The Yogi Next to You

This week, we’re please to bring you a special Teacher Training edition of The Yogi Next to You.  You may have seen these ladies around the studio, or met them here or here. Today we asked them a few questions about how they got from being a yogi to being a yogi who wants to teach.


Why did you decided to do teacher training?

The Yogi Next to You - Caitlin Chang

Caitlin Chang

Caitlin Chang: It was time. I’d always wanted to do a yoga teacher training program-having Steph, Christina and Angela as my teachers was not something I could miss. Hence, it was time.

Lisa Stowe: I’ve had the teaching bug my whole life – from tutoring in high school, to working as a teaching assistant while at Michigan, and teaching undergrads while in grad school at BU.  For me, it is incredibly satisfying to watch a student get it, when they have that a-ha moment.   Even though I’m teaching asana as opposed to economics, the basic teaching skills are the same, just with a different subject.  With teacher training, I’m lucky enough to satisfy my desire to teach with a subject matter that is incredibly important in my life.

What’s the biggest surprise in stepping into your teaching seat at the front of the room? 

CC: I was struck by the shift from being a yoga student who is in the receptive mode (receiving instruction) to teacher who is in the expressive mode (giving instructions).   I’ve heard the instructions so many times and yet when I went to give them they felt like marbles in my mouth.  So I repeat to myself: practice and all is coming.  So far, so good.

Lisa Stowe

LS: How hard it is!  I never thought it would be so hard to clearly and concisely get someone from down dog to a low lunge.  Now that I’ve largely figured out how to say “step your right foot forward”, the next step is figuring out how to teach supta padangusthasana and trikonasana.

One nugget for yogis who are interested in teacher training?

CC: If you feel strongly called to do the training, but are having a case of the “it’s not possibles” (work, home life, responsibilities, outside demands on your time), heed the call anyways!

LS: It can feel like it consumes your life!  Between going to group sessions, taking class, assisting, and studying, it is a big time commitment.  There were definitely times this summer when something else – going to the beach, meeting up with friends – had to be put aside in the interests of teacher training.  And the life-consuming feeling is not limited to time – I find myself viewing daily life through a new lens, from critiquing an Olympic platform diver’s handstand to focusing on my breath in a mini-meditation on the subway.

Mid-training session pick up: Nectar or Starbucks? 

CC: Nectar: green juice (good for the adrenals I’ve been told) or P & B smoothie (good for the taste buds I can assure you).

LS: Neither – on a food break my usual stop is the taqueria on the corner of Bergen and Court Streets.  Their soft tacos are a great mid-session snack.

We’re thrilled to bring you the stories of Mala yogis in their own words.  Maybe you know them, maybe you’ve never seen them before, maybe they look familiar, maybe you once knew their name, but forgot.  Whatever the case may be, here is the chance to learn a little more about the person practicing on the mat next to you.  Click here to read about other yogis.


About The Mala Yoga Blog

We are a Brooklyn-based studio that focuses on alignment, balance and community. Have a read, try one of our Practice Podcasts, or come in and say "hi" in person!
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