Hi, y’all! This is the fourth 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 the last installment here!

Hi Chuck!

I’M A YOGA TEACHER! I can’t believe it’s over. It’s remarkable how fast the intensive went by. I am shocked.

Let me tell you about the last week. We had a few sessions on the Bhagavad Gita. It’s such an interesting text. And the “prequel” is even more interesting. Did you talk about it? We also had a few sessions on Non-Violent Communication. This was so interesting. It’s a way of observing the world and reacting to the world without immediately feeling triggered. It has been used in prisons throughout the US with the hopes of helping people better empathize and understand the needs of others. Really fascinating stuff that I’m curious to continue exploring. Check out Marshall Rosenberg if you haven’t talked about this at your training. We also did some visioning on our yoga careers and paths. It was really powerful.

And, then, the tests! We had our written exam Wednesday. I ended with a 91, but I definitely didn’t remember everything (I said the piriformis was in the knee- it’s in the ass! woops!), and I was surprised at how much Sanskrit I could use and remember. We had a team practicum on Thursday. In groups of 4 we had to teach a 90 minute vinyasa. I taught the first 20 minutes and I got good feedback on my voice, and I definitely need to continue to improve my assists and adjusts (I just never know how hard to hold/press/etc). On Friday, we had our graduation. We all dressed in white and had a vegan lunch outdoors near a rose garden then had the most beautiful, touching, indescribable graduation ceremony. It was magical. Here’s a picture of me ugly crying as I hug one of my teachers- apparently being blissed out doesn’t stop ugly crying #badyogi hahahaha.

Tell me everything! Are you almost done? When can I come to Cali and take your class?!

Hi Kaitlin,

First off … CONGRATULATIONS! So thrilled you made it through (and enjoyed) your Yoga Teacher Training. And I love that you’re flat-out declaring yourself to be a yoga teacher … what a great way to begin anew now that your training is over (for now, anyway … how are you thinking of continuing your yoga-related education?).

As I’m writing, I still have two-and-a-half weeks to go, so I’ll bring you up to speed on what’s been happening. We had our inversions session, taught by a yogini who makes head- and handstands look effortless. It’s not her fault I’m still struggling to get into Crow pose! I straight up admitted to the teacher and my YTT tribe-mates that I’m, yes, terrified to try inversions that aren’t a forward fold. But everyone was very supportive, and though I still have a long way to go before I start busting out impromptu handstands, it was a really positive session.

Since we last emailed, I’ve also had classes on Sanskrit, using props, working with special populations, and the anatomy of the breath. I’ll let you know if I’m able to do as well as you on the Sanskrit part of our final exam! Though we’ve heard a few excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita, we’ve focused more on the Yoga Sutras. I’d bought and read a translation of them early in my training, but now that our teachers have broken it down for us a bit, I’m amazed at how much more I’m able to “get” … and how much deeper there is to go. (Side note: I went to the beach and read my Yoga Sutras book during the recent solar eclipse!)

So what’s left? Sessions on adjustments/assists, more breakdowns of poses, and the business aspects of yoga. Not to mention lots of studying and practice teaching … once I graduate, I’ll have time to check out all the authors, texts, etc. that you’ve been recommending!

Speaking of graduation, I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to say “I’m a yoga teacher!” right away … but that could change. One thing I DO know I’ll say at the end of YTT is, “Wow, that was awesome!”

Let’s keep in touch – I’ll be very interested to hear how your first post-training weeks are going, and I’ll fill you in on my graduation ceremony!

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.



Photo via Bad Yogi community member Emily Vardy