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A cure for yoga teacher performance anxiety

Kelly MorrisThe first time Jessica Daniels taught a yoga class, she froze. She started shaking. She’d never been the kind of person who could stand up in front of a room and speak confidently, and her teacher training had taught her asanas, not stage presence.

After she conquered her fear of teaching, she began to realize, in talking to other yogis, that she wasn’t alone. “The yoga world is producing more and more and more teachers, it’s become super-competitive, and teachers become afraid,” Daniels says. “I noticed that there were so many teachers with amazing dreams that want to help people, but they feel stuck.”

So Daniels is helping yoga teacher newbies deal with performance anxiety via a series called Project Speak, where accomplished yogis with star power—like Elena Brower and Christina Sell—dish on how they felt the first time they cued a flow.

The result is some pretty entertaining reading. Examples: Kelly Morris admits she threw up right before teaching her first class and was then yelled at by Sharon Gannon and David Life for three hours afterwards. Bernadette Birney says that after her first class, she was relieved “just to have muddled all the way through without anybody leaving, or dying!”

And while the series is made to help struggling teachers feel they’re not alone, it’s also enlightening for students who rarely consider the effort (and stage presence) required of the yogis who lead them.

Sign up to receive the Project Speak series in your email, here.