Podcast: Holding Space for Conscious Communication with Lucy Karnani

Yoga Institute faculty member, Lucy Karnani, is a guest on podcast resource for the modern yogi, Live Like You Love Yourself, and shares her deep knowledge on the topics of ‘Holding Space’ and ‘Conscious Communication’. 

Fans of the book, Connecting: Conscious Communication for Yoga Teachers and Therapists (which Lucy co-authored with friend and colleague Jill Danks) and those that have been lucky enough to attend one of her training modules or workshops, will be familiar with the force of nature that is Lucy Karnani.  This podcast taps into more of Lucy’s pearls of wisdom, particularly as it relates to Holding Space.

Formidably adaptable and resilient, Lucy’s chameleon-like career trajectory has seen her do everything from teach scuba diving, run sales teams, and be North American CEO of a global training and consulting firm. She is also a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, trainer of yoga teachers and therapists, and a communications coach. Whew! 

The common denominator in all these forays? Her passion for and expertise around COMMUNICATION. 

Conscious Communication

Quizzed on why communication is so important in yoga, Lucy synopsises, “You can know a whole lot about a subject but if you can’t communicate it well, you’re not going to be able to share it.”  Lucy passionately believes the world needs more yoga teachers and that there is not enough of yoga’s life-changing wisdom being shared around the world. But in order for the possibility of growth and influence to take place through yoga, there needs to be an authentic connection between teacher and student, a seed that can truly sprout and be nurtured with Conscious Communication.

For yogis, mindful and intelligent communication crosses a myriad of possibilities. It may be about how you theme and construct language for a class, how proactively and without judgement you can listen to another’s story, how you set boundaries, how you use curiosity to enhance understanding, or how you simply invite people to be gentler with themselves.   

Fortunately, Conscious Communication is something that any of us can learn, and Lucy makes it her labour of love to help yoga teachers and yoga therapists step into their personal power and capability in this area.

Holding Space

So, what is meant by the phrase ‘holding space’?  Many beautiful definitions exist, Lucy offers one of her favourite explanations: “It’s being fully present with another person – without trying to fix, change or advise them in any way – with whatever is arising for them in this moment”.   She describes an example of listening to her barista tell her about his trepidation arising from the prospect of moving back to homeland after so long in Australia.  A brief moment in time, with the potential to have been nothing more than a transactional exchange, transformed into an opportunity for someone with thoughts weighing heavy on their mind, to be fully heard and feel truly ‘seen’.  “It’s such an incredible gift to feel fully listened to”, which as Lucy points out, so rarely happens with how busy our modern lives have become.  

Unsurprisingly perhaps, many of the skills for Holding Space cross over with those of Conscious Communication, but not everyone is clear on how these two concepts intersect, or how they can go about learning to better Hold Space for people. Lucy explains that these too can be broken down into learnable chunks.

Before discussing some of her tips and ideas for yoga teachers and yoga therapists, Lucy takes marksmen-like aim at a glorious kernel of truth with unwavering precision: Holding Space for others, she gently frames the discussion, is only possible when we first Hold Space for ourselves. If we don’t regularly replenish ourselves, we cannot possibly Hold Space well for others. One of many beautiful lightbulb moments from this plain-speaking and accessible communicator. 

Eager to learn more?

In this podcast episode, Holding Space for Conscious Communication, you can learn more about

  • Lucy’s journey and how she came to synthesise a program of learning for other yoga teachers, from two of her great loves: communication and yoga
  • The power of the mentoring relationship
  • The role of communication in healing, and
  • Lucy’s tips for teachers and therapists to help students relate to and trust you, and how to structure a presentation, a workshop, a yoga class.

 Listen to Episode 24, Live Like You Love Yourself, with Lucy Karnani, here

Written by Nicole Small, The Yoga Institute, October 2020

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