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5 things to remember when learning how to teach breath connection in vinyasa yoga.

  1. INHALES are cued when we are lengthening the body. For example, we cue an INHALE when we come into urdvha hastasana (mountain pose). Or we cue INHALE when we are lengthening the spine before coming into a twisting posture. Elongating actions require an INHALE breath.

  2. EXHALES are cued when we are folding or twisting. For example, we cue an EXHALE when coming into uttanasana (forward fold). The exhale helps us create more space and fold into this posture. Same idea with paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), we Inhale bringing the arms to the sky to lengthen the spine, and then EXHALE as we fold into the posture.

  3. Cue order: 1st, cue the breath: Inhale or Exhale

2nd, cue the body movement it takes to move into the pose

3rd, cue the name of the posture

For example, Cuing Sun Salutations and giving options (after you have taught the postures the first time by holding posture and breaking down asanas)

First Cue

Second Cue

Third Cue


lift arms to the sky

urdvha hastasana (mountain pose)


hinge at the hips

uttanasana (forward fold(


fingertips to your shins, lengthen your spine

ardha uttanasana (halfway lift)


plant your hands, step or float back

plank to chaturanga or all the way down to the mat


press your hands into the mat and lift chest

urdhva muhka svanasana (upward facing dog)


send hips back

adho muhka svanasana (downward facing dog)

4. Re-establishing breath when you are ready to move out of a pose that you have held. After you have given alignment cues and are ready to move to the next asana, re-connect with the breath. For example, Planning to move from Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) to Viparita Virabhadrasana(Reverse Warrior). When you are ready to move out of Warrior II, ask your class to take one more breath and cue the Inhale and the exhale. Then, cue, INHALE/Reach your right arm up and back/ Reverse Warrior.

If the next posture is on an exhale, cue, Inhale here and EXHALE/ body movement/ name of the pose.

5. Breathe with your class. Inhale or exhale with your class right after you cue the breath. This is so helpful in keeping the rhythm of the class consistent and not moving too fast or too slow.

Practice cuing the breath as you move through Sun Salutations.

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