Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

Battling Nerves

I experience fearful bouts before "public speaking"—in this case, leading the class. I'm aware that there are deeper issues and I'm delving in. In the meantime, what do you recommend?

teachingclass

I'm an introvert, so yoga teaching was a big step for me. Yet I was very clear that this was what I wanted to do. However, I still experience fearful bouts before "public speaking"—in this case, leading the class. I'm aware that there are deeper issues and I'm delving in. In the meantime, what do you recommend?—Priscilla

Read Aadil's reply::

Dear Priscilla,

I understand your feelings well. Though I was on the public stage from the age of three, it was only at 18 that I could finally walk up on stage without my knees shaking and without butterflies in my belly.

Overcoming this fear is mostly a matter of time and experience. However, there are three things that may help you. One, tell your ego that it is fine if you make a mistake and even humiliate yourself. The fear of failure (making a mistake and looking stupid—ego) and the fear of rejection (people will not like me if they don't like what I say or what I look like—ego again) are two fears that cause public-speaking trauma. To solve this, let the ego go. Easier said than done, but you know what to work on.

Two, be well prepared for the task at hand. Know what you are going to teach and know how to modify this in various ways to adapt to different students. Practice your delivery before class, giving instructions until your words flow. Then tape record one of your classes, and play back the tape while pretending to be a student in your "class." This will clarify where you need improvement and where you are strong.

The third thing that will help you: Before walking up to the front of your class, take a long, deep inhalation, filling up your lungs and not your belly, and keeping your throat relaxed and your eyes calm. Then hold your breath to the count of three. Exhale slowly and deliberately until all the breath is out of your lungs. Hold to the count of three and then take one or two normal breaths. Repeat this process three to nine times. This will soothe your brain, calm your nerves, and, as a bonus, stimulate your lymphatic system.


Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments

katya

I disagree with Aadil. For a sensitive person, public failure is likely to be discouraging. However, I agree that preparation is excellent. Like Aadil, I experienced public performance from a young age, and I enjoy an audience.
However, for those who find it scary: bring notes (an introduction and exit script can help, but don't appear to be reading them); a card with large visuals to remind you how to cue your session; music to play in the background.
Practice with friends and family first a(although they may be your harshest critics).
Don't be afraid of silence. If you run out of words, just cue the breath. There are a lot of really chatty yoga teachers out there. Someone like yourself may offer a wonderful gift of stillness.

becky

thank you for this article, what a blessing! I feel the same way that the reader does, I too do not fare well to public speaking at times but I feel compelled to enter a teacher training program. So comforting to know that there are others out there that share the same concerns!

Add a Comment »

Your Name:

Comment:

Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
sd14 San Diego
Sheraton San Diego
July 10-14, 2014
Register
2014 new york live New York
Hilton New York
April 24-28, 2014
Register

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions