Last month I spent a week in Stockholm, Sweden, teaching my Yoga Tune Up® Integrated Embodied Anatomy module to a group of future yoga teachers at Yogayama studio. I arrived in icy-cold Stockholm late at night after a 22-hour journey. When I awoke jet-lagged the next morning, I was hoarse — very hoarse. With 20+ hours of teaching ahead of me over the next four days, I was concerned. There was no way to call in a “sub.”

Somehow I made it through the first day of yoga classes with some amount of pushing and strain. But on morning #2, the voice was completely shot. I mean 100 percent gone. For six hours, I pantomimed my way through the anatomy lessons … and liberally used Dagmar Khan, one of our European Yoga Tune Up® teachers who’d flown in from Ireland to attend the course. Like a versatile United Nation’s translator, she would speak aloud my whispered words so the crowd of 30 could hear me in the studio.

Silence is a golden opportunity

That night after the session, my hostess, Anna Hultman, rushed me to a city clinic so that I could see a doctor. On the way there, she told me that the students actually enjoyed Day #2 more than Day #1. “And don’t take this the wrong way,” she said, “but they liked it more because you spoke less.”

Identifying deep lower back muscles with Yoga Tune Up® Balls.

Indeed. With my voice gone, my mind and mouth had to edit 80 percent of the “excess speech” I might frequently use to qualify or explain concepts. I had to economize and distill my lessons into their most potent form and transfer the onus of learning away from my vocal chords and into their bodies.

Luckily, I design my embodied teaching so that the complicated interrelated systems of the body can be understood through experiencing them in the body, not just through a two-dimensional slide show. I teach people to be students of their own bodies, not students of my body, my mind or my voice. I give them tools to listen to the sensations emanating from different tissue layers, learn to recognize different neurological relay patterns … so that ultimately, they don’t need me to guide them. They can navigate themselves.

In writing, this all sounds a bit esoterically theoretical, but in the classroom, these methods make the body come alive as never before. They become anatomically fluent.

Still speechless in Sweden

The doctor took a blood test and ruled out bacterial infection. (I never actually felt sick or had a fever … I had just completely lost my voice.) He told me to rest and be silent for two days (all of this in Swedish of course). Anna told him that I was “an important Anatomy teacher from the U.S. and had to deliver a lecture for the next two days, so rest was impossible.” So he caved and gave me a very strong steroid that would work for 24 hours to reduce inflammation.

But it didn’t really work. I woke up on Day #3 and still sounded like a ghost. A ghost who occasionally croaked like a frog.

Stay tuned for part two and find out how Jill got her voice back!

[reprinted with permission from Gaiam Life.]

Learn about the YTU Therapy Ball Products

Discover the At Home Program

Watch the QuickFix Online Videos


Comments (9)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *