Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Week 9

I survived week nine and it's official - I am now a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor - or as Bikram would say, I have a license to kill in Bikram's Torture Chamber!

Wow! I seriously cannot believe I not only survived it, but also came out with some fairly positive feelings. To be honest, I wasn't ready to leave the 'yoga bubble.' I met some amazing friends that will last a lifetime and to think that I may not have had them in my life had I not gone to TT makes me cringe. The women I refer to as my 'yoga girls' are four of the most tremendous people I've ever met - they are so incredibly strong, talented, and beautiful beyond words. They kept me on my toes, making me laugh and bringing a smile to my face when I thought I simply could not make it anymore. The tremendous amount of inspiration that I received from these lovely ladies on a daily basis was incredible - heartfelt thanks. I love these girls more than words can ever express and I miss them each and every day.

Week nine resembled week one in many ways - busy, busy, busy! Lots of lectures and late night movies, which in turn equals very little sleep. Senioritis was rampant, or at least for me it was - very hard to stay motivated, but I powered through nonetheless... that certification was calling my name!

Bikram Yoga Teacher Training is now officially over and I am back home. I am satisfied now, right? Not quite... You know what they say - the grass is always greener on the other side... Would I relive TT? Absolutely not. Would I want TT to last longer than nine weeks? Of course not. Do I miss certain aspects of TT? Without a doubt, yes. I keep making references to inside jokes we had at TT, only to realize that no one laughs. I keep thinking I can walk downstairs to hang with my girls in the conjoining rooms, only to realize that I won't find any of those girls at my house.

Teacher training was not about teaching yoga for me, or even learning dialogue, it was about learning to love myself and find stillness (not the same as contentment, mind you) in life's everyday messes. I learned that the most important thing in my life is to take care of myself first and foremost, to not take anyone's bullshit (pardon my language), and to follow my instincts, because I really do know more than I think. I learned to stand tall, trust myself, give myself credit, and forget the naysayers. Most importantly, I learned that I am a force to be reckoned with - I have a power inside me that far exceeds my expectations.

I stayed strong and finished what I started and for that I am immensely proud of myself. TT is one of those experiences that words will never be able to adequately explain - no one can understand it unless you've been through it. It was hard, yes, but it was also incredibly rewarding.

Big thanks to everyone who supported me. So many people called, sent texts, emails, cards, packages - the amount of love that surrounded me at TT was overwhelming.

Check out a slideshow of my BYTT adventures!

Here are some of my favorite Bikram quotes/phrases throughout TT :
  • "Your ass is in the grass!"
  • "Just think of it..."
  • "Is that a good one?"
  • "Eat shit and die."
  • "You born baby, you die baby."
  • "After TT you are bullet-proof, fire-proof, wind-proof, sex-proof!"
  • "Never too late, never too old, never too bad, and never too sick, to start from scratch once again."
  • "Can you believe it?!"
  • "Hi, guys! Did you miss me?"
  • "Did I make my point?"
  • "What is the most important thing in your life? ...YOUR life!"
... And my personal favorite ...
  • "Excuse me for living!"
I'll leave you with some photos from graduation... Enjoy!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 8

Hang on tight, folks - let me take you on a ride through week eight...

Where shall I begin? Let's see... Tuesday was my birthday and thanks to my amazing yoga girls here at TT, I was showered in treats on my special day. Thanks, ladies.

Thursday night was a pizza party/disco night with Bikram himself. Safe to say, that was a total freak show... I didn't stay long.

Week eight has been interesting for me. Week eight greeted me with many personal struggles, but along with the struggles came the 'breakthroughs' - let me elaborate a bit on this...

I won't get into personal details, obviously, but here's the deal : week eight wasn't about yoga for me. It was about realizing that I am perfectly fine without anyone else. In the words of Virginia Satir, "I am me and I am okay." My thoughts and emotions may change; my weight may fluctuate; my mood may shift - but in the end, I am okay, and actually, I am more than okay, I am great, no matter where I may be at that moment. Sometimes you just have to make up your mind to close certain doors and the moment you do that, you take back the power. That's what I did this past week... with a little help from my friends, of course.

