Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of 2008 and End of Yogabootcamp Blog!

Well, the year is over - and wow - what a year in terms of yoga for me! A year ago, I had just finished up my first 60-day challenge after getting serious about my practice a mere 3 months earlier...and then the decision to go to training...and then actually GOING to training...and now teaching since June. I could rattle on forever, as you all know, but I won't. I'll just wrap up the year - and this blog (I'll have a new one...see below) - in this post.

There is a lot to say - about the yoga, about teaching, and about my practice in particular. I am happy to report I still love the yoga, without question. I want everyone to do it but I realize (now) that it's not for everyone, though ideally that decision is made after giving it an honest go :) It continues to be a thread of goodness that weaves through my life in many, many ways - on and off the mat. I'm honestly grateful for it.

Teaching is a whole journey of a different kind. It is at it's most basic level - at times - a job. Other times, it's the most amazing experience - giving the yoga to people who want, need and love the yoga is a privilege I truly enjoy. Sometimes it's exhausting, other times it's energizing. Sometimes I just don't want to go to work - but I love teaching. I have evolved so much already, and I realize it's just the tip of the iceberg. It's so much like my practice in so many ways - ebbs and flows, easy and hard, focused and not-so-much, seemingly flawless for mere moments followed up by feeling like an utter disaster...but always with a strong dedication and effort which I can hold my head up and feel good about. I've taught many classes - I'm not sure exactly how many, but somewhere around 125 or more so far...

My practice - wow. I did 294 classes this past year, that of course, with the influx of 100ish at training. I seem to average about 5x/week without too much negative impact to my body or schedule or mind. That said, some weeks it's not enough, other weeks, it feels like too much. So I give myself permission to do what feels right - being honest with myself and limiting my lameness around being lazy or just planning poorly. My postures are coming along, and my focus has been really good over the past couple months. I'm setting goals for 2009 - a few around posture-specific stuff, a few around habits. I think it'll be good. And it will.

One thing related to both aspects is that Jill is now dedicated to doing Bikram yoga 4x/week, sometimes 5, but very rarely less. It's fun to take class with her, or have her take one of my classes - and it's nice to have someone at home who's into it, simply put. She's really into her backbending, and is working on her Standing Head to Knee, and it's fun to watch her progress.

Where to from here? Well, since this blog was really intended to detail my teacher training experience (and, well, I can honestly say I think I got'it done :) I'm going to close this blog out with this post. I'm going to keep writing about the yoga, it's impact on my life personally in terms of taking, teaching, and how it all impacts my body (in many ways, including weight loss/maintenance), my mind and my life in general.

Please join me there in the future:

www.yogajenn.blogspot.com


Yoga to the people! Thanks for reading :)
Namaste.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Acapulco Day 8: Sunday (the end...)

Advanced class!!! I did it, first off. Finally, after wanting to try it for a long, long time, I did the Advanced Series and lived to tell about it!

Secondly, I did it with Christian, which was so cool since we did our first Bikram class together back in September of 2006...he recently went to Jason Winn's weekend advanced workshop, so he was excited to get to do it again so soon. Anyhow, it was just 6 of us, 3 who have done it extensively, and Kylie, from Brisbane, who was also doing it for the first time. Can I just say: IT WAS SO COOL. Teisha and Dale taught, and were so generous and supportive of us all, giving us time to really try each one - we took the better part of 2 hours, when 90 minutes is the goal - super kind of them to take the time though, I appreciated it so much, because I've wanted to do it for so long.

Here's why, and Christian had said this and I'll second it: You get to feel like a beginner again. That is, you're doing postures thinking, "No way in bloody hell will I EVER be able to do this one. No way. No way." I remember feeling that in the beginning series back in that fateful first class with Nina, and guess what, I can do all of the Beginning class relatively respectably. Second, it was crazy to experience FEAR again - there were a good handful that I could feel my fear stopping me. I think fear in yoga is normal, at first, it might even be wise - your body is telling you that perhaps you aren't strong enough to do something safely. But, usually, I think fear is just that: Fear. And I felt it! Crow, I'm always worried I'll break my wrists. Headstand - what a different view of the world. Handstand? Hopeless....for now. And you know my takeaway in terms of my own practice? Joy! Joy to have a new set of challenges, material to work on, to practice, to grow into.

