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...