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

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Week 3

I've officially survived week three of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. This might be a long post, filled with mindless babble so my apologies in advance... Here's a breakdown of the past week :

Wow. Week three. Folks told me that week three would be hardest week, emotionally speaking, and boy were they spot on! Emotions were running high for everyone this past week, myself included. Week three at TT is kind of like mile 14-15 of a marathon - you've run so far, yet you still have so far to go. It's overwhelming and so you break down. I've experienced every emotion you can think of this past week - anger, sadness, happiness, anxiousness, confusion, etc. Just yesterday I sat in the lobby before class and cried like an infant, in front of 400 plus yogis, mind you. I didn't care. I needed to cry, so I did. When I was finished acting like a six-week-old newborn, I got up, put my stuff on the table, walked into the yoga room and took class. End of story. And you know what? If you had asked me why I was crying, my response would have been "I don't know", because that's just it - I simply did not know, and still don't know, why I felt like sobbing. What I do know, though, is that holding it in wasn't an option.

Bikram has been gone this week - thank you, Jesus. With boss man being gone, we actually get six-seven hours of sleep per night - yippie! We also started posture clinics this week, along with anatomy classes. Posture clinics are really more like dialogue clinics. We are broken down into small groups (about 40 people per group) and we each deliver the dialogue in front of our group for each posture. I delivered dialogue for Backward Bending, Hands-to-Feet Pose, Awkward Pose, and Eagle Pose this week and did pretty well. I missed a few words here and there, but nothing major.

My yoga classes have been extremely strong this past week, surprisingly (with the exception of today - my knees felt like they were going to snap in half this morning!). I've been able to set up towards the front of the room, so I can actually see myself in the mirror, which allows me to focus a little more accurately on my postures.

I've found that the yoga room has started to feel like my 'safe place' here at training. During week one, a teacher told us this would happen and, as usual, I laughed and rolled my eyes at her. I couldn't imagine thinking of that miserably hot room as a safe haven. I figured I'd become so incredibly sick of that room after a few weeks, but as much as it pains me to admit this - she was right. Training is crazy. I feel so out of sorts each and every day. Nothing is 'normal' here. The only constant is that hot room - the 26 postures, the heat.

The room is where I find the most comfort here. I can go in that room and be free of rules, judgements, expectations. I go in there and I can simply be me. I do what I can for that given day - sometimes that means I work my ass off, other times it means I simply lie there, but either way, it's my choice, my practice, no one else's. It's ninety minutes of 'me time'. Ninety minutes of solitude. Ninety minutes where I can sweat everything out. Ninety minutes that allow me to regain my focus and move forward with the rest of the day.

I am still full of questions and lacking all of the answers - shocker, huh? - , but for now I'll just 'keep on keepin' on' and I think I'll also fix my hair and put on makeup today (for the first time in over three weeks - yikes!), in hopes that I can feel a little more like a woman and not an overweight, bloated troll...

I'll leave you with two quotes I heard this past week from visiting teachers that I absolutely loved :

"Always leave your students with their dignity. All they need is love."
"Never say no. Always say yes. Never limit yourself."

Until next week, namaste.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Week 2

I've officially survived yet another week of Hell (also known as Bikram Yoga Teacher Training) - week two, to be exact. I was hoping my attitude would be better at this point, but unfortunately I am as irritable as ever. While I've most certainly made up my mind to stay and finish this out, I still can't quite find any satisfaction here (maybe that will come with time?). Yes, I've made some pretty awesome friends, which helps, but still...

Here's a recap of this past week :

We finished the dialogue for Half Moon Pose, thank god! Yes, I had to listen to Half Moon be delivered 417 times and it was exhausting. We also watched a few Bollywood films, which kept us up until 2-3a in the morning. I'm running on very little sleep and spending most of my days engrossed in Bikram Yoga. My emotions continue to change by the second - sometimes I feel numb by my surroundings, other times I realize what's going on and immediately look for the nearest exit. I find myself angry at my friends who came to training before me - why didn't they warn me?! I know, I know. I am boring you all with my negativity. Hang tight, folks. I'll do my best to end this post on a positive note...

My main focus this week has been on channeling that 'inner filter' we all have that allows us to maintain inner peace. Essentially, my goal here is to try my hardest to not allow anyone - not even Bikram himself - to steal my peace. Easier said than done, right? Right.

I miss home so very much. I have a visitor coming to see me in L.A. in four weeks and I simply cannot wait! Although four weeks is not really that long, it seems like an eternity right now, but at least it's something to look forward to!

