Saturday, May 31, 2008

Day 56: Final Saturday - and it's Jilly-time! :)

Today we had 8 a.m. class with Jason Winn, uber-up-there yogi in the Bikram community, he teaches advanced series seminars, as well as does talks, week-long seminars in Costa Rica and comes here to teacher training. Class was just fine, he’s a great teacher. I wondered if he did anything special since we are teachers-to-be, according to Todd, who has taken his class plenty in Laguna Beach, said it was pretty much his ‘normal’ class.

I had a crazy burst of mega-anger after finishing my second Camel. It was really intense, and I cried through both Rabbits and stretching, but I was ok with it. The last couple days have been a little rough on me for various reasons and I'm a little bummed I've let things steal my peace. That said, it is also a lesson to reiterate to yourself your intentions, know they aren't bad, and then stick to your guns. I've always struggled with this concept - as many of us do - worrying about what others think of us. And though I've come long and far, I still feel this is a battle one never quite wins - or at least I don't. So, we'll just keep it on the "in-progress" list and carry on. Observe it, don't judge, and let the emotion come...and then let it go.

Just before Jill was to arrive, I got myself a fab haircut from Ren, the senior teacher who works at headquaters and taught us earlier in the week. Downstairs, I waited for just a few minutes and then my girl was here! It was surreal, seeing her jump out of the shuttle and be here, in this place, somewhat out of context. Funny though, we've kept pretty well connected and in a lot of ways, she's been here with me/for me all along. Of course, having her here in real life rules.

I moved out of my room with Christian into a new room with Jill, which is a corner room with a giant balcony and a view of the golf course (and a peek-a-boo ocean view). It's really lovely, and we settled into it nicely before heading for a walk around the 'compound,' lunch and poolside relaxation. It was just so cool to look over and see her, right there, with me! I can't quite get out how happy this makes me :)

Christian and I did great as roommates. Honestly, one cranky moment after a particularly shit class was as bad as it got in 8 weeks and the rest of the time it was just about helping each other get through and we did it for each other really well! It appears we'll still be friends when we get home too, though I think I need to confirm that with him :)

Dinner was in the downtown yet-unexplored area with Christian, Morgan (Jill's enjoyed her blog a lot), Jennifer & Todd. We had a nice dinner by the water with a lovely view. After, we headed to the mall for a quick visit, and then headed back 'home' hitting they hay around 11 p.m. The room next door to us apparently had an early riser as its last inhabitant as the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. - good times. I called the front desk and it was taken care of fairly quickly. Oy.

Not too much else to report, poor Jill is having to meet everyone under the sun and try to remember who and what and where and all that about them, so we have little reviews or I remind her of references I've made and it all comes clear. There are a lot of people here I realize! Anyhow, we're headed off to class in the morning at 11 a.m., or that's the plan, anyhow...

Today's Pix: Above, me and Jill! Class #85 (no, I'm not giving birth...)! Ren & my hair; a 'found object' Viva Mexico! and a blurry group dinner photo taken by the waiter.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Day 55: The Last Friday

Wow. So today was our last Friday of training. Bikram's daughter graduates high school next Saturday, so our graduation was moved up to Friday morning (we knew this before we came, but for me, it was after my plane ticket purchase). 

Anyhow, a few thoughts for this Friday:

1) Food Choices Have Gone Down Hill... As of around Week 5, snacks in Posture Clinics went from raisins  and nuts to chips and chocolate. Same at the buffet - plates of salad or stir fry/rice have been replaced with piles of pancakes with whipped cream and apples cooked in syrup. Yep, we are getting close.

2) Hook-Up Central, Here. Now that everyone is done with dialogue, seems that things are steaming up here at yoga camp. Couples are forming, roommates disappearing, people telling me how the poolside chairs aren't working out so great. :) It seems people are also figuring it's now or never. So, for many, it seems to 

3) Today was the last Friday! Wow. I just needed to say that again. Next week Bikram will be lecturing pretty much all week, going through the postures with specific information on each one. Also, we'll get a demo of the advanced series which will be super cool! It's our last weekend with the whole group still here. Jill arrives in the morning!!! She'll get to meet a lot of people, and then next weekend we'll be able to spend time 1:1. 

