Week 9 Recap

Week 9 Lessons

Our last day of watermelon by the pool after the last AM class of the week–all the traditions, ending.

  • We will find the answer by experiencing it: I asked two questions on the first day during Bikram’s long-anticipated posture lectures, and he didn’t like either of them. I’m quite sure he didn’t understand my first question. My second, though…. well, it went something like this:
    [In discussing the first part of Awkward]
    Me: “Why is it six inches between the knees and the feet?” (I’ve heard it’s so you’re aligned with your shoulder/hip width.)
    BC: “Because that’s the way I want it. That’s a stupid question. I thought you were smarter than that.”
    Can you say, “OUCH!”?!?
    Later–after the humiliation and embarrassment receded–I realized that (1) had he said that yes, it’s 6″ because that’s the distance between your hips/shoulders, someone less intelligent and dialogue-driven than me would have started to tell students that instead (even if I never would); and (2) he didn’t want “why” questions about the dialogue because he believes it is our responsibility to learn “whys” of the dialogue by practicing with our own bodies and by teaching and watching other bodies. Yoga is not academia. Here, we learn by doing, by experiencing and feeling.
  • “You’re supposed to die. You didn’t do good enough, because you didn’t die.” -BC: Just in case I’d started to feel stronger & better, our last class kicked my ass. It was so hot and humid, it felt like week 5 all over again–even with a bit of that disturbing numbness in my hands. I suppose it was for old times’ sake? In any case, I’ll take it as a sign I did well enough since, as Boss had said in lecture earlier, if we’re not dead at the end of class we didn’t try hard enough. Welcome to Bikram’s torture chamber, here to kill yourself for 90 minutes……
  • “Freedom brings uncertainty. So love your uncertainty. You’ll be 100% fine.” -Balwan: This last week felt like equal measures of terror of leaving the bubble and teaching your first class, sadness at leaving all of your amazing new friends, and relief at not having to keep up the same grueling routine. Balwan’s parting speech to us about our lives post-training was so apt and encouraging, though (and so in line with his wonderful spirit). It was very reassuring. I’ve never liked uncertainty, but teacher training, and this teacher training in particular (thanks, Week 7), has given me ample opportunity to practice equanimity and flexibility. So this quality I’ve been trying to learn, and will continue to practice.

Week 9 Highlights

Look at me with that hot little certificate in my hands!

  • Goodbye, deluxe torture chamber: Ok, so as hard as the actual last class was for me physically & mentally, it was also amazing. As soon as we hit final savasana, no one was dead. Everyone was standing, dancing, hugging, and crying their hearts out as one of Bikram’s songs was playing. Beach balls were hit around. It’s akin to simultaneously finishing a marathon with 400+ of your soulmates, only a thousand times more amazing. The hot room will never feel any better than that again.
  • “Ask me why”: Bikram’s posture lectures were so rewarding. Too short, as we ran out of time and he had to speed through things, but rewarding. I learned so many details and insights, even in that little amount of time! I couldn’t possibly summarize it all, so this will likely be something I’ll post about posture by posture [eventually] in the future.
  • Licensed to kill: Best of all, I’ve graduated and am officially a Bikram certified yoga teacher! Graduation was not that exciting (imagine any college graduation, add in typically Indian late timing and disorganization, you get the picture). But it’s over and done, we’ve said our goodbyes, and we’re packed, gone, and (in my case) even unpacked. The last night was a blast–I personally didn’t stick around for the disco/dance party in the ballroom (former known as the yoga room) but headed to a friend’s house where a ton of us were congregating. Then had a late night wandering session with my roommate and finally crashed at 5 AM. But most importantly, after 5 years practicing and 1.5 years of planning for TT, I’ve reached the starting line. I’m a frickin’ Bikram yoga teacher!

Week 8 Recap

Week 8 Lessons

This was one of the reasons I was tired on Tuesday, but it was worth it to see Roshan again.

  • Yoga is easy, real life is hard: This week was my most emotionally challenged week. I had several nights where I just didn’t sleep well and that, combined with some outside conflict regarding the realities of being a yoga teacher, definitely had me more unbalanced. I was still fine (and will be fine), but it was definitely a concrete reminder what teaching this yoga will actually look like when I get out of our little Yoga Bubble. Upon the best advice, I retreated back into the bubble and left the outside drama behind for the moment. The bubble is safe. All is happy in the bubble. Stay in the bubble. It’s there for a reason.
  • “A smile is the beauty of the mind”: Bikram’s contemporary and Rajashree’s guru, Dr. P.S. Das gave several lectures integrating medical diseases, yoga asana poses, and yoga philosophy. Dude has more degrees than I was able to count, including a Ph.D. in yoga therapy. Like many geniuses, his lectures were somewhat challenging–the result of a very thick accent, slow writing, and an unclear (to us) lecture game plan. But he was so patient, sweet, and calm, and we were so lucky to have him since he’s rarely able to make it to teacher training. This was my favorite quote of his, followed closely by “Men, don’t ejaculate yourselves.” That’s wisdom for the ages for you fellas!
  • Labor dispassionately without attachment to results, and so results will come: I tried out for the graduation demonstration team, in which 25 of the strongest (and non-tattooed) students out of the class do all of the poses during the ceremony. I tried out upon the insistence of one of my group members who really thought I’d be good enough. Moreover, I’m trying to enforce a new attitude to get myself to experience new things (being a creature of habit–a Cancer, if you believe in those particular character profiles–I’m not very adventurous). Much like the Bhagavad Gita adage above that Jim Kallett shared with us– –I ask myself three questions: (1) is it new for me, (2) does it push my comfort zone, and (3) could it be worthwhile/interesting? If so, I gotta give it a shot…. so I did. I made it past the first day cuts, but didn’t make the final cut. Oh well! Besides, I clearly didn’t want, need, or deserve it as much as some of the other girls. Plus now I don’t have to have bonus practice after our normal classes this week. But I’m really glad I tried, and at least know that I tried.

