yoga teacher

3 Characteristics of Charismatic People

 

When I first joined a Toastmasters group I was a little taken aback at how nice everybody was to me.  The other members went out of their way to get to know me, ask about my interest in improving as a speaker and make me feel at home in an environment where I felt uneasy meeting so many new people.  

I felt so good leaving that first meeting that I went back again and again until I eventually joined.  Sometimes I wondered what made this group so inviting to be around...

Then last week, I learned their secret: charisma.

After our meeting one of the members started telling me about the 3 most important characteristics of charismatic people.  As he spoke them, it made total sense to me, "This is how these people are approaching their life, everyday," I thought.

I've been applying these principles for the last few days and it has made a huge difference in my interactions. 

I feel more confident meeting new people, have less social anxiety, and am making more genuine connections.  I am walking away from conversations feeling really good.

Since these have made such a difference in my life, I wanted to share them with you today so you can start having more uplifting conversations and interactions right away...

3 Characteristics of Charismatic People

1. Unrelenting Positivity

When people have the ability to see the bright side in any situation, it benefits everybody around them.

I love being around positive people because they are holding a higher vibration - a vibration that will attract more good into their lives.  

Through meditation and awareness of my thoughts, I've been able to catch myself when I start going down a negative spiral.  I now easily bring myself back to the moment and remember what's going right in my life and what I'm grateful for.  

2. Child-like Awe and Wonder

It is a gift to see the world through a child's eyes.  There is so much appreciation for the little things:  the butterfly that lands on the flower, the birds singing in the morning, the warmth of the sun shining on your face.  

I've been bringing more child-like awe and wonder into my life by spending time with my cat, Quan Yin.  In the early evenings we've been walking into the back field together to watch the sunset.  I love watching her excitement as I give her my full attention and let her lead the way.  Then, when she rolls on her back, waiting for me to pet her belly, I can't help but smile in appreciation.

3. A Genuine Care For Others

I used to unconsciously worry about how I was being perceived, wondering if others were going to like me.  I realize that way of thinking just took me out of the present moment and left me feeling empty after an interaction.  

Now I am focusing on, "How can I make this person feel like the most important person in the room?"  

It completely changes the energy.

A huge part of charisma is genuinely caring and wanting the best for other people.  This shifts the energy off of me and to the person I am talking to.  Since I've brought this awareness to my conversations, we both leave feeling better than before.

These principles have also affected my speaking and yoga teaching.  

If I got up in front of a group and worried about what the audience was thinking of me the whole time, I would miss out on making an authentic connection, and probably leave feeling like I could have done better.

However, if I can focus on what I want to GIVE and how I want to make the people in the room FEEL, then it is always a win - win situation.

Do you ever find yourself uncomfortable in social situations or getting stuck in your head when meeting someone new?  

I invite you to try out this technique this week.  AND - I'd love to hear how it goes for you in the comments below.

With love, 
Meredith

 

5 Steps I took to face my fear of teaching yoga

 
courage-how to teach yoga-yoga teacher

I remember being terrified to teach my final class on the last day of my yoga teacher training.

I sat in the corner doing pranayama while my fellow teacher trainees gathered up their courage to teach.

Ever since my first yoga class, I felt inspired by my teachers, powerfully leading their class through the sequences. The thought of becoming a yoga teacher myself was terrifying, but I also had a little bit of excitement when I imagined it.

Up until my teacher training, my biggest fear was using my voice.

When it came time to give a presentation in middle school or high school, I had trouble finding my breath. I realized it was my body’s way of protecting me from the possible embarrassment of speaking up. However, by college I saw how this fear was holding me back in all areas of my life.

After four years of dedicating myself to my yoga practice, my curiosity and excitement about teaching grew, so I packed up my bags and went to Mexico for my first teacher training, ready to face my fear.

The supportive people in my training helped me begin to unlock the fear, but when my turn came to get up in front of the room to teach, I was shaking.

Fortunately, this time was different. The deep breathing practices I had learned in the training helped me find my breath, and I stood knowing everyone in the room wanted me to succeed. As I began to speak, I surprised myself with how much I knew and how poised I felt in the seat of the teacher. I discovered a new side of myself I didn’t know was there before.

