How often do you think about your communication style and skills? For me, it is something I think about a lot, both on and off the mat. As a yoga instructor and a trainer in yoga teacher training, I must find a way to connect with people from varying walks of life, at different aspects of their yoga journey. As instructors, there are multiple conversations focused on effective cueing, but also who shows up to class and why. We emphasize the fact that we do not know who is in class, what their background is, what brought them into our class, and as you can imagine, we could come up with thousands of scenarios. I encourage people to communicate from a place of authenticity and inclusivity to deliver their best message, and this does not just apply to yoga or teachers, it is relevant to anyone who wants to build or maintain healthy relationships.
One thing I don’t think most people realize is, you begin communicating with others before you use your words. When I walk into the coffee shop wearing my workout gear, I am already saying something about myself before I can even use my words. Same if I walk in wearing a smile or a look of anger, or if I hold the door or let it slam in someone’s face. These are forms of non-verbal communication, and whether we mean to or not, we are saying something through our actions. Our words are what help us refine our connection with others and express how we feel and what we are thinking. What we say and how we say it is critical in cultivating inclusivity in your conversations and life in general, and a lot of this will depend on your mindset, too.
First, be yourself. Your communication relies on how you connect with people. If you are using terms or phrases that aren’t really “you,” people can tell because it won’t feel natural to you or them, and it is usually noticeable. Whether it is business, friendships, romantic relationships – it is important to be true to your self and don’t say things because you think people want to hear them. If you have a regional dialect or terms you use, embrace it, and if you feel you need to sound more polished or professional, refine that aspect of your communication while staying true to your authenticity. You can’t expect to connect with everyone, but by being yourself, you are hopefully going to attract more of the people and situations and events that you are seeking.
If we look at our daily life, most of us can say we intentionally operate from a place of kindness, respect, and connection with others. We spend our days offering polite gestures or words instead of being cruel, and we seek out companionship. People have a desire to include and be included – and you have the power to make that happen through how you speak to others and what you say to them. Start thinking about what your message is and what you are trying to communicate to the world around you.
Speak to make yourself happy, don’t speak to impress others…. Namaste 🙏