften your mask and let the real YOU step forward.

 

Mat

 

Live your yoga on and off the mat.  Most people forget the off part.

 

Medicine

 

If your mind or body is in pain, ask yourself this question: “Am I practicing yoga daily?”  If not,  then maybe having a pain free body and mind isn’t something you want. Be truthful with yourself.  Are you spending enough time cultivating your mind and body? Truth is the only medicine that cures us.

 

Oasis

 

With a daily yoga practice, you carry an inner oasis of calm, even in the midst of the chaos of daily living.

 

Open

 

Wake up to your true nature, and the whole world will open up to you.

 

Path

 

When practicing yoga we give ourselves permission to find and walk our own unique path.

 

Peel Away

 

Peel away the layers that keep your wonder-filled body and inner light from shinning through.

 

Peeling Back

 

Embrace yoga as a practice of peeling back your layers.

 

Pond

 

Allow your mind to become as still as a pond.

 

Puppy

 

Think of your attention as if was a puppy that wants to run ahead of you.

 

Puppy

 

Train your attention by imagining that it is a playful puppy.  When it gets distracted, ask it to sit.

 

Root

 

The root of all misery is attachment.  Yoga teaches non-attachment.

 

See

 

Yoga helps you to see without judgement, ego or impatience.

 

Shine

 

You don’t need permission to shine. Just show up, shine, and be yourself.

 

Snow

 

Once become aware of cause and effect, your bad habits will dissolve like snow in the summer sun.

 

Squeeze

 

If you squeeze an orange you get juice.  If you squeeze your mind, what would you get?

 

Stuck

 

Tension is stuck energy.

 

Throw Out

 

Don’t follow me, follow yourself. Take what speaks to you. And throw out what doesn’t.

 

Unveil

 

Allow the best version of yourself to be unveiled.

 

World

 

As we think and act, so our world becomes.

 

World

 

Shift your inner viewpoint and your inner world transforms.

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George Watts

Hope you enjoyed my post. I'm a BWY yoga teacher, and creator of the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit. Create yoga lesson plans in a few simple steps. Get started for free by clicking here.
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