Teaching: work in progress
I was recently asked to discuss the communication tools I use for teaching – my directing and re-directing, etc…with a professional communication specialist!!
The initial request inspired a moment of ‘shock and awe’ for me…and triggered an immediate response. I figured I would share my initial response which may provide some insight into the dialogue of my teaching and the work towards overcoming early and persistent fears:*
Speaking has been, and believe still is, the biggest challenge I have to being a yoga teacher. Having a traumatic public speaking background has been a major factor. My ability to communicate clearly — without mumbling, stuttering or excessive speed or fear — so I can be understood, is my practice.
Speech is one of the primary ways I am self-conscious about teaching. This is not meant to be a poor-me diatribe. I have actually heard myself described as articulate or a good communicator, etc. Truthfully when I hear these, I first clarify they are speaking about me. Then, rather than accept the complement or validation for my efforts, I internally question the judgment of the source.
Through intention and practice I speak a lot slower than I initially did teaching. Over the years, I have been most frequently asked if I am from NYC…coincidence?? To some, I may still speak fast. I also get excited and have my moments of high-anxiety.
My language choice is a direct result of my limited vocabulary and my deliberate choice to teach actions over poses. And if you are new to me, the words are so simple and commonplace that they may appear foreign in the context of an embodying practice (i.e., straighten, bend, right, left, etc.). Beautifully, through regular practice and attention – self-awareness, self-connection and self-acceptance grows!
*Thank you so much Janet!!
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