Why Did Yoga Instructors Always Get This Wrong?


When I practiced yoga, I did it twice a week. I was never certain if it was doing any good. I never sensed I got more limber or flexible.But I did notice that the pinched nerve in my back didn’t bother me as much, so there was that.

But my ears didn’t deceive me: All of the instructors I had over the years incorrectly used vertebrae.

They all misused it the same way: We’re in a forward bend, and the yogi told us to slowly rise “one vertebrae at a time.”

Except the singular form is vertebra, and it refers to “any of the bones or segments composing the spinal column.”

I don’t think rising up two vertebrae at a time is what the instructors had in mind, especially when they next said, “Head is the last to come up.” Head is singular, thereby inferring that the bones in the spine rise one at a time, too, starting with the closest to the waist (the sacrum) and continuing through the lumbar and up to the neck and head.

I wish my “downward facing dog” could be fixed as easily.

Until next time! Use the right words!

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Lee Barnathan

Lee Barnathan

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