i took a class with the lovely max strom today on refining communication as a yoga teacher. i find the whole concept of communication FASCINATING! there is a whole center for nonviolent communication and i'm dying to learn more - and share with you in a podcast. in my book i mentioned how interesting it is that when we pass people on the street and overhear cell phone or in person conversations, it is usually someone complaining about someone else. sound familiar?
max's tips were:
- make eye contact, smile when you walk into the room
- be vulnerable, share personal stories, remind students that if you can do it, so can they
- record your class and try your class at home later. observe patterns
- teach to multiple levels by offering modifications and variations
- start with the level 1 version first (ex. forearm to thigh in side angle)
- teach by repetition - best way to learn new things
- find your authentic voice - avoid "innnnnnhaallllllleeeee, exxxxhhhhhhaaallllle"
in some way, these tips can apply in our everyday communication - off the mat. it's always best to make eye contact, acknowledge people, and be fully present when in communication. ever been with a friend, discussing something challenging and have them check their e-mail? i've been on the giving and receiving end of that and it doesn't feel good. what about being vulnerable during communication, sharing a story that helps explain the "why" behind something, and serving as an example of what can be done! by observing how we communicate, the numerous "ums," the stammering, the avoiding of a real issue, we can grow in improving our communication skills.
and, of course, finding our authentic voice, style, and modus operandi ensures were are true to ourselves and will attract those who resonate with us. one thing i learned early on in my teaching - when transitioning from teaching a chill style based in integrative yoga therapy to a more rigorous style based on ashtanga (after a david swenson training in 2000), is that i cannot be the teacher for everyone. some people love our evolution as teachers or beings, but others will not. embrace those who do and know that the others will resonate with someone else. THAT was a very liberating lesson early on.
in the interim, explore your communication - written, verbal, body language, eye contact - and note ways to grow. communication is an ongoing journey!