4) Demo for Graduation: People were selected to do the regular series demo, worked out to be 26 people. Needless to say, they didn't hunt me down to be a part of it ;)

Classes were ok today. This morning was powerful and a good class; this afternoon - not so much. I felt really defeated and disillusioned and ended up having a great practice. Sometimes, it's funny how engaged you are in just doing the yoga when you feel beaten down. 

Craig talked about pitfalls of teaching, and Bikram talked in the afternoon. Tonight was the Talent Show, which sadly, I was not able to participate in due to the content of my piece. :( I'll post it here after training is over! I am going to read it for my group dinner on Sunday night.

That's all for now! I am super excited that Jill gets here shortly after yoga tomorrow morning, which Jason Winn is rumored to be teaching...should be fun!

Class #83; Bikram lecturing; Class #84; Talent show pix!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 54: So close!

Oh my! I forgot to write yesterday about a big big thing!!! After finishing postures in posture clinics, a new ‘evolution’ was introduced: Mock Class. In it, we assemble similar to a regular posture clinic, but now had to do 3 postures together, both sides, in a row! I went, and got assigned Half Moon, Awkward & Eagle! And, I did it! I would say dialogue was between 65% and (in Eagle) 90%! So, considering I hadn’t looked at them since Week 3 or whatever, other than a read-through here and there, I was pleased. And I was more confident than I ever had been in any posture clinic, and felt really good that I got everyone in and out, used dialogue (if not all of it, it was dialogue!), and nobody got hurt! I think the best part is I walked away feeling like “oh, ok, I can do this!” and before this, I didn’t have that knowledge or confidence. I have a long way to go…but I’m super excited now.

And, for the first time, I got more than a little miffed at the rules. Well, that’s a fib – I have been plenty miffed – but this was the first injustice that really set me off inside! We were told everyone had to do the postures for the Mock Class – do you get me? That means yoga in the morning at 8:30-10:00 a.m., then yoga from 2:00-4:15p.m. in a cold room, then yoga again (with Bikram) from 5:00 – 6:30. It just made me feel super anxious, about today especially. But while I did choose to vent a little, I minimized my reaction to the best of my ability – and I’m glad, because it ended up being no big deal. (A good lesson in minimizing reaction.) Today, in the mock class, we ended up doing almost an entire class worth of yoga (one set), but I lived. And it was for our fellow group members, and it was the right thing. And you know what else? 5:00 class was just fine to boot.

After we finished, Luke, one of the senior staffers, talked to us for a while about the end of training, and the importance of staying with it. He talked about how he has a pattern of not finishing things, which resonated with me bigtime! Things like art, projects, books – I struggle. And this is something; he encouraged us to consider to finish with vigor. He also talked about not making fun of teaching, or the yoga, as a way to distance ourselves from feelings, and hide behind humor in order to push away what could be great growth opportunities. He said, “Open yourself up to that discomfort and explore a new place.”

He also spoke about how when you practice you open up an energy conduit with each posture that grows and grows and when you lose your intent and focus, you drop the energy down and narrow that conduit, and if it continues in that vein by the time you get to savasana you’ve got nothing left. Comparing this to the training, we’re in the home stretch, and I’ve worked this hard and this long to keep the energy growing and I am committing to working hard to not letting it come down now, at this point in the game! The last point he made that I really liked was this: Bhakti Yoga (service) is about surrender, submitting and understanding those things allows you to know the big “S” – self.

Later he spoke to the whole group and told us how he had been a drug addict, and Bikram Yoga is where is spent detoxing and stopped using. It was - like so many stories here - very inspirational.

