Started off with a weak class this morning after feeling strong through both of yesterday’s classes (even Bikram’s!). But then everything got better. My teacher and friend, Yasuyo, had a layover on her way back from Japan and stopped in for a few hours to hang out. Additionally, my mentor and studio manager, Abhi, came down today and will spend the next few days with us (he even taught this afternoon, actually, which I really, really enjoyed having that familiarity in this wildly different environment).
Today I performed my Half Moon Dialogue in front of everyone. I mean, everyone–all 421 students, the staff, Bikram himself front and center, and my own personal cheering section in Abhi & Yasuyo. It’s a level of public speaking that’s hard to imagine until you are sitting in the wings waiting to take that microphone and stand up on the podium.
I knew the Dialogue. I knew this test is only the beginning of our lives as teachers, and that the worst that could happen is to stumble and forget and be prompted–to verbally drag yourself through this like a soldier in the mud–and be embarrassed afterwards but join in the camaraderie and ranks of the many, many others who are having similar experiences. It’s a sympathetic audience. Hardly the apocalypse. So why, OH WHY, did my heart need to race and my legs shake like there’s no tomorrow?
The heart I could ignore by breathing (thanks yoga), but there’s only so much you can physiologically master yourself. Willing your legs to stop shaking does not stop them from shaking. It only makes it harder to stand.
I go up, announce myself and my home studio, to which Bikram replies that he knows I will do well since I come from Abhi and might as well just sit down. Not that I will be so lucky as to be allowed to do just that. So I begin.
The words came, one by one, as I try to do justice to each line and not think about the possibility of forgetting the next one. Moment by moment. Line by line. Pearl by pearl. All the way to the end.
And then it is over. Judgment time from Boss.
Bikram announces to everyone, “See, what did I tell you?”
I feel like just maybe I can breathe again. I look to the right, in the back, where I see Yasuyo and Abhi looking at me and grinning wildly, and know that I have passed a less acknowledged, but more important test.
As Bikram went on to point out, everything I do well is the credit of my mentor (Abhi) just as everything Bikram’s ever done well is to the credit of his guru. With every passing moment of teacher training, I am more and more grateful to all he’s done for me. I would not be the student I am, nor the teacher I hope to become, without him.
In this moment, for today, I am almost giddy that I am finally here, that I am fairly prepared, and that I’ve got some pretty badass folks in my corner rooting for me.