Sunday, June 22, 2008

Going to Training? Part 1 of 3: My Final "What to Bring" List

Note: Read the comments after reading this post. Christian added his thoughts, and others have asked questions I've answered there. So, be sure to check'em out.

Disclaimer: I tend to be (overly) uber-prepared girl and often opt for that approach over being super-simple. So take this for what it's worth and decide for you what is best!


Here it is! The Final "What to Bring" post. Be sure you consider your own interests and hobbies; and of course, ditch those items that lend to my interests and not yours. If you want to know "Why that?" just comment and I'll answer back *in the comment section* so check back there for a response. If I forgot anything, let me know! Also, consider I got made fun of a lot for all I brought, but many of those people ended up seriously praising me when I had the exact thing they needed after they humbly came and asked :)

You can see my original posting of what to bring here. Now then, yeah, I over-packed a little but there were a lot of things I was so happy to have along. Before you go to the list, here are a few thoughts:

MVP: The Britta Pitcher
In my opinion, the single best thing I brought was the Britta Pitcher. The water in the hotel is fine, really, but the taste is odd. The Britta made it taste great and gave another round of filtering. We used it and avoided slugging suitcases full of bottles every weekend. You are so tired, and using a chunk of your weekend to haul water just seems like a lot. Christian and I each kept a couple big water bottles in our fridge and refilled regularly so we were always ready for class.

MVP Runners-Up:
A small hot water kettle like this one (not technically allowed...but...tea, instant soup, etc.) - also was handy to fill the Britta, which was too tall for the bathroom sink; the power strips; good, sturdy flip-flops or sandals that can get wet.

Also, EAR PLUGs - Bikram plays movies at a deafening level, and typically until all hours of the morning. That said, the ear plugs just take the edge off and make the whole experience much more comfortable.

Wished I'd Had It:
  • A small pillow for sitting on during posture clinics, or a camp chair thingy (the pillow would be less invasive though, and handy for movie nights)
  • A pair of noise-canceling in-ear "earbuds" - sometimes I'd chill out before lecture listening to music, but my lame iPod headphones let a lot of noise in. Try Shure earbuds or something like that.
  • A quiet, insulated water bottle.
  • Oh, and a massager - the pain...oy
  • More cute clothes (I assumed we'd be doing posture clinic on the sweaty yoga room floor as in the past, and left most cool clothes home...and felt dumpy on the weekends especially); jewelry (I left almost all home, but it was only banned in the yoga room, not the rest of the time as I'd thought).

Another notion on food - I paid a lot ($150) to bring a second suitcase, mostly full of food which I cheerfully shared until I realized I was going to run out of things I was needing and relying on. Then it was hard to say no, when I'd said "be my guest" to that point. That said, I wished I'd had a Luna Bar for every afternoon, but I ran out because I kept giving them away to people at lecture and in my group...and then was bummed when I had to eat peanut butter toast instead; I shared my coveted organic Tamari almonds and a few others got addicted to them then I had to switch to ghetto nuts from Wal-Mart. When you calculate the cost of that extra bag, them were some pricey bars and nuts! So, my advice is to bring what you need for yourself, plus a little to share, and be firm that you need the rest for yourself. I'm not at all sorry I shared! I love to share. I just ended up not getting my own needs met in deference to others, and that didn't feel very good, especially on days that were rougher than others. To be clear, it's just something I'd do differently, not a regret. So, take care of you first, and if you plan to take care of others too, just pack extra so you can share! (er, perhaps Jenn needed to practice a little bit of non-attachment in this area, huh? :)

That said, there is plenty of food at the Wal-mart and Mega...but good luck finding any sort of "bar" - they had lame 80's style granola bars and these weird ones that tasted like graham crackers...there are no Power Bars or anything remotely like that. Bring'em. Seriously.

Some Other Advice...

, was by my account, cheap - $1oish/week - and that is way cheaper than loads of LuLulemon and Shakti outfits - so the old adage of having 11 outfits really wasn't necessary - I'd say having at least 6 would make life easier, and if you're down with handwashing, go for it - I was more interested in minimizing effort/saving time so I just let them do it for me 2x/week. Now, some folks on a super-tight budget would go to the laundromat by Wal-Mart and spend several hours to save $7. It basically comes down to what's more important to you personally: Your time, or your money? I cheerfully spent that money each week!

