Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day 25: Dialogue Overdrive!

In class this morning, I had a slight realization of a regression behavior that happens for me. As a little chubetta, that is, a little fat girl, the gym teacher would often force me to do certain physical things that I simple could not do. The result would be me in tears, innumerable number of boys (occasionally girls) making fun of me, and the teacher either (a) having to clean up the mess or (b) being smug and having a “that’s what you get for being fat in this world, little girl” kinda attitude. Now, this wasn’t every time all the time – I could do quite a bit, but things that made me feel defeated were things like running super fast, or running longer distances.

This morning, a really great lady from Monterey, Terri, taught class. I met her in the spa the other day and we had a great chat. She is quite lovely as a person. She taught an upbeat, energetic class. During the separate leg poses, she said to stop using ours/our neighbor’s towels for footing. If I do this, during Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Triangle, and Separate Head to Knee Stretching I’m no doubt about in a split by the end. The thought of it wells up a frustration that is bigger and faster than I can stay on top of, and often results in tears of anger, frustration and hopelessness.

I’m just not strong enough. Period. Ultimately, I want to build this “strength” they speak of, to have these inner thighs that could hold me up on a bed of green jello, affording me the opportunity to do a perfect triangle. So, I talked to her after and used the analogy that the towel, for me, is like training wheels. If I just keep falling off the bike, I’m sure to give up and figure “I can’t do that” though if I use the training wheels, I will get stronger, build confidence and eventually take them off (with glee!). So we agreed that I’d use them for one set, and do one set on the thin, slippery, evil carpet. Fair. (And, as an aside, I’m by no means the only one, I would say a good 65% of people or more do this!).

Aside – Ralph, a 40ish retired Port Authority worker from NYC was my hero this morning as he, in the middle of class, stomped out of the room to the lobby, SCREAMED into a towel (still quite audible as the door hadn’t closed all the way), then walked back to his mat with authority and focus, and continued his practice. Ah, yoga camp, the joy, the pain.

Posture clinics were great today as we did Balancing Stick and got to get a good feel for “Kill Them!” as a directive. It was so fun!! I had Diane again (yay!) and she gave me good feedback, “Excellent, Jenn” was part of it, which made me feel good. The rest were good things to keep working on. It’s hard to get in a flow when you’re struggling to remember words, connect with your students, and be dynamic! This teaching thing has a lot of moving parts, that’s for sure. Stick went so fast, we got on to Standing Separate Leg Stretching, which was unexpected and everyone was shitting themselves to be ready for the evening session. In our group, only a few people went, so tomorrow we’ll get that done and likely get on to Triangle (which I feel totally unprepared for!).

Overall though, I feel good. So many people are really taxed and stressed, tears during posture clinics, screaming in the lobby during Cobra. But again, I am so blessed and lucky thus far that my body and mind are holding up, I’m not feeling particularly stressed, a bit tired but not exhausted. Here at bootcamp, that is sayin’ sumthin’. There are a lot of colds now going around, so I’ve been diligent with vitamins and busted out the hand sanitzer today to hopefully not be one of the unlucky ones. Oh, and lastly, the PMS tuck made it’s delivery – on my white towel during class yesterday! Fortunately, it was a small package so no one noticed but me. They said it would sneak up on you, and though I felt PMS’y, I typically get to enjoy that discomfort for a good week. Ah well, it’s just one more thing to factor in, balance and deal with, and that is what this place is all about!
Photos for Today: Class #36, Morning Post-Yoga Carnage (Todd/Jennifer); Balancing Stick in Posture Clinic; Group Hug for a struggling peer at Posture Clinic (this is not common, it was the end of a 3-hour session... ;); Class #37; Demo of Standing Separate Leg Stretching Posture (again: WOW!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 24: Super Tuesday!

And so it goes. While I'm known for my extremes, I've worked hard to minimize extremism in my life and while I don't always succeed, I'm conscious of my pattern (ahem, Craig) and do at least try. Well, for as awful as Monday was, Tuesday was stupendous. Both of my practices were rock star (that is, rock star from the inside, not from the outside - my practice not a candidate for photos for the brochure...I'd be better to write it). Anyhow, I worked super hard, was never too hot (in fact, in the afternoon I wondered briefly if the heat was even on - that is weird). As great as it was, I'd rather have added together and divided by 2 for four even-keeled classes. Either way, it was good to be "back" though I'm watching out for that little Yoga Pickup Truck to have another go at me, and I think as it drove off, I noticed a little U-haul with PMS written on the side. ;)

Dialogue and posture clinics continue to be the focus for everyone. Today we did Standing Bow - mine went pretty well. I got a little nervous and should've just waited until I felt normal, but I went early on and though it wasn't my most stellar performance, I got it done and it was respectable. You do learn a lot watching other people deliver, hearing the feedback and just hearing the words over and over. Perhaps when I get home, I'll actually remember the dialogue?!?! I won't get too excited about that....

