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.
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’steacher’s team. As a teacher, I need space to be who I am, express myself without being judged or controlled, and feel that I can contribute positively to someone else’selse’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 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.
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.
Holding space is a spiritual practice in itself.
There are so many ways to practice holding space – with your better half, friends, family, or in a yoga class.
How holding space for other people looks like in practice
- Keeping your ego out of it. I often catch myself while I teach slipping into this. I’m more concerned about my success as a teacher than the success of my students. But this doesn’tdoesn’t serve them, and I must remember that I am there to serve. To support their growth and create a space where they can learn and grow.
- Not about taking other people’speople’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 specific 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 fully concentrate 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 is 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. Taking everything the way it is.
- Permitting other people to use their intuition. Life doesn’tdoesn’t come packed with instructions, but it gives us something else in return, a superpower called intuition. Intuition is a process that allows us to know something directly without analytic reasoning, only if we dare to listen.
Holding space has a lot to do with how we see the world.
Knowing how you like to be treated gives you a guideline for approaching others. It is 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?