Consider Electrolyte Capsules that you take like pills over fizzy drink thingys or big plastic bottles of stuff - it seemed having to lug Gatorade and/or Pedialytes was a pain for most people unless they were uber sick/struggling (where it made perfect, important sense). Even Emergen-C's require water, mixing, etc. I opted to take capsules. They have the same ingredients as most of them (though, without sugar/calories), and found them portable and easy. I brought 9 bottles for the 9 weeks, took 12/day (3 before, 3 after each class). It was easy and seemed way less of a hassle, assuming you're generally healthy and feeling ok...I did use Pedialyte + extra Vitamin C when I got a little sick, in addition to the electrolytes. But otherwise, they worked great. (There's a pic of the brand that I used).

Totally Did Not Need
yoga mat wipes, 2 small hand towels; electric egg cooker (hard/soft boils & poaches); dried onions; My pillow (they had nice pillows, tons of 'em); slippers (too hot); most socks; multiple PJ's - one was enough; heating pad wasn't used, the ice bag only once, but it was good to have. A lot of long-sleeve shirts that were heavier. I didn't really use the voice recorder but was glad I had it.

This is a packing list for Bikram Teacher Training in Acapulco, Mexico!

Note: Do not take green! No green clothes inside or outside the lecture room. Also no green mats or water bottles, notebooks, or bags/backpacks.