I have a memorization method that is working great for me!!!
1) 30-45 minutes learning each line of the posture alone, silently or mumbling to myself
2) about 30x, run through using only the 1st word to jar my memory and get a flow going (both out loud and in my head)
3) about 20x out loud without using 1st words (or, only as a crutch)
4) about 5x+ out loud with bodies demonstrating, more if possible

My anxiety around memorizing is nil. It's funny, yet again, everything they said would happen has. "It'll get easier" "You'll get in a flow..." True. That.

Posture clinics afford for a lot of opportunity to hear opinions and insight from a variety of visiting teachers. Tony, a fellow trainee and fan of the blog said how a visiting teacher said, "There is no failure here." Tony said he lost it because you can fail here, and the teacher said, "You need to let go - that's your stuff...". When he and I talked about it, I said I agree with the teacher, actually - there is no failure here so long as (just like in the yoga room) you try the right way. I don't think they will let anyone out of here without a certificate provided they followed the rules, worked hard and tried the right way. There are people giving dialogue that at first blush you might think was terrible, but for that person, it is 10-fold better than a week ago. They evaluate each of us based on our potential, not as a comparison, making everyone - particularly those who are struggling - feel supported, with lots of faith behind them. Rowena said, "Even if someone is up there rockin' it out, they're still feeling their fear." Sing it, Rowena.

Craig talked recently about Eagle, Standing Head to Knee and Standing Bow. His talks are so interesting and if you listen, you really can get good information for not only teaching, but your own practice. Based on his talk, I'm rededicating to my Standing Head to Knee, as I realized on my left side I was hyper-extending the knee as opposed to an honest, thigh-burning-squeezed lock. Right side is ok, but I was having pain in the outside of my left knee...and he said "If you're cheating and doing this wrong, you'll have pain in the outside of your left knee." Low and behold. He also talked about the importance of your hand position, so when you're kicking out, you're not pulling on the lower part of your foot, hence jamming your femur into your hip socket. Rather, you are to pull back on the top part of your foot, stretching the Achilles tendon, calf and hamstring. I knew this, but it was interesting to watch demos that showed how a beginner might take that route. Sarah did the Bow for our demo (pix to follow, I loaned out my card reader) and the talk on that was helpful as well.

Special to Hannah: Diane Ducharme runs a studio in Boston and this woman is my idol, my hero and you should go to her studio. Aside from being a stunning instructor, this woman LIVES to grow and mentor teachers. I know you will come to training, and you will teach, and this woman is the shit, lemme tell you. Maybe this is the reason you moved to Boston, I'm not kidding!!! GO TO HER (once she abandons us after this week) :)

Photo above is from Tony, of me demo'ing eagle for my pal and Group #14'er Lisa. Demo of Standing Head to Knee; Classes #34 & #35: Wee=haw! Demo of (OMG!!!) Standing Bow. Mine is not even a 3rd cousin to this version... ;)

An Aside: Thank you!

So many of you read my blog, and a goodly batch of you post the most insightful, delightful and genuine comments. You make me smile, feel good, feel supported and not alone, and keep me going - both blogging, yoga-ing and growing. So I'm sending one big fat thank you out to all of you, with my regrets that I don't have it in me to respond to each of your comments directly. Know that they are appreciated more than you know!!!

More later. Don't worry, this isn't my post for today ;)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Day 23: Rough Monday.

Rough Monday.

Today was just hard. We all sit around here and, as I’ve mentioned, try to figure out why we feel this or that, why something hurts, why our skin is sloughing…even why we’re pooping funny. Fact is, there is no answer. After having a near-flawless (save for the first 2 or 3 days) time, today I had a rough day. Still, in comparison to many, it wasn’t that bad at all – but in comparison to my experience so far, it was the worst day since the start.

My morning practice was rough. I can’t remember how, it was just eternal and I felt anxious and antsy – it was Diane teaching, whom I love too! And that was the only saving grace actually, when I saw here get up on the podium, I was like “Oh, thank God, that’s something anyhow…” the afternoon class, though, was taught by an older guy, Charlie, who told us his story during and in between postures. The class was relatively on time, but it felt so long…and though his story was interesting, I just wanted it to be over. I started to cry around wind-removing and struggled with that until sometime around camel. I was just so hot, that unbearable Bikram hot, which is not about the room , but about my body. Cobra and post-nasal drip to not mix, folks.

