Practice Compassion and Confidence: Benefits of a Teacher Training Chad Dennis shares his yoga journey from student to teacher training to Director of Yoga at Wanderlust Hollywood. By Chad Dennis Photo by Melissa Ryan Do your teacher training at Wanderlust Hollywood! We sat down with Wanderlust Hollywood Director of Yoga Chad Dennis to get some insight into his experience and to be inspired. All yogis—even the best teachers in the world—have to start somewhere. What was your first experience with yoga? My first experience with yoga occurred almost 40 years ago in Corpus Christi, Texas. I must have been around 8 or 9 years old and my stepmother at the time, Orena, took me to a yoga class. I remember thinking it was pretty trippy, but I also thoroughly enjoyed it. Orena was definitely WAY ahead of her time—I mean, being a vegan yogi in Texas! That’s probably not so crazy these days, but back then she was a true pioneer. Do you have any personal “rituals” that define your practice? Before I start my practice I always pause and take a moment to remind myself just how deeply fortunate I am to be able to move and breath in a healthy body, and [how] blessed [I am] to even have the time and space to do yoga. It’s a “luxury” that many individuals do not have. Transitioning from practitioner to teacher is a big step. Was there a moment, or a person, that inspired you to make the leap? One of my first teachers, Marilynn Barnett, a registered nurse and incredible yoga teacher, really inspired and almost insisted that I move from being a practitioner to a teacher. Perhaps she saw something in me at the time that i just couldn’t see or believe myself. People say that the best way to be sure you know something is the ability to teach it. How has your personal practice changed now that you are a teacher? Do you feel more connected to your personal practice, or is it difficult to make time for it? My practice has definitely shifted and morphed over the last three decades. When I was in my teens and twenties my practice was more physically oriented. I literally and metaphorically threw myself into the Ashtanga and Iyengar systems. My thirties and forties were more introspective, and this is when I really immersed myself in my studies of meditation and yoga, especially the study of anatomy and kinesiology. As I’m approaching my fifties, I feel it’s now my time to share all of the things—the good, the bad and the ugly—that I’ve learned on my journey with other teachers. What are some of the most rewarding moments you’ve experienced as a teacher? Watching people’s walls come tumbling down, hearts opening, fears and self-doubt extinguished, confidence and compassion growing… It’s what makes me show up and teach day after day, year after year, decade after decade. What are your favorite types of classes to teach? Why? I really like teaching artfully- yet intelligently-sequenced flow classes that emphasize form over range. They tell a beautiful story as they unfold. Is there a particular yogic philosophy that is of great interest to you? Right now I’m deeply into the philosophy and understanding that yoga asana is a completely small and relatively inconsequential part of a true yoga practice. The real question is: How are you leading your life and treating those around you the other 22.5 hours of the day? There’s the yoga practice, but theres also the yoga application. Do you have any advice for people interested in taking a teacher training program? Just do it! — Chad Dennis has been teaching yoga since 1998 and is currently the Director of Yoga at Wanderlust Hollywood. Chad is certified in numerous schools of yoga and brings this knowledge and insight to both teachers and practitioners at Wanderlust. He is also the co-leader of the Teacher Intensives and the curator of Yoga Workshops and Teacher Residencies.