5 Yoga techniques to help You overcome the fear of public speaking
Like most people around the world I have spent years trying to overcome the fear of using my voice – especially for public speaking.
I remember reading somewhere once that humans are more fearful of public speaking than death!…which I guess is a good thing (but that’s a whole different blog!), but really – we shouldn’t fear either.
I use a mix of the below techniques before classes to warm up my voice or anytime I’m required to speak in front of a group to settle my nerves.
So, you ready to overcome your fear of speaking up, speaking in public or just find your most beautiful voice? Read on yogi…
Roaring Lion is a key yoga pose that you can practice to help find your voice, and although public speaking is one of the most reported fears worldwide, sadly it doesn’t seem to be a popular posture to practice. Roaring Lion helps to develop a strong and beautiful voice while also giving you a mini face and neck lift, bonus! This could be a good exercise to practice with kids too as it is fun and a little bit silly!
Sit with your buttocks resting on your heels, knees spread wide apart, your palms on the floor in front of you, fingers facing inward. Inhale and open the mouth wide and extend the tongue out and down towards the chin. Have the eyes looking up towards the ceiling or gaze at your eyebrow centre (looks cross-eyed!). As you exhale, say “AHHHHHHH” from the throat. Repeat this 5 times.
PRANAYAMA (Life force and breath)
Pranayama is the vital life force within all of us and it uses the breath to balance this energy within your body. Pranayama breathing techniques have easily become one of my most favourite yoga exercises to practice because it helps to calm nerves and anxiety quickly. Practiced regularly, ten minutes of the right Pranayama and your voice will be strengthened and improved while leaving you feeling centred and calm.
Sit comfortably in a seated position, hands resting on your lap. Close the eyes and mouth, take a few breaths in and out and relax the body. When you are ready, inhale and bring the index fingers to your ears and gently plug them. As you begin to exhale, separate the teeth and make a humming sound similar to the sound of a bee. Once you have exhaled fully, replace your hands in your lap and repeat the process again. Repeat this 5 times.
Of course meditation is included in this list! Even people who don’t meditate will readily admit they know the amazing benefits even 10 minutes a day can have in your life. In particular chanting “Aum” (or “Om”) helps to bring peace and calmness to the body, mind and spirit while also helping you develop your voice.
Aum chanting Meditation:
Sit comfortably in a seated position, hands resting on your lap. Close the eyes and mouth, take a few breathes in and out and relax the body. When you are ready, inhale deeply through the nostrils, as you exhale open the mouth and chant out loud “A-u-m-m-m-m-m-m“. See if you can make the m-m-m-m-m-m longer than the A-u. Repeat this for 5 minutes. Once finished sit quietly for a few breaths and feel the vibrations of the chanting within and around you.
KIRTAN (Chanting or Singing)
If you are anything like me, singing is the last thing you want to do if you are naturally shy. My first experience with Kirtan had me wishing I was anywhere else when I realised it involved singing. Kirtan uses traditional indian instruments and a chant (usually in sanskrit) that is sung by the person playing the instrument. As the person plays and chants, the chant is repeated back by the participants. Kind of like a sing-a-long! Kirtan will often leave you feeling energised and is a great way to let go of stress and tension, while helping you to use your voice. To experience Kirtan, research yoga studios around you and find a session that you can go to, you don’t have to sing straight away just immerse yourself in the experience and see what happens…
Doing my yoga teacher training literally changed my life. I learnt and used all of the above techniques through out my training and quite by accident found my voice! I was able to easily teach my first classes without the added anxiety of having to deal with my fear of talking in front of people. I now get to pass this experience onto my students who have the same fears that hold them back from speaking up and doing what they love in life. Even if you don’t intend on teaching I recommend yoga teacher training for your own personal development, after all who knows what voice you have locked up in there!
Do you think you will give one of the above techniques a try? Overcoming fears can be a massive life change and often we are holding onto them because we believe that they keep us safe, but there is so much more waiting for you on the other side of fear.