Yoga Stuff

  • 1 Mat (I gotta new, cool one)
  • My Dialogue (printed and my CD of it in mp3)
  • 6-11 Yoga Outfits (6-11 bras, 6-11 shorts, 6-11 headbands, hair elastics for pig-tails)
  • 1 Regular water bottle, and consider an insulated water bottle for ice water that is quiet (unlike the Orange Towers of Shame, which were like maracas) :) Believe me, so many people there eschewed ice at home, but it got them,, through the rough parts in decent order. I'm not an advocate for ice in 'real life' but there, though many shamed us, the ice really made a difference in the beginning especially.
Kitchen Stuff
  • Britta Water Pitcher & 3 extra filters
  • Mini electric kettle, 3-cup (plastic)
  • Mini-French press
  • Can opener
  • Knife to cut limes + baby cutting board
  • Small spatula
  • Small plastic containers (gladware) with lids for lugging snacks around (small) and storing any food leftovers/or things I make (tuna salad, egg salad...) or for stealing from the buffet (sandwich size) :)
  • Sponge for dishes (one with the handle you fill with dishsoap is great) & dishsoap
  • Your favorite dry goods and canned goods (if you're picky)
  • Protein Powder
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix (one salty/one sweet)
  • Jar of mayo
  • Canned tuna
  • Dried cranberries
  • Crackers
  • 2 cases of Luna Bars or your favorite health bar (60; more if you want to share with others)
  • Teabags
  • Ground coffee
  • Other "just add hot water!" items - soup packets, oatmeal..
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Favorite chocolate bars :)
Regular Clothes
  • 2-4 pair of shorts/crop pants
  • 3-4 t-shirts - not too heavy, ideally cotton blends (1/2 performance, 1/2 casual)
  • 5-8 tank tops/sleeveless shirts (1/2 performance, 1/2 casual) - lived in these!
  • 2 pair of jeans (one nicer, one casual)
  • 2 skirts (or more, I'd wished I had more)
  • 2 long-sleeve shirts (1/2 performance, 1/2 casual)
  • 1 light jacket
  • 2 hoodies (1 lightweight, 1 heavier)
  • 1 cute utilitarian sweater/cardigan
  • 2+ bathing suits...or more :)
  • 1 bathing suit cover up (you can buy a sarong on the beach, or a coverup at Walmart easily)
  • 3 regular bras
  • 10+ undies (extras were was hot there, so often I'd switch after yoga, etc.)
  • 2 pair little white socks
  • Pajamas (1 lighter material, it's hot there! you do have AC)
  • 1 pair of black socks
  • 1 pair fluffy socks for movie nights. That room can be cold.
  • 1 pair sturdy flip-flops or sandals that can get wet
  • 1 pair pumas/sneakers
  • 1 pair nicer/non-workout type sandals
  • 2 pairs shoes for looking nice (dinner/graduation)
  • 2 dresses (graduation/dinner on saturdays?)
  • A couple cool shirts for with jeans and skirts
  • Non-workout hairbands/accessories
The Rest...
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, soap (bar), shower gel, face wash; lush shower bar); Exfoliating gloves, foot scrubber
  • Razor and replacement blades
  • Make-up (mascara/eyeliner, eyeliner sharpener; lip gloss, eyeshadow, baby perfume)
  • Face lotion with sunscreen
  • Powder (chafing happens)
  • Optional: body lotion, foot lotion, hand lotion (it was too hot and I would be too slick in class if I used it was for weekends only)
  • Lip balm (with sunscreen)
  • Feminine hygiene supplies (bring your favorites, they have different brands there...and I had 3 full-on periods in 9 prepared for anything)
  • Tweezers, nail clippers, nail file (emery board)
  • Deodorant (lots! again, they have different brands there, but one big one got me through)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste (2 tubes if you're brand-picky like me), floss
  • Contacts, contact case, contact cleaner, re-wetting drops; back-up eyeglasses
  • Jewelry (for off-times; NO jewelry at all is allowed during class)
  • Hair bands/barrettes
  • Hat for inside if you like hats/hat for sun
  • Sunblock lotion; hand sanitizer/ antibacterial wipes (these were used only when I was sick, or people around me were coughing or snotting on everything)
  • Sunglasses
  • Blow dryer (the one in my room was lame); curling iron; hair brush
  • Tape measure
  • Laundry bag
  • Ice bag
  • Two 3-prong power strips + one 3-prong small extension cord
  • Computer/Macbook, anextra battery + charger
  • Ipod Nano & charger
  • Cell Phone/Iphone & charger
  • Camera/charger and USB cord
  • Voice recorder (to record classes), instructions, AAA batteries
  • JBC iPod player for room (this was awesome, to be able to listen to music in the room)
  • A few non-yoga books/magazines
  • Office supplies (bring a couple notebooks you like if you're picky, otherwise Wal-mart has them & pens for notetaking in classes, post-it's, index cards, highlighters, small scissors, paper clips, tape, blank CDs (for sharing files and photos with folks!))
  • Bikram's 2 books (he'll sign them, and good for reference)
  • Acapulco guide book
  • Mexican Spanish phrase book
  • Pics of my honey/family/kittens (it was nice to have touches of home)
  • ID/Passport/Credit Card/Cash
  • Eye shade and ear plugs (roommate)
  • Woolite; tide-to-go/oxy-clean stick
  • Beach bag, shoulder bag/back pack; purse or bag for going out
  • Massage ball or mini massager or something like this of some sort (or all of them) People will beg to borrow it! and at times, I just needed something to loosen a tight spot up, and I had a small massage ball, but a mini massager or acupressure gizmo would've been a life-saver.
  • General Stuff (advil (bring A LOT), tylenol (bring a GOOD AMOUNT), ammodium, nightquil gelcaps, cold/sinus pills, benedryl, tums, pepto bismal; nasal spray; cough drops; throat spray)
  • All of your RX's; pill box (really, the days blur together, this will ensure you don't miss any doses)
  • General "first aid kit" (bandaids, neosporin for little cuts/scrapes/blisters, hydrocortisone cream for the heat rash, ben-gay for sore muscles)
  • Thermometer
  • Bug spray
  • Portable kleenex (1 or 2)
Jenn's magic formula little pill packs that I took at lunch and dinner:
  • Electrolytes (duh.)
  • Calcium (joint health)
  • Multi-vitamin (general health)
  • Vitamin B (nerve health)
  • Tumeric (joint health)
  • Potassium (electrolyte)
  • Glucosine (joint health)
  • Vitamin C (add'l taken only when I was sick)
I used mini-pill baggies and made them up each weekend for the week (7 labeled for lunch, 7 marked dinner)...otherwise, I'm not sure I'd have been so religious about it. They were portable and easy. I have no idea what it would've been like without these things, but I do know that with them, I did pretty well!

