Hone Your Tone

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However, I'm still receiving the same comment. What do I do? I don't feel natural being a cheerleader or over-enunciating everything. Should I just take the comments with a grain of salt, or is there something I can do that would feel natural and not forced or phony?


Read Desireé Rumbaugh's response:

Dear Scott,

One of my beloved practices is to look for the good first. So let's assume that the positive way to view your monotone voice is that you are very steady and soothing and that the sound of your voice is calming. Those are actually very good qualities for a yoga teacher to have.

The next step is for you to develop the ability to add fire, more rajas, to your voice. If it is the desire of your heart, I believe you can do it. You'll probably need to observe a teacher whom you respect who has a bit more fire. Observe a few classes or record one and listen to it several times. You'll begin to notice the power of the voice and how inspiring it can be. Right now, you're so used to your voice that the thought of trying to change it seems impossible. Once you recognize this and you can see what it is you want to bring to your classes, you will be motivated to change.

The next step is to find a mentor, someone (or a small group of friends) who will patiently work with you as you attempt to grow into a bigger version of your already great teaching self. Your mentor could both come to a class, or you could enlist your friends to form a little informal study group, a kind of "pretend class" in which they can give immediate, constructive feedback. This is the easiest and most direct way to see the habits we wish to change or improve on.

Being a great yoga teacher requires skill, devotion, patience, and having the ability to connect with the heart of your students. To some degree, all of these things can be developed no matter what a person's background or temperament. It all depends on the motivation to change and grow.