Why Language Choice in Yoga is Important for Mental Health
Updated: Feb 12, 2022
The benefits for yogic practices for mental health and well-being are becoming increasingly realised. Central to mind-body practices, such as yoga, is the cultivation of somatic experience; being aware of what is happening in ones body. One way to cultivate awareness is the use of invitation language when facilitating / teaching a yoga practice.
Invitation language offers an opportunity for individuals to move in ways that feel helpful for them. This promotes choice making based on internal sensations rather than outer referencing based on an external idea of what a yoga pose should look like. Moving based on interoceptive experiences offers an individual the chance to reference internally and develop a deeper mind-body connection.
I like using the example of piano players to explain the development of a body-mind connection. Piano players have a larger area of their somatosensory systems devoted to processing finger movements and sensations relative to matched controls. This neuroplasticity take times and practice. Similarly, the practice of yoga requires both gross and fine motor skills to refine a pose. Over time this alters neuromuscular connections along side awareness of physical sensations. Yoga is particularly interesting because a pose is never "finished", on