Here are some week eight moments captured in snapshots. Enjoy...

care package / birthday treats from my Dallas friend, Allison

the ladies with Jim-ram at the disco party... enough said.

my birthday treats from my yoga girls - xo

something that got me through week 8...

the girls goofing off during lecture on my birthday...

...food for thought...

we love Dr. Das...

birthday surprises from home!

words of wisdom in a California shop...

Saturday night festivities with Kylah - so fun!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I usually only do weekly recaps of BYTT on this blog and stick to my other blog for personal ramblings, but I can't help but include this particular personal rambling on my training blog. People are constantly talking about having 'revelations', 'epiphanies', 'breakthroughs' here at TT, and while I have not had any monumental, earth-shattering discoveries about myself, or my yoga practice, I do seem to have learned a life lesson - in the words of a dear friend I've met here at training, "...it's hard to find solid people in this world." It's true, and I think deep down I've always known so, but it's one thing to know something is true, it's another thing to actually believe it and act upon it.

We spend our lives searching for people who will make us feel worthy; people who will love us unconditionally; people who will never let us down. However, the truth of the matter is this - very few people in this world will live up to those standards. You either accept people for who they are, knowing they are loving you in the best way they can, or you move on, realizing what they have to offer you just simply isn't good enough. The tough part is deciding... Sometimes it's completely harmless to allow relationships (both with friends and with lovers) to linger in your life, taking them for what they are - nothing more, nothing less. Yet, other times, it's best to move forward, but in either case, one thing is a must - knowing and believing that you are amazing and you deserve nothing but the best in life.

Sure, we will all find that select few number of people who exude the true essence of the word friend, but chances are we will find far more 'flakey' relationships, and while these 'half-ass' relationships may be fun and worthwhile at times, we cannot allow them to define us, trap us, or become codependent upon them, because let's face it, we are better than that. Self-worth is a lifelong struggle for many of us - let's be clear, it's hard to find and the journey getting there sucks because unfortunately we cannot find it through other people - the work falls entirely upon ourselves. Learning to believe in yourself and your own amazing and beautiful qualities isn't easy, but I have to believe it's worth it in the end...

"Be yourself, don't take anyone's shit, and never let them take you alive."
-Gerard Way

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Week 7

I have officially survived week seven here at BYTT. Week seven has been the craziest week yet. I say that every week, but it's actually true this time, trust me. Here is the breakdown of whacky week seven..

Apparently word got out that the hot room here at training was against California fire code - taped doors, no 'exit' signs illuminated, doors locked, only one way in and out for 500 plus yogis... Hence, the hot room was shut down by the LA Fire Department for almost three days. We did not do one single day of doubles this past week, and hardly any days of singles for that matter - Memorial Day, we got a surprise half day (yippie!) and the rest of the days were consumed with LAFD inspections. Safe to say, when this all came to a head, lots of yogis lost their shit (pardon my French). I, on the other hand, took it as an opportunity to relax and do some running for the first time in almost seven weeks (yikes!). I also ventured to the Bikram studio in Manhattan Beach for a class on Thursday morning. It was so refreshing to take class in a 'normal' environment, away from the yoga compound - my love for Bikram Yoga was renewed, if only for a day...

The staff proceeded to tell us yesterday that we would be required to do doubles on both Saturday and Sunday to make up for the lost classes... That's when I lost my shit.

Um, excuse me, did I hear that correctly? Doubles on the weekend? Apparently so. Let me take this opportunity to climb on my soapbox and express my opinion about this ridiculous requirement, because you know what they say about opinions...

I realize that people paid money to come here - a lot of money! - and they expected a certain number of yoga classes, and while I most certainly think they should offer classes on the weekend to make up for the lost ones, I do not think these classes should be mandatory. By forcing us to attend, they are essentially punishing us for missing classes this past week and let's be clear, the missed classes had nothing to do with us. How is it my fault that the hot box was against fire code? Yeah, that's what I thought - it's not. I paid an enormous amount of money to come here, entrusting these people with my safety and they failed me on that part. Not only do I think the mandatory classes this weekend are complete and total bullshit, I also think we, as trainees, deserve a sincere apology from whomever is in charge here.

Now, that's all I am going to say about that - just my opinion - take it for whatever it's worth. Moving on...