Eleanor Roosevelt says, “The very next thing you need to be doing is what terrifies you the most.”

Over the years, I’ve taken this to heart and learned that when I feel fear (and a little bit of excitement), life is presenting me with an opportunity to grow.

I learned that we experience fear when we encounter an unfamiliar experience. When I faced my fear over and over again, it became easier each time.

Not only did it become easier, but it became enjoyable.

Unfortunately, after my training, my familiar fears crept in and I felt like I was right back where I started. I had a little bit of courage knowing I had done it before, so I decided the only way to get rid of my fear of teaching was to simply go out and do it, again and again.

I now teach five of my own classes each week. Facing this fear has prompted me to face other fears in my life, knowing I am fully capable.

I know how hard it can be to start out teaching, so I compiled this list to share the most important steps I took that helped me break through my initial fear. 

1. I Spoke the Fear

When I started telling people about my fear, it took away its power.

Before I started speaking about my fear, the fear was just in my mind, and I had no escape from it. However, when I started sharing with people about my fear of public speaking, I started finding solutions. I met other yoga teachers with similar fears when they were first starting to teach and I started feeling less alone.

It was so refreshing to get the fear out of my mind and into a conversation.

2. I Got Support

When I started speaking my fear, one friend recommended I see a voice teacher.

I liked the idea, so decided to take lessons. My teacher showed me how to use my breath lower in my diaphragm and taught me exercises to strengthen my voice.

After several years of teaching I began meeting other women who had completed a yoga teacher training but had not yet started teaching, so I created a program for new yoga teachers to openly share their fears, strengthen their voice and practice teaching. I called it the Young Women’s Yoga Sangha and started offering the program in the Bay Area. I saw that when these women talked about their fear, they were intimately supported by each other, and that support gave them the courage to face it.

When I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my goals and dreams, my mind started telling me, “I’m not good enough, I don’t know enough, I can’t do this…” and almost convinced me not to do it.

Having a consistent supportive people in my life encouraging me, made the next steps so much easier.

3. I Celebrated My Successes

I did not go out and face my biggest fear right away; I started small.

I taught my family and a couple close friends. I then felt ready to face the fear in front of strangers after having those key positive experiences first.

Every time I took a step to face my fear, I celebrated my success and reminded myself of those successes every time I felt afraid to move forward.

4. I Let Go of My Story 

Before having a regular teaching schedule, my story was, “I can’t do this, I have never been good at talking in front of groups, and therefore I will never will be good at it.”

This was not even true! Just saying it out loud felt crazy. It was a story my mind made up to keep me “playing small.”

When we live in our story, we tend to procrastinate. We’ll be on Facebook, check our email again and again, or distract ourselves with food, alcohol, sex or anything else we can use to avoid taking action.

So how did I get out of my story?

First, I recognized that there was a story, then I wrote it down until it had no meaning anymore. I saw the words, and what it really was, a story.

Marilena Minucci says, “Your story can hold you hostage or it can set you free. You get to choose.”

Make a choice to write a new story, and remind yourself of that story every time you see your old story play out. Be held accountable, speak the story, and write the story as much as you need to see all it is is a story, and then let it go.

In the book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown talks about cultivating the bravery to just be in the arena. Being in the arena shows you are living in alignment with your values.

No matter what the outcome is, you are daring greatly and living your truth of courage.

When I faced my fear, connected to what I value and wrote a new story, I learned that whatever the outcome was, I was setting an example and becoming an inspiration just by taking action.

5. I Connected to My Bigger Picture and Vision for Myself and For the World 

The biggest step I took to face my fear was ask, “Why is it important for me to face this fear?” and “Why is it important for me to make this next step?”

When I asked “Why?” I saw that the purpose of teaching was actually more important than my fear.

It became painful not to share the knowledge I had learned. I saw it wasn’t about me anymore.

If I wanted to create a more conscious and compassionate world, I needed to face the fear.

If I wanted to help people live without pain in their body, I needed to face the fear.

If I wanted more people to rest and love themselves first, I needed to face the fear.

When I approached my fear from this place of service to myself, and all the people who could benefit from my teaching, it became much easier to feel the fear and do it anyway.

{Published on elephant journal}