Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day 8: Be Here Now.

Sunday. was so amazing to wake up and not anticipate a yoga class. I woke around 8 a.m. and did some housekeeping (re-org'd drawers, got rid of some things I won't be using, squared up the room bill - ck and I are doing this every Sunday just to keep on top of things). Then I just kicked it most of the day at the pool - at first with my iPod, then with Luke. We had virgin pina coladas at the swim-up bar, and then did dialogue. The ocean. Then dinner with Christian and Elise, a pal he's made who is from NYC. We hit the Italian buffet and I have to say, it was a nice change from Mexican. :) And our Christian is 'back' - tonight, I believe he ate a full plate of food to honor each day this week that he couldn't eat, and left with a full, happy belly. Tomorrow maybe a spine strengthening series will happen for him!

So what do I think so far? I've been pondering this a bit today. My experience so far has been great - it's weird, almost surreal to look at back on this week. I vaguely remember details of some of the classes, and others are a complete blur. Some I remember only by what outfit I had on, or who was next to me or something like that. I do remember vividly that it was hard. I did not have one 'easy' practice, nor do I expect to - but I did have easy moments, postures or sets of postures. Those were nice. In Craig's Saturday class, he pushed us to come back in when we fell out in a way we hadn't been yet, and I saw some new places for myself in certain postures (yogis: 2nd part of awkward, for one :). My first week, I have to say, was great. In comparison to all those who got sick, it was stellar. I feel fortunate, strong, healthy and happy.

Whenever I talk about the fact that "it's going to get worse" I feel like I'm almost being "shushed" by people around me - they say, "you don't know that..." But, the staff has effectively have told us this. They say a lot about "taking it easy the first two weeks" and Bikram said, "the room isn't even hot yet, just wait." And when I talk about it, it's not intended to raise anxiety of those around me or for me to create panic or drama, it's more my way of keeping it real, being as ready as I can be for it, and just being honest with my expectations. It's like I'm running a marathon, and there's no good in pretending I'm over the hump after the first 2.9 miles (that is, in fact 1/9 of 26.2 miles); but rather, to say "Ok, I'm at 2.9 of 26.2 miles and I'm keeping a good pace knowing what is still to come."

Again, I feel like the staff and Bikram even have done a good job of ramping us up this past week, giving us room to acclimate and settle into things. They've also, from what I can tell, been working to be uber-honest with us about gearing up for longer days, no more early dismissals, and a ramp-up of intensity. I am grateful for the consistency of the message, and firm-handedness of it. No room for light or air in our interpretation of what is being said. (ba-dum-bump - fellow trainees will get the "no room for light or air" reference).

The group dynamic is interesting too. We're all still in a meet'n'greet mentality; finding "our people" in a sea of 300 different animals. I've yet to meet anyone I haven't thought was kind and good-intentioned. Certainly, some people resonate more for me than others, but all in all, most of us here are of a "we're all in this together" mentality - so far. I am curious (no judgment in this statement) about how things will look in a few weeks, when the stress levels peak, exhaustion overwhelms and emotions boil over. Right now, it's all new - everyone is still in super-extra-nice-polite mode. I think after another week, the facades will start to wear away along with manners. That's not to say intentions won't still be good, but I'm guessing there will be some level of drama and emo'moments that surface (Bikram teachers I know warned me a lot about the drama level creeping up week over week).

Already, a girl told me of how a woman yesterday said she could smell perfume (a huge no-no) and swore at her before storming off with her mat. Now, the girl owned it - she had put a little squirt on the night before and hadn't showered - but she said, "I was wrong, but she could've been nicer." And well, who knows what was going on for that woman, perhaps she was already nauseated, or just tired, or just a hardcore rule-follower. Who knows, but I'm hoping I can hold myself together enough not to be mean-spirited toward others, and, more importantly, not to take it on of someone is that way toward me.

We're all sitting in this odd place of feeling like little bitty Bikram babies, all swaddled in our hot sweaty towels somehow having been sling-shotted back to our very first practice ever this past Monday. No one knows what they are seeing in the mirror; so many of us have solid (and in some cases - sadly not mine - truly amazing practices) at home. Here, it's like you walk through the door and you're like a virgin. And yet you're not. It's worse, because you should know what to do and how to do it; you are stunned at the lameness of some of your postures; frustrated with the welling of emotion at the oddest times (wind-removing? really????). And it's only 2.9 of 26.2 miles - lots to go, and the big hills aren't even in view yet. Pacing. Pacing. Pacing.

For me, I'm working so hard to just "be here now" at all times. Anyone who does Bikram yoga knows the phrase lock the knee. For those of you who don't practice, there is a whole balancing series where you are on one leg, and in those postures, Bikram says, "you haven't even got a posture if your knee is not locked." So you spend a lot of time practicing, thinking and redirecting yourself to "lock the knee. lock the knee. lock the knee." I'm finding in this whole training, there is a version of "lock the knee" playing in my head all the time. Lately, it's "be here now" - not thinking about tomorrow morning, or how little sleep you're going to get, or how crappy your memorizing of dialogue may be going - or even the next set of the next posture during a class. Just be here now. Right here. Right now. No worry about what's coming, letting go of what just happened. It's feels a bit like a virtual "lock the knee" of the soul. Just about as hard to do,'s easy to 'get it' but oh-so-hard to maintain it.

Lots of people at training have gotten wind of my blog and I'm happy to have a bigger audience. I wonder if/how it will cause me to censor my posting, but certainly, I work to be respectful of the other people here who are each on a personal journey. For those of you fellow trainees, my disclaimer is that of course, this blog is my experience of my training. I don't speak for everyone and am only relating my own interpretation of events as I experience them. Chime in - comments are appreciated and enjoyed! I love to hear about how others see what I see.


Meg said...

Yea! Jenn. Congrats on getting through week 1 and keeping it real...although only you would actually figure out 1/9th of a marathon and then use that as metaphor. I miss you sis.



Carola said...

thanks for sharing your journey. Makes me feel as though maybe, sometimes, minus all the 'torture' i am there a part of it, all the while practicing in my 'sweatbox' bathroom studio (due to lack of studio anywhere near me!) your writing is great! I find myself eager to 'tune in' for a few moments each evening to see what's happened in the day! A friend of mine is there sweating away with you, melting away it sounds, as he's dropped quite a few pounds last week! good luck in the days to come, and stay present! the marathon metaphor was a good one, indeed!

Kim H. said...

I found you through your other blog, but just wanted to tell you that I'm in awe of what you're doing. To think of where you've been and where you are now - inspires me to keep moving toward my goal. Maybe someday - I'll be seen in a yoga class!! :-) Keep up the great work!!

digdeeper said...

Jenn - thank you for continuing to write about your experience - I want to go to teacher training in the fall of 2009 - I am a photographer and I will be in Mexico on a photo shoot - I am thinking about taking a few days in Acapulco to practice at the back of the room in May - is this really possible?
could you post back and let me know? - again, thank you so much for your writing and your courage -

Julia said...

Keep it up!