Struggling with Self-Promotion? How I Learned to Unleash My Voice with Authenticity and Ease
Yoga Journal|September - October 2020
Struggling with Self-Promotion? How I Learned to Unleash My Voice with Authenticity and Ease
Teacher talk
By Barrie Risman

For a long time, I was content to be anonymous as a yoga teacher. Despite teaching for nearly two decades and coowning a reputable studio in Montreal, I was uncomfortable talking myself up. It felt too scary and vulnerable.

Over the years, I watched other teachers with less training, experience, and skill become Lululemon ambassadors, headline large festivals, and benefit from the platforms these opportunities afforded. I didn’t necessarily want what they had, but I couldn’t deny that I yearned to grow my teaching platform. Yet the idea of marketing myself felt downright un-yogic. I was afraid of seeming egotistical, desperate, or, worse, interested only in numbers and money. Insecurity and fear also played a role. Despite my success, a dubious inner voice persisted: Who am I to tell people I have something to offer?

But in 2016, when I sold my studio to focus on writing and self-publishing my book, Evolving Your Yoga, I knew that I needed to make peace with self-promotion. I sought out a business coach and mentor who told me something that changed my perspective: Sharing my thoughts on teaching and yoga wasn’t self-aggrandizing—it was an act of generosity. Marketing my work didn’t have to come from a place of ego or neediness. Instead, it was about making my offering visible to those who would benefit from it. The energy of marketing shifted from one of selling to one of serving, which felt easy and natural for me to embrace.

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September - October 2020