Raj, this cool Brit of Indian descent, was next to me and just reached over and put a handful of ice in my hand in between postures at one point. I think that ice saved me. Class started out badly in that I was rushing (for no good reason, really, as I was as usual nearly ½ hour early) and I forgot my Orange Tower’o’Shame, full of icy lime goodness. I bought a water at the studio, which was warm, and had a small bottle with me. I was just sooooooooo hot, and then having only warm water to drink was just insult to injury, or so it felt.

I did put together that overall, I seem to be on a hearty tour of PMS-ville, which explains my stupid-level of near-passing out sleepiness, food cravings, the 3-month pregnant look I’m sporting on my abdomen, and, my er, emotional sensitivity (manifesting as both tears and irritation). At some point, I put this together and Jill confirmed based on my overall stories, “Oh honey, you are sooooo PMS’y.” Yeah. Always helps to understand something, now could we could get that show on the road, please, body? I’d like to be happy healthy Jenn again.

Craig talked today about the Yoga Truck. That it comes from behind, hits you, and when you stand up, it backs up with double force and knocks you down again, only to wham you once or twice more before heading on to the next unsuspecting yogi. I don’t think the Mack Truck version of the Yoga Truck (I think of it as the Grim Reaper of yoga) is here for me, but still, perhaps the Pickup version had a little go at me.

Couple logistics for today – Craig talked about Eagle and Standing Head to Knee tonight. It was interesting as always and I asked a few questions afterwards. I am newly inspired to try to do the posture the right way (a mantra here “do it the right way. Do it the right way…”) as he explains things in a way that seems very…applicable. Posture clinics were on to these two postures as well – I did my Standing Head to Knee, and when I got up, I looked up and Craig had appeared. Oy!!!!! I was secretly super excited to get his feedback and prayed for a respectable performance – which I gave! This one went great for me, after the last two postures had mess-ups. My feedback was totally good and fair, so I will keep working on it. Standing Bow, here I come!

And if you’ve read this far, you get a little treat. This morning, Christian woke up and said, “Jenn, I woke up standing next to my bed at 3:30 a.m. in Eagle. I was so worried because you were sleeping through the posture.” Seriously, he was not only sleep walking, but sleep YOGA-ing! Hilarious. Ah, the yoga dreams begin. Stay tuned!

Class #32, happy to have survived; Todd does Eagle dialogue; an honest reflection of class #33....I had a posed happy one, but really, truth is better...even if it is a little vulnerable for me.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day 22: How's that body? Part 2.

Hello again! Sunday - ah, the day of rest has never had quite this level of meaning to me. I started off at the spa right as it opened at 8 a.m. - I was super tired this morning and had a headache, wanted a bath but was too lazy to run one. So, I have me a spa punch-card that allows me to use the spa 10 days (non-consecutive) for $150, so $15 a pop. Every weekend now I go, hang out in the sauna, steam room, hot tub and then study dialogue in the (delightfully serene) lounge while eating cookies and drinking berry tea, wearing a fluffy bathrobe and being attended to if I need anything. Had brunch with the posse, and then sat by the pool studying more dialogue, working on my tan, swimming and drinking up my virgin pina colada. (Which, by the way, initially showed up with alcohol in it! I sent it right back. I am a good little trainee. No rule breakin' here).

Did you know that we do have rules? No alcohol, no drugs, no sex (apparently, pregnancies have occurred at training in the past). And I added, "no sugar during the week." It's ok though, I think I would die if I were drinking any alcohol while doing this. Good lord.

So, here's my second rundown on the body and how it's holding up. I have a theory, as it seems the men and super skinny girls are the ones struggling. I wonder if those who've been blessed (as I see it) with a banner metabolism just are working too hard, sweating too much, etc. for their bodies to keep up with them. I don't know, but I'm wondering if my pokey metabolism is for once better than that of the blessed skinny people. I've lost no weight, as of weighing in this morning, though I have lost a few inches (!!!) mainly around my shoulders/chest, sadly, my boobs, and a tiny bit here and there throughout my body. Of course, none off the waist or hips, of course not. ;)

I'm not unhappy though. I've let go of weight loss as a big goal here, because really, everything I'm doing is working. My little sacs of pills are taken like religion (electrolytes, calcium, multi-vit, B, tumeric, potassium and glucosine); I've found food combos that work for me - I have enough energy to keep up, and the systems are on a clock that shockingly resembles a train schedule in Europe - like, nearly to the minute. Good stuff, my body is giving me, so I'm just going to let it be and do what it wants.