And as a teacher? What better way to re-visit the experience my students are having when they show up for their first Bikram class. To relate to how they feel when they first see someone do Fixed Firm when their knees are screaming; or when they look at Eagle with utter confusion, and you can see that look on their face that says, "No f'ing way, man." Such a good reminder of all of these things - that it's easy for the teacher to say "Don't scare" but you know what? It's still scary sometimes!!! And overcoming fear, learning patience as your body slowly grows into a posture, whatever it is for you - it's your practice - and it's good for me as a student and a teacher to be reminded of all this. Now, if someone in Seattle would just please please please start holding advanced!!! (We're working on it in a grass roots kinda way, but no luck yet :(

From there, Christian, Kylie and I had lunch and I headed out to the airport, got to Houston, and then hopped on my flight back to Seattle.

Final thoughts on the trip?

- I'm so glad I went back, esp. while training is still in Acapulco. It was important for me to revisit my experience in the same environment/space I was in as a student. (It's rumored to be moving again, to Palm Springs is the word on the street).
- I loved it! I loved supporting the students as a peppy visiting teacher and hopefully providing a little relief/support to the hard-working staff.
- Oh, and I did get a good appreciate for that too, the staff and how incredibly hard their jobs are too. I figured and always felt that they must be exhausted too, and indeed, it's true. Those are some hard jobs they signed up for.
- It was great to get to take 11 classes from senior teachers, as well as getting to do advanced.
- Posture clinics were super fun to do, and helped me revisit the dialogue myself, and re-commit to some things I'd drifted from already.
- It was fun to be a teacher, have choices, visit and talk to other teachers and experience the whole thing from a different point of view.
- How was it compared to my training? Again, I don't think you can compare. I think there have been some really positive changes made, and at the same time, I can't imagine going through training in a way different from what I experienced. I am sad for this gang not to have Craig, who for me was the person who pushed me on and off the mat in a way I will always be grateful for; but that said, people get what they need and I expect the folks in training now are getting what they need.
- I enjoyed my Huevos Rancheros at the buffet everyday, I cannot tell a lie.


I'm excited to get back in the hot room as a teacher - I've got 8 classes this coming week which will be great! I head to yoga-less Arkanses in about 10 days with Jill, and we're there for 10 days - so that will be a total yoga break and that will be ok. I've been hauling ass on the yoga since September 1st, and it's been great, but a little time away always makes the heart grow fonder for it, at least in my case :)

Hit your mat soon if you haven't lately!!! :)

p.s. A few favorites heard this week in classes....

"Time is over."
"Think of it...."
"All your life you pull someone else's leg, now you learn how to pull your own heels..."
"Get your f'ing hips DOWN."
"Nothing happening."

And one last thought - I really didn't remember Bikram himself using so much of the dialogue, verbatim. Over and over in his classes this week I was shocked and surprised at the amount and detail of the dialogue coming out of his mouth. With added color, of course :)


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Pix: Christian & I after Advanced; and a few final images of the pretty sunshine in Mexico, and random shots from TT, including Chunky & Kimi, the resident Golden Retrievers; Todd with Orange Jug; and me and BJ, who practices at my home studio and is kickin' ass and takin' names at training!










Saturday, October 11, 2008

Acapulco Day 7: Saturday

Well, Saturday Todd did me the honor of going to morning class with me...most likely because there isn't an afternoon class on Saturday. It was the 3rd class with Marlin for the week, and it was good. The hard thing about Saturday morning is that no one wants to be there. It's the last "i" to dot and "t" to cross for a day and a half of glorious freedom, and it just feels forever (as I remember it). At the same time, once class starts, it's easy to just focus on the fact that in 90 minutes, no one owns you for nearly 48 hours! What joy! Still, Saturday classes bring a combination of frustrated, angry, tired and just plain lame energy.

