Vitality, Adventure, Yoga and Fun!

Kumbaya- Day 2 & 3


OK- all the blogging about fish tacos distracted me from talking about Day 2  of YTT- so let’s play catch up.

Picking up where I left off…

What I most appreciate about my teacher training is that they have us teaching on Day Two. There is no dipping our toes into the water- they pretty much throw us right in to the deep end. While I appreciated this, I didn’t REALLY want to swim.  

When they told us (conveniently at the end of Day One) that we’d be teaching the next day, my mind went into panic mode. “Wait! I’m supposed to speak in front of everyone? Just kidding! I really don’t want to teach! I don’t really belong here- this was all just a joke!” (Which, is ironic because anyone who knows me professionally and personally knows that I have NO problem speaking my mind, especially in public) But let me tell you, TEACHING yoga is not at all the same thing as PRACTICING yoga.

As it turned out, again, I had very little to worry about. We started Day Two by reciting those same Sanskrit mantras from the previous night, and then immediately launched into another two and a half hours of Sun Salutations. The only difference is that each trainee got to lead us through Sun A or Sun B. I was hoping they’d go for the volunteer system, but nope, the teachers pretty much called on each of us to verbally cue the group through a variation of Sun A and Sun B.

When it came time for my turn, I did what I normally do when I’m anxious- turned BEET red and a rash spread all over my neck and face. “OMG! I can’t breath! AHHH!” I had us stand at the top of our mats and practice a few deep breaths before we began- because frankly, I needed to chill the f out first.

One Sun B felt like an eternity. My voice shook. I absolutely BUTCHERED the Sanskrit words for upward/downward facing dog. (In doing so, I invented a new pose in Sanskrit- downward facing corpse!- trust me, that’s something you never want to hear cued in a class)  Despite this, I think I did OK. I even saw some “good job” nods from my peers after. And I decided that I could live with butchering Sanskrit. “OK” was good enough.

Day (well, evening) three was our first introduction to meditation. This is not my strong suit. My mind and thoughts hop around like college kids on a bar crawl. I’ve tried meditation. I know it’s important and essential to the practice of yoga and a balanced, healthy life. But, as I looked at the syllabus, I thought “three HOURS of talking about and practicing meditation? For the love of God!” But alas, I showed up with my pillow and comfortable clothes ready to FOCUS!


YTT Home Base-

We started in a circle and were instructed to begin singing off our mantra worksheets. Our lovely teacher played the guitar. We sang. And this went on for a good 15 minutes. My attention started to drift. “What are we doing?” Suddenly, our instructor’s voice broke through as I was mentally planning my grocery list for the week (Yogi Fail)

“I know what you’re thinking…. What’s with all the kumbaya singing?” she said with a laugh.

Exactly, I thought, while mentally rolling my eyes.

“Well, meditation requires an open heart. And singing out loud is the best way to open your heart”

Oh. Well, now I kind of felt like a jerk.

She had a valid point. Everyone feels better while driving through town, singing their favorite song at the top of their lungs! All you car singers,  you’re meditating without even knowing it!  

This changed my attitude. I started belting it out along with everyone else. I eagerly took notes as we talked about how to help our students establish their own meditation practice.  I embraced some chanting.  I even closed my eyes and started swaying along to all the energy in the room! I was opening my heart! I was meditating!

And when I left (after anxiously checking my work email- because there are some things that even meditation can’t distract you from), I drove home singing at the top of my lungs to Led Zeppelin. Because there are different forms of meditation for everyone. And that’s mine.

What’s yours?


Author: vitadventure

30-something psychotherapist, yoga teacher, wife, shelter dog "Mom", yogi, traveler, wine and food lover

4 thoughts on “Kumbaya- Day 2 & 3

  1. As a 3rd generation atheist, I was more than a little freaked 7 years ago to discover I loved group mantra chanting in what felt like a very ‘devotional’ atmosphere!
    Walking meditation – slowly & definitely alone (in a group I get reminded of zombies so have to fight the giggles) & unobserved, ideally barefoot on sand or grass…that works for me!

  2. I love that! (zombies! lol! I totally agree)
    There isn’t much sand here in Colorado, but I’ll take you up on barefoot on the grass- when it’s not winter, anyway 🙂

  3. I teach yoga to kids with autism and I am amazed at how much they like to chant. I think it must be because they don’t have that shameful feeling of doing something weird or different. I love teaching them because I love chanting. Anything. I make up my own stupid songs all the time. I chant all different religious hymns (my fave being amazing grace). I chant sanskrit. I chant bon jovi (people call his concerts the church of bon jovi). I love chanting.

  4. Jennifer, what a gift to give those children! I love your observation that it doesn’t feel shameful or different for them! I’m going to start chanting my own songs-you’ve inspired me!

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