What is true is I feel strong, a little bit Mighty Mouse, little bit Tough Girl. Seriously, the strength difference in my legs, upper body and core (I guess that's the whole thing, huh?) is pretty cool and amazing how in some postures, I can just come up now because I have some power! I used to stumble out of Triangle and Standing Separate Head to Knee Stretching, now I just (bloop!) come up! It's so cool. I can't complain, and I'm being positive and believing I will stay strong, healthy and (relatively speaking) happy. Fine, silly pounds, stay on my hips - whatever you need to do for me. I do think I lost inches and gained some muscle, which would explain no change in weight. What'ev. I'm doing good!

Here's the rest of my rundown by posture, at the 1/3 mark:

Savasana: Boy, I am sooooooooooooo amazing at this posture! ;) You should see it!
Wind-Removing: I am super consciously putting my elbows lower around my legs when both legs are up and it feels really different; my back feels super flat in comparison to before. I'm continuing to focus on this.
Cobra: Coming up pretty well, I can feel my lower back strength in this one. Still working on ditching pressure in the hands, which c'mon, everyone has a bit of, and I don't feel like I'm using my hands really too much, still, I'd like to get all pressure out!
Locust: Oh man, I had one day where I came up and nearly crapped myself (but didn't, because it wasn't time, as my system is on a tight schedule people!). My legs were off my hips in a way I have not experienced before. Now, I'm chasing that high.
Full Locust: I'm feeling much more open in this, but my boobs still look so close to the floor. Continued effort.
Floor Bow: Just fine, working on bringing knees closer together so I can be that 2 wheels in one well.
Fixed Firm: Fine, always has been.
Half-Tortoise: Good, now, my forehead always touches with the floor before my hands, it's so much easier than it once was, when that was a rarity. Just working to keep my arms/shoulders super engaged in this one, because it's so easy to relax :)
Camel: My gawd, do I love Camel! It's going great, I love it so much - I am working super hard to really keep an honest grip, and push push push those hips more forward. My eyes are really low now, and often I see my own mat! This one (especially) is really never done, so I'm going to just keep going and going and going...
Rabbit: I see so much more...light! I recommited to this posture a bit before I left to come here, and am super focused on my middle back rounding up...or, perhaps the fact that it is not rounding up. I struggle with the grip due to wide hips and hyper-extending elbows, so I'm also working to keep an honest grip here too.
Separate-Leg Head-to-Knee Stretching: I mostly need to work on being inspired in this one, I'm so pooped at this point. Still, trying to get my elbows on the floor while my forehead is on the knee, and it's like playing whack-a-mole at the county fair. Fix one, the other is wrong, fix that, then the first one slips. Oy. And with two legs, flat back flat back flat back...knees are locked, but working on (again) flat back and knees locked and elbows down and not grimacing due to the searing pain behind my thighs!!!
Spine Twist: Oh, I heart thee. I really love this posture and it's a good one for me. Just working to always be true to form, but overall, it's nice to me :)
Final Breathing: Love it, keeping up and happy with this.

p.s. Just as I finished this post, we had a little earthquake - looked it up, 5.8. Whoa!!! :)

Pix for today:
Studying dialogue by the pool (above); Todd, Jennifer & Christian by the pool; my view at the pool; Skyping with my honey Jill and my old-lady cat, Headbutt (Headbutt's been nicer to Jill since we started Skyping and I say hi to her :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day 21: How's that body??

How’s the body holding up? Well, so far, so good. This week with the advent of posture clinics, we are sitting on the floor in a room for anywhere between 4-6 hours and that is far more brutal on my body than the friggin’ yoga! I was doing great, but since they started, my back hurts a little, and my outer left thigh along with my inner right thigh – both right by the knee – burn. My left rhomboid/upper back has a little stitch in it…but other than those issues, I’m golden! And in comparison to some, those little ailments are nothing.

Oh, and my tongue hurts. Why?? Well, during the water free class yesterday I realized I was reaching my tongue out to capture every drip of sweat on my cheeks, chin and upper lip. Nice. But - indulge me in a quick re-visit on this - I realized in practice this morning that I got two big things out of doing the no water class:

1) I realized I really don't need as much as I thought - duh, you say. Well, when in that room you forget, trust me. Today I reached for water 4 times only to put it down and realize I was reaching for comfort, not water. Instead, I tried to sit with the discomfort and just let it be. I certainly drank water today! I just was more thoughtful about it rather than it being a habit or pattern.

2) During the class yesterday, I was dying by Fixed Firm, and all I could think of was "water water water" and I thought, "If you really are doing this, you have to focus on something else." My mind was like "What can I focus on? What can I focus on??" when a little voice said, "Um, what about focusing on doing the yoga!" Again, duh, but yeah, really, DUH! (In a good way!). It was so cool, so I stopped thinking of water, lapped up a bit of sweat off my cheek, and carried on with some of the best focus I've seen outta myself in a while.

