Lora Hogan > Yoga  > The value behind words matters!

The value behind words matters!


I’ve always known that words matter. Choosing the wrong word can be hurtful. Choosing the right word can make someone’s day.

And we know that the repetition of words can make a big difference.

I have written before about the negative impact on repeating negative words–the mantras of “I’m suck,” or “I’m broke,” or “I’m too fat,” etc.

But you can’t just solve the problem by saying “I’m awesome,” “I’m rich,” or “My body is perfect.”

Because the words have to mean something.

Beyond the words, beyond the repetition, it’s all about the value.

I recently took a yoga class from an instructor I’d never had before and who didn’t know me.  The class wasn’t my jam for many reasons. But one of the biggest takeaways for me as an instructor was how she used her words.

Over and over “amazing.” Oh that is “so beautiful.” “Can you feel this amazing energy right now?” “You are the most perfect yogis I have ever seen.” “Gorgeous.” “OMG so so amazing.” “What a beautiful down dog. There has never been such a beautiful down dog.” “You guys are just the best.” “This energy is just so unbelievable, right? “Don’t y’all just feel the love right now?” “You are the best yogis I have ever taught. The best!”

Over and over.

The problem?

Not the words. But the value attached to the words.

There was no value and therefore no meaning behind the words.

She just seemed to say things over and over as though she was on repeat. Without actually looking at the people in the room. Without actually being present in the context.

A poor man she told was doing the “beautiful down dog” was heaving and moaning in pain. He needed to take a child’s pose. He was over-working. His body was out of alignment. His stance was too narrow, too short, and arms jiggling like jello unable to stay in the pose. He needed guidance. He needed teaching. He needed to know what to do to do better. Instead he got a pretend glance and a “there has never been such a beautiful down dog.” She spoke without looking or actually observing what was happening right in front of her.

We all were cranky. The entire class rebelled against the sub and the energy was palpable. Students actually got up and left the room right and left…even taking their yoga mats with them. The energy was “unbelievable” but unfortunately not filled with love for the teacher.  She was on the love bus auto-pilot. And each and every one of us could tell…except for her!

When you say over and over and over again that everyone is the “best,” that they are “amazing,” that they are “beautiful.” You have to mean it. You have to truly look and truly see and truly speak from the heart. The teacher was on auto-pilot. She was somewhere else entirely. She spoke without seeing, without listening, and without presence.

And boy could you tell the difference!

So when you speak to others. When you speak to yourself. It’s not the words that truly matter at the heart. It’s the context. It’s the value behind the words. You can say “I hate you” but say it with so much love, so much presence, and so much joy that, despite the word being negative, the word can feel overwhelmingly amazing, positive, and loving. You can say “you’re amazing” and really mean it as I-don’t-think-you-are-but-I-am-saying-it-even-though-I-really-mean-you-suck!

And you can say something so many times that it stops HAVING meaning. That you have lost the context behind the words. The value to the words.

But you can regain that value. Your words can matter. You just need to remember WHY you are saying them.

And to do that?

You just need to be present.

You need to take in your surroundings. Breathe in the moment. Feel what is actually happening. And then speak from that place.

So that when you say “I believe in you” the whole word knows it to be true. Because you have conviction behind the words. Because you truly BELIEVE in what you are saying.

Let each phrase come as the first time. No mater how many times you have said “I love you” to someone, let each time be fresh. Let each time be new. Let each “I love you” happen for the very first time. And say it from the heart. With truth, presence, and full awareness.

What do you think?




  • Heather (Where's the Beach)

    January 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Such a great reminder and so very true. You can often hear it in someone’s voice if they’re being sincere or just going through motions.

  • Flower

    January 7, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Love this! I really, really love this. You just touched on one of my pet peeves. I’d rather someone be hateful or ignore me than to say something insincere. Great post!

  • Run DMT

    January 7, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Best quote: “She was on the love bus auto-pilot. ” HA! That cracked me up!

    This is a magnificent post! Since you know me IRL and my style, there is value to that statement. Such solid advice here! In a world where everyone’s faces are in their phones, be present and mean what you say to the loved ones in front of you. xox

  • Maureen

    January 7, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I absolutely love this. The world really needs more sincerity gestures. You nailed it here: “You need to take in your surroundings. Breathe in the moment. Feel what is actually happening. And then speak from that place.” being mindful with what we say is something I need to practice more.

  • Melanie @ Nutritious Eats

    January 10, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    That does sound annoying, especially in a yoga class! I am sure she meant well, but I am also sure everyone would’ve preferred her to just not talk!