Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Work in this Yoga is Never Done

Those of us who practice Bikram Yoga, which is I assume most anyone reading this, know the work is never done. I was thinking about this in my morning practice today - after two days off; one by choice, one due to a 12-hour workday that didn't allow it (both of which I plan to make up by doing doubles). So, I didn't want to go, but I got there. This yoga is like running a marathon- an analogy I used when I was at training. Sometimes, I find I really, really push myself - it's like I'm there with a cattle prod pushing and pushing and pushing. And then days like today, I feel like I'm there to just encourage, give myself a big virtual hug and just let the class unfold, without the pressure of performance or achievement - but just the goal of practice. Period.

These kinds of classes feel very 'young' - like I feel like I'm just a little kid trying hard to do this thing and it's ok, because I'm there and I'm trying and no one is monitoring my success but me. Other times I do feel like a big bad grown up who can and should push to do more and do better, and I'm accountable to the teacher as well as myself in a heavier way. And I guess the point is (yes, I know you were waiting to see if there was one...) you can't be one way or the other all the time - like you can't sprint a marathon, but you sprint portions and then you rest and then you get in a groove, etc. Sometimes, I imagine I'm somewhere in between - just plugging away, doing the yoga, in a groove.

And part of me is anticipating - which is a no-no, I know - but I'm anticipating the torture chamber. The love and hate. That room that didn't win, but pushed me to new places within myself and my practice. That room that allowed me the privilege of teaching this yoga, with confidence and credibility. That room. And this time it's just one week, and I have a choice to be there or not. Going back reminds me of how it feels to revisit a place from the past - where you had a first kiss; or saw someone just before they died; or simply put - where something big happened to you that changed you forever more. And I want to be ready but I know deep down you can't be ready for That Room. You can prepare and set yourself up, but like the yoga itself, expectations are a bad idea in that you just never know what you're going to get. So, for now, I'm practicing daily to be strong and feel as physically and mentally prepared as I can going in. Just a couple weeks now!

Also, I'm re-reading my blog for the first time since I got home from TT. I'm reading it daily along with the students who are there now, and it's interesting and painful and fun to see what and how I experienced things while they were happening. Since returning, it's been easy to romanticize TT to some level, remembering the good and forgetting the bad like you do when you speak of the dead or after childbirth. Re-reading it is like reading an actual daily life diary - reminding you of the realistic aspects and nuances (good, bad, otherwise) of the experience. It's somewhat cathartic and it's especially cool to be doing it now, when I've amped up my practice over the past month. I'm enjoying the current students' blogs too, it's like the same only different...

Teaching is good - I've had a 5-day break this week due to some work stuff that came up, and kind fellow teachers who picked up my classes. I teach again Thursday and next week, then I'm off to visit TT, back for about 10 days where I've packed in a lot of classes, assuming I'll be super-energized from TT, and then off again to Arkansas to see Jill's family. We come back November 1st, whereupon I hope to just nestle into Seattle for the winter - teaching, practicing, working and playing inside while it's gray and rainy outside!

p.s. I updated my Bikram Yoga Calendar application on Facebook back to the beginning of the year (!!!) as I keep all my practices in my Google Calendar. Anyhow, to date this year, I've done 234 classes. That's 21,060 minutes of yoga. Or 351 hours. Or 14.625 days. There was an illness or two in the mix, out of 266 days this year I've only left 32 days yoga-less (though there was this 9-week period of doubles....). Super cool. Makes me want to try for 365 next year, but that's a bit lofty.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall Teacher Training Is in Full Swing!

I've been having fun reading blogs and re-living my own experience at TT. In fact, for the first time since being back, I've been going to back and reading my blog in tandem with the new training class. It's amazing the similarities already, and truly, it's so interesting to me how overall, the experience is kinda "the same but different." People are going through the first week issues - dehydration, adjusting to the room (heat/humidity) and managing their own expectations of their personal experience - which is not easy, because we all want to go and be a rock star and never get sick. It's the same, only different. The group experience, I mean, seems to be the same - of course each person's experience within that group is different. Anyhow, I added a link list of the blogs I've found so far. Feel free to comment with any others!

In other news...

I've been teaching a lot and that's been good and fun. My studio director, who is a non-dialogue senior teacher whose practiced 30 years and taught for 20, is teaching again these days so I've been chasing down his classes and learning loads about my own practice and about the postures. It's been a breath of fresh air, since overall, there isn't much opportunity for mentoring here in Seattle, or at least not that I've found. Anyhow, each class he teaches I get new material for my babbling in between postures, and it's nice to also grow in my own practice to better understand what I'm learning.

Practicing is going well too. I've taken to doing ~2 solo practices each week - one bonus of teaching - access to the hot room whenever you want! So, in between my 6 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., I do my own practice and it takes about 1 hour, 10 minutes. It's been super cool to have time to work on things that in normal classes I can't. I can re-adjust myself and do an extra set or hold it longer. It's like I'm going to a trainer, and then going on my own other days to apply what I'm learning so I can do better next time we meet. It's been great - and right now, I'm able to stay really focused and engaged in it; that may wear off one day, but right now, it's working. Oh, and I put on a (music) CD too. I suppose that is breaking the rules in some people's eyes, but it's so groovy for me to sort of experience the Bikram in a different way once a week or so. I'm on track for my 53-day-ish challenge!

More sooner than last time, hopefully. :)

Photo above: Lucy, Kevin (studio owner) Yu, another teacher, Joyce, Lynn, me and Christian, all from Spring '08 training. Lynn is Lucy's dad - she lives here in Seattle and he was visiting.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Going to Acapulco - Again!

Well, I bought a ticket. I'm headed to visit Teacher Training in Acapulco for Week 3, from October 5 - 12. Todd will be there with me, and I'm super excited. In fact, on Thursday I started what I hope to be 53 practices between now and my trip to Arkansas with Jill on October 22. If you can imagine, there is no Bikram yoga there. :( So, daily until I leave, then doubles while I'm there, and daily when I get back until we depart. Before Acapulco, I'm going to stop over in Houston to visit pal and fellow Group#14'er Marshall - take his class, hang out and all that. I won't be around Seattle for much of October - but I'm excited to re-infuse my yoga enthusiasm!

Teacher training from the angle of being a teacher will be interesting too. I'm hoping to learn even more, as well as help the current students however I can - if only by being a smiling, happy face. :) And will I blog it?? Of course! :)