Discover your authentic yoga teaching voice
Holding space authentically requires strong and receptive presence. Sarah Scharf
offers us yoga teachers these great tips to hold space in the yoga classroom authentically and sustainably as a professional yoga teacher running around town. Here are some concrete tools from Sarah to develop your unique voice as a yoga teacher.
1. Believe that you and what you say deserves to be heard.
Often when someoneâ€™s voice isnâ€™t coming out clearly or loud enough it has to do with a lack of conviction. Not just in what is being said but also in deserving to be heard. Truly believing that what you say matters and is meaningful and valuable for your students is key. Remember that they came to the class to hear your instructions! Take a look inside and notice if any part of you is stuck in a storyline about not being good enough or experienced enough to be heard. Be honest with yourself, and get the proper training and education to teach well. This includes working on yourself and dealing with whatever might be blocking you from getting your voice out to the student at the back of the room.
2. Create a beginning and ending ritual for yourself.
Actors warm up their voices and I believe itâ€™s important for teachers too. Especially if you are about to speak for over an hour! I like to have a warm drink on hand when I get to the studio, or at least some water to start. Beginning with a chant or hum helps prepare the voice, as does stretching and massaging the jaw. Simply taking a moment at the beginning to check in with yourself can be monumental: How are you feeling? Are you connected to your own breath, able to feel your own feet? These simple starting rituals help on every level. A closing ritual is nice to give you an energetic end point. I like to wash my hands with really cold water, especially after adjusting lots of people!
One of the main problems for our voices is getting tired. Feeling drained can happen easily when we are travelling from place to place to teach in a busy city. It also happens when we donâ€™t have clear endings, and we are left open as we rush out to the next class.
3. Take Care of Yourself.
This is part of number 2, yet goes beyond. It has to do with how we take care of ourselves in general. Getting enough rest, enough sleep, enough emotional support, enough pleasure. Knowing your teaching limit is important too, how many classes can you stay healthy while teaching? Do you need to do early mornings and evenings? Make a schedule that supports you having the energy not to push and strain your voice. Having a support network of other teachers so that you donâ€™t have to stress and work too hard if you are ill is also key. TLC keeps the voice strongest.
Study with Sarah in London this April at one of the following events:
Finding Your Authentic Voice: Practical Performance Skills for Yoga Teachers (2 April)
The Nitty Gritty: Flow & Restore for Hips and Shoulders (1 April)