Anyhow, my practice? Well, some postures I’m really feeling movement in, some are decidedly the same – or a little worse. As of the end of Week 3, here is a full report – mostly for my tracking (I’ll do it again at week 6 and 9) - standing series today, floor tomorrow:

Pranayama: Going great, I’m getting better at deeper breaths, shoulders hold up fine.
Half Moon: I’m working so hard! Sides are getting deeper, backbend I can see the wall behind me, and knees are locked in 2nd set of forward bending.
Awkward: 1: Just fine, as always. 2: Oh dear God, I’m getting there – still I can only hold the full expression of the posture for a few seconds, but I can go down a lot more. This is by far my least favorite part of not only awkward, but the whole class. 3: Ok, I still need to get my hips up off my heel more and work on balance.
Eagle: Just fine. Working most on getting my fingers down lower. This is a good posture for me.

Standing Head-to-Knee: Still not kicking out in the first set very much, working sooooo hard to lock the f’ing knee. When I do kick out, elbows are down, no prayer yet for a nose to the knee though.
Standing Bow: Standing left leg – working so hard to keep the knee locked, toes barely come up over my head. Standing right knee: Looks good! Knee locked, body down, working on head straightening and chin to shoulder.
Balancing Stick: Hallejuleh! Whoever stole my stick gave it back on Tuesday. Right now, I’m in this one rock solid. Yay!
Standing Separate Leg Stretching: Working on being really honest with myself on how wide my step is, getting my hands under the heels, elbows wrapped around…head touches the floor, but needs to go back more to be in better line with my toes.
Triangle: MUCH better, still need to come down more come down more come down more…but I’m feeling new heights in that one, so something is happening!
Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose: I’m mostly working on how not to be a human nettie pot in this one; my bra drips onto my thigh and right up my nose. Brutal. Seriously though, working on locking the knee more – nice improvement though so far.
Tree: Good, always has been.
Toe: I can bring my one hand up on the left standing leg side; and both hands (!!!!!!!!!!!!) for a few seconds anyhow, on the right standing leg side. Progress!!!

Just a few pix, as I mostly studied in the spa today, caught a few rays and studied more...

Tiger Saturday above; class #32, check!; that scary mean bird again...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day 20: Water-free Class!!!!!!

Today was Friday, but for me, it's hard to get excited about Friday seeing that I know a Craig-class is still to be endured at 8 a.m. tomorrow. It's ok, but I try to keep my head in the game and my eye on the ball - that is to say, I don't want to relax and then not do well/be prepared for Killer Craig Saturday!

This morning a fellow from Chicago taught class. It was - well, fine. I have to say, there was nothing wrong with it, and for me, nothing terribly rock star about it either. Totally fine at 8:30 a.m. on a Friday. I had (eekk!) another good practice! Then the usual - a dip in the pool, lunch, practiced my Eagle dialogue, Dr. T's final lecture, posture clinic (aside: I did my Eagle dialogue, and while again it wasn't perfect, this time, I just went with it and of course, it was fine!), then 5 p.m. class with Sarah, a junior staffer who was 2nd place yoga champ. She taught an energetic class that reminded me of well, energetic-young-woman-teacher class. At the end though, she made us all extra-super-happy by telling us we were FREE TONIGHT! I think if I'd have been even remotely emotional, I'd have cried.

The reason I wasn't emotional was this: I did a no water class. Believe it or not, I didn't really plan it, but had it on my list to accomplish sometime in the training. I went into class super-hydrated (re: peeing every 5 minutes), and I thought "I'm going to skip 'party time' after Eagle and wait to drink until I really need to." Well, the standing series came and went, and I still held off - at the savasana, I rinsed my mouth and spit it out into my towel. Then the floor...oy. It got really hard to not drink at the fixed firm transition, and Camel/Rabbit/Stretch/Twist felt like an eon or two, but I did it! I did not take one sip of water. Needless to say I hydrated like a crazy lady after, but it was a great accomplishment. Many of us have these orange jugs, which I call Orange Towers of Shame, since Craig in particular makes a lot of comments about them that well, induce some shame. "Your water is ruling you..." "It's a pattern, and it's our job to point it out; if you recognize it, cool, it's your job to work on that..." etc. etc. I think now I'll be better at dialing my water back, but no more water-free classes for me. My head was squeezed by the end, still, it was a little accomplishment/box I can check off!

Tonight we had a nice dinner here at the hotel. It was a the fancy Mexican place, and it was good - funny how most of us got onion soup (salt) and beef (fat, protein) - the body really knows what it needs.

It's the weekend! One class at 8 a.m. and freedom for nearly 40 whole precious hours!

