Much of my work as a yoga teacher involves the act of holding space. I am lucky to constantly practice holding space for small groups in every class I teach, but this is the challenging part of teaching yoga classes. Presence is key. A teacher has to be 100% present – grounded and centered – or at least this is what we‘re aiming for.
When I first thought of opening a yoga studio, I had in mind one question: what do people need a yoga studio to provide for them? It took me some months of reflection to understand that a yoga studio has to be a safe space for everyone – including our teacher’s team. Me, as a teacher, I need space to be who I am, to express myself without being judged or controlled, to feel that I can contribute in a positive way to someone else’s journey. And, I can do that only when I’m 100% me. This is the only version of myself able to create a safe space for everyone. Space from which they can take whatever they need from the experience. It’s about being present in the here and now, fully awake to look, listen and feel, allowing the situation to unfold, letting the ego get out of the way, and creating space for healing, growth, and transformation to happen.
“Holding space means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgment and control.” – Heather Plett
Holding space is a spiritual practice in itself.
There are so many ways where you can practice holding space – with your better half, friends, family, or in a yoga class. Below I have highlighted what I believe holding space is:
- Keeping your ego out of it. I often catch myself while I teach slip into this. I’m more concerned about my success as a teacher, then the success of my students. But this doesn’t serve them, and I have to remember that I am there to serve. To support their growth and create a space where they have the opportunity to learn and grow.
- Not about taking other people’s power. It’s about empowering them. We all need to feel empowered to make our own decisions without being controlled or direct to a certain solution.
- Active listening. Without the need to fix, or give advice. Our ego wants to make the situation about us, instead of being focused on the other person. Active listening involves more than just hearing someone speak. When you practice active listening, you are fully concentrating on what is being said. You listen with all of your senses and give your full attention to the person speaking.
- Safe space. A safe space means a space where people need to feel secure and have a sense of trust. Space where they can be open, be themselves and be vulnerable.
- All about acceptance. Letting other people feel whatever they have to feel. Accepting others the way they are. Accepting everything the way it is.
- Permitting other people to use their intuition. Life doesn’t come packed with instructions, but it gave us something else in return, a superpower, called intuition. Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, only if we dare to listen.
In a way, holding space has a lot to do with how we see the world. Knowing how you like to be treated gives you a guideline on how to approach others. It is such a great gift that you can present to them: giving people your full attention and genuine support with an attitude of kindness, empathy, and confidence, which will facilitate trust and the opening of their hearts.
Who do you hold space for?
Love and light,