Bikram talked about the mind and its 5 parts - Faith, Self-Control (Morality), Will-Power, Concentration and Patience. He said how no one comes to the Earth with all five in perfect order, and we all have some in a better state than others - so we are to work on those that are not full realized. He was very engaged in this take, and it was very compassionate and interesting. Next up is the Body - and its three parts (are you ready...): Strength, Flexibility and Balance. Same thing applies - no one shows up with all 3! That's for damn sure :)

Above: My garden spot; Me and pal/fellow #14'er Marshall - class #81; instructor Luke; Class #82; and Bikram's lecture.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Day 53: Hump Day!

This morning Christian, teacher from Vancouver, taught class. He is a super cool guy and slightly unlike the other staff members in that he hangs out with students and connects with us moreso than the other staff, who tend to have a clear boundary around social or personal interactions with all of us. Anyhow, Christian was the last of the staff to teach us and did so this morning. It was a really good class, and he brought a genuineness to the table that was really lovely.

I had him for posture clinic the other day and he told us how he ended up at his first Bikram class. This girl he’d been dating kept bugging him to go and then finally gave up. One day he was dropping her off for her daily practice, when they were fighting and she got out of the car and said, “You know, I wish you’d just come. It would change your life.” He said he angrily pulled into the first parking spot he could and stormed in saying, “well, I could do with a f*cking life change!!” and went to class. At the time he was really built and struggled, like a lot of big men, with the beginning postures. He stormed out of the room and left at Eagle. (For those who don’t do Birkam. That’s about 20 minutes into the 90-minute class).

A week later, he went back – to an early morning, low-attendance class. He bought a monthly pass. Then, he sold his mother’s piano, for which he got in trouble, and got a yearly pass. He opened a studio with one of his teachers and worked there in a non-teaching capacity until he got through training, and then went on to open 3 studios in Vancouver, BC. He now owns one and plans to do and teach this yoga for the rest of his life. Here’s a little bit more about him, he shared this with me:

On a totally separate note, today when I got dressed the bathroom door was closed and I could see my back in the mirror on it – holy shit people! I have definition! I couldn’t get over myself, and started to do an array of tough-girl moves to show off my back muscles…to myself. I have lost about 3” around my shoulders/upper back, and I knew I looked skinnier/more defined in the front, but for some reason, it didn’t occur to me that the same would apply to my back. Super cool, eh?

Another little tidbit – I think as of today, I can say the runs/intestinal distress is 100% back to normal. Phew! It really wasn’t that brutal at all, but was something else to think about, so I’m glad that’s done with. Funny thing though – I did the Pedialytes each class to help with electrolytes and water retention. Well, I noticed late last week and so far this week, I’ve been wickedly craving sugar, and even caving in to a few M&Ms, or a bite of something sweet, at posture clinic or evening lecture. Seriously, until mid-last week, my “no sugar during the week” rule was gospel. I realized that damn sugar in the Pedialyte was kicking off my day with a sugar high of sorts – so no more of those unless I really need’em. Eek, just what I need, to rekindle my sugar addiction right before going home!

Afternoon class with Bikram was good actually. He said, “I try to kill you guys and you don’t let me.” And went on to really compliment us saying our concentration was amazing, that we’re improving like mad. It is always nice to get good feedback! At the end of class, I was lying in savasana and I had my pal Marshall on one side, and Doug on the other. Separately at different times, each of them reached over and just gave my hand a nice little squeeze. It really warmed my heart, and illustrates how incredibly compassionate and sweet this bunch is. It was such a nice way to end class!

Finally, lecture. Bikram talked about the importance of the spine and more about the body in general. Then, he was about to let us go early at 11:15 so he could eat, and then said he wanted to watch a movie and didn’t want to be lonely – so we had to stay to see the new Al Pacino 88 Minutes – a bootleg of the one that is in theatres now. It was actually a nice brain break from yoga, however the shitty copy he had froze up at the ending, climactic scene! Now that was disappointing. Fortunately a few people had gone to see it last weekend and told us what happened (which was er…predictable). Bedtime was 2 a.m.!

