I have received a comment regarding my language identity from my latest yoga video posted on YouTube that really made me think.
Do you speak in French (if that is the language) because you know some of your viewers are French or because you just know the language? (Love your channel, been trying to do yoga everyday starting from root!)
Here is the long answer to this insightful comment on my language identity:
I was born and still live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. My mother is French speaking and my father speaks English. (Read My Story as a Yoga Teacher in Montreal for more details). I studied both in French and in English. I have a dual language identity. My yoga classes have always been bilingual. It was natural for me to speak in both French and English since I spoke the languages. When I started teaching yoga in 2010, I would translate my classes live – if I said something in French I would say the exact same thing in English. This ended up being tiresome especially during 90-minute yoga classes. I was out of breath not doing yoga anymore. As my confidence increased as a yoga teacher and after receiving comments from participants, I slowly gave up on the direct translation method while teaching. I saw being able to speak French and English as a way to reach out to more people. Most of my yoga participants are also bilingual, if they zone out when I speak in a language they could hear what I say in the other language.
It is known that people have different learning styles, it is the same in a yoga class. As a yoga teacher, we need to tailor our class to people that are auditory, visual and tactile or Kinesthetic.
What is Your Yoga Learning Style?
Auditory: learn by hearing and listening to verbal cues or the teacher’s instructions.
Visual: learn by seeing the teacher demonstrating the yoga pose and enjoy stories – such as meditations that are rich in imagery.
Tactile or Kinesthetic: learn by touching your body, physical movement – also called muscle memory- thus doing yoga. Tactile learners appreciate physical adjustments in a yoga class.
When you teach an in-person yoga class you can, with time, spot the learning styles of your participants. While teaching online over YouTube, I need to make sure that whether the yogis and yoginis are auditory, visual or kinesthetic they will enjoy my yoga class.
Learning French or English Doing Yoga – New Language Identities
One of my yoga students, a second language English teacher, has suggested I advertise my yoga classes as a way to learn French. Why not learn French and take care of your health? Doing yoga and learning a language is similar. It is great for the mind! You enjoy doing yoga and you would like to improve your French: Why not do both at the same time? It is a known fact that we learn best in context and in real life situations. You don’t need to understand every single word to be able to practice yoga in other language. So unroll your yoga et pratiquez votre français!