As a teacher of any sort and in particular of the movement arts – yoga, dance, chi gong, hooping, etc – you are channeling wisdom gleaned from your personal practice, your connection to Source, the environment of your class space and the needs of your practitioners.
Eventually, as in all things in life, there comes a pause in your facilitation:
you forget “your words”
the flow that you prepared no longer seems relevant
you jump out of the moment and into your head
It happens. It’s natural.
What do you do? How do you proceed?
Below, I share three focus points and Inner Asana Guidance steps to help you navigate silence as a powerful access point to deepened facilitation and classroom impact.
1. Know Thyself
Do you ever notice during conversation that at some point a pause arrives? A moment where there is nothing to be said or the previous stream of conversation has seemed to end?
A lull as they call it.
Sometimes this lull feels uncomfortable. In this discomfort we sometimes say awkward things or giggle nervously just to alleviate the silence.
For those of you that are dancers – in particular contact or ecstatic dancers – you notice that the lull comes up while sharing space with your partners:
the moment when no one is directing the flow and when there is apparently no clear destination
Inner Asana Guidance
How do you react when this still point arises in conversation and in life?
Bring attention to your responses and your reactions here. Do you offer nervous giggles? Say anything just to fill the space? Flare up with heat? Stare off into the distance? Become paralyzed? Smile? Move?
Instead of disassociating, go right, directly into the feelings and thought forms that arise. Give yourself permission to feel whatever is to be felt in these moments.
Stand in the moment with great curiosity and compassion.
With time and practice, try to:
maintain eye contact if you are conversing
extend the length of your breath
notice the reaction or impulse to move or speak simply because we’ve been conditioned to “do something”
Establish yourself in the unknown as you learn your patterns and tendencies. As my Mom reminds, how you do one thing is how you do everything. With this self-awareness, you’ll be resourced to be present with silence while leading your classes and workshops.
2. Be Authentic
For new teachers or those feeling a bit stuck in their facilitation, the inevitable pause may feel daunting and may challenge one’s confidence.
(That said, it’s actually your level of confidence and self-esteem that allows you to rest in trust as you await an authentic impulse.)
Consider a natural pause or silence as a space full of potential and ripe with the unknown. This space is your access point to authenticity.
Authenticity is being real – putting down your barriers and showing up as you are.
Authenticity is compelling and magnetic. It’s permissive and healing.
Authenticity is a great teacher and teaching for yourself and your practitioners. It removes the veil of separation and reveals you as them – human being – we as one. No delusions of grandeur. No illusions of hierarchy.
Inner Asana Guidance
As offered above, as you feel sensations of heat, confusion or embarrassment arise as you meet the pause, breathe as you would into any yoga posture. Find your inner Sukhasana – Pose of Ease – as you sit upright in the flow of the unknown.
Move away from the urge to hide or cover up the truth of the moment. BE and perhaps share with your practitioners – “I lost my train of thought.” “I am going to drop in for a moment to see what’s next.” “Awaiting the next download.”
And then truly wait. The pause won’t be enduring. What’s next will become clear.
Be willing to BE human and on a perfect journey of embracing your imperfections.
3. Trust and Follow the Flow
The pause – still point – shows up often when I dance with one of my favorite male partners, Rolf Gibbs, in Ubud’s (Bali) Ecstatic Dance community. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy dancing with him.
When the inevitable pause arises, there is no effort, no struggle, no assertion. I feel a safety and a trust in knowing that eventually, an authentic impulse will arise. Until then, there is no desire to claim power or direct energy. The ego subsides and we rest in the pause until our mutual energy says “now, here”.
… and then we follow the flow …
It’s brilliant – enriching and a metaphor for life.
Inner Asana Guidance
In your breath awareness practices, become present to the space at the top of the inhale, just before the exhale and the space at the bottom of the exhale and just before the inhale. Find the space between and develop a relationship there knowing and fully trusting that the authentic, natural flow into what’s next will arise.
Apply this knowledge during your class and resource yourself with the following affirmations:
“Silence is Safe”
“This is the space before the authentic impulse”
“I am on the cusp of accessing great wisdom”
Reconnect to your true asana – your Earth Seat connection – and feel the support under, within and around you. The Universe is not going to leave you hanging.
Remember, the pause is profound and all things (including you) are birthed from the void.
How do you navigate within silence?
Do you have a story to tell about losing your train of thought/teaching flow and coming up with something real and impactful?
What are your fears about holding the space of teacher?
Share your stories, comments and insights below. Thank you for sharing this post with your community!
If you are ready to be Influential – in flow with your essence – as a Movement Educator and community leader, join the HoopYogini inner circle of inspired educators. Our next training immersion is September 21 – 24, 2014 in Santa Cruz, CA. Registration is open – only five spaces available.