And, let's couple that vibe in the room with the *wicked* sore throat I awoke with. Oy. I brought a cough drop and drank more water than I even wanted to just to soothe my throat. It was by far my lamest class of the week, but I did it! All 11 classes, which was my goal and commitment to myself in return for the spending of $$ to go. Plus, I must say in the end, a week of doubles felt like pure luxury! It was the only thing I actually *had* to do; normally I ain't got that kinda time, you know? I'm usually running between teaching and clients and my practice and my girlfriend and my friends and my family and and and...so to just have a week to do yoga, help out with posture clinics, and kick it with Todd watching trashy TV and eating pretty decent food, well, I'm feeling grateful!

Another super exciting event was the owner of a local affiliated studio was visiting, and I was able to meet with her and land some classes (finally!!!) at an affiliated studio! I'm really excited and will begin in November, initially plugging gaps in the schedule, and then hopefully getting a few established classes going forward. We'll see how it goes! My next step now is to look at my big picture and perhaps start to limit the number of studios I'm at in the near future, which will also hopefully make room for some of the new kids coming up from training.

Mid-afternoon Christian arrived and had lunch with Todd, and then he and I visited by the pool while Todd continued his quest to beat my score on Wurdle (didn't happen, fyi). Then the three of us went to dinner at our favorite, 100% Natural, which we all agreed tasted far better when we were in training than it did this trip :) Everything is relative, I suppose. From there, we just all headed back to chill out and do a little packing to go home.

At some point I ran into Louis (staffer) who told me that there was ADVANCED CLASS IN THE MORNING! I nearly screeched with joy! I have wanted to do advanced ever since the day after we graduated, when it was offered but I was too...er...tired/hungover/beat up from training to drag myself there. I've kicked myself for missing the opportunity for a long time. So, tomorrow, it's my first Advanced Class! Yay!!

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Pix
Me and Todd after our last class together; Half Tortoise set up; me after class; Todd with his companion, my iPhone, playing Wurdle; Room 712, the room I lived in for 9 weeks in the Spring; Todd & I NOT all sweaty on our way to dinner; Christian being a goofball with his longed-for 100% Natural Pineapple with Camerones!








Friday, October 10, 2008

Acapulco Day 6: Friday

Friday already! I'm so sad :( I can't believe my week here is about to come to a close - it went so flippin' fast, I can hardly believe it! Today was really just more of the same. Morning class at 8:30 was pretty damn hot, but I had a decent practice. Marlin taught again, and I liked her class more this time. First time was fine, this time was just better. Then I came back, fetched Todd and we went to lunch before heading to Posture Clinic.

We both participated in Posture Clinic this afternoon - my group finished up Separate Leg Stretching and started Triangle. I again was with Louis who again gave me ample opportunity to participate. We essentially took turns, alternating whoever went up. Both groups I had (ironically) had before, so it was cool to see people developing and getting better at it.

Afternoon class with was with Bikram. I went in and noticed a crazy gap in the room, right in front of the podium. The last night he taught, the second row was sparse and he was like, "What is up in Row 2? Did someone shit there or something!?!" And was not happy. So I asked a staffer if we should have people move up to fill it in, and indeed, he agreed. So Todd and I helped with moving people up and over - this kind of action has really helped me "see it from the other side" as it was not at all a 'power trip' (and hopefully our asking/directing people to move did not make it seem like one). Rather, it was just a respectful (re: wise) thing to do to help ensure a good (mood) class. And in the end, class was a lot of fun - I had a really strong class and it felt great. I even rocked Triangle, which seems like a small miracle these days. It again was pretty sweaty, but Bikram told the class after Pranayama that they'd have the night off if no one sat down, and no one went out of the room....and they did it! So, tonight was a night off - a huge morale boost to say the least. (NOTE: Later, two of the gals I moved who I knew were strong but did *not* want to be moved told me that they had the best class since they started, and being in front of him helped bring out their best. I told them it was proof, that we all get exactly what we need at training!)

Todd and I took out BJ from my studio and her roommate, Cheri. We went to this little Italian place off-site which was perfect - a few minutes away, something different and tasty, but didn't take up too much time since we're all pooped from the week. One more class tomorrow morning, and possibly one on Sunday. It's been really fun to be here, and I'm sad it's over already, but I'm also excited to get back to Jill, my life and teaching and all that!