Christian; Class #79 and Class #80!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bikram off to eat before movie time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 52: A little fun in the mix!

Morning class with Ren was really great. He’s a rather high-energy yogi who works at headquarters. We all expected him to be a bit zany, but his energy was perfect for a morning class. I was in a way better row today and had some air flow, which helped!

Afternoon class was good too – an Indian man who has studios in Belgium and Germany taught. Bikram took class, which is always hilarious. First though, the air is always cranked up and it seems the heat is a little more forgiving. He always has a huge “support team” of his friends and staff around him, and he mumbles a lot (loudly) and directs the teacher. Today he complained the savasanas were too short; which is the most ironic thing ever since his 2-minute savasana in the middle rarely hits the 30-second mark! He complained to the point that he started counting out the 20-seconds loudly.

Anyhow, when he gets tired, he starts going around to “help” people. Today he picked up a girl in her full locust pose – she held it, and when he was done, he kinda….threw her down. I don’t think he realized how far off the ground she was. Ouch! My pal Marshall was next to me and couldn’t stop his disbelieving-laughter. The next one was a woman in her floor bow, she too held it, but he gently set her down. At the end, they played “Yoga is Life” song that was a mix of Indian music and techno. Techno Savasana. Hm. And Bikram likes the music uber-loud at the end…it was….something!

Otherwise today, we had the whole group get together for the presentations of the final posture, Spine Twist, by one representative of each group – the rest of the group acted as the “class.” We chose Roy, who could barely speak in the beginning and has come soooooo far! He did an amazing job and has been an inspiration to us all. Lots of us, especially Marshall, helped him over the weekend to be sure he was ready. A lot of people had fun with it, and the whole session was really a kick in the pants. Still, we hoped for a little break between that and class – but no. Off to posture clinic…sigh.

However, today we switched gear to doing mock classes! Now we do 3 postures, both sides, as if we were teaching. They randomly choose the person delivering, and randomly choose the postures you give. I was with Christian’s group – he got chosen! So I ran up there to demonstrate for him. He did the spine strengthening series. Though he himself admitted, “A dialogue review is happening this weekend,” he was quite witty and confident and got us through nicely. Overall the whole posture clinic was super fun and I feel way less scared about my name being called. Really, the whole afternoon appeared to be one in which we were actually “allowed” to have fun, smile and be goofy. Nice change for us!

Bikram talked again tonight. We took bets on when he’d show up, and when he’d let us go, and if there would be a movie. Christian won all 3! Arrival was 9:15, release was around 12:05, and no movie. Phew!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 51: Monday, Monday....

It's getting close to graduation - today we had to fill out how many guest we were going to have so they can prepare! However, things 'round here are getting a little more serious in terms of decisions around who gets to graduate. Scary prospect that after going through all this, it's 100% Bikram's discretion whether or not you get the certificate.

One night last week, we had to sign out after a late-night Bikram lecture as the number of people signed in did not correlate to the number of butts in seats. Turned out 6 people had signed in and left. A lot of us were really kinda miffed, because we are all doing this thing that is hard in a fair and honest way; in this case, at 12:30 a.m. we had to stand in a line of 275 people to sign out. Lame. There was no formal punishment it turned out, but they are all now being watched like hawks. No one will try that again.

Another phenomenon that took hold last week was the "mosh pit" in the yoga room in front of the podium. To graduate, you have to have a strong practice, so anyone who has been struggling with their postures in a significant way, or with their stamina, (or who have a bad attitude...) have been put up there "until further notice". There is some good in it: Bikram has the podium air conditioned so apparently there is nice air flow!

