Advanced class!!! I did it, first off. Finally, after wanting to try it for a long, long time, I did the Advanced Series and lived to tell about it!
Secondly, I did it with Christian, which was so cool since we did our first Bikram class together back in September of 2006...he recently went to Jason Winn's weekend advanced workshop, so he was excited to get to do it again so soon. Anyhow, it was just 6 of us, 3 who have done it extensively, and Kylie, from Brisbane, who was also doing it for the first time. Can I just say: IT WAS SO COOL. Teisha and Dale taught, and were so generous and supportive of us all, giving us time to really try each one - we took the better part of 2 hours, when 90 minutes is the goal - super kind of them to take the time though, I appreciated it so much, because I've wanted to do it for so long.
Here's why, and Christian had said this and I'll second it: You get to feel like a beginner again. That is, you're doing postures thinking, "No way in bloody hell will I EVER be able to do this one. No way. No way." I remember feeling that in the beginning series back in that fateful first class with Nina, and guess what, I can do all of the Beginning class relatively respectably. Second, it was crazy to experience FEAR again - there were a good handful that I could feel my fear stopping me. I think fear in yoga is normal, at first, it might even be wise - your body is telling you that perhaps you aren't strong enough to do something safely. But, usually, I think fear is just that: Fear. And I felt it! Crow, I'm always worried I'll break my wrists. Headstand - what a different view of the world. Handstand? Hopeless....for now. And you know my takeaway in terms of my own practice? Joy! Joy to have a new set of challenges, material to work on, to practice, to grow into.
And as a teacher? What better way to re-visit the experience my students are having when they show up for their first Bikram class. To relate to how they feel when they first see someone do Fixed Firm when their knees are screaming; or when they look at Eagle with utter confusion, and you can see that look on their face that says, "No f'ing way, man." Such a good reminder of all of these things - that it's easy for the teacher to say "Don't scare" but you know what? It's still scary sometimes!!! And overcoming fear, learning patience as your body slowly grows into a posture, whatever it is for you - it's your practice - and it's good for me as a student and a teacher to be reminded of all this. Now, if someone in Seattle would just please please please start holding advanced!!! (We're working on it in a grass roots kinda way, but no luck yet :(
From there, Christian, Kylie and I had lunch and I headed out to the airport, got to Houston, and then hopped on my flight back to Seattle.
Final thoughts on the trip?
- I'm so glad I went back, esp. while training is still in Acapulco. It was important for me to revisit my experience in the same environment/space I was in as a student. (It's rumored to be moving again, to Palm Springs is the word on the street).
- I loved it! I loved supporting the students as a peppy visiting teacher and hopefully providing a little relief/support to the hard-working staff.
- Oh, and I did get a good appreciate for that too, the staff and how incredibly hard their jobs are too. I figured and always felt that they must be exhausted too, and indeed, it's true. Those are some hard jobs they signed up for.
- It was great to get to take 11 classes from senior teachers, as well as getting to do advanced.
- Posture clinics were super fun to do, and helped me revisit the dialogue myself, and re-commit to some things I'd drifted from already.
- It was fun to be a teacher, have choices, visit and talk to other teachers and experience the whole thing from a different point of view.
- How was it compared to my training? Again, I don't think you can compare. I think there have been some really positive changes made, and at the same time, I can't imagine going through training in a way different from what I experienced. I am sad for this gang not to have Craig, who for me was the person who pushed me on and off the mat in a way I will always be grateful for; but that said, people get what they need and I expect the folks in training now are getting what they need.
- I enjoyed my Huevos Rancheros at the buffet everyday, I cannot tell a lie.
I'm excited to get back in the hot room as a teacher - I've got 8 classes this coming week which will be great! I head to yoga-less Arkanses in about 10 days with Jill, and we're there for 10 days - so that will be a total yoga break and that will be ok. I've been hauling ass on the yoga since September 1st, and it's been great, but a little time away always makes the heart grow fonder for it, at least in my case :)
Hit your mat soon if you haven't lately!!! :)
p.s. A few favorites heard this week in classes....
"Time is over."
"Think of it...."
"All your life you pull someone else's leg, now you learn how to pull your own heels..."
"Get your f'ing hips DOWN."
And one last thought - I really didn't remember Bikram himself using so much of the dialogue, verbatim. Over and over in his classes this week I was shocked and surprised at the amount and detail of the dialogue coming out of his mouth. With added color, of course :)
Pix: Christian & I after Advanced; and a few final images of the pretty sunshine in Mexