As our Seva (Work-Trade) Program manager, Chad can frequently be found at YCA, training people to use our computer check-in system and clean the studio. Chad is a yoga instructor, student, and professional musician, and also a member of the planning committee for this year’s AUM Conference. Learn about him in his own words in our interview (and/or scroll to the bottom to listen to a clip of Chad singing!).
Yoga Center Amherst: Who are you?
Chad Chaffee: It’s funny because I always defined myself by my name. Chad. For the longest time I never knew who Chad was, and that was the easiest way to define myself, “Who am I? I’m Chad!” At this point I’m starting to become more acquainted with who I am. And that is a loving spirit who is obsessed with knowledge, and a healer.
YCA: What does that mean to you, to be a healer?
CC: It means that I offer a space to meet people where they are at, and can sit and listen so that they are able to be in the presence of someone that loves them and also heal themselves. I’m Reiki-certified, so I have that light touch, the flow of divinity coming through. A lot of the yoga that I teach is based on accepting yourself, accepting your heart, accepting your body so that you can heal. Because once you remove all of the worry that you don’t belong or you don’t fit in, that creates a gateway to healing.
YCA: What brought you to yoga?
CC: I came to yoga in one of the most superficial ways. I was living in California, in Santa Monica.
This was when it was a big trend in the mid 90’s, when Madonna went through her “Ray of Light” sort of yoga phase. And I found out which Bikram yoga studio Madonna went to, and I decided I would try to stalk her and go to yoga. At this point in my life I was working in the finance industry, and generally I was high-strung and twenty-two, and even though I went to find this pop star, after the first time I had such a feeling of peace and calm and like everything just stopped and settled, that I kept going back for more. Still in hopes that I’d crash into Madonna, but more because when I came home my roommate said, “What happened to you?” (laughs) “I’ve never seen you like this before.”
YCA: What do you love about the Yoga Center?
CC: I don’t want to say I’m “in love” with the Yoga Center because I feel like that’s a fleeting thing, being in love. But “of love” with the Yoga Center. As soon as I walked into YCA, I took one of Corinne’s flow classes, and I just fell in love. I walked up to her and introduced myself and said, “I think I just found my home.” Everyone who comes to YCA needs love when they walk through the door, and I think that’s what makes me love YCA so much—because it accepted me for who I was, so I can accept people for who they are when they come in. Initially in my Seva position of desk person, that was when it started, I could just immediately feel this connection with people that were coming in, and each connection created a deeper bond with the love for the studio. And it’s also not a physical-based studio, right? It’s a studio that hasn’t disrespected yoga for what it is. It’s a way for us to connect with the divine, rooted deeply in a religion and a philosophy that the Yoga Center respects and honors. And I think that’s where all the love comes from, that respect and honor for yoga.
Listen to Chad sing “Why God Why?” from Miss Saigon: