body awareness in yogaBy Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500

The most talented and experienced yoga teachers do a lot more than teach students how to achieve poses. They go well beyond the physical by teaching students how to be more mindful and aware of their bodies too. Body awareness is an intrinsic part of yoga. After all, the word “yoga” itself translates to mean, “to yoke,” which is another way of saying “to unite.” Without making students aware of this exciting benefit, though, they could easily miss out on it. Therefore, yoga teachers should make a point of explaining the concept of propioception to their students.


 What is Propioception?

Propioception refers to the sense of how different parts of the body are positioned and how they work together. It’s a somewhat fancy way of saying “body awareness” or “body mindfulness.” Many muscles in the body are used so regularly and repetitively that people stop being conscious of using them. This is the first step of becoming out of touch with your own body. The older we get, the less in touch with our bodies we’re likely to become. Yoga is a powerful way to help people trust and know their bodies again, so it’s a terrific tool for improving propioception.

 Teach Students to be Comfortable in Their Own Skin

As students gain experience with yoga, they can start becoming more mindful of their bodies. In turn, they become more comfortable in their own skin. By pointing this out on a regular basis, teachers can help students embrace and appreciate this excellent development. For instance, as students assume different poses, teachers can remind them to notice how various parts of their body are feeling and responding. This can and should be carried out of the classroom too. At the end of a class, an instructor can give students homework by asking them to pay attention to how certain parts of their bodies feel as they go about their daily business.


Many students start doing yoga in order to lose weight or tone their bodies. These are worthwhile goals, but they shouldn’t overshadow the numerous other benefits of the discipline. Even if every student in the class is determined to drop a certain number of pounds or go down a certain number of sizes, the instructor should continually remind them of the mind-body connections that are being forged at the same time. Appreciation of this awareness is what truly creates life-long yogis.

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