Teacher Talk: WTF are Chakras?
Hi, y’all! This is the third 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!
Well, I am halfway done. An intensive is just that- intense! In so many ways, though. We practice yoga two times per day, morning and evening for about 2.5 hours (at least!) plus all the demo-ing and modeling in between. It’s exhausting and our instructor told us it takes about 5 full days for your body to adapt. Those first 5 days were definitely when I was the sorest, but there are still days where I come home and I’m sore. I’ve invested in a tub stopper and epsom salts and have been taking some epsom salt baths- definitely worth it!
Other than practicing a bunch, we have between 2 and four hours of lecture a day. I would say about 1/2 of the days so far have been lecture in the morning and then learning, refining, assisting poses in the afternoon. Our morning lectures have covered everything from ethics of teaching yoga to the yoga sutras by Pantajali. It’s interesting and there’s definitely a rabbit hole in learning more about yoga- it’s easy to see how people spend their lives learning about this practice. We’ve had a few day-long sessions- one on ayurveda and the other on anatomy. The ayurveda one was interesting? Do you know in an ayurvedic lifestyle you ideally get up by 6am every day, practice in the morning, eat a bigger lunch then dinner and then go to bed by 10? It’s definitely a way of life that I want to adopt parts of (like tongue scraping- I bought a tongue scraper- kind of weird, but so far feels good!) but I need some more time to think about all the other pieces. The anatomy lectures were awesome. We talked a lot about the muscles, bones, and the glands that connect to different chakras in your body (*side note, have you talked about chakras yet? I used to think this was pseudoscience, but now I’m totally interested!). I now know much more about my anatomy and how yoga impacts various muscle groups- super cool!
I feel like I could write a novel to you right now, but I’ll stop! Tell me about yours! I’m so curious.
Kaitlin is a high school History and ESL teacher in Boston, MA. She first found yoga in college and is earning her 200-hour certification this summer. A huge foodie, Kaitlin and her husband are always exploring new restaurants or cooking (and drinking wine!) at home with their cat, Three.
Wow, yes, your training sounds quite intense! Ours is stretched out over nine weeks, so I’m at about the halfway point, too.
We’ve been focused a lot on breaking down postures; over the past few days, we’ve gone through the “opening” sequence (Warrior 1 and 2, Triangle Pose, and Prasarita), as well as the Crescent Lunge and Balancing sequences. We practice cueing as the instructor demonstrates the poses, and then we break up into smaller groups to practice-teach with each other.
Speaking of instructors … some of our mentors have been teaching yoga for 20-plus years … but we’ve also had sessions now with teachers who were in our shoes just a year or two ago (actually “in our shoes” is a bad metaphor to use with regard to yoga, but you know what I mean!). It’s been great to get such a variety of perspectives.
Hmmm, we haven’t covered tongue-scraping yet! (I’m almost scared to Google that.) But we have touched on the chakras. It was interesting because the teacher who led that session is very steeped in the history/philosophy of yoga and in Indian subtle anatomy. He said a lot of our modern understanding of the chakras comes from the work of Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist … and that the chakras can be misrepresented as they’ve been Westernized. Who knew? Talk about a rabbit hole – I’d love to dive down this one.
Our next session is on inversions – Crow Pose, handstand, headstand – and I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous about that one. Does one have to be able to DO all of these in order to teach them? I don’t know, but I’m about to find out, and I’ll keep you posted!
Anyway, I’ll stop here because I can’t imagine you have much time to read email! Thanks for keeping me up to date on your journey; it’s been fun for me to compare and contrast how we’re heading down our paths.
Featured photo via Bad Yogi community member Stephanie Scott