Confessions of a Yoga Teacher Trainee

20170627_122002By Kristen Baureis – YTT200

My yoga teacher training journey has been a humble, exciting, and profound experience so far. It’s been full of laughs, stress, patience, hard-work and dedication. It’s been transformative to say the least; I can already tell I’ve grown a great deal from when I started back in February.


Although the program seemed quite intimidating in the beginning, I am getting the hang of managing my time and workload. Subjects include anatomy, Sanskrit, asanas, (including benefits, cues, and contraindications), breathing and meditation techniques, reiki, alignments, and yoga for special populations.

Our class also learns about bandhas (locks), kleshas (obstacles), mudras (gestures), chakras (energy centers), vayus (winds) and koshas (sheaths). With the variety of topics covered, paired with tons of reading material, who wouldn’t feel overwhelmed at first? Luckily, the ten of us are each assigned a mentor to help us along the way!

Our schedule consists of a three hour class every Wednesday from 6:30 pm-9:30 pm, and on the third weekend of every month from 7:45am -7pm. These long weekends always start off with a type of meditation such as a guided meditation, a silent mediation, a walking mediation, or a dancing meditation. I have just recently started meditating, and I wish I had started my practice earlier! It was a little challenging at first, but I have learned to rest my thoughts and let whatever flows into my mind to just be. I try to mediate daily, preferably in the mornings, but sometimes life gets in the way. I can always tell when I don’t mediate however, for I’m usually a little more tired and on edge. I either listen to a frequency, a guided meditation, or I sit in silence with one of my crystals or gemstones and repeat a mantra.


The teachers in training are strongly advised to practice both at home and at their local yoga studio. I try to attend between one and three classes a week at Hanaq Prana, to not only improve my asana practice, but to take note on teachers’ styles, cuing, techniques, and their signatures.


A few weekends ago, Hanaq Prana teamed up with Manduka and Susan G. Komen to host Project OM in the Tampa Bay area. This event took place during Mother’s Day weekend at the Tampa Premium Outlet Mall. The classes were donation based, and all proceeds went towards breast cancer research.  It was a beautiful turnout, and it was nice having all of the trainees out in the community representing Hanaq Prana.

Some of my fellow yogis and I venture out in the yoga community by attending workshops in the local area. About two months ago, my friend Summer, who’s in teacher training with me, thought it’d be fun to try a few handstand workshops. My first thought was – “What?? I can’t do that!” It was then I realized that I will never accomplish anything if I don’t muster up the courage and step out of my comfort zone. She told me she’s never done a handstand either, and that we were in this together. You know what? We had so much fun! It was an awesome time and we weren’t the only newbies to attempt a handstand. I was so excited afterwards, and I’m glad I have the tools to keep practicing.

When we aren’t attending classes or workshops, you can usually find us at local parks or Felicitous, practicing balancing postures, inversions, or our sequences.

When it comes to self-study, I have my fair share of struggles. An obstacle that I’ve been trying to overcome, up until about a month or so ago, was finding my voice. I am extremely shy and soft spoken, and any time I had to project my voice and speak in front of others, I panicked. My face would flush, I felt hot, I mumbled and I really did not like to be the center of attention. With that being said, I wasn’t sure I wanted to teach yoga. If I couldn’t speak up—with confidence—in front of my classmates, how was I supposed to lead a yoga class?

After a lot of self-work, I am finally finding my voice! It’s been quite liberating; I’ve always felt so small, cautious, and afraid when it came to speaking.  We (the trainees) have all gotten to know each other better, and our sessions are always full of love, support, and compassion. Their light and love has helped me break out of my shell, and I am grateful for them.

I have been fascinated with everything I have learned so far, but my favorite subjects would have to be Ayurvedic medicine, the chakra system, and reiki. I’d love to practice Ayurveda after my teacher training, and I’d like to stay consistent with my energy work! A couple Sundays ago, 5/21, all of us got attuned in Reiki 1. We started off our day with meditation and an hour and a half long introduction on reiki. We were advised not to eat beforehand, which was difficult for all of us! Once we were attuned, we were allowed to eat a snack. Awaiting my turn (I went last), I stared enviously at all those snacking around me. I usually eat within an hour or two of waking up, and it was 3pm by this point. I had very low energy but luckily, Summer snuck me some dried berries and nuts, which gave me strength to push through the last stretch.

As I walked in the dark room, I was surrounded by crystals, gemstones, fruit, and Tibetan bowls, a candle, water with salt, and flowers to symbolize the four elements. I sat in a chair and closed my eyes. Lorena worked her magic and I could feel energy flowing through me. My third eye tingled, and she drew three symbols in my palms. Before I knew it, I was finished! She handed me a blue stone, asked how I felt, and sent me on my way.

After a much needed lunch break, we headed back to the studio and practiced reiki on each other. One of us would either lie down on a table or sit in a chair, and the rest of us were assigned a chakra or two to work on. It was incredible having everyone together, opening, balancing, and closing the chakras. Our energy combined made for a beautiful experience. As our session came to a close, we all said a prayer while my friend Jennifer played a melodic tone from her crystal singing bowl.

Since my attunement, I have noticed subtle changes in myself: I am more talkative, my body heats up easily, and when I use my symbols and concentrate for a couple minutes, I can feel energy in my hands. Lorena said these sensations will last for 21 days, as our body is detoxing from all of the negative energy that has built up throughout our lives. Other sensations we are prone to experiencing include vivid dreams and visualizations, feeling other peoples’ energy, and feeling hot or cold. Some of us even have a new outlook on life. I too have noticed that I am more grateful for the smaller things in

I am eager to see how the next six weeks will be! This transformation has been life changing, and although this training tests me in more ways than I can imagine, the more I am finally growing into the person I am meant to be.


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