Hi, y’all! This is the second in a series of articles featuring “letters” (ok, emails) between two of our regular contributors, Chuck and Kaitlin. Chuck and Kaitlin are both starting yoga teacher training this summer, and they’ll be writing back and forth about the process. We’ll just be over here, spyin’ on their emails and getting an awesome insight into their journeys to become yoga teachers. Read part one here!
How was your first week of YTT? Mine starts next Wednesday and I’m getting excited / nervous!
We were asked to watch a video on non-violent communication in preparation. It was interesting, but a little long, and I need to talk to people about how to really do it. We also had to buy five books and read the introductions to each. Luckily, the introductions were all only about 3 pages each. Some are really beautiful anatomy books on musculature and bone structure and others are more classic yoga texts. It’s an interesting mix, which has left me feeling a little unsure of how this is all going to play out.
Anyway, tell me everything!
Sounds like you had quite a bit of pre-work prior to your first Yoga Teacher Training! I can tell you, I’m not even two weeks in and it’s been like drinking from a firehose. So much to learn!
The first session, my fellow students and I did some “get-to-know-you” exercises with one of our teachers. We each introduced ourselves and talked a bit about what we love about yoga, and why we decided to take the teacher-training journey. We have two “main” teachers and three or four guest lecturers, and our class consists of eight of us. I’m the only male in the class, but as a married father of two daughters, I have plenty of experience in female-majority environments 🙂
After that, we dived right into an entire weekend of anatomy lectures. As a result, I finally know what “psoas” means! Seriously, it was great; we discussed muscles, bones, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and more. I found the anatomy lessons very enlightening … both with regard to my own practice, and with helping my future students get the most out of their practices while avoiding injury.
This week, we shifted gears big-time … jumping into the history of yoga, as well as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I had always thought there might be more to yoga than Downward Dog and Lululemon 😉 and wow, is there ever. My big takeaway, of course, was that the physical postures (asanas) are just a fraction of what yoga is all about.
Oh, and in between, of course, we’ve been learning how to teach. For our first exercise, each of us had to come to the front of the room, one by one, and guide our classmates into postures using only “Simon says”-style directions! It was much more difficult than it sounds. Eventually we’ll be able to teach an hour-long level one/beginner class, but that still seems like a long way off.
I have a long reading list, too. In fact, I should probably hit the books about now … next session is in two days.
Hope you are well … namaste!
WOW! Day 1 done! I was all nerves last night!
I got to the studio this morning and there are 16 of us- 15 women and 1 man! We started our day with a 90 minute vinyasa practice followed by a get-to-know you activity. We learned everyone’s most cringe worthy yoga pose (mine is malasana and there were a lot of dolphin poses and camel poses too!). Then we reviewed the ethics of teaching yoga and our options for certification. It was pretty standard “respect stuff” but also touched on your intentions as as instructor. It was interesting to the ethics as a two-sided interaction and not just a one-sided action.
After lunch, we reviewed all the poses in a Sun Salutation A. We practiced naming them and learning how they feel in our body. Then we watched and practiced assisting and adjusting for each pose. That was WAY harder than I thought. You think you can teach yoga and then you start and it’s so different! We practiced with partners and then in small groups of four and it was really fun. One of our norms is to give truthful feedback and it was really helpful because I learned I can press harder in an adjustment than I might think! We ended our day with another 60 minute practice, which was super restorative (cue the bolsters and blankets!).
I can’t believe it’s over- 190 hours to go!
Chuck Vadun is a beginner-level yogi. He has somewhat more experience as a husband, dad, professional writer, and amateur drummer. He lives in north coastal San Diego county, where yoga pants are issued to children at birth.
Featured Image via Bad Yogi community member Erika Schoonmaker!