A connection between public speaking and yoga? Stay with me…
Recently TED organizer June Cohen put a call out to women to audition for TED2014 in Vancouver. Don’t get her wrong, she wants the guys too, but is aiming for a 50% representation from women this time out…a number that she explains is very hard to come by. Women say “no” more often and cancel more frequently. If you want to hear her reasons why that is, click here.
The question is: Why do we shy away from the things we want to do, need to do, would be so great at? Why do we bite our tongues when we have something valuable to share with the world? Why do we put ourselves in our own way of success in any part of our lives? If you’re a person with a great idea, why NOT try to share it on a platform such as TED that can bring so much attention to that idea?
Last week I had a bit of an “A-Ha” moment. And it was while contorted in Eagle pose in my first yoga class in a while.
Because it’s UNCOMFORTABLE.
Recently I’ve been dogged by persistent low back pain. After a few Chiro and Massage Therapist treatments and making little progress, I decided it was time to head back to yoga. Not just any yoga; the hot sweaty kind of torture that I knew would fix the problem but that I dreaded: Bikram. Bikram yoga classes are 90 minutes in length (conducted in 40 degree heat), 26 postures that will contort your body into positions it has no business being in (or maybe it does) but the outcome for many is reduced back pain, lowered blood pressure, relief from arthritis, a resolution for type II Diabetes and Thyroid problems, and a whole host of other benefits including weight loss (yay!). Your goal at the first class is just to: STAY IN THE ROOM.
So where am I going with this as it pertains to public speaking? The answer is in the PERSEVERANCE. Facing the fear. Just committing to being uncomfortable for awhile and seeing where it goes. Usually there’s a payoff.
Bikram practioner works on her “Standing Head to Knee” pose
The first few times I got up to speak in front of a group of people, or in a major day-part on radio, my heart would pound, my mouth would go dry, and I would feel almost as though I was leaving my body. The more I did it, the more comfortable I became. It’s not rocket science that the sheer act of practising made me better.
Perseverance in the face of fear; in the presence of a difficult task is what ultimately makes you grow, makes you a better version of yourself.
That first Bikram yoga class last week almost killed me (ok, I’m exaggerating). I had to lay down a few times just to get through it, but I came back. The second class was easier, and by the third my instructor complimented me on the strength of my practise (pardon?!). Now after the fifth class inside a week and a half my back hurts less, has increased flexibility, I feel the initial problem starting to resolve (already) and I’m CRAVING my next class despite some sore and tired muscles in the rest of my body. Who’d have thunk?!
Sometimes the toughest things, the things that challenge us the most physically and mentally, are the things we SHOULD do. So if you have something to say, get out there and say it!
The deadline for TED2014 audition tapes (1 minute) is September 1st. If you get in you’ll speak at TED@NYC in October. Go ahead..take the plunge. What have you got to lose?
To Your Voice (and Perseverance)
Bikram practitioners in “Camel” pose, one of the most challenging postures.