One of the many joyous aspects of the annual Yoga Holiday With Paul retreat is the chance to spend time talking and relaxing outside of the studio. It got me thinking about yoga for communication, and how our practice can have a positive impact on how we communicate.
Communication involves two aspects: speaking and listening. Here are four ways yoga can help us communicate better.
Breath: Yoga begins with pranayama — the breath. When we mindfully breathe we are infusing the organs of our body that make speech. Filling our lungs creates more physical space. Oxygen refreshing the blood clears out waste. We revitalise our body and prepare it to speak with confidence and energy.
Meditation: Skillful communication means knowing what to say, and what not to say. We have to think about not just the words, but their significance to the other person, our tone, our energy when we speak. Meditation helps us cultivate positive speaking by making us aware of our own mind and habits. It alerts us when we are tense, upset or confused. Meditation allows us to slow down and sift through the noise in our head to reach the essence of what we want to say.
Asana: Yoga class is a daily opportunity to practice listening. Instead of just turning up and going through the motions, concentrate on the teacher’s instructions. Give your complete focus in order to let your postures flow naturally. As you learn this technique in class you will find it easier to concentrate on what people are saying in conversation, without assumption or distraction.
Body: Being a good listener begins with listening to our bodies. In the daily rush we often ignore hunger, aches, tiredness, or other physical clues to our emotions. In the same way, we enter conversations but ignore non-verbal cues from the person we are talking to. Yoga is a constant exercise in paying attention to our body, its movements, its well-being, its flexibility. We can directly translate those skills to how we interact with other people by being aware and considerate of their physical presence.
Share your communication tips or questions in the comments!