Class #30 - holy crap, a 30 day challenge finished in less than 20 days!; the "mess hall" - Chula Vista, where we have our daily brunch buffet; People practicing before lecture - as you can see, we're on Eagle!; Dr. T. did some adjustments today, this is with Bernadette, the French lady who is a kick in the pants; me and my Orange Tower'o'Shame - whose ass I had just defeated in Class #31!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 19: I Heart Thursdays

Thursday is my favorite day of the week, in general. I don’t know why, but it’s always delighted me. Perhaps it was that feeling that as a kid, (on a school night) I could stay up a bit later because I only had one day left to slog through. In college, I worked my schedule to have Thursday be my “Friday” so it continued to make me happy. Adulthood – well, I don’t know, but I wake up on a Thursday and it makes me smile. And how fortunate for me that it happens weekly! ☺

Today was just fine. I’m settling into Bikram school, and the monotony aspect of it is becoming more of a routine aspect, which is good and is letting me have some structure which helps in dealing with being here emotionally and physically. Two good yoga classes today – no complaints – and I did my Awkward Parts 2 & 3 dialogue and messed it up a touch at the end. I was all devastated by it, shocked yet again by the fact that I am not perfect. Why does this shock me every time, like it’s new information or something?? Still, I powered through – I talked to one of the staff who had been there and she reassured me that really, it was nothing. “We look at each of you and what you’re capable of as a person – no comparison person to person because everyone is at a different stage with different natural abilities.” She confirmed I would not get kicked out for forgetting to say “half inch gap between heels and hips” and for adding a few no-no's. Phew.

Fortunately at 5 p.m. class, right after what we'll now refer to as “the dialogue incident” Diane from Boston taught. After her stellar posture clinic, I was super excited to have her class. Though I started out sad and bummed about my dialogue, she came on and said “I’m the bus driver, let me drive the bus for the next 90-minutes” And I thought, “I couldn’t be more delighted than to hand over the wheel of my life right here, right now.” And I had a fantastic, nice class.

Poor Christian got dehydrated again, despite seemingly staying on top of his water/Gatorade regimen. He had two really rough classes but stayed in the room like a trooper, and even kept trying to get up and go again in the morning. The afternoon brought him a new level of dizziness/near passing out, so he did a lot of savasana and took care of himself. After a big fat steak sandwich, fries, pedialyte and water galore, by bedtime, he felt much better and seemed to turn a corner of hydration again. It’s amazing here how the balance is so delicate – one evening of a little less water than usual and you’re a wreck trying to catch yourself up for a day or two. It’s not just him, that’s for sure, and I think for all of us here it’s a constant reminder to stay on top of everything – eating, drinking water, supplements, electrolytes. It's like were here doing one thing, but the multi-tasking within this "one thing" is really challenging. And the further lesson which we all keep getting taught here in different ways, no matter how prepared you are, no matter how well you plan, in the end, you often have no choice and life will unfold as it will. Your job is to handle it the best way you can for yourself, don’t attach to it or the feeling, let it go and move on!

p.s. Sometime soon, likely this weekend, I’ll tell you more about how my body is holding up and some more about yoga classes, how my practice is evolving (hot damn if my balancing stick isn’t a notch past respectable these days! Who knew my capability as a human nettie pot n standing separate head to knee stretching?…) and more!

p.s.s. Jill and I got Skype working a bit and we got to “see” each other! It was so great and felt so nice to lay eyes on her. Her first words were, “Honey you’re so skinny!!” and I thought, “Honey, did you rehearse that??” That girl knows my currency, that is for sure. She went on to move the camera about so I could see my kitties, I called them and they got up and started rooting around for me. I felt kinda bad for tricking them like that, but I was glad they still remembered me! ☺

Today's Pix:
Above, me in "my hallway" blogging, taken by my neighbor Tony, apparently, this is how he "sees me"; Classes #28 & #29 - wow!; My latest discovery/delight: Peanut Butter & Orange Marmalade on wheat toast, yum!; Joshua, a fellow Group 14'er, says hi to his pals in Europe reading along!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 18: Power!

Hump day! Somehow things are always a bit brighter at the end of Wednesday – but my Wednesday was great, so I’m doubly lucky.

We started out with class taught by Lisa, who owns Bikram Yoga on the Strip in Las Vegas; it was our third class in a row by a visiting teacher – all of whom have been stellar, excited and challenging. Her class was energetic and engaging, and I held up just fine in it. Morning classes are not my favorite, really, but they are a little less (seemingly) hot, and I don’t push myself to my limits knowing I’ve got another class later in the day so I don't often hit a point of thorough frustration.