Physically, I feel fine. My body is strong and I know that. Mental and emotional strength is what I lack, and it just so happens that those are the two things tested the most here at training...

My classes this week (I did 12 classes this week total) have directly reflected my emotions, for the most part - some are great, others are horrendous. Well, actually, most of my classes here are horrendous, let's be clear. Each class is its own - sometimes I head directly for the door after class, gasping for air; other times I lay on my mat and let emotions flood out - tears, laughter, etc. With that being said, I am actually doing pretty well with not attaching myself to my classes too much. Back home, I am a perfectionist in every way - if I have a bad class, I usually take it personally. However, I am so exhausted here that I simply don't have the energy to think too much about each class. I just do what I can for that day and then put it away. Simple as that.

My most favorite time of the day here is our break in between morning class and morning lecture. It's during that time that I drink my cup of coffee, listen to my music, and do my daily inspirational reading - it's quite simplistic and calm, which is exactly what I need here.

We've had many lectures on Bikram Yoga and its success. Many people say its success is due to the fact that it's so simple - you simply follow the dialogue and do your yoga, not anyone else's. I have really been trying to focus on that word - simple - and carry it forward into other aspects of this training, because in all honesty, nothing about BY teacher training is simple (ironic? yes, but that's a whole other blog post!). My focus here is on two things : the yoga and myself - nothing else, nothing at all. I do not put too much stock into anything else.

Okay, here's that positive note you've all been waiting for... I am incredibly proud of myself for being here. Yes, perhaps I am 'tooting my horn' a little bit, but hey, if I don't, who will? This place is full of obstacles. You can easily lose yourself in the day-to-day craziness that surrounds us, but I've stayed the course and remained strong. I am still breathing, thinking, talking, learning, and most importantly, believing... believing in the healing power of yoga and the healing power that lies within myself.

I'll leave you with a quote that seems fitting at this current point in my life - yes, it's a long one, but read it - it's worth it...

“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes… I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.” – Virginia Satir

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Week 1

I officially survived week one of Bikram's Boot Camp, or Bikram's Torture Chamber, or Hell - any of the three titles will work, but I prefer the third one, as it's the most accurate. I never really believed in Hell... until now, that is. Hell is most certainly real, folks. It's located in the ballroom on the second floor of the Radisson LAX hotel, trust me on this one.

I will quickly recap week one for you all, but I must warn you, if you think this is going to be an uplifting post, think again. If you're looking for some light-hearted, inspirational reading, go ahead and close out of this window on your computer screen, because this ain't it (yes, an English major just used the word 'ain't' - so what).

Week one was hell - mentally, physically, and emotionally. Our daily schedule goes as follows :

8a - sign in
8:30a-10/10:30a - Bikram Yoga class
10a-12p - lunch break
12p - sign in for lecture
12:30p-4p - lecture/posture clinics/dialogue clinics
4:30p - sign in
5p-7p - Bikram Yoga class
7p-9p - dinner break
9p - sign in
9:30p-midnight (or later!) - lecture

For kicks and giggles, here is list of thoughts that have entered my head throughout the past week :

-I hate this place.
-I am in Hell.
-Someone please choke the folks who praise Bikram, as if he is some sort of god.
-Bollywood movies are the dumbest thing ever.
-Bikram can kiss my ass.
-Bacon is delicious.
-This program has nothing to do with the true meaning of yoga.
-It's hot in here.
-My Hydroflask is the best purchase I've ever made.
-It's f'in hot in here!
-I live in a hotel. This is not normal by any standards.
-Am I crazy?
-I just paid a lot of money to be tortured.
-Am I crazy? (That one gets repeated a lot.)
-I miss my bed.
-I miss the smell of my house.
-Life is too short to be miserable for nine weeks.
-Leave me alone.
-I'd rather run a full marathon every damn day, as opposed to doing this crap. (Yes, I've run a full marathon. I know just how much hard work it is, but it's a piece of cake compared to this, let's be clear.)
-I love, love, love the color green! (heehee)
-I will never do another double again as long as I live, once I leave here.
-This is total bullsh*t!

...the list goes on and on...

My body hurts in places I did not even know existed. I haven't shaved in days - I'm far too tired! My skin looks like I've just hit puberty. My nails need a manicure in a bad way. Blah, blah, blah... Thank goodness I'm not trying to impress anyone here - we are all too tired to care!

