Why do we feel nervous?
Why that feeling is there?
What are the immediate tools we can sync into to overcome speaking in public ?
Most importantly how to enjoy our self within a Yoga class setting?
As Yogini I will try to address this questions based on my own experience also taking inspiration by some of my mentors which you are more then welcome to explore yourself as you read!!
As Yogi I believe we do already have the tools, skills and understanding to easily perform at best this topic and show up in front of the class at our best (even if we don t feel like everyday at the same)..
I think it is useful to have a refresh on how the body anatomy work applied to this instance first..
You can probably relate that the first times we find our self in front of other fellows yogi and knocks our confidence down in most instance is being nervous right? Many of us can probably relate to that right?
As Yogi we know that when we feel anxious and nervous we are mostly connect to the sympathetic nervous system, the one related to our fight and fly response.
As a consequences of a stimulus we feel we are in danger and exposed to danger so the body response to this by sending the blood to start flowing to our muscles and towards our heart, two main functions of our body, reason why blood pressure increase, heart beats also increase, we get flushing sensation rising up towards the face (some of us know what I am talking about!).
Some of us also experience some weirdness sensation in the stomach area, this is because the blood is condensed into a restricted area we can also experience that butterfly sensation in our stomach as a result of not having had enough blood taking care of digestion.
Being aware of how the body works and having more transparence in regard should also make you conscious of where your body triggers you the most and measure that are more suitable for your self.
Adrenaline is an other hormones that is involved in the process of getting nervous which usually instigate that panic which make us wanted escape the situation. As Trained Yogi we know the most powerful tool we have is the breath and breathing into the sensation instead of letting that sensation of wanted us running away is the wisest thing we can do !
Utilising effectively the breath technique in this case can come really helpful and smart thing to do!
Let’s dive in:
1 # Three Breath Tecniques I identify been very effective when I face a crowd of students
A # Bhramari
Extremely powerful and calming type of pranayama, also called the humming breath because it reminds us of the sound of the bees and It is also called this way in honor of the black Indian bees: Bhramari. It works instantly, just after few rounds and it is a great tool to calm the mind and the body when agitated and anxious. The vibration of the sound calms the nerves and has a natural calming effect on the whole body. Of course because of the sound you need to be in a place you know you are comfortable to make ‘noise’ and at ease in making that sound!
B # Udjiay
If you don’t have a quiet space and don’t feel relaxed in the fist place to use the Humming breath, you can easily shift on udjiay pranayama, it’s silent, it anchor within your internal rhythm and it’s an absolute incredible and silent tool to sync within and feel rooted, relaxed and calm within few minutes.
C # V breath hold at the top
Whether you are laying down or sitted this breath technique is magical if performed for at least few minutes, I’m talking about the V breath. Inhaling for a count of 4 or 5 seconds, pause for 2 or 3, exhale for 4 or 5. I would encourage you to practice few minutes of udjiay first and to be comfortable in using breath retentions within your practice.
2 #Embrace the Uncomfortable
Consciously embrace that uncomfortableness and breathe into it, let it flow and make it your best friend. There will be uncountable moment as a Yogi or not, in which that will invitably happen, and most likely when it happen let it find you prepared in facing it!
My Mantra on this is ‘Get Comfortable into the Uncomfortableness’. It’s ok to feel like this, you are human and thanks gosh your body respond in the way you are designed to answer. The world is still running, with you or without! Sooo… be ok feeling not ok!
The brain is a muscles it self and for this has body memory, it will benefit by being exposed by the situation and learn, the next time, more often you will do it the more it will get used. Accept it, know is there and welcome it! This is truly my best advice. And it won’t happen overnight or just dreaming of it, it requires an active action and conviction that you can make it, you can definitely master the art of modulating your breath to consciously act upon your mind.
Knows that nobodies got ever hurt by being in front of an audience.
Try not to be nervous about being nervous!
Think this way: everyone before or after in their career as a Yogi had to face ‘the first time’, that’s a fact.
This on inertly Yoga environment, you chose to be a Yoga teacher, you can deal with it! Walk with it and at first just pretend to be the future you being already confident about it.
Understand and make a detached analysis of what you do when you are nervous. From my observation, one’s tend to either shout down or accelerate. You need to figure out what is that you do when you are nervous.
# 3 Are you shouting down? How is your body posture? Can you lift the gaze, relax your shoulders, open your chest and heart to the unknown? Can you. Be at ease within the uncomfortable?
Don’t be afraid of crossing someone’s eyes, engaging with your student just before the beginning of the class it’s a technique that I found really effective when I need to step into my role and feel confident.
Think of a teacher you admire and respect. Someones that, when you are in class with, infuses you with confidence and makes you feel at ease. What do he or she does to transmit you that feeling?
How do they stand in front of an audience? How do they visually introduce them selves? How are they dressed? Answering to all of this questions will give you an idea on how you want to be seen and consequently act.
Modelling some else at first while you refine your personality as a teacher can be an honest and dignified beginning. In a second time you can perform and find your own voice and verbal cueing system. The essential at first is be comfortable wearing your clothes and your best smile will do 80% of the work, tested on my self (for my entire life and not only the Yoga world!).
4 # The art of visualisation is a great tool to refine in this situation.
Just before jumping in front of the class, I used to picture my self in the warrior pose (any of them as each of it is very powerful), visualising and feeling the empowerment of the pose, merging with the sensation of owning the posture and the whole game. It’s such a potent tool to put in place.
