I started practicing yoga in my mid-twenties and fell instantly in love. It was all soul and heart and joy for me. I relished the challenging poses that demanded balance, strength and courage, because my youthful, supple, body could do them. I was a bit of a show off. (I was also delusional enough to believe that I hid that fact and my sly comparisons with other practitioners.) I never used any ropes or blocks or props because that implied “less than” or “not enough” and for many years I just muscled my way through. You can see where this is leading.
Thirty years, a few injuries and a communications consultancy practice later, I have a whole new take on the value of props, in yoga and as a speaker. Today, certain yoga poses require me to use a prop to support my understanding of how to align and find my pose. My forward bends almost always require a block to anchor me so I don’t overextend myself to touch the floor (as if I could!). The prop connects me to the truth of my body in the moment and that is never about what anyone else in the room is doing.
Very often my first meeting with a client has them reading their presentation from a written script. This is a very useful place to start; clear speaking starts with clear thinking and many of us need to write and rewrite to get the message “just right”. But, I always want the client to relinquish the script so they can connect “real-ly” to real people. (You can also see where this is going.)
The resistance can be profound. Letting go of all the exact words you want to say (but cannot memorize) is terrifying. But unless you are an amazing actor, professional politician or game show host, your script not only does not save you, it actually creates a barrier between you and the shining faces in your audience. It’s a crutch. My goal is to liberate clients from their crutches and find the right props and strategies that unleash genuine, powerful connection.