Those stuggling with dialogue were put onto the proverbial "short bus" and made to do a posture in front of Bikram. He gave feedback, and each was told their graduation was on the chopping block. They won't know if they are going to graduate until closer to the actual date. Mmmm. Uncertainty! What a fun addition to an already tenuous environment. Needless to say, we all feel for those in these groups. If you don't graduate here, apparently a certificate will just show up in the mail in 6 months time. That would suck.

Luckily I am not in any of the aforementioned groups. And, honestly, many (most) of who are acknowledge their need to be. So that part makes it better, still, there are a few people who are like "what the hell?? I don't get it...."

My piece for the talent show got approved!!!!!! I had to make a very, very few edits which I am totally ok with. I did a rehearsal of it for the other participants of the talent show and it went over well, so my fears of being lame are abetted - though, I still may end up looking like a bit of an ass, but that's always a risk when you put yourself out there!

Today's morning class was better for me than the afternoon. I was in the dreaded "up front" rows 1-3 and though I did ok, it was no picnic. Just tried to stay in the moment and be glad it was over. I was just noticing that my stomach wasn't sucked in during Pranayama when Birkram said, "You, Your fat stomach sticking out, it's supposed to be sucked in. What are you, pregnant?? I HATE LAZY PEOPLE." And then when on and on. You just let these things roll off you though, or else you'd feel bad all the time. I was struggling to catch my breath for some reason and just hadn't quite gotten my form together, and so I got it together and just moved on. Just the way it is sometimes!

Bikram talked tonight about the body, mind, and spirit connection. I was beat though, and admit to not getting a whole lot out of it since I was trying to keep awake. We got done early too at 11:45 or so! Exciting!

Pix: The roof of the yoga room above; Class #76 & #77; Bikram.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

DAY 50!

Holy shit. 50. of 64. Whoa. 19 yoga classes to go. 9 Full days, with one Saturday...who knew!

This week I took on a few of my patterns - which Christian helps me be aware of (clearly he's been feeling much better! :) in a supportive way. Last week, I gave up:
  • My lavender-scented washcloth (I was, during rough classes, wiping my face with it. Inappropriate!)
  • My Orange Tower of Shame - no more icy lime goodness for me.
  • Caffeine - largely in response to my, er, intestinal distress, I thought any dehydrating factor needed to go. I've never had an issue getting off caffeine, and this was (thankfully) no exception. No headaches, but I sure do like coffee, so I mostly just miss enjoying the taste. For now, decaf black tea with cream. That'll do.
And I added:
  • The Stairs! I've taken the stairs down to yoga a lot, but not until this week did I consistently start taking them UP. I am on Floor 7. But, though I'm not 100% committing to it every time, I'd say I'm at 90% of the time, which is fine. Never hurts to burn a few more calories and get a little more leg strength. I think back to the early weeks of this training and I would've died if you had suggested I take stairs! Now, it's really no biggie.
Eating overall is going good. I am still at about the same weight, but inches are down a little more - of course, not all are inches I want to lose. Most of it is upper body - 2.5 around my shoulders/upper chest; 2.0 around my (every shrinking) boobs (Jill said, "Um, I didn't sign up for that honey." ;) and 2" off my mid-chest. I've long since forsaken my 36C bra (I've been wearing a little cotton white bra around), and expect I'll be squarely into a 34B upon arriving home. Still no sugar during the week, though I have caved for a few M&M's when people have had them in posture clinics or at evening lecture. I definitely eat some sugar on the weekend, especially since I'm working this hard and I like it! I did change up my eating routine this week to address the runs; and had to add the Pedialyte (which is 100 calories and has glucose - but took away my afternoon peanut butter 1/2 sandwich in exchange to balance the calories). Again, (and I'm reminding myself of this too), the goal isn't losing weight, it's staying healthy and strong here! And that I have succeeded in so far!!

Like the class itself, it seems we really are on Spine Twisting Pose. At the end, ready to be done and hurry up so we can move on. The challenge in Week 8 will be staying present! I can already see and feel it now - I'm antsy, wanting to hurry up, fearing that somehow I've held on and I'm going to have some breakdown, and still being semi-excited at that prospect (I am warped, indeed). Focus. Focus. Focus.

