How Yoga Teachers Can Prevent Vocal Fatigue
You adjust your mindset as you prepare to teach class, taking your voice down a notch to the soothing tones you use in yoga. However, when you open your mouth to guide your students through the first asana, you croak like a proper bog bullfrog. Could you have vocal fatigue?
While vocal fatigue isn’t as common in yoga instructors as in those who teach HIIT and other high-impact activities, it can affect you. This condition can cause considerable distress — even result in canceled classes — as you worry that your hoarseness may be due to something infectious.
However, there are easy ways to prevent and treat this issue. Here’s how yoga teachers can prevent vocal fatigue.
What Are the Symptoms of Vocal Fatigue in Yoga Teachers?
Vocal fatigue results when the muscles of the larynx and neck become inflamed from overuse. Symptoms of vocal fatigue include the following signs:
- Total or intermittent loss of voice
- Rough or hoarse voice quality
- Loss of intonation and expressiveness
- Constant throat clearing
- Dryness in the throat or excess mucous
- Difficulty swallowing
- Increased effort to talk
- A sensation of a lump or pain in the throat
A sore throat can be a sign of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. It’s wise and kind of you to test yourself if unsure — yoga classes tend to attract those with chronic illnesses who may be at higher risk.
Three Ways to Treat Vocal Fatigue in Yoga Teachers
Treating vocal fatigue in yoga teachers is easy. Your best approach depends on your class location. Here’s what to do.
1. Tend to Yourself
You preach self-care, but do you practice it? Or are you one of the many yoga guides who let themselves dehydrate while tending to class members? Focusing on the task at hand is natural, but you also have to get wise about your physical needs.
Consider a pre-workout routine if you fall into this category consisting of hydrating snacks. Apricots, oranges, pineapples and plums contain over 80% water, and melons like cantaloupe over 90%. The readily accessible sugar provides energy, while the liquid content prevents dehydration as you communicate with participants.
Furthermore, take a reusable water bottle and sip it up throughout the class. Are you seeking a residual income stream? You could sell such vessels in your studio.
2. Invest in the Right Equipment
Maybe you never thought about using a microphone to teach yoga, but you should. That way, you can talk in a low, natural voice — even with a packed class — and avoid vocal fatigue and strain.
If your aversion stems from the early days when fitness microphones required a bulky receiver that you clipped to your belt, making some supine postures impossible, take heart. You can now find simple lavalier mics that attach to a strap or shirt. The only issue you might encounter is in poses like child’s pose, where the microphone may crackle as you move into position or become loud, thanks to your mouth’s proximity — which lets you speak even more softly.
3. Work With Existing Acoustics
Depending on your studio's configuration, you might not need a microphone at all. For example, do you teach in a regular gym? If so, you might have a large, open room that encourages voice projection through echoes. If your only competition is the grunts and groans from the weight room next door, closing a door or using heavy blankets to mute the outside sounds could let you use your natural voice without fatigue.
Should You Take a Break to Heal Vocal Fatigue?
Depending on your symptoms' severity, a brief break from your teaching responsibilities could benefit you. Can you find a suitable substitute to take over and keep your participants engaged? You shouldn’t need longer than a week — if symptoms persist, it’s time to call a doctor.
What if you can’t find a substitute? Here are three other ways to keep class going:
- Ask for help: An experienced participant can sometimes be your voice.
- Use video: Record in a quiet space and crank the volume on playback.
- Do silent Yin: A silent Yin class can be the relaxing retreat you and your participants need.
Preventing Vocal Fatigue
Vocal fatigue can strike yoga teachers. Worst, it can upset the tenor of your class — Kermit voice is not relaxing.
Fortunately, you can prevent vocal fatigue using the above steps. Protect your voice box and enjoy guiding the healing classes you love.