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Finding your voice as a teacher can be one of the hardest and scariest things about becoming a yoga teacher. Most teachers don’t find their voice in yoga teacher training, it takes months and often years of practice and then just when you think you’ve found it, it morphs and changes.  This is a good thing. We don’t want to have the same voice in our 50s that we had in our 30s. Finding our voice is often related to our life experiences, hopefully our life experiences continue to happen as we age. Finding your voice sets you apart and keeps students coming back to your classes.

 

There are two definitions of Finding our Voice:

  • Literal Definition
    • The process of discovering your inner voice and then communicating that voice to others
  • Common Yogic Definition
    • Teaching in a unique style that comes from the teachers own life experiences, from their heart.
    • Teaching your truth
    • Confidence to teach as YOU and how you show up in the world

Every teacher has their own unique perspective, interpretation, experience and gifts to share and our voice is our best tool to share our gifts. When you think about finding your voice consider your own story (your values, what you have done in life, situations and experiences that have shaped you into who you are today). 

Ways to Cultivate Your Voice

Practice

  • Our voice comes from our practice and our experience on our mat
  • Practice, watch and then journal about your experience.  Notice what words, thoughts, feelings show up.

Be Yourself/Be Authentic

  • Imagine you are teaching to friends or family members
  • Best friend language
  • Dinner with friends language
  • Assertive & kind
  • Interesting story
  • Personal story
  • Humor (break ice, dissolve tension, relax)

Speak in your regular voice

  • Your voice creates and shares the energy of the practice
  • Sound relaxed and rooted in your body
  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Be concise with your wording
  • Let your personality and your journey/experience show
  • Teach from your authentic self
  • Teach what you are most comfortable with and then explore

Be Vulnerable

  • Make mistakes
  • Share what you are working on in your teaching/life/etc.
  • Try new things
  • Let go of attachment

Explain Yoga Terms

  • Use layman’s terms along with Sanskrit and anatomical terms
  • Language should have a purpose/be experiential
  • Don’t get lost in the technical
  • Speak to students as people (bodies, minds, hearts)

Take out -ing

  • Use direct language
  • Inhale your arms overhead (rather than inhaling your arms overhead – too sing songy)
  • Choose words carefully
  • Positive/negative connotations
  • Precise/unclear
  • When instructing be clear – what to do/how to do/why

Inspire your students

  • Power words
    • Know, feel, look, discover, explore, create, realize, experience
  • Pause
  • Silence

When sharing feedback in private lessons or group classes be specific

  • Avoid saying great job, instead say great job holding plank pose
  • Be specific so your student will be clear on what they are doing well

Don’t try and do all these things at once.  Pick one and work on it for awhile.  Remember, I’m always available for a little mentoring or a “Let’s Talk” phone call.