Next Friday is the Talent Show! I wrote a little piece to read - it's my list of suggestions to help improve training ;) I'm sure it will be well-received by Craig, to whom it is directed. I got some good laughs, and will of course post the prose here once I've done it for the group. Maybe I'll post a video! We'll see....

Pix: Scotland taking a risk; Ah, Sunday by the pool!; My little vitamin packs; and me & Niki!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day 49: What A Week (7)

This past week was just crazy with intensity. Some good, some bad - but undeniable intensity! Though I didn't have any massive breakthroughs (and I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad about that, so I'll stay ambivalent for now), a few around me did, and I want to tell you about my experience of them in those moments. Just keep in mind it's not like this here every day! It was a week where a lot of stuff bubbled up for a lot of people.

One friend had a breakthrough class during Bikram's killer Thursday afternoon class (the hot one with no air circulating). It was the one where many people left, more than have in ages. In this case, she went to the back of the room because she felt herself getting light headed and needed Pedialyte, and Craig told her to go into the lobby, she said, "No Boss, No." He replied, "Don't you every disobey me again" and then gestured for her to sit down in the room, telling her to stay put there (in the room though) and not return to her mat. But, he walked away and another staff person told her she could (sneaky girl) and so she went back, and then really, really started to break down. Electrolytes off, emotional release, who knows, but she was blacking out, contracted in her hands and could barely walk when Craig had to go and scoop her off her mat at Bikram's direction.

When she went out, this time Craig telling her it was no longer up to her, she said she started to heave and sob in her chest. Craig sat with her and coached her through - told her "these are your demons, and you have to let them out. Run away and they will keep chasing you and you will have to keep running. Just let it go here and now while you're hot and sweaty and ready." She said the noises were something she had never heard out of herself - not a cry, not a wail - more guttural and unlike anything she'd experienced before. When she started to 'sober up' Craig saw it, and told her "No, don't think. Don't push this away. This is it!" She continued to let it come out, and felt an enormous emotional release; and she was not sure of and not even needing to put a label on it or understand it afterwards, which I found super impressive. To me, honestly, she looked like a different person and I was really excited for her; and the story made me love this particular aspect of Craig more than I did before.

Another one was a girl who had an amazing class on Thursday - the same (horrible for many) class referenced above - she said "Afterwards, I was vibrating!" Since I too had had a good class amongst many who didn't, she and I had talked about our experiences. Then on Friday morning, I practiced near her for Zeb's class (with Craig at our heels), and at the end, Zeb played a song ("Hooked on a Feeling") which made her start to cry. And then sob. And sob. She was ok, it was totally emotional but she did start to cramp up a little, though Pedialyte again saved the day. She later told me, "I don't know why, but that song made me think of all these things I've done wrong and question 'why did i do that!?' but at the same time I felt it all fly out of my chest, I felt free of it all!" And while we rubbed her cramped up hands and feet, she just kept smiling as big as anything and saying, "I feel so free. I feel so free!"

Big stuff. Especially when my only notable excitement this week is that my rash didn't spread.

I can't help but be amazed by these stories and others like them, especially when you actually bear witness to these turning points, these beautiful moments of growth - sometimes subtle, sometimes massive spurts. This is why I love this yoga. You don't have to come here and do this crazy thing to have life-changing impacts. But in this concentrated environment, it's pretty profound to watch and absorb the minutia of change and growth. Not everyone is guaranteed an overt moment like the ones I've described above - but whether it's big or small, we are all in some kind of motion here!

Class #75! Dinner out at Zibu, the "MexTai" place - it was Asian, which was exciting! Not exactly the Thai food I know and love, but gorgeous presentation and stunning atmosphere.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Day 48: Friday of Week 7!