Let me know if you have any questions, or any suggestions!


Christian said...

Jesus that is a big list. But yes it was great to share a room with someone who brought most of Seattle to Acapulco.

I totally agree with you on the highlights. Britta, and water kettle and ear plugs.

For those of you who believe in simplicity, most things are optional. you can pick up almost anything you need at the store. The stores don't have energy type bars that match up to choices here. I missed my balance bars, and was stuck eating granola bars from the 70's for the second half of the training.

As far as electrolytes... the pills worked like a charm for Jenn. I ended up going the Pedialight route eventually. I started with Emergen C. I also used the Media lite pills that staff had. Find a way that works to get your electrolytes in, take them, smile and enjoy not cramping up.

Thanks again to Jenn for all her help in getting me and everyone else through training.


Carola Rodina said...

Jenn, which electrolyte caps didi you choose?

Anonymous said...

So what's the deal with the green? Does Bikram hate it?

I've never heard about this stipulation before (of course, I don't know much about Bikram Yoga - except for all the great info on your blog!!)

my pink toes

Paul said...

There are 2 GNC's in Acapulco. Were they not near the WalMart or CostCo? I found when I was living in Mexico, the GNC's were either in the same building or close-by.

Jenn said...

Hey all!
I added a pic of the electrolytes I used; read Christian's comment as well though.

I'll do a separate post about the green.

No GNC's that we could find. There was a place near the Wal-Mart that sold protein powders though!

Hope that helps for now!

Toddo said...

Here is the chair I used in posture clinic and it was a hot item. As soon as I got up to do a posture / use bathroom someone would jump right into it. Small so you didn't take up a bunch of space and easy to carry around (you can get this at MEI in Canada also or other camping supply stores).

The GNC's are not close to Walmart / Mega. You have to go into town, which is about 20 min taxi and kinda out of the way.

I would add that the basic stuff like toothpaste, sunscreen and other non designer branded toiletries are easily obtained at Walmart / Mega, so don't bring extras of these. Also the basic food stuffs like peanut butter or mayo is also a common item. Might save some bag space and extra fee's buying this local. They also cost less than we would pay at home.

One last point on the stuff you take down and don't want to bring back (for me it was the blender and the collection of food that I didn't consume). Staff arranged to donate our discarded stuff to a shelter. We dropped the unwanted items off at the yoga studio over the last couple of days before we left.

One last thing about Costco I don't think I have seen mentioned. It is just like home, but unlike your local crazy busy store on weekends the Mexican's don't shop there as much. It is not that busy, but they offer the samples on weekends like at home, so a good place to go and graze while you stock up. I didn't have the Brita, so I would make a run every Sunday late afternoon (after a day poolside) to get water and other fluids. A trip to Costco is 5 minutes more than Walmart (you can't walk there) so just ask the van driver from the Bikram shuttle that staff provide the students on weekends to take you there. If you take a cab it is US$5 from the hotel each way.

Toddo said...

A couple of books I read during TT. If you are not tired of all things yoga (I enjoyed getting a break from dialog) and want to spend some time reviewing and getting a deeper understanding of what Bikram will lecture about and the Indian movies are based upon check these out.

B.K.S. Iyengar - Light on Life

Ram Dass - Paths to God Living the Bhagavad Gita

Light on Life covers the topics about the various forms of yoga and the application in your life.

Bhagavad Gita is what the Indian movie Mahabharata is based on, so if you are going to stay up late and watch this and want to know what is going on this book will provide the contextual framework without the need to read the full Gita. Note Bikram is really big on this movie as Jenn has written about, so you will be watching this movie at some point in the wee hours of the night or you will be like the many who hit the floor and tried to sleep : )

Ruth said...

This list and all the comments are invaluable. Thank you so much. How about money? - how much money do you figure is needed. Actually if anyone had an idea of the total cost including training accomodation fee that would be really helpful.

Toddo said...

