zaterdag 28 november 2009

Week 8: The penultimate week.

I blogged every day this week for a change, here's how it went...
Monday was mellow enough. We had a teacher from LA in the morning who got everyone riled up- he was calling people out for drinking water in and between postures and leaving the room and just fidgeting in general. I think he was right in principle, but we are allowed to be a little lax here in TT and I think it was his tone that set people off. Posture clinic in the afternoon and we finally finished rabbit pose. I had people purposely doing things wrong in my clinic, and handled it okay but lost a lot of dialogue which was not good. We had Lisa from San Antonio and she is a lot of fun and gave some good general advice. Monday night was lecture with Bikram. We are back on the Mahabharat trail and saw 3 episodes before leaving at 2am. Ahh the Mahabharat- 70's style. I'm surprised they haven't made an updated version of it, it seems like it would be right up Bollywood's alley- plot for days! A cast of thousands! Costume changes! How can they resist?
Tuesday morning the staff brightened our mood with a fashion show! Yeah! The staff came out in some of the new line of Bikram yoga togs. I think we are not buying enough in the store. I had a very good class Tuesday night- I felt less stiff and was more open. Right after having a very stiff and painful class in the morning.
So far... teacher training isn't as hard as I thought it would be. Yes, the days are long and my body is inexplicably stiff after all this yoga- but the classes have been pretty normal and the nights not too late, for the most part. I guess I read too many teacher training blogs and thought mine would be all the worst things combined. Either that or it sounds bad when you read about it but when you are coming home at 5am from a night of movies, into a 8am claas, it's just something you deal with and then move on. It does seem though, that we have been a bit more lucky. It's dry and cool here and they haven't really been able to make the tent very hot or humid, like in Acalpulco. We haven't had the marathon string of late nights from the last training. Having said that though, this week did have quite a few late nights....
Tuesday night lecture with one of the senior teachers and then bikram came down for a couple of episodes of Mahabharat. We were invited to stay longer if we chose and I stayed for one more. I find it a little sad that almost no one wants to stay, even though it's late and we are all tired. It's teacher training ! With Bikram! We are supposed to be tired and sore! I don't know... the one good benefit of staying a little longer is that even though I was quite sleepy on Wednesday morning, I felt like it was my choice, not like I had been forced, and I was in a better mood than most people.
Wednesday: We finished our postures! Hooray. It is a good feeling and kind of amazing to think we have plowed thru 20 something postures and now are ready to go out and teach them. I'm excited and panicked at the same time- I need to do some more practicing for sure. I think I was pretty okay overall in the clinics- my main notes were to keep the energy up and to breathe and I feel confident I can do those things. Wednesday night Bikram taught a good class and then we had a lecture with a senior teacher/studio owner. It was good- he knows Bikram very well and has a more educated opinion of him and his world than I do and I appreciated getting a little insight.
Thursday- Thanksgiving! We had a morning class and then a dinner at 4pm, but otherwise were free and it was such a welcome break. The dinner was good- good food, some impromptu music from some of the musicians in the group and nice to see everyone dressed up in grown-up people clothes for a change. Thursday night after dinner my roommate and I both crawled into bed and watched holiday-night tv- just what we needed.
Friday was business as usual, with a really good posture clinic where we got to “start” a class, I was glad I got a chance to do it here before the real thing.
This week was also very emotional for me- I was tired in body and mind for a lot of it. I am having some financial difficulties at home that I have to resolve while I am here and that has been causing some additional stress. The holidays made me miss my family and my home. Week 8- we have been here two months, my god! One more week, but of course when I am in the moment it doesn't matter if I have one more day or 1000 more days- in this moment I am still here in Las Vegas, still going to class, still going to lectures. The good news is of course, weekend does roll around, next week we have a lot of good lectures and classes coming up and next Saturday I will be graduated!
I am “trying out” for the demonstration group. At graduation about 30 students (I think...) will demonstrate a fast version of the class. I assume they want students who look good and have full expression of the postures- which I TOTALLY do not have, but I can't help trying out. I want to do it, and I have a tradition from Amsterdam to uphold. I don't have high hopes but I'm going to wear my cutest outfit, smile a lot and try to get picked anyway. I'm hoping Bikram remembers who stayed for optional movies, Mahabharat and make-up classes!

