There are blogs out there that are all about yoga teacher training experiences, and I don’t need to be another one of those. And according to my teacher training mentor, the training brings up a lot of surprising issues and revelations that might be better suited to my paper journal. But I’m also super jazzed about starting to train to teach yoga and I want to talk about it until someone makes me shut up.

The official training begins this weekend and runs every other weekend until December–graduation weekend is also my birthday weekend–and we had orientation two weeks ago. I definitely planned my outfit for orientation (I just wore knee-length shorts and a T-shirt that has a neat design, and if complimented on it, I can say, “My friend bought it in Thailand and it ended up being too small for her, so she gave it to me!”, but it was painstakingly planned.) and started my required reading months beforehand. It was all very first day of school-esque, minus the usual anxiety attack I had without fail on every first day from 6th to 12th grades. I was nervous, but also excited and not vomiting, which made for a much more positive experience this time around.

The training is structured so that the students are broken up into groups led by mentors (veteran teachers), and further divided into buddies. The mentors are kept top-secret until the reveal at the orientation, and the buddies are matched up according to the application essays we all wrote, which included questions like “What is your yoga experience?” and “What are your favorite books?” I stayed pretty far from the Greek system at my small college, but it was omnipresent enough that I noticed that the mentors and the reveal were a little like the big sisters/brothers assigned to rushees (except that I’m not obligated to make posters that say “[Mentor name] is the cat’s meow!” and hang them on his apartment door). And the buddy match-up was just like roommate assignments, which really made me hope that I wouldn’t end up with someone like the girl who sketched fetuses in frying pans (Nine years later, I’m still a bit freaked out about that, even given my current line of work.) and who greeted me in the hall outside our dorm room saying, “OK, don’t freak out, they’re leaving your stuff alone, but the cops are searching our room.”

I went into the orientation nervous and sweating, as I am wont to do, sizing up the group for who might be my potential matches and trying to remember names and relevant factoids as we did introductions, and thankful that I recognized a friend from classes. (We both joked about the similarity to a high school cafeteria.) And I managed to relax a little bit as we broke into mentor groups–my mentor ended up being one of my favorite teachers and favorite people (He, too, was bursting with excitement) and my buddy was someone I’d seen in class who mentioned making a documentary about her grandparents’ happy marriage, and made no allusions to frying fetii. And after our brief meeting, she gave me a hug and said, “I’m so excited that we get to be buddies.”

And when the orientation was over, after our “grug” (It’s a group in a hug! It’s a grug!), I couldn’t stop hugging my mentor, and my buddy and I agreed to connect on Gmail as soon as possible. I bid my goodbyes to my new classmates and sought out other teachers I knew who were serving as mentors and they ran to me and hugged me, gushing about their excitement. I’m still far from a sorority girl, but I also feel a little bit further away from my anxious middle school self. After the orientation, I could genuinely say that I was excited (not just scared, as per usual) about something new and unknown. I’m looking forward to spending 18 hours of this weekend with these new people, and this time next year, maybe I’ll be the big sister/mentor.