The costs for the training can be found at Bikram's web site (URL below). They are:

US$6600 for teacher training fee
US$3900 for accommodation
($8000 if you want your own room)

As for daily costs well that would be up to you. You get the brunch included in your package, so dinner is on your own. I found $20 to $30 for room service was typical. If you went down to the lobby and got something at the LA Grill it would run you around the $10 to $15 mark. There is a gift shop that sold soda, chips and candies which many people would treat themselves to for the long lectures and or movies (we got 10% off at the gift shop, but still you paid a higher price than you would at Walmart, etc).

Eating off property on the weekends ran around $20 to $50 depending on where you went. 100% Natural is a local spot that had good food and was very popular with us in TT. It was a big meal for around $20. You will save big when eating out since you can't drink : )

Walmart / Mega / Costco runs also varied depending on what you were eating. Many people only ate in their rooms with the groceries they bought at the stores. The hotel asks you not to do this, but they know it is going on just don't be obvious about it.

The hotel has a cash machine outside of the shops and the transaction fee is the same as the ones off property (not jacked up for a captive audience). Everyone on and off property will take US money, but you will get Mexican in change.

I recall Jenn kicking around a $ amount for the daily average she spent which I am sure she still has.

Toddo said...

Oh ya, one other thing about the internet. I see that most people are in the know about the Presidents Club and the free internet. Good idea and make sure you sign up before you arrive in Mexico (do it now). The main hotel tower (there are three) has WiFi, but it doesn't reach inside most rooms. The main building is open from the lobby to the roof (you can see this in the various photos posted on the hotel or videos found in Jenn's blog) so the signal will travel up to your floor and can be obtained by sitting in the lounge areas on each floor or close to the open area, but unless you have a room on the lower floors you can't sit on your bed in your room and stay connected.

The second tower, where posture clinics are held has internet in the room by plugging in. No WiFi, but you can stay in your room for internet access. I brought a small WiFi base and those on my floor could access the WiFi if they wanted, so you could move about the room or sit outside on the balcony. I often would find Jenn making her blog posts outside my room late at night : )

The majority of TT's are housed in the main tower, so expect that you will have to venture out to the lobby to surf. If you are going to use the net to call home get a headset with mic, so you can easily communicate without the noise from the lobby cutting in.

allison said...

why no green? do you mean green the color or 'green' as in earth friendly products?

Paul said...

The colour green. Bikram does not like it. At all.

Ruth said...

Thanks Toddo _ Great info

Jacqueline said...


First of all, I just looooved your blog, congratulations on becoming a Teacher!

I am going to TT this fall and my boyfriend would like to join me during the last week. Since you had your girlfriend coming over the last week, would you be able to tell me how much it costs? I understand you changed rooms? How long in advance does the hotel have to know?

Thanx! (also for your packing list; especially the Brita!)

Toddo said...

The cost for a second room is $150 (this was the rate for Spring TT) if booked with HQ in LA. You will not get a discount because you are no longer using the original room you will have to pay the full cost of the second room. You can also book directly with the hotel (no discount), but maybe they have a discounted rate that is better.

Also note that you are not allowed to have your guest stay in your Bikram room with you and your roommate even if the roommate doesn't mind. If you have a guest you have to get a second room.

To book the second room using Bikram you contact HQ and they will take care of it. If you are getting your room by way of the hotel or another method you deal with them and like anything if you wait to book the second room there is a chance the hotel could be full. During the Spring TT it was at the end of the tourist season for Acapulco, so the hotel was empty for the most part. We did have some large conventions during the Thursday to Sunday time frame and I think one of them were big enough to sell out the hotel. I don't know if the fall is a busy time for Acapulco. The Fairmont is a popular hotel and one of the nicer ones in Acapulco, so if September / October are popular times to travel to Acapulco then expect the hotel to fill up and book early.

DJ GarGar said...

Hi Jenn,
Your blog is really informative! I had a question: I'm trying to find the dialogue(s) in mp3 format to surprise my girlfriend for her birthday (July 10th)... would it be possible to get this from you ( It would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know what you think. Thanks Jenn!

emily said...

Hi jenn,
Your blog is great and very useful....i'm heading to training in the fall in san diego....
i was just reading up on your vitamin/supplement routine and it sounds like such a great idea. do you remember how many mg's each pill was?
thanks for your help

Emily Deasy


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