In striking contrast to that, the 5 p.m. class was taught by (surprise!) Craig. He walked in and jaws dropped and the mood shifted dramatically - I think we had a notion that he only taught on Saturday mornings. Well, he had on “serious face” and proceeded to teach a disciplined, ass-kicking class. Again, I had a really good practice – but the difference was incredible in the vibe, tone and approach between the morning and evening classes. I liken it to going to Gramma’s for the weekend, and then coming home and being told “No more sugar cereal for you little girl! Now you have to go and do your chores and homework.” Tough love, discipline – and all for your own good, in return for the little bit of letting loose/fun you just had. That’s part of what I am here for too, to learn and appreciate my ability to discipline myself, work hard and commit to what is important to me. Though I was cursing Craig during one of the Savasanas, tearing up in Triangle because my foot would not stop slipping and I was doing a near-split and feeling exceedingly frustrated, I loved the class. Loved it. (Especially once it was over...truth be told.)

The other big excitement today was delivering the 1st part of Awkward pose. It went well, and I got very positive feedback and am starting to feel a modicum of confidence in my potential ability to teach. With that, the proctor, Diane from Boston, who went through training 14 years ago, was fantastic – she took questions, gave insight into the posture, and did a great job of keeping it real. For me, though, she also was like a little angel who showed up to remind me of one of the main reasons I am here....

After delivering my dialogue, she said that I was holding back. I got the same thing yesterday – and really, I’m feeling rather enthusiastic in my delivery so I was surprised both times. So I explained, “I don’t want to be all cheerleader like and too peppy and annoying.” She said, “Um, no that isn’t what you’re afraid of. You’re afraid of your own power. Of being powerful.” To which I replied, “Did you talk to my therapist before posture clinic??” (It did get a good chuckle).

What a fantastic reminder for me. One of my biggest fears of doing this training is the idea of being up on that box and being that important in people’s lives. I have had many career aspirations that I’ve abandoned due to the fear of being too important, of screwing something up and ruining an experience for someone. She nailed me: I do fear being powerful. In this particular case, I fear being trusted to do it right by a room full of yogi’s who I know have planned their whole day (time, food, clothes, logistics) around making it to their precious, 90-minutes of “me time” that I could potentially send right down the shitter!

The thing I realize, though, is that really – and it is my new mantra – what is the worst that could happen? I leave you in the 2nd part of Awkward pose for 2 minutes like Craig does to us? Or, I forget a set – likely to be reminded by the students that it’s not time to move on yet? Or, God forbid – someone simply put, doesn’t like my class. And again, if that were the case, what is the worst thing? They go to another studio? They tell their friends I suck? Even if they did, how (really, in the scheme of life) does that impact me in a meaningful way? Indeed, it doesn’t.

For my next postures, I’m going to focus on bringing the power, owning my job and responsibility of teaching the class, and not fearing the notion that I may (er, I mean will) not be perfect….
Pix for today: Posture clinic practicing in the early morning; My latest backbend; And pics from Class #26 and #27. Please excuse the inner-thigh flab in the first one, it's leftover former-fat-girl baggage. Still, I liked the pic a lot!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 17: Posture Clinics in 5th Gear

Only Tuesday today, and yet it seemed like Wednesday (at least!). Classes today were taught by visiting teachers. In the morning was Patrice, from CA, who is 52 years old and taught a nicely paced, fairly mellow class. It was refreshing really, most people had a good class and for me, it almost felt like a nice “pacing lap” if you will. Afternoon class was taught by Martha, from Minneapolis, who was cute and funny, but still taught an athletic class. It was hotter than the morning, I noticed I was soaked just from waiting for class to start – still, class went fine for me overall (though I did seem especially sweaty), but many people commented that it seemed hotter than it had been.

I moved to a new spot in the room in preparation for the forced rotating by group that starts tomorrow. It was ok, but what a different vibe - the front of the room is so high-energy, people know they are (technically) setting examples for those behind them; the area I choose had a lower energy vibe than I am used to and some people seemed downright not into it. It was my first class of having no view of myself at all in the mirror, and it proved good for me! I stayed really focused and used a girl in a gray bra as my focal point. Luckily she was fairly stable in her postures, so my eyes could settle in a focus.

Today we started what is a true posture clinics in our smaller groups. After anatomy with Dr. T, we split up and headed to our “corner suites” with our smaller groups – about 16-17 people in each group (go Group #14!!) with two groups in each room, to provide interaction with different people daily. We had visiting teacher proctors in the afternoon, and then staff members in the evening (until 11:30 p.m.). I delivered my Half Moon backwards as well as Hands to Feet pose – which went well, I got great feedback and overall was told to really ‘bring it’ at the end (I was trying to avoid cheerleading, but apparently, it’d be better if I did cheerlead :). We started into the first part of Awkward close to quittin’time, so I’ll be doing that tomorrow, and likely 2nd & 3rd part by bedtime.