Postures clinics are over. I delivered all my Bikram dialogue successfully - go me! Week seven greeted me with an intense amount of anger. I am so over everything here - more so than usual. With that being said, I have seen a tremendous amount of growth happening inside me. I am slowly, but surely, starting to believe in myself and my awesomeness. I am beginning to understand the world around me, one day at a time, and most of all, I am becoming more and more grounded in my own beliefs - not Bikram's - each moment of each day. Only two weeks left here and while I will not miss any of this daily insanity, I will miss my four amazing yoga girls. I have profound gratitude towards each one of them for helping me through this journey. Thanks, ladies. xoxo

I am also grateful for being able to share this experience with my best friend, who has been on staff here at TT for the entire nine weeks. It's been a difficult journey for us both, but I cannot imagine it without her. I think in many ways our friendship has evolved in a huge way, for the better. Thank you, sweet friend, for putting up with me on a daily basis, both here and at home.

Only 3 more days until my birthday!! YAY!

Until next week...

Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, to discover what is already there. ~Henry Miller, Sexus

Monday, May 28, 2012

Week 6

I officially survived week six of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. Only three weeks left - wow! Where did the time go? I think this past week was the best week, thus far. Posture clinics are almost over, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I had a special visitor in town for the weekend to help me escape the 'yoga bubble.'

Here is what I have been up to...
all told through pictures...

...a little Saturday night fun in Hermosa Beach with my yoga girls -
'something like... I love y'all!'

...a little fun before class during week 6 -
me and my yoga girls all in matching outfits...
leopard print - Bikram's fav

...group 7 - best group eva!

...having a Memphis visitor in town is fun, fun, fun!

...Sunday brunch in Venice beach... yum-o!

...Saturday night festivities -
aren't we just glowing? ;) ...

...Sunday lounging in Venice beach...

...the lounging continues...

Week seven has started and I am ready to take it head on! Each day I continue to find more and more belief in myself... maybe this craziness is actually working? Did I drink the kool-aide? Word is still out on that one...

Until next week...

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
-Dalai Lama

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week 5

I have officially survived week five of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training here in the City of Angels. Surprisingly, week five proved to be easier than expected, but let's be clear - it was not easy, just not quite as hellish as I anticipated. Here is a breakdown of my week five happenings...

1. Boss man is back. Bikram returned, but to much disbelief, he did not keep us up late this week with any crazy Bollywood or Mahabharata insanity. He lectured only once, and that was only until 11:30p. Yay for another week of decent sleep!

2. Posture/dialogue clinics took off with rapid fire this week. We are already up to Locust Pose - crazy! I nailed most of my dialogue this week, especially Triangle... which leads me to my next story about week five... Triangle posture clinic was an exceptional moment for me here at TT. First, let me explain how posture clinics work : four people are up front and center - one person reciting the dialogue, three people demonstrating the posture. There are also two to four teachers/mentors watching, who proceed to give each person feedback once they are finished reciting their dialogue. For Triangle Pose, I had two fantastic teachers giving me feedback - Lisa, a studio owner from San Antonio, Texas; Kristy, a teacher at Bikram Yoga Memphis, a staff member at BYTT, and her most memorable role in my life - my best friend. For those of you who are familiar with Bikram Yoga, you know that Triangle Pose is an intense posture! Well, folks, the dialogue for that posture is no different - it's long and full of bold words. When it came time for me to deliver my dialogue for Triangle, I jumped up and headed for my spot on the floor and... I. Killed. It. It was like someone completely different inhabited my body for that moment and took over... in a good way. I recited that long ass dialogue verbatim and exuded confidence and command. I tend to think of myself as being quite shy and sometimes I feel like people take advantage of me and my self-consciousness, but for that little moment, up there delivering Triangle dialogue, I felt strong, grounded, and for lack of a better word - badass! It was liberating. Even Kristy couldn't believe it! After it was over, Lisa proceeded to give me feedback and here's what she said : "Wow! You obviously know the dialogue. You are like this tiny little thing, yet you are a definite force to be reckoned with." Me - a force to be reckoned with?! No way! I was flattered. However, Lisa continued by challenging me to deliver the dialogue once more, but this time, she wanted me to deliver it with my hair down, using a seductive voice. Odd? Yes. I fought her tooth and nail because I really did not want to do this, but her reasoning was this - When I start to teach Bikram Yoga, I will have all sorts of students in my class. As Bikram Yoga teachers, we ask our students to be uncomfortable for 90 minutes. How can I ask that of my students, if I, too, am not willing to be uncomfortable? Delivering my dialogue in this bizarre manner was a way to get me out of my comfort zone. I couldn't really argue with her on that, soooo... I did it! I delivered it again - hair down, seductive attitude and all! And you know what? It was great. For the first time in my life I let go of my fears and just did it. It was refreshing and shockingly liberating.

