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 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.