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Todd and I outside after afternoon class - it was already DARK! :( Me, below, after morning practice and my mushroom/truffle oil risotto at dinner. :)



Thunder & Lightning in Acapulco

video

A little taste of last night's storm over the Pacific Ocean in Acapulco, Mexico last night.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Acapulco Day 5: Thursday

Ahhhh... a day of rest. Sort of.

Today I got up for 8:30 a.m. practice, Todd again opted out :( so off I went on my own. Diane D. from Boston who is an amazing teacher taught. The room is now outfitted with 13 fans and the back doors are opened up around the balancing series and kept open. Today, I didn't get my usual sweat on (my hair wasn't soaked all the way through even) but I did have a really nice practice. There was a new student in the room and I was close by so I got to assist her a little, which was really fun (I realize I've really missed teaching!!) It was a nice class, though my hamstrings are soooooo tight, and for the first time in an eon, I "felt" my hips in fixed firm, which never happens for me. Ouch!).

After lunch, Todd convinced me to stay with him today and hang out at the pool. We first made a quick Wal-Mart run, walking over and then cabbing back with more water and a few other odds and ends. Then a few hours by the pool which frankly, ended way too soon. We were off to 5 p.m. class with Bikram.

What a fun class! Bikram was pretty serious, but for me, I just had a really nice, solid class. He made all the women sit and had all the men do a 3rd set of Balancing Stick, commenting on how this is a terrible posture for men and they can't do it, adding that they can all easily do Rabbit, which many women are terrible at. Thankfully, he did not make all the women do and extra set of Rabbit. :) Todd was along and made fun of me as I had on a new outfit with the tiniest bit of green in the pattern, so he kept telling me I looked like Kermit the Frog and was sure to be called out and sent home. Nice. Afternoon class had a nice heat - hot but not debilitating, but challenging good heat - still with circulation due to the fans and open doors. My hair was appropriately soaked through by the end!

The group is moving along in their process. Way fewer people leaving the room, improved (but still a fair amount sitting cross-legged vs. in Firm pose or savasana) discipline for many when they do take a knee or lay down, and a few still cramping up and/or having very emotional releases who do step out of the room or too the back.

I felt a bit guilty not doing posture clinic today, but it was nice to just do the yoga and enjoy a little of the nice weather! I cannot believe it's already Friday tomorrow, and I'll be doing my last double. I plan to do Saturday morning class, lay by the pool all day and I might even be able to squeeze in a Sunday practice if I'm well-prepared! It's very interesting being here on the 'other side' and it'll be interesting to see how I look back on it and how it impacts my teaching once I'm home. For now, I can say I have a new dedication to Standing Head to Knee and Standing Bow dialogue, after hearing each one about 50 times! :)
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Above, a big sweaty post-p.m.-yoga hug with Todd; Katie & BJ from my home studio; Me after morning class with semi-dry hair; Todd and I by the pool; and there are those new, ubiquitous FANS IN THE ROOM!!!





Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Acapulco Day 4: Wednesday

Wednesday's over already and other than the day I arrived, and 1 hour otherwise, I've barely seen the sun! Today was more of the same - I did the morning class, sans Todd who opted to chill out today...I missed having him there, and instead practiced with Manali. It was taught by Mike W. from Houston, who is Marshall's studio owner. During my training, I wasn't in a good space when he taught and I didn't really connect to his class. However, today, I really, really enjoyed it. I also saw his influence on Marshall and told him that clearly, Marshall is a little protege. :)

Lunch followed with some teachers and then I helped BJ (from the studio I practice at in Fremont) and a few of her pals with dialogue. I showed them a couple techniques - the round robin thing that worked for many (but not all) people; the first word/first letter thing that I did as well as the somewhat different version that Todd did...mostly just giving them a bunch of things to try to see what works, since everyone is different and what works is different for everyone. It's getting to the time when many who memorized at home are 'running out' of postures they know well, so many are having their first difficult delivery since they are entering unchartered waters. I just keep telling them not to worry, they will learn it, it will pour out of their mouth one day, eventually, in the future :)

Posture clinic followed with one of the staffers, Jelena (Yelena). We alternated giving feedback and it was great fun - most of the room was on and finished with their Standing Bow Pulling Pose. It's amazing what you see from the teacher's seat - so much potential masked by nervousness and fear in many cases. I know that was me! I was so nervous almost every time, and afraid of not doing well, and sometimes knowing I went up there ill-prepared, all of it. It's nice being back so soon in that I 'get it' - I feel like it was me up there not 5 minutes ago. Everyone is doing great though, working hard, trying and getting (slogging?) through. You can really see how some of them are going to just be kick ass teachers as soon as they just let go and let themselves come out.

