Has a word said in a yoga class ever made you cringe? Perhaps when it was repeatedly said, over and over again?
If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I recently posted that the word namaste is cringeworthy to some yogis.
For some, it’s the way namaste is used (or overused) as puns or catchphrases, such as Namaslay, that makes them cringe. For others, they believe use of the word Namaste can go beyond the simple cringe factor. It can reflect inappropriate adoption of language and/or is an example of cultural appropriation. For example, when saying Namaste at the end of yoga classes.
What is a Cringey Word?
For me, the word cringey is cringey. It makes me feel itchy in my own skin. But that’s just me. 😉
According to dictionary.com, “Cringey refers to someone or something that causes you to feel awkward, uncomfortable, or embarrassed—that makes you cringe.”
Sure, sometimes words associated with the body make people cringe, such as the word squirt according to Buzzfeed, but I’m guessing that there’s probably no universal word cringe. Some words totally bother some people; others cause no reaction whatsoever.
A particular word might make one person cringe. Yet, the same word said repeatedly to another person, might not bother them in the least. Perhaps it’s sort of like listening to loud crunching of food. Some people are more sensitive than others to sound.
Words That Make Us Cringe in Yoga Classes
There are simply some words that make some people cringe. That includes words sometimes said in yoga classes.
In yoga classes, I can think of one word that sometimes irritates me when it’s said repeatedly–it takes me out of my yoga experience and distracts me from focusing on my breathing. But oddly, it’s only sometimes. And it depends on who is saying it. Hint: it’s a popular and overused word in yoga classes these days to describe how a pose might feel.
From a teaching perspective, I can only imagine that my word choices have earned cringe points with some student along the way.
Important Note to Yoga Teachers About Words + Cringiness
Of course, our words matter when teaching yoga. Language matters. As does delivery of language. Certainly, we must be sensitive, selective, and inclusive in our word choices. We must also pay attention to our use of expressions.
Surely, we want our students to feel comfortable in our classes. Certainly being aware of our word choices and effective at self-monitoring are serious pluses for our own personal growth and progression of communication skills–as yoga teachers and as individuals (and for all of our relationships).
However, just because an expression or word might be cringey or make the cringe list below, it doesn’t mean that you are necessarily doing anything wrong saying it. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to change anything. Sometimes words are cringey simply because they are overused, too popular, trending, or oversubscribed on social media.
For sure, you definitely shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you use any of these words. The point is awareness. In the end, you make the call and are accountable for your own word choices. And the way you teach a class.
It is not reasonable to expect that we eliminate every potentially cringeworthy or overused word from our vocabulary. After all, we can’t always know or predict what word might irritate, annoy, bother, or gross someone out. Or when.
Cringey Words Said in Yoga Classes that Make Some Yogis Cringe:
- Let the Juices Flow
- Soooo good
- No worries
- Uh huh…
- Oh yeah
- You know
- My bad
- Feel invited to (do whatever)
*Many thanks to my IG followers + friends who helped me compile this list, including @djswagzilla and @torstenschnurbusch
READ MORE: 10 Best Platforms for Teaching Yoga in 2022
Comment Below: What word or expression said in a yoga class has made you cringe? Or makes you cringe just thinking about it? Is there a word you try to avoid saying when you are teaching yoga?