3 Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
When I first started practicing yoga I had no idea how many benefits I would experience from the practice. I certainly didn’t think yoga would help me boost my public speaking skills.
Below are three ways yoga has helped me become a more confident and effective presenter.
Your body language speaks volumes to your audience. How you hold yourself makes a difference in how your message is received. Your posture also affects how you feel. A recent Inc.com article shares new research about the affect of good posture on your leadership ability. If you need a quick confidence boost, check your posture – your shoulders, your stomach, your head and chin. Are your shoulders rolled forward giving you the appearance of being small or are you open and proud?
Mountain pose in yoga is a wonderful way to improve your posture and boost your confidence. I often self-correct my posture by rolling my shoulders back, opening my chest and lifting my chin until it’s parallel to the floor.
Practice: Mountain pose to improve your posture.
- From a standing position, plant all four corners of both feet into the ground.
- Engage the muscles in your legs, specifically the quadriceps, keeping them strong without creating tension.
- Tuck your pelvis forward slightly as you engage your lower stomach muscles.
- As you do that, align your hips over your knees and your knees over your ankles.
- Lift your shoulders up by your ears, and then gently release. Allow your shoulder blades to draw together as the chest opens slightly.
- Your chin is parallel to the floor, keeping a neutral spine position, and your eye gaze is soft and straight ahead, focused on a fixed point, yet nothing in particular.
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Slows You Down
Do you ever wonder how to eliminate ums, ahs and other filler words like “and” and “so” from your presentations? Or maybe you’re concerned about rambling? The key is to slow down and breathe. Yoga is a practice of patience and slowing down. Using your breath, you can begin to decrease your use of filler words and increase your effectiveness as a speaker. When you pause and leave a space between your key points, you give your audience a chance to process your message. You also give yourself a chance to settle your thoughts and move on to your next point without drawing a blank or talking without a plan.
Practice: As you transition between key points in your presentation, consider taking a deep breath before you continue to speak. Your audience will appreciate the silence.
Increased Connection to Your Audience
Yoga by definition means union. It’s a connection of mind and body. Yoga is also an expression of authenticity. My favorite Chinese proverb reads: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” Yoga helps you relieve speaking tension and feel more relaxed. Yoga connects you to who you are at your core. Are you funny? Serious? Inspirational? A combination? When you are connected to who you are as a person, you have a greater chance of connecting with your “right” audience and providing them with the tools and information they need to improve their lives.
Try this: Bridge pose is a perfect pose to open yourself up and increase connection to yourself and to others. You might also enjoy journaling, walking in nature, or engaging in some activity that you enjoy.
Your turn: What do you think? Has yoga helped you with your speaking or presentation skills?