zaterdag 21 november 2009

Week 7: Light at the end of the tunnel

Well, they can throw “trust the process” at us, they can keep telling us to cherish every moment here, they can still crank the heat and pile on the movies for the next two weeks, but they cannot deny the truth- only two more postures to learn, only 22 more classes to go- we are definitely approaching the finish line to this teacher training. I am finally admitting to myself that what they say is true- the 9 weeks DOES go fast and I probably will miss it when I go. They tell us to enjoy every moment here because it's so special, but the problem is that so much of it is not very enjoyable. Classes or posture clinics in a single serving can be fine, but doubles of everything for weeks on end can be very tiring and even tedious. The posture clinics are in hotel rooms and we sit on the floor for 3 ½ hours which is uncomfortable. The lectures are in the lecture tent on hotel chairs which are also uncomfortable. We need the yoga just to survive the rest of the sitting time in training! The yoga too, though- 2 classes a day is starting to feel, to me, like a lot of work. My thighs are aching, my hamstrings are tight and I've (incredibly) regressed AGAIN in eagle- that hard fought for toe-around-the-calf is popping out again- frustrating!
This week started kind of gloomy for me- so close to the end and yet still so far to go! We had class and lecture with Bikram on Monday. I'm a girl who likes to plan and know what is going on from day to day and that is something that you really can't have here- one day to the next we don't know if we'll have one posture clinic or two, one lecture or two, lecture on top of two posture clinics, 4 hour bollywood movies on top of lectures- I hate not knowing! So I have to be honest and admit the week got 110% better when we realized on Tuesday (it wasn't announced) that Bikram went out of town after monday and won't be back until next week. So the rest of the week has been a reasonably regular schedule of lectures and posture clinics. Even more impressive- good lectures! We've had a lecturer who has explained about fascia (connective tissue running thru the whole body) and has had some pretty controversial ideas- that fitness is not, for most people, a health tool, 12-step programs for addiction are not recovery programs. He is also an advocate of The Laws of Attraction, which says that you are in control of your total reality. Which is great if you are talking about bringing good things into your life. It gets more difficult to accept when you follow the logic all the way- that you are also responsible for the bad things that happen in your life.
It's hard to believe we are almost done with learning the dialogue. THE DIALOGUE. We are at the last two postures. It will be so great to start practising sets of postures we know instead of having to memorize endlessly. I may have a chance to teach at the Asheville studio when I go there and now I'm looking into possibly teaching a class when I'm in LA. I don't want my first class to be in Amsterdam in front of students I know!
We have CPR this weekend and I may go to the make up class this week as it is on Sunday. Otherwise I think I am going to spend the rest of the weekend curled up in bed or downstairs at the sauna. My body is cranky and tired like a bear. Two more weeks! And Bikram is back in town so we have to be prepared for anything.

zaterdag 14 november 2009

Week 6: Yoga Boot Camp

This week all the legends came true- movies every night until at least 3am, 2 posture clinics a day AND lectures and this is the first week I'm having trouble being positive about the experience. Monday night we had 2 posture clinics and a lecture after the evening posture clinic. Then Bikram gave us the option of staying to watch the movie and god help me, I stayed. Bikram didn't see me, tucked into his comfy chair up front, so no brownie points, but it was a good laugh. It was a more edgy movie than the ones he normally shows, a murder mystery thriller with about a dozen plot twists and truly atrocious translation (“You stop going person! Drunker too bad on the night!”- what?). The good guy wins in the end. Bollywood, like Hollywood loves a happy ending. Next day was another double posture clinic, then lecture, then a not-optional movie. Same for Wednesday and we got out on Wednesday night at 5am, meeting business people heading out as we were heading in. Thursday was sleepy cranky day, but surprisingly both classes were really good (I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here, but I'm too tired to process it.) I forgot to sign in for the Thursday evening class so now I have to go to make up class on Saturday. The good news for me is that they are having a recertification training this weekend, so the first Saturday class is 11am instead of 8am and now the make up class will also be with the recertification at 5pm. I was thinking of going to one of the optional recertification classes this weekend anyway, so I don't feel too bad now that I HAVE to go to one of them! I also am happy there was someone taking some photos for that class and I am in one of the photos- so I have proof I was in the class and not just skyving off. I have to say I've been struggling a little more emotionally and mentally this week. I was sad when my mom left and it made me feel homesick. I've also just been so frustrated that we are 6 weeks into this, 66 classes done and STILL some of my postures are so terrible. I feel like I work hard in class, really trying to stretch further and harder, and still nothing changes. I feel fat and ugly and terribly old, and I was thinking I'd be coming out of this training all yoga-buff and cute. Ha! No expectations... I finally stayed after class on Friday and asked a visiting teacher for help with a couple of postures, and am going to do that until I feel all my problem postures are better. I probably need a mental workout too. I still think of myself as having this short, stiff, inflexible body, and if I think it, my body is certainly going to be it. Diane Ducharme taught class on Friday morning and said that each posture prepares you for the next posture. I've heard this before of course, but this time I really heard it. I will try to focus on the posture that comes before my problem posture and see if that helps. I probably need to work harder in class too- I think I do, but I have plenty of bad habits, and here with 300 people in the room, it's easier to get away with it I think.
A couple of positive things- Las Vegas overall is much nicer than I expected. The weather here is lovely every day and it's not a bad place to be. The hotel is very comfortable and things I was worried about- water, groceries, laundry, etc. haven't been difficult to manage at all. Surprisingly doing yoga twice a day is probably my favorite thing about being here- it doesn't feel like doing doubles at home does.
Saturday.... just 2 classes to go and then a day of rest. I'm hoping to memorize the last of the postures so I'll be prepared for next week. Only 3 weeks left!

