By accepting who you are and being compassionate towards yourself, you will find a greater freedom in expressing your gifts to the world.
This article starts with the premise that everyone has a unique way of bringing their gifts forward in life. Our voice is a very powerful method of delivering these gifts. But it can also be an inhibitor, as fear and anxiety can block one’s ability to speak truthfully from a place of peace and authority. This article will explore 5 ways you can begin to explore and discover your voice both from a philosophical and technical perspective.
1) SELF CARE:
As a yoga teacher you are entrusted with the care of your students but that begins with care for yourself. In taking a compassionate look inward and using the power of teaching yoga to fuel self discovery, you are ‘mining’ the gold that you can then bring to class.
Many teachers often make the mistake of caring for themselves less when they have a full teaching schedule + other work to supplement income. Regardless of life’s pressures, finding time to deepen your meditation practice, asana practice and all of the eight limbs of yoga is vital to discovering your unique voice in yoga.
2) LEARN TO SING:
Chanting, mantra and singing om (or any long vowel tones) are all great ways to both increase the resonance and power of your voice. At the core of singing is your breath. Before you start chanting, do some pranayam first. Practice what’s called the three-part breath starting from your diaphragm, then mid-chest, then upper-chest and shoulders (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F85Pc_Vxgmg). This helps increase breath capacity and strengthen’s key muscles used in singing.
When you sign, consider having a harmonium or crystal singing bowl, something you can tune to. Learning to sing with instruments helps with confidence and brings more resonance and sonic awareness to your practice.
Remind yourself constantly in each breath to relax and open. Let go of tension in the neck, shoulders, face and scan your body for any other tension while singing.
3) DON’T JUDGE:
Be mindful of judgement or criticism you may have over the sound of your voice. At the root of these negative thoughts about yourself is often a profound lack of self worth and/or a lack of feeling safe in the world. This is where the light of compassion needs to shine the brightest. There are many paths to loving yourself more, and there is no more important a task then this right now. By accepting who you are and being compassionate towards yourself, you will find a greater freedom in expressing your gifts to the world.
Many people don’t speak what’s true for them out of a fear of being seen as different, bad or unacceptable. This is a very old survival program that used to work in our favor but no longer has value. The world creates what you resonate out from within – so if you are speaking from a place of judgement or fear, the world will reflect that back to you. Speak with love, trust, acceptance and gratitude – the world will turn into the Garden.
LESS IS MORE:
Many teachers make the early career mistake of filling up every moment in class with instruction. This is common for many creative individuals early in their self expression. It takes time to master, but finding and creating space is vital. It allows for people to experience themselves more deeply and is much more satisfying to the nervous system than trying to process constant instruction.
Use your own breath awareness to pace your teaching. This will also model the desired state for your students of moment to moment breath awareness.
This means instructing less. Giving more potent, meaningful and mindful teachings that allow students to actually experience for themselves what it is you’re instructing.
WORK WITH MUSIC:
Diving deeper into the connection with music allows you to express your musical inspirations and helps with the pacing and delivery of your instruction.
Adapt your teaching style to match the pace and phrasing of the music being played. Another way of looking at it is to have a conversation with the musicians. Back and forth, call and response, inter-weaving the rhythm of your instruction to the pulse of the music. This can be further enhanced by inviting live musicians into your class and working closely with them to develop a relationship that allows you to go even deeper as a teacher.
written by Alex King-Harris,
CEO /Co-Founder YogiTunes
This month at YogiTunes…
By exploring your own voice – it’s abilities and it’s boundaries – you will create more opportunities to express your ‘self’ as a teacher. Finding your unique voice is an integral (and beautiful) part of becoming a gifted yoga instructor. Your genuine self-expression can be felt, and it creates a special bond between you and your yogis, you and your space, and you and your own practice. During the month of April at YogiTunes we are focusing on helping you Find Your Voice as an instructor, and as a student of yogic philosophy. Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook to ensure that you don’t miss a beat!