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When teaching someone how to do something, tell them how to do it badly

McKinley Valentine — 1 min read
When teaching someone how to do something, tell them how to do it badly
Photo by Nikola Murniece / Unsplash

The best example of this is Downward-Facing Dog in yoga (the upside-down V pose). You're supposed to straighten your legs, put your heels on the floor, hinge at the hip, and keep a straight back.

Most people don't have the flexibility to do that. And most yoga teachers don't tell them how to do it badly if they can't do it properly. If you google for help with this pose, you'll just get repeats of the instructions - "what most people get wrong is they don't straighten their legs!" "yeah it's not that I don't know that, it's that I can't."

There is an answer to this! The answer is really simple: prioritise having a straight back, bend your knees as much as you need to, lift your heels as much as you need to. Doing it the other way overloads your spine.

Yoga is just an example. Whenever you can't do something exactly as you should (or you don't have time), when something has to give, you need the expert to tell you what to prioritise and what to do 'badly'. If you're the expert, volunteer this info. If you're the beginner, make them tell you.

This piece was originally published in The Whippet #12 – subscribe to get the next one in your inbox!

Unsolicited AdviceEQ & Interpersonal


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