zaterdag 7 november 2009

Week 5: Oh dear

Supposedly in this really intense 9 week program weeks 4-5 are supposed to be the “breakthrough” weeks, or in other words, the really hard weeks. I'd say week 5 lived up to it's reputation. They rediscovered the floor heating and it got pretty hot last week outside as well, meaning we had some very hot classes this week. They also decided that the pace of 3 postures a week was not going to work and that it would be much better to get thru 7 or 8 this week. So although there were no late-night lectures or movies, there was lots of stress, late-night study sessions and quite a bit of crying. I was sad to have a return of the nausea and dizziness in class and I found classes all very difficult to get through from Wednesday on. Life was looking very grim, but in the awesome roller coaster that this training is, the highs come with the lows. Friday began as my worst day- morning class I stayed in the room but I mentally GAVE UP- I laid out in savasana for pretty much the last 40 minutes of class. Terrible. I then proceeded to cry for the rest of the afternoon- but because of our tight schedule I had to do some of the crying in posture clinic, and that's when the day started getting better. My group was totally supporting me (and offered the nutritional advice that the nausea might be from not enough protein, which I think might be right) which made me feel better. My mom is visiting this weekend and she came to the 5pm class which was great- and mercifully the heat was not blasting, I had a great class and Bikram gave us the night off. Totally great and perfect timing. He also said something which I appreciated and was also perfect timing- he said “One person suffers alone- so much suffering. 500 people suffering together- suffering less because you share it”. And guess what- more than halfway there now, only 4 more weeks to go. I still can't wait to teach my first class!

zondag 1 november 2009

This posture is only 10 seconds...

Week 4
Week 4 done and done. It was a really good week. Bikram is back and we had classes in the evening with him but no lectures this week. We had a pizza party on tuesday (and a party ALWAYS includes a bollywood movie!) instead of lecture which was fun. The rest of the week was posture clinics in the evening and now the pace is picking up as they want us to finish the standing series by next week. I'm game though- each posture done is one less to worry about. We had a study group on Saturday and that was really interesting as we got to discuss the dialogue and the posture in more detail than we usually get when there are 40 of us in the room. We had some good guest teachers in again this week and apparently Diane Ducharme from Boston is coming next week and she is supposed to be really great.
The other highlight last week was halloween- we dressed in black and orange for friday night's class and costumes for saturday mornings class. The best was 15 people or so in front and center in diapers. A cheap and clever costume and it looked great. Sadly I left my memory card for my camera in the computer not the camera and lost some great pictures. Last night we went to the strip to see everyone in costume and had a stroll thru the boulevards of Paris as well.
It can be windy here! We are in a yoga tent for yoga and a lecture tent for lectures and the ceilings and upper walls wap and wobble fiercely in the wind. I keep expecting to see a huge hole open up in the ceiling, but so far no joy. It's quite fun in the yoga tent because it gives the feeling of it being quite breezy on the inside and the mirrors, which are made of mylar, bend and shake, making it a funhouse yoga. And the mirrors seem to breathe with us in the last breathing exercise which I enjoy very much.
One of my favorite quotes from a song is “I'm standing exactly where I'm supposed to be” (Poi dog Pondering, Lackluster, if anyone wants to know). I think about that a lot in my normal life, but when you make a decision to suspend your life for 9 weeks and pay a lot of money for it too, you especially want that to be true. Everyone here has done something to be here- the reasons for being here might be different, the extent and type of sacrifice might be different, but in the end, being here for 9 weeks doesn't just happen- a decision has to be made and preparations have to be made and in the end, it has to be done- once you are here, if you want to leave with a certificate there is no choice (they are fond of that phrase here). You have to go to class twice a day, you have to be present at lectures, posture clinics and all the extra movie fun as well, and you have to learn the dialogue. I came here with a clear goal- I know I want to teach. I also wanted to have this retreat, this time to shake up my life and my routine.da I think it is important, if you are thinking of taking this training, to have this kind of goal. It gives the training as a whole a clear perspective. Every day I set my intention to positive (borrowing from another blogger at the last training) and just... do it. I know when I leave I will be doing what I wanted to do all along and that gives everything we have to do a purpose and a meaning. So far, I feel incredibly grateful that my purpose is clear. I do feel as well that so far the training is giving me what I need, which I am also grateful for. I also read a quote from “The Game”, the book about pick-up artists, about some tenets of Scientology which I thought and still think apply well here: set a good example, fulfill your obligations and don't expect praise, sympathy or approval from anyone. Not that we don't get praise and sympathy- but just not to expect it!
Next week- halfway there!