Afternoon practice was taught by Marlin, a very old-school teacher whose been at it since 1985 (when I was in 8th grade!). She taught a relatively low-dialogue class as a result, because she is considered "pre-dialogue" - it was fun and now, the room has been outfitted with (wait for it) FANS along the top of the room, mounted there, 4 on each side and 4 on the back wall. In addition, the back doors are now opened around balancing series and mostly kept open throughout class. Not that I'd compare my training to this one, but man, I must say, there was a moment when I thought "I'd have given my first born for fans like this in my training." They said "Whoever complains that it's too cold will have a make-up." It was surely a different experience than my first few days here, and also in comparison to the Spring training.

Todd and I just hung out for the evening time, had room service and watched some trashy tv. Super fun, I was beat and went to bed around 10 - another luxury I'd have killed for during my training! Bikram apparently lectured until 1 a.m. :)

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Above, Todd and I after a windy, fresh afternoon practice; below, me after my lonely morning class; my eggs being cooked up before my eyes; and a little pic from study time on the lawn.



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Acapulco Day 3: Tuesday

Today started with a killer morning class taught by David from Dallas. He started though, by taking time to acknowledge yesterday's difficult afternoon practice. As someone whose been through this, I really appreciate the leadership here and them really calling out the elephant in the room rather than leaving it dangling out there. He spoke about the fact that there was a deal to be made: They will fix the room, and in return, the trainees will work to stay in it (and work hard and dedicate to the whole thing, really). Also, he talked about how Bikram really took the time to investigate and as I mentioned in my last post, that he really "did his yoga" to understand the problem and fix it, rather than just react to the symptoms of it. David went on to teach a kickass class with some great tidbits and material that I grabbed onto in terms of using in my own classes :) The class ended with the group seemingly refreshed and ready for the day. It was a great turnaround, and handled really well.

This afternoon I did a long posture clinic with staffer Louis, who was super fun to be with. We had two groups, and finished off about 10 Eagle posture deliveries and got through all but 5 Standing Head to Knee deliveries, taking turns giving feedback. He has a system whereby he would observe and give the feedback, while I followed the dialogue for accuracy and then captured his suggestions to the trainee in the record book, and then we'd reverse. It was fun getting to participate so much and get to 'fly solo' on a lot of them. After, I asked him for feedback on how I did and overall, he said that I come from a very genuine place, and my feedback was solid. I was actually a bit (er, or a lot) nervous, again, wanting to do a good job for the folks going through the dialogue process, because I know how stressful and hard it was for me, especially at this point - when the dialogue I learned at home ran out :( It's very humbling to be on the other side, and I must say I now appreciate the proctors we had more, and also understand more about some of their decisions and discipline in a different way. I think times we thought they were being mean to us, they really were just protecting the delivery environment for the trainees...

Classes are going pretty well - no lie - they are HOT and hard. Todd and I are next to each other, or have been so far, which is fun. I'm diluting Pedialyte into my water, and drinking a reasonable amount (just like in my training, I always seem to have enough water left to share as needed with others on the lawn after class :) There are moments, and I've had to catch my breath here and there....plus, in the back rows, you aren't surrounded by people (energy) in the same way - the lines are nearly empty, so it's easier to lose focus. For me anyhow, it is. That said, tonight's class was fantastic - Gregg on one side, Todd on the other - both giving me occasional shit and making class feel light and fun. This morning was an ass-kicker and really challenging for me - that's how the yoga is though, you don't always enjoy the classes that yield your biggest return. It's amazing how it's been relatively easy to just jump back in, partially I'm sure because it's one week, not nine! :)

Minimal pix today:

