When training new teachers, we try to convey the importance of speaking simply. Simultaneously remembering a sequence, describing alignment, providing physical assists, and keeping an eye out for potential injuries before they occur is challenging even when extra words don't get in the way.
I like to think of my own teaching style as light on verbiage. I try to give students just enough guidance to move from pose to pose and allow them the space to explore what happens in their bodies and minds on their own terms. But at the same time I love words - and I am as susceptible as the next person of falling into "teacher speak." Just last week while working with a private client I caught myself saying, "Open your heart to the sky and extend through your fingertips." I thought nothing of it until he stopped, looked up, and said, "What?!"
"Um... Lift your right hand off the ground, turn your chest to face the side wall, and look toward the ceiling?" And just like that, he was in the pose.
I realized that in my attempt to summon a specific image, I ignored the more critical act of explaining what needed to happen. For the rest of the hour, I lost the jargon and provided clear, concise instructions. My student followed the cues and - more importantly - experienced the poses in a way that resonated with him.
How often have we contributed to confusion - or escalated a tense situation - by not speaking clearly and with intention? Next time you need to share something important, can you pause, consider what you want to convey, and speak clearly? How might losing the jargon improve your ability to communicate?
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