A turtle coming out of its shell

I cannot stress how much I have feared being put in the spotlight. This fear arises whenever I am giving a presentation in class or addressing a large group of people. My hands begin to tremble, a lump forms in my throat and my heartbeat goes wild. Over the years, I have realized that being anxious about whether I will forget what to say next, immediately transforms this fear a reality.

 

To deal with such a phobia, I was told to deliberately put myself in the spotlight and hence, I gave a speech to 200 unknown faces at a conference. The constant shake in my voice and hands could not be concealed as I gave the most terrifying speech of my life. It was then when I realized that overcoming this fear would take time and constant effort, yet I did whatever I could to run from speaking in front of an audience.

 

I enrolled in the Tirisula yoga teachers training course not knowing that I would be forced out of my comfort zone to such a large extent in terms of addressing a class. Teaching a yoga class not only required me to speak, but also to motivate and inspire the class, to adjust the position of the students both physically and verbally, to pace everything I say perfectly, and to continuously alter the tone of my voice depending on how I want the students to perform and feel… This thought is simply formidable.

 

For five days in a row, I was asked to teach. The first two classes that I taught were a disaster. I went home feeling miserable but also determined to finally evacuate myself of this fear. I did what teacher Erica said and screamed into a pillow. I practiced lifting my chest up and grounding my feet to give me a confident stance. I rehearsed my sequences 3 times every evening to make sure I understood exactly what I had to do. Unfortunately, I was extremely inconsistent in my teaching, giving me good and bad days. However, I could feel that I was slowly becoming more confident with every lesson I taught and with every round of feedback that the teachers gave me.

 

Today, I am not even close to being a great public speaker, but I am a lot better at dealing with my speech apprehension compared when I had first started the course. Furthermore, for the first time in my life, I feel like a leader rather than a follower. To have an entire class follow my directions and copy my demonstrations is an extremely exhilarating feeling. The YTTC has forced me to constantly work on this weakness and has allowed me to perform in ways that I couldn’t even imagine.

 

Aditi Timbadia