Friday. Oh thank God. We are all so....done. Already it's clear that it'll take some work and focused effort to really get it up for these last two weeks. That said, isn't it crazy to hear the words last two weeks!?!? How did that happen?!

Friday morning we got a big treat in that Zeb, one of my favorite staffers, finally taught a class. (He's on the blond one on the left of the microphone in the photo below). He has a stunning voice, and one night in posture clinic he had us stand up and directed us through a few Pranayama deep breaths, and I thought, "Oh man, I want to take his class!" It was worth the wait. Part of the excitement is that he just went through training last fall, and it gave us all hope and inspiration that one could be that good, that fast. I did great in the standing, but had less fun on the floor, which seems to be sucking the energy and life out of me lately. Still, somehow, I remembered to BREATHE and just focused on breathing and being here now - trying not to anticipate the next posture, or how long I had to go, or what I might eat for breakfast. It was a bit of a breakthrough, since often when I have yoga-brain I can't think. It's like I'm trapped in class and can't imagine how in the world I will get through and end up somewhere between antsy and panicked. In this case, I thought, "I could just do the yoga." And my mind responded, "Um, you already are doing that, genius, and how's that workin' out panicky fidgeting lady??" and then a little voice said, "Breathe."

They tell us this all the time. I know this. I tell people to do this. But when you are there, it's hard to actually remember what to do, and for me, on Day 48, I actually remembered at the right time! While I still struggled to a degree, it was way better than if I hadn't thought of that. Water consumption is still going well, I'm having a Pedialyte (yep, still intestinally distressed) throughout class, and 32oz. of cool, non-icy water.

Bonus: Just as class was starting, I heard the thunk of a teacher's mat going down behind me (I was in Row 12) and it was none other than Craig, practicing on my heels! It was good though, I may have worked a little bit harder but for a time forgot he was there. Perhaps we should all always practice like Craig is at the base of our mats??? (Though it may be a bit.....exhausting) :)

We went to posture clinic after some time in the lecture hall where Joel, master teacher, said his farewells. A good time was had by all (see video bonus post) and some pent up energy was unloaded which seemed to be a group need. I opted not to do my Spine Twist dialogue since I didn't feel wholly prepared, and just chilled out.

Afternoon class was with Bikram. It was decidedly cooler than yesterday's killer class, and he was tough but not too tough. He said it was our best class yet, because he set us up for it: Yesterday he killed us, and today, we work extra hard and have an amazing class. I did ok and only drank about 12 oz. of water. Proof again that it can be done, but I do admit it depends a lot on how hot it is and how well-hydrated I am. I think it's just one of those things that will ebb and flow for me, but I'm happy to have gotten off my orange jug, and thanks to advice from Zeb, and Mary Jarvis' comment, I was inspired (finally) to make it happen!

Friday night....Bikram wanted to show us another film. This one was not as good as Thursday night's, and I opted to just sleep. Christian & Todd went to the floor, opening up extra chairs for Jennifer & I to use. I got some good sleep, as well as just checked out for a bit. We were excused around 1:30 a.m., and of course had to be up for 8 a.m. class Saturday, but is what it is!

Oh - one other thing that happened this week that was unexpected and interesting to some of us (annoying to others) was after one of the nighttime lectures, we had to sign OUT. Apparently, the lecture hall was fashioned with the exact number of chairs as there are students. Well, once lecture started, chairs were empty - implying people signed in, and then left. This of course is a "compromise of integrity" (a Craig-ism), and well, kinda cheating, no? So, the ever-reliable rumor-mill confirmed 6 people attempted this ploy. No one knows who, or what happened to them, but they didn't have to make us sign out again, that is for sure!

Pix: Above, another attempt at a full shot of Group #14, but again we were missing someone! Damn ! (Aurelie was not there); Classes #73 & 74; My view at lunch; Joel says goodbye with a Hare Krishna chant (Zeb is on the left, pal and fellow-14'er Luke is on the right); Three boys in tandem do their dialogue, it was a hoot - a dialogue Trio!