Morning class, and Todd's with his toy. Us above, as I joined Todd in his outdoor post-class savasana on the lawn.
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Acapulco Day 2: Monday

We got up around 8 to go to 8:30 class, due to my inability to properly set an alarm. Probably because Todd is hogging my iPhone since I (regrettably) introduced him to Jewel Quest 2, which now occupies a lot of his time. :) Imagine our delight at not having to sign in :) Anyhow, the morning class was great - realistic heat and that same'old humidity that we all grew to know and love here at TT. I got through class pretty well, with reasonable water and no major issues, feeling good afterwards. I must say though, walking into the building, smelling the smell of that space/room, it gave me a little wave of nausea which was odd since I never threw up or anything when I was in training. Still, perhaps it was just the memory of the whole thing...and its intensity.

Next we hit the buffet at Chula Vista -mmmmm! We ate with Gregg and Manali, who were both in our training and are now on staff. It was fun to see familiar faces and catch up on the nuances of this TT so far.

Then, we went to the lecture hall and got to introduce ourselves to the group. I said a few things, just the basics, totally forgot to say I was from Seattle and call out the Seattle kids - BJ, Linda and Katie - mostly because they told us about 3 minutes before that we'd be doing it. Then, Todd took to the mike and introduced himself, ending with the fact that "in case you didn't realize it, this is Jenn of Jenn's blog..." which embarrassed me and I gave him a good punch in the arm! But, in a way it was good as bunches of people have said hello and given me a chance to talk to people and engage more. One said, "It's good he did that - there are so many visiting teachers sometimes you just lose track..." The trainees then took their anatomy test and Todd and I hit the pool for a bit. At 2, I went off to do my first posture clinic as a teacher...

What fun. Really. The posture clinics are very supportive and focus on giving people homework. I started out with David from Dallas, and then he had to go see Boss and Marlin from LA came in. After a while, I was invited to give feedback and it was really cool. It was harder than I thought, and I recall how as a trainee, we all hung on each teacher's every word - so I considered how important everything I said potentially could be to each person. At the same time, it was really an honor to be able to help and be on their side, and also just seeing the folks who were clearly 'naturals' vs. those who were struggling with a variety of things - memorizing, anxiety, etc. and targeting feedback to each person's current ability/performance along with their potential.

The evening class brought an interesting experience it turns out, not even the older, seasoned teachers have had. Bikram left the room with frustration after half-tortoise. There were a lot of people leaving, and it was blazing crazy hot (even for this room, Todd and I were both struggling but had kept up to this point). I do recall thinking, "There is an actual din of crowd noise coming from the lobby..." which illustrates how many people were out there. In the room, people were dropping like flies. My training had one crazy class like this, but I think we fell apart later in the class so though he was not happy with us, we did finish class. Anyhow, after, the mood was very, very somber. Everyone was working hard to welcome Boss back after he had been away over the weekend, and instead he was livid...

But here's the cool part: He did his yoga, as one senior teacher put it later. Bikram asked questions, investigated and found out that all the senior teachers and experienced practitioners were in agreement that simply put - something was/is up with the room. In the evening lecture, he told the group, "This is not your fault" and proceeded to call the engineer who built the room from Mexico City to catch the next flight and look at things. He said in the Spring training (mine) the room was not this bad. I can't say what my opinion is, as it was my first day in the room and any struggles I had were chocked up to that...but get this - we later found out the humidity in the room, intended to be around 45% - was 97%. Good lord!

Anyhow, the whole event ended up just fine, but it was a rough day for the trainees, as it sucks when Bikram's feelings are hurt because he doesn't think he's being taken seriously. And, in the end, it turned out very cool that he realized and was able to let the class know that while in some cases, some people may need to work a bit harder/address patterns, overall, there is a bigger issue at play.

And as for that lecture, I'll admit to bowing out after an hour to get a good night's sleep, because, well, I can and was tired. Todd and I both are just taking it day by day in terms of our participation. I hope to get a little sun at some point, but I'm really learning a lot by participating!

p.s. We had to change rooms - long story - and ended up in a non-view room in the Princesa tower, rather than the killer view room we had in the main building. Still, it's just fine!