3. Inspiration : After one of Bikram's torturous evening classes during week five, a visiting teacher approached me and said the following - "I just wanted to tell you, I watched you the entire class and you inspired me. Your practice kept me going." Wow. I was taken back by her kind words - they truly made my day.*

*Obviously this incident occurred on one of my better days in the hot room. Most of the time my yoga practice here just plain sucks, but occasionally I have some badass classes.

4. Rajashree made her first appearance here at TT. She taught three classes during week five. For those of you that don't know, Raj is Bikram's wife. She is nothing like him, or at least not from what I can gather. She teaches with a kindness that Bikram tends to lack.

5. Weekend Fun : I got to spend the weekend with my best friend and partner in crime, Miss Kristy. What a fantastic way to end the week! We shopped, dined, beached, and of course, 'girl chatted' all day. I love that girl more than words can express and I feel blessed to have her here with me at TT. Thanks for a great weekend, sweet girl!

Week five is done and I couldn't be more proud of myself. Yes, my emotions continue to change by the minute, but I am here and that is all that matters.

Until next week... Namaste.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week 4

I've officially survived week four of BYTT. Week four has been interesting - full of ups and downs. Week three was an emotional struggle, while week four was more of a physical struggle. My body is starting feel rough. Everything hurts - hips, knees, back, neck, shoulders... I returned to practicing in the back of the room, so I couldn't really see myself in the mirror all week. Safe to say, my classes left a lot to desired.

I delivered dialogue for four more postures - Standing Head to Knee, Standing Bow, Balancing Stick, and Standing Separate Leg Stretching. I received good feedback on all of my deliveries. The only 'homework' I received was... yep, you guessed it - to have more fun. Shocker, huh?

On the bright side, some familiar faces from Bikram Yoga Dallas were in town this past week and I really enjoyed having them here. It felt a little more like 'home.' One of these familiar teachers made a comment this week in class about how brave we all are for coming to training, and the more I thought about this comment, the more I started to realize - it's true! We are brave. Not many people could put their life on hold for nine weeks and endure the intense struggles that we are faced with here.

Training brings up a lot of emotions - both current and past emotions - and we have no choice but to deal with them, and while dealing with them may not be easy, it's most certainly necessary. I've heard some people say that training is the best nine weeks of their life and while I don't think I'll ever claim these nine weeks as the 'time of my life,' I do believe in my heart of hearts that I'm doing the right thing by being here. Every day here is a struggle for me, but at the end of each day, I know I am better person for pushing through. Each day I am forced to look at myself in the mirror in that steamy, hot room and face my troubles head on and that's a battle that many people never conquer. I am growing and emerging in ways I never thought possible. For the first time in my life I am believing in the power that lies within me, because let's face it, you simply cannot rely on anyone other than yourself here at teacher training. If you don't believe in yourself here, you will surely get lost in the shuffle.

Another bright note - I've met four really amazing girls at TT. Without them, I am not sure I'd make it through the day-to-day craziness. We have a good time, despite the rough times. They help keep me grounded and make me laugh when all I want to do is collapse and sob hysterically. I'll certainly miss those girls when the nine weeks are up... Hopefully we can all arrange for a reunion trip at some point.

Here are some pics of the past four weeks...

dialogue & latte time on a Sunday...

me & my TT partner in crime - Kylah -
people say we look like sisters...

the hot box

Manhattan Beach

my new obsession :
red velvet ice cream at Manhattan Beach Creamery - delish!

Week five is about to begin and with that, Bikram will return. I have an intense feeling that weeks five and six are going to be the hardest yet... so I best be getting some rest tonight!

Until next week, I'll keep these in mind...

"Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity..."
-- Gilda Radner