My emotions change literally by the hour. One hour I am okay and I feel strong, the next hour I am crying hysterically, frantically searching online for flights back home (thank god we are located right next to LAX!). After day two I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going back home. I even went so far as to pack my bags (after having unpacked them just two days before) and book a flight back home. Thank goodness I have some amazing parents and friends back home who called me regularly (and continue to call) and gave me pep talks. Safe to say, I decided to stay.

One pretty awesome person back home told me something along the lines of (can't remember it verbatim - it's been a long week, sorry), "You don't do what you want to, you do what you have to." I have to do this. I don't want to, or not right now at least, but I have to. I must do this in order to fully grow as a person. Another friend, who has been through training herself, explained my reactions like this : It's all based out of fear. Training brings up many, many emotions and instead of allowing myself to feel them, my instant reaction is to run away from them. This is precisely why I must stay here. I need to feel things; allow feelings to come and go; cry when I need to; scream when I need to; love when I can; talk when needed; be silent when appropriate.    

I delivered my dialogue for Half Moon Pose to Bikram himself this past week. His response went as follows, : "I have no corrections for you. Beautiful dialogue. Just need a little more, a little more confidence, but who wouldn't love you? You're an adorable and sweet girl." I was beaming from ear to ear. That's a huge compliment coming from a man who, many times, wears people out on stage in a ruthless way. I've held onto those words ever since he said them to me.

I've never been quite this homesick, not even when I was away at SMU (hard to believe, huh?!). I miss everything about Memphis, but perhaps that's the point of training, or one of the points at least - to appreciate what you have, where you come from. I have a huge support system back home and I'm reminded of that each and every day. The tremendous amount of love that surrounds me continues to amaze me and warms my heart in a way that words just can't adequately describe.

On a more positive note, it is pretty amazing to witness a yoga class here - 400 plus yogis in one room, all working towards the same goal. It's beautiful to see how so many different kinds of people - all ages, all ethnicities, all beliefs - can come together in one place and produce such a magnificent energy. For now, I am enjoying my two days of down time to reflect on myself and be still inside. I am holding each and every positive and motivational word I hear (both here and back home) close to my heart, and most importantly, I am believing in myself. I am strong - this I know for a fact.

Until next week... Namaste.            

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I have less than 72 hours left in Memphis before I become a 'California Girl' (in the words of Katy Perry) for over two months. How does it feel, you ask? Gosh, I seriously cannot put the feeling into words. It seems surreal. I've wanted this for over six years, yet I never thought the time would actually come for me to leave. First off - I am overwhelmed with the packing. I am a girl. Girls need a lot of sh*t, let's be clear! But, honestly, I am more overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that surrounds me. I have received numerous notes (both through cards in the mail and Facebook/email) filled with encouraging words. I have never heard such powerful comments about myself. It truly warms my heart in a way I've never experienced. I've printed out each message and gathered each card and placed them all in the side pocket of my suitcase, because I know there will come a time at training when I will need some uplifting energy. So to everyone who has reached out to me in some form or another - thank you from the bottom of my very nervous and very grateful heart.

I must go continue packing now, but I'll leave you all with a personal favorite quote of mine that I have been saying to myself each day this past week... Love to you all.

You are unrepeatable. There is a magic about you that is all your own.
- D.M. Dellinger

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I leave in exactly one week. I am filled with emotions - anxiety, nervousness, excitement, worry, hesitation, the list goes on and on...

I know in my heart of hearts that I'm doing the right thing by going. After all, it's been something I've wanted to do for the past six years. Heck, I even graduated from college early for this! With that being said, leaving for nine weeks is a huge step outside of my comfort zone and all of the positive aspects of this journey still do not make the leave any easier for me.

Lately, I fine myself clinging onto the lyrics of The Script's If You Ever Come Back...

I'll leave the door on the latch
If you ever come back, if you ever come back
There'll be a light in the hall and the key under the mat
If you ever come back
There'll be a smile on my face and the kettle on
And it will be just like you were never gone
There'll be a light in the hall and the key under the mat
If you ever come back if you ever come back now

I keep telling myself that the people who truly matter in my life will be right here in Memphis waiting on me with open arms when I come back, and whoever isn't waiting - well, then they never mattered in the first place, I suppose...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hello, loves!

In just 17 short days I will be heading out west to Los Angeles for a nine-week adventure. Be sure and check back here once a week to hear about all my discoveries!

California - show me what you got!

Let's do this thing!