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Me after morning class; yoga room; my standard brunch; Gregg; Evening class; and Bikram lecturing...from the teacher's seats in the back. And, our former view... :(












Sunday, October 5, 2008

Acapulco! Teacher Training Re-Visit: Day 1, Sunday

Back in Acapulco! It's surreal in a way...but let me start at the beginning.

I got here around 2:30 p.m. or so and Bikram had been on my flight. It was fun to see him right off the bat. After arriving at the hotel, I found Todd in his usual spot by the pool and got settled into a really nice room in the main tower, facing the ocean. We hung out by the pool and caught up. I almost immediately met a handful of folks who are blogging this time, as well as a few people who read mine. Super fun to put faces to names and facebook pages. Anyhow, we then headed to dinner at 100% Natural (a TT favorite) and then took a crazy cab ride to the Mega (big local grocery) whereby Todd insisted on sitting upon MY lap in the front of the tiny car that had 5 Mexican packed in the back already. Upside, it was just a buck for the lift. :) (See photo)...

We grabbed water, Pedialyte and some limes and headed back for the 9 p.m. teachers meeting. I'm psyched about the bevy of cool senior teachers here this week - including Lynn W., Diane D., and Mike W. - along with others I don't know very well. The format for helping out was gone over, as well as staff roles and responsibilities. A lot has changed, and fundamentally, a lot is the same.

It's hard to write without comparing. I don't wanna be all, "We walked uphill to the hot yoga room both ways in the snow" about this training versus mine in Spring. And it's not that way - so I'll call it out now: It is not comparative, rather, it's just different, and overall, I have minor-to-no opinions about the differences. Some are downright good things though, I will say that.

So, those who went with me are dying to know the changes, I'm just guessing, because I was. So, here's what I've got for ya, in no particular order:

- They sell not only Bikram Yoga clothes - but SHAKTI!
- You have to carry your towels to the top of the stairs and outside now. Hot and heavy, and not in a good way :)
- They play music *before* class as people are getting set up...random artists...
- You are not permitted to puke or cry (heavily) in the room. You are required to leave and talk to staff in the lobby. Todd wondered what it would've been like to leave each and every episode ! He said, "I'd have never been in the studio!"
- Posture clinics are very supportive (like ours) and more focused on - specifically - 1 or 2 things to work on for next time. It seems more about learning to teach the dialogue than making sure you didn't forget to say "nicely" in "feet together nicely." Again - not complaining - it just seems like a positive change.
- The food is better - the Asian-esque food is way better.
- People, it seems, are not out and about as much - seems they are studying in rooms or secret places we have yet to find. The lobby and pool seemed stark in comparison to how it was for Todd and I.
- The staff is a 100% change - no one on staff from our training. We keep trying to figure out who is in what role, exactly "is she the new Rowena?" :) They're all great, just a totally new lot.
- The hotel staff don't seem as overwhelmed and many of them are the same (the old taxi guy at the front; the woman with funky glasses at Chula Vista).
- There is a new mall out this way! Todd seems especially excited - there is a movie theater which would have been cool to be able to see a flick without having to go all the way into town.

Otherwise, the Wal-Mart and Mega are still standing :) I plan to do classes tomorrow and help with posture clinic and just see how it is from the other side of the table. Being open, and seeing how it all unfolds, just like my own training :)

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Below: Me, our view, and Todd.



Saturday, October 4, 2008

Visit in Houston before Acapulco! (Updated)

I decided I had a little more to say on this post, so here is a more detailed version...

Well, I'm here in Houston visiting Marshall, of Group #14. We were good pals at training, and I thought it'd be fun to see him while I was on my way to Acapulco and Houston is an easy path to Mexico. I arrived yesterday and we went straight to 4:30 class together which was super fun. We had a big, wet, sweaty hug at the end of class! So fun, you can really only do this with teacher training friends, and maybe a girlfriend :) However, when I walked in the studio, the teacher, Therese, was like, "Oh wow! It's you!!!" - apparently a reader of this here blog.