No lie, the stress is heating up (no, there was really no pun intended there….). We are going to soon be blowing through one posture/day, and I think most of us – myself heartily included – have no idea how it will happen. I need an injection of my dialogue, into my veins and then maybe, maybe, I could do it well. I’m good up to Eagle, which will get me to Friday. We have another anatomy test this weekend, and really, at some point, you have to have a bit of a rest or else you’ll just pop or melt or disintegrate or something. Still, the weekend this week looks like it’ll be a lot of hiding to get the phrases down, and then groups of people practicing and performing dialogue all over the place. It’s so daunting; not to mention you still have to do 2 yoga classes a day, feed yourself, sleep (ideally), and perhaps shower now and again, and well, stay sane. I’m not trying to sound/be negative, more just trying to keep it real – there are indeed aspects of this that are simply put, no fun.

What’s funny is I love delivering the dialogue, provided I know it – I am actually really loving it. Two of the proctors stopped me separately after the session, on at yoga class and one at evening sign-in, to tell me I did a great job and were super-encouraging about my style, that made me feel good. Perhaps I can hang on to their props to help inspire me as a wedge toothpicks in my eyelids to hold them open at night! :)

Today’s Pics:

Classes #24 & #25 – we are over 25% done with classes, the total will be 98; Dr T., who I like more and more everyday; the view from my Posture Clinic room; Christian, Jennifer & Todd at evening announcements; and a little glimpse of a posture clinic.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 16: Over and Over Again

Monday was a good day, really, nothing riveting yet nothing to complain about. The staff are starting to teach our classes, which is kinda interesting and cool. Rowena, from Australia, who is one of the senior staff, taught this morning. It was a high-energy, athletic class and once I woke up, it was great. In the afternoon, Leigh, who is a nurse here to help Dr. T with anatomy, taught and she was fantastic too. No complaints - we really are lucky to have such excellent, experienced teachers.

After lunch, it was time for our first of two anatomy tests. There were 50 mostly-multiple-choice and a few short answer questions. I missed one, which turned out to irritate me. I've always preferred to miss by a mile than by an inch, but alas, I was super happy considering I studied a reasonable amount, and didn't let it stress me out at all. Some people were really freaking over it, but judging from Dr. T's demeanor, I didn't expect it to be hard - though I felt for some of the ESL (English as a second language) folks in that the specific wording of some questions did require attention/have nuances that you could've missed. We went on to the respiratory more week of anatomy and then we're done with that.

We continued in the afternoon and then evening session with Craig's Half Moon posture clinic. It's interesting to see his feedback for people as he's very insightful and clearly has done this once or twice before :) As a teacher for 10 years, he can really nail someone's challenges. The thing is, you have to know the dialogue to really be able to get any benefit, and while that sounds easy, the dialogue is now on deck to wreak havoc with our minds, bodies, sleep schedule and psyche overall.

Craig said, "Those of you who knew it when you got here will simply put, get more sleep." We really have no time to study, save for maybe 1 hour in the morning, at lunch and dinner time (we get 2 hours at our breaks, but you have to shower, eat, and prep for the next session, so really, it's more like 1 hour of "free time"). Each posture really requires some serious time input, and soon (and by "soon" I mean tomorrow), we'll be banging out a posture a day. People were like, "So what do I have to do, not sleep???" Um, yeah, that really seems to be about the only option, and they told us this all along, but now that we're at that point, I expect a lot of less-friendly-more-cranky yogis to emerge 'round these parts. (Yours truly as one of them...). Everyone is complaining, but we knew it was coming, and it's a few weeks of our lives, so my goal is to just buck up and be really flippin' tired.

We met a bunch of visiting teachers here to proctor posture clinics. They all have a wealth of experience and many own studios, so it will be cool to get their input.

The highlight of the day for me was Craig's lecture on Half Moon Pose. He talked about the mechanics of it, as well as how it impacts the body both physically and mentally. It was meaty and felt like "yeah! yeah! this is what I want, this is what I came for!!!" He has a lecture/seminar circuit that he does, and so he talks are well organized and insightful since he's done them before many times. The last two days of training, Bikram apparently goes through each posture in order and talks about the mechanics, benefits, red flags, etc. but it's nice to get it so organized and succinct from Craig as groundwork for later.

Thanks again for all your readership, comments (both here and in person), and support. Everyone keeps warning us that "now it really gets tough" or "it's going to get a lot worse - starting now" which doesn't feel so great, but really, they haven't lied to us yet so rather than react to it negatively, I'm instead just bracing myself for impact. Having good vibes sent my way truly help to hold me up! :)

Today's Pix:

Classes #22 & #23! Posture clinic above, and Craig instructing us.