Sitting in Frank’s Saturday morning yoga class I heard him say, “…honor the teacher and the student inside of you.” My naive brain thought only “teachers” made an impact through teaching. Hold up, I thought, here is a gray area that we all fall into!
As life went on, I ventured through my masters, yoga, and eventually became a professor myself. Through it all, I continually found those that nourished me with their wisdom were receptive to tid bits from me as well. I had stumbled onto (with Frank’s help) the gift that literally kept giving: knowledge. What an amazing, karmic phenomena!
Want to learn more? Here are a few practices to being a genuine teacher while making yourself a vessel to absorb all your universe has to offer!
Teach what you know. Don’t Try. To teach with your raw passion, stick to what you KNOW in your essence and in your being. If on one hand you are using a manual to walk someone through a customer service issue at your stressful job, but on the other you are the empathetic ear the entire office goes to for conflict resolution; you may want to live more in your element and teach on those skills to make your world a better place! When it is something the flows from your pores you won’t have to try and it will not be work.
Language matters. Words have the power to hurt and heal, teach and turn someone off of a subject entirely! Let’s take an average personal trainer vs. an experienced yoga teacher. “Lift that weight! Hit it hard, then recover! Give me 100%, move that butt!”, yells the trainer. “Center your breath, Shine your collar bones to the sky and float to the front of your mat.”, says the Yoga teacher. Do you see the difference? Ownership of your body is relayed using “your” vs. “the” and “that”. The idea of connection is displayed in giving you a space and activity for nourishing your body vs. an exercise that you need to “recover” from. And don’t say 10 words when you need 3. More conflicts have been resolved by saying, “I hear you”, then digging up the conversation again and firing off words like swords without thinking. Be concise, consistent, and intentional.
Silence is truly golden. Now that you know the importance of words, silence may be even more important. Ever have a teacher ask you a question then they move on before anyone has a chance to answer (or ignores all the raised hands)? Yes? How did that feel? You thought you had something to add on the subject and you (along with your classmates) were disregarded. Instead, what if you were validated? What if you were given time to have your answer stated and then explored as a relatable opportunity for you and your peers? The teacher does not always need to talk to teach. The patient moments of silence that build a conversation’s safe space will mean everything to those exploring the subject and you will learn from everyone’s contributions!
These tools will aid you in becoming not only a more impactful speaker but also a more devout student. Give what you have, and soak up everything you can. Speak raw and genuine. Listen to stay open and receptive. Become a lifelong learner and you will never stop growing.