Week 8 Highlights

Four of my favorite people sweating it all out on the dance floor!

  • The best sober dance party ever: Thursday night Bikram gifted us with a pizza & disco dance party instead of evening lecture. Most people didn’t stay, but a lot did– we had probably about 150 people stay dancing as Bikram’s son DJed for us. Even though the night was “dry” in the alcohol-sense, we were all soaking wet with sweat! (At least we’re all used to that.) It was a lot of fun; the staff joined in and got crazy, as did Boss himself, and I jumped up and down so much my calves were sore Friday.
  • T.G.I.F.!: After another 135 minute class from Bikram Friday afternoon (and it being 12 consecutive days with a total of 20 classes for me), he gave us the evening off. I used the time to go out for dinner and had both excellent company and a delicious milkshake. After, I watched Whip It on my computer with three fellow yogis (a great film, but also has some great yoga-applicable lessons). All in all, an excellent use of time.
  • Bend it like a Yogi Champion: The hotel was hosting the international yoga asana championships and all teacher trainees got free tickets. I didn’t watch on Saturday, because I needed at least one day outside without having my butt stuck for hours in those brown chairs. I did watch them today for the finals, though, and it was A.MAZ.ING! There were 10 finalists each for the youth, men’s, and women’s divisions, plus demonstrations from last year’s champions and this one crazy talented Indian girl, Dipannita Mondai, who had everyone‘s jaw dropping to the floor…… And we’re yogis, so we’re pretty used to really bendy people. She single-handedly redefines how it’s possible for your body to move. It was an incredible gift to be in that room today.

Bonus shot: This wasn’t mine, but it’s a great shot of the aftermath of the pizza party. Enjoy. Only six more days until graduation!

trust the process

This is the most hilarious thing I have seen……. possibly, ever.

(Apologies to those individuals who do not understand this video, but this is my life right now. Know that these are all things we are hearing ALL THE TIME.)

UPDATED: Apparently the link did not work the first time. Should be working now!

Week One Recap

Week one is over and week two is about to begin. I’m going to try to do my best to post more often–daily, if possible–for my own selfish reasons. As much as I enjoy sharing this with all of you, I want to make sure I remember it.

“The answer to everything [Bikram says] is Bikram Choudhury.” – Nzinza

Week 1 Lessons

  •  Food: I’ve felt nauseous and unhungry, so getting myself to eat has required determination. This is especially true for the mornings, for which I think Gu is going to be my answer. A nice shot of non-solid carbs and caffeine to power me through the AM class. I’m also learning that I need to just fork over money for whatever my body tells me it will eat, because nutrition is key to surviving.
  • Don’t get attached, no judgement. Classes that were rough for me were easy for others. The opposite has also been true. In doing 98 classes, there will be lots of good classes and lots of bad classes, so there’s no point getting attached to either one. On a similar vein, I’ve been feeling tingling (or as I like to call it, “thrumming”) in my hands and occasionally my feet–kinda scary, kinda nifty! I checked in with the nurse just to be safe, but as Jim [Kallett] pointed out, it’s probably just my body rearranging and opening itself up. It will pass.
  • Preparation is key: Abhi has prepared me so well for teacher training, and I bless my stars he’s been on my side!

Week 1 Highlights

  • The whole room saw Bikram’s ass. Literally. He showed it to us, in great detail, and there was flexing involved.
  • Bollywood introduction! The first of many films.
  • Abhi’s visit & class
  • Posture insights, e.g. how one of my new friends  finally taught me how to grip my hands together correctly. Really looking forward to putting this into practice tomorrow!
  • My roommate is awesome. She’s from Mexico City, and the best part is she fairly well-prepared in dialogue  (less far posture-wise but knows the ones she’d done more thoroughly than I do)and driven to study. So far, the luck of the draw is treating me pretty well!
  • Getting to know everyone–so many backgrounds! Such cool locations! Amazing stories! Crazy [former] jobs!

So much has happened in only eight days. Funfunfunfun. And crazy. And insane. Now it’s off to bed for me, to cuddle up with some dialogue and then call it a night. Adios.