11: The Yoga of Discernment—What It Is And How To Teach It

Is all discomfort good? Is all discomfort bad? What is the “right” way to teach any given asana? How do we offer the version of a pose or practice that will be most beneficial to our students right now? Being able to answer these questions with confidence comes from a depth of understanding of what I call The Yoga of Discernment.

I don’t think there is any magic in an “ideal form” of asana, and I think that every person will find benefit in a slightly different variation of a pose. As teachers we are charged with helping our students find the version of the pose that is ideal for them right now. How the heck do we do that?? There are so many physical and emotional benefits possible for every single pose and in my opinion, there is no resource that could explain them all! I know that is overwhelming to think about….

But! There is hope, I promise.

It is possible have something useful + helpful to offer your students, even if it isn’t hard and fast rules about the most “ideal” alignment.


Listen to this episode to learn:

  • What is The Yoga of Discernment? Why is this important for us?  
  • What is important to teach our students, if it isn’t a very specific set of alignment principles.
  • The problems I see with the “do whatever feels good” mentality.  
  • What I’m doing with a current student in chronic pain.   
  • Why studying anatomy is like putting up elfa shelving in your closet.
  • How to start teaching the Yoga of Discernment right away.

And after you’ve listened to the episode, pop over here and let me know how it landed with you!


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2 Responses to “11: The Yoga of Discernment—What It Is And How To Teach It”

  1. Colleen

    Great interview! Yes, the directive of “do what feels good to you” makes me absolutely cringe. Too many people are used to abuse not only from others, but also self-directed abuse. They may equate pain with good or being deserving of. Most folks are just so disconnected from their bodies they haven’t got a clue. I think giving a student several options of being in a pose and allowing them to make a choice within those options is a more intelligent and functional use of time. As for demonstrating, I have been teaching seniors for some time now. Working with a group of people with varying levels of hearing impairment, sight impairment and cognitive functions, often requires detailed demonstrations and sometimes practicing along with them. Ability to process information slows down greatly in the aged so visual cues is almost a necessity most of the time. And this is just my experience. Working one on one would be a different experience altogether.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Thank you Colleen, I am so happy to hear this resonated with you! And I could totally see how sometimes different populations need different teaching styles. The most important thing is that you are teaching in a way that is immediately useful for your students, and it is very clear you are doing just that. 🙂


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