top of page

How to Cue a Yoga Class

When I graduated my 200 hr TT I felt lost. It was a great experience overall, with great people. But I didn’t feel like it gave me the tools to really teach. I understood so much more about yoga, but I didn’t feel confident about teaching it.

I remember asking the question – “but what do I say???” Meaning, how do I cue? How do I structure my own classes? How do I remember all these poses?

I know I’m not alone in this experience. It’s not a knock to 200 hr trainings – it’s simply a nod to the fact that a yoga teacher generally has to do a lot more personal study and practice outside of their trainings to feel confident teaching.

And perhaps that’s what brought you here.

So I want to share some foundational teaching tips that I wish I would have received right off the bat. Today, focusing on how to cue a yoga class.

A woman practicing king pigeon on her yoga mat

Trying to keep it simple, here is a go-to formula for a good cue.

  1. Say the name of the posture: Some students will know the pose already and head there, so say the name first. This helps you as a teacher, because it gives more examples for newer students to observe.

  2. Cue the “base”: Meaning, you want to give direction to the part of the body that is supporting the student’s body weight first. So if you are moving from High Crescent Lunge to Chair Plane you would say “Shift weight into your front foot, then step your back foot forward to meet your front.” And then you’d move onto your other cues about how to place the body once the foundation is stable.

  3. Think about the rule of threes: Base, Body, Drishti. Cue the base. Then add your other body cues moving from the base to the top — hips, shoulders, arms, neck. Finally, each yoga posture has an assigned Drishti, so inform your students of their gaze point.

  4. Then, add in your adjustment cues: Once you have the posture set-up, now you can go in and make verbal adjustments. So take the Chair Plane example. The students have found the posture, then you add: “shift the weight back into your heels, firm up through the core, settle your shoulder blades down your back, energize your pinkies towards each other, etc.”

  5. Keep your language simple: Use words that students will be able to understand easily when it comes to foundational cuing. Instead of saying “bloom your left leg” you would say “lift your left leg.” There’s certainly a place for fun adjectives once the student is already setup, you just don’t want to confuse them before they are solid. You can experiment with that.

  6. Finally, think about your energetic cues: These are cues for how you want your students to feel in the shapes. So in a fold you might say something like “lengthen and soften the spine” Or in Warrior II, I like to say “feel that warrior energy, feel your strength.”

So let’s put it all together, here is a cue script for three-legged dog to high crescent lunge:

  • From three legged dog:

  • “High crescent lunge.”

  • “Step your right foot forward to your right thumb. Firm down through both feet. Lift the chest and the arms.”

  • “Stack your shoulders over your hips. Front knee is aligned over front ankle. Press through the ball of your back foot. Sink your hips. Notice if your ribs are puffing out and pull them in. Lengthen through your spine. Gaze is steady. Feel your strength.”

What do you think, humans? Is that helpful? Do you have any cuing tips that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section! This is just my way, but certainly not the only way!


Did you enjoy this post? Let us know your thoughts!

bottom of page