I blushed, I felt it. And then panicked a little - and this is a little worry for my trip to Acapulco...I know a lot of folks read my blog and know me, or think they do....and to a degree, it's true. But I'll admit it's a little weird for me - mostly because I don't necessarily feel that same connection to folks who read this - I mean, I love y'all (I can say that, y'all, I'm in Texas) - but I haven't read months of posts of your daily life! An then, the pressure in class - to perform, to be a (perfect) yogi in class...oy! It's not a complaint, just an observation of something I semi-expect when I get to Acapulco - and at the same time, it'll be fun and easy to talk to people and hopefully be a help to some folks as they embark on Week 4 - not the most fun time. Still, I think in the end, I don't want to let anyone down on my mat or off of it; and not that anyone should (or actually even does) care, it's my stuff and it'll be interesting to explore how these feelings unfold for me while I'm in Acapulco.

After yoga-soaked (pun intended) dinner conversation after class, we came back to his place and hung out. Today we got up and took Sherri's 8:15 a.m. class, another person who was in our training! Her class was spirited and peppy as expected.

We then bummed around Houston, my first time here - and then took a rest, and then I got to take Marshall's 4:30 p.m. class!! He is as incredible teacher as expected, and his class was really well done. He has a command of the dialogue that lets me connect to it in a meaningful way, which I appreciate a lot. It's painful when the dialogue sounds like a recitation; his decidedly does not. And he is, as those of you who know and love Marshall know, a dialogue machine. One fun thing that happened was when he had a new student try to leave the room after the first set of Rabbit (!!!) and he threw up his hands, smiled and said, "Hey, where you goin'?" She said, "I just need to step out. It's really hot in here." (LOL!) So then he said, "It's better if you stay. C'mon everyone, help me get her to stay!" And he started to clap for her a little and people just started calling out to her "Stay!" "Don't go!" "It is better!!" and she shrugged her shoulders, smiled, returned to her mat, and finished class. It was a brilliant and cool way to deal with it, without scolding her and in a way that gave her confidence and snapped her out of her attachment to her discomfort.

And of course, we have had many spirited discussions about dialogue, about specifics of the dialogue that um, perhaps I struggle with :) and Marshall is a by-the-book kinda guy...and I'm a slightly defiant kinda girl. Not that bad, but it's hard when you're 'raised' in a non-dialogue studio by a super-experienced director whom you respect a lot. And while overall I am committed to the dialogue, I honestly do struggle with some of the nuances, which Marshall defends to the death, and it's fun to hear his way of thinking about things because he is super smart. One day, eventually, in the future, he might convince it me it's better to say "charge your body forward..." before "kick your leg back and up..." in standing bow. Maybe. Overall, it was super fun to reconnect and be with him, geek out about yoga, practice together (for both of us, it's so great to be next to not only another teacher, but one you practiced next to a lot at training), and of course, to see a little of his world here in Houston.

And, it was a great jumping off point to Acapulco - hot here, humid, loads of yoga and lots of fun geeking out about it! I did 3 classes in 24 hours at two different studios, with everyone knowing I was a teacher, and Marshall by my side or overseeing me as a teacher - so I was 100% on my best behavior :) Not that we shouldn't always give 100% on the mat, but, somehow it amps it up when you know on some level, you're being observed with expectations - expectations I fundamentally have for myself, but don't always um...execute to the fullest of my capability, like anyone, I have less-than-100% classes. So, the result here was 3 super-focused classes in a much higher humidity than I'm used to, one that felt super hot and two where the heat felt like a friend. Love that. Anyhow, onto Acapulco, where Todd has already sent me a bevy of emails telling me about how it is different now than it was for us. I can't wait to see for myself! I'll be posting daily.

By the way, I plan to close out this blog at the year's end. I will have a new one, rattling on about teaching and practicing Bikram and possibly other yogas - but the purpose of this blog was to explain my personal experience of Bikram's teacher training, teaching afterwards, and then closing the loop with this visit back to see it from a teacher's angle. I do, however, want to write just a bit more of perhaps how this visit influences my teaching over the November and December. :) For now though...tomorrow morning I will enter Bikram's Torture Chamber, where I will kill myself for 90 minutes hopefully 11 or so times this week!

p.s. Marshall, Sherri & I above.

p.s.s. Marshall started his class with, "Good afternoon y'all; let's do some Bikram Yoga!" Y'all. Cracks me up. :)