Researches have shown how body language has the major impact when facing an audience, while tone of voice and humor have a 38%, verbal is only the 7% of the entire game.
The way you will show up is going to be the way your student will perceive you.
Think for a moment, it is what we teach: we engage student in performing body posture that eventually would have an impact on the mind set. It is proven that humans brain is affected by the signals that the body send according to his posture. A posture lower your cortisol and stress response into your body while it increases testosterone which is the masculine hormones that allows to make decisions coming from a place of confidence.
I have recently watched this videos interview series of my dear friend and workmate Nina Sadlowsky. She is an amazing personal & business coach and motivator besides being one of the team leaders in my DoTerra up-line. Nina has interviewed leaders around the world about the topic of confidence, because she says that “confidence is key to our life design.” You can check her out following her Instagram and Facebook Page.
Do not apologies to be nervous, don’t share with people that you are nervous.
If you make a mistake or gaffe, don’t feel sorry, just pause for a second and move on as nothing as happened.
# 5 Always keep in mind the primary reason why you are sharing the practice in the first place!
What is your why? Your intention for the practice? It’s all about yoga: remember nones will ever own it perfectly because it is not a matter of mastering the art, it’s all about getting into the same space and share one of the most ancient practice: to join, to connect.
If you are coming from a place where you have crystal clear in mind that we all are students of yoga. This has been a persistent and humble thought that has allowed me to overcome my fear of facing an audience.
I am a student my self in class, a student of Yoga, and I have the privilege to speak out our and share my practice with other humans, which I have assimilated and learnt overtime.
What practice do you believe it is relevant for your students right now?
What is your intention with that group of people? Are they there to learn some physical movement? Are they beginner or advanced? A mix group perhaps? Are they willing to deepen in the mind and body connection? Do they have a meditation practice? Always relate to the people you have in front even if this would mean change your theme at last minute.
For what it concern me, a lot is due to how well you are prepared and if you feel comfortable to share and teach the topic of your class. Is it something you have assimilated over time? Do you nail it because you speak from your experience?
# 6 As Some Others tend to Accelerate, this will result in sending a wrong message and risking in rush your student’s breath within the movements.
Of course you cannot cue 10 benefits of Virabahadrasana 1 in 10 seconds or you will agitate and overwhelm your crowd! Keeping it simple is the key, be honest, and leave it to 3/4 cues instruction in a pose, find the ones that the majority relate to. It is totally fine to use someone cues while you are still refining yours.
7# Keep in mind: It is totally ok not being ok at the beginning!
You have all the right to make mistake and learn from them! Allow your self to be vulnerable and be your self!
Think of your. Have you got an intimate and healthy relationship with the various internal dialogues? Are you able to establish and developing balance in your life within that dialogues?
8# Your Tone of Voice is crucial, and performing this it simply takes time and practice.
If you watch a Ted Talk or any other professional and renovated public speaker you’ll notice they will bring you in a journey by only modulating their tone of voice.
There are 4 different areas of your voice:
- 1- Assertiveness: are you really hiding behind a low tone of voice? Are you screaming to reach the peps at the back of the room? Can everyone hear you well?
- 2- Speed: it shows how confident you are, if you are really slow and hesitant you are delivering the message you are not sure what you are saying or doing, on the other hands to quick might give you the sensation you are escaping the situation..
- 3- Frequency: how high or low you are speaking has a major influence on your audience.
- 4- Verbal: the words that you use: copy-writing and story-telling are an art to master has you go. How good you are delivering a message. Which kind of vocabulary are you using? Actions words? Descriptive? Narrative?
Are you a good entertainer or boring in telling a story? Do you use very description words? It also depends on what kind of message you are trying to deliver?
What class are you teaching? An high speed vinyasa? A restorative?
Preparing a script before your class by writing it down and then speak it out loud, that would help you to chose and deliver effective sentences that will capture your audience attention .
How to write a good copywriting? I found that Linkeding Learning is a great platform to expand my knowledge, there are a lot of mind set and more techie tutorial you can explore as you go.
# 9 Get Inspired
Go to the class of your fav teach and try to understand why you feel drawn to that particular one and not an other.. why you find a teacher that inspires you more than an other?
Have a look around on line other teacher modality, what resign with you the most? Ask yourself the Why.
At the beginning is totally fine trying to use someone else cue, till you refine your own.
Get inspired and implement what you have learnt, even just one clue at time. After just one year you will be having a well rounded vocabulary.
# 10 Beginning by sharing a guided meditation
Staring with a brief mediation with your student will allow you to sync within your role and settle down your nerves with them as you guide them into a body scan rather than body and mind awareness. It always works! You can get your student to laid down if you want an extra soft beginning without any eyes staring at you when you begin. I find this always useful and very effective when I haven’t had the time for my breath work tune-in exercise or when I sense I am not ready straight away for some eyes gazing at me.
# 11 Have you ever used Essential Oils to set the mood of the class and act upon the state of your emotions?
When using essential oils aromatically (and also topically), the sent travels through the nose to the olfactory system the it is processed and then travels through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system. In this last one, the sent triggers responses in the brain based on memories and experiences. If you are willing to dive deep into the world of essential Oils and how to share them in your classes you could download this free e-book and find out more about how the brain interact with the different olfactory notes.
I hope this article has inspired you and gave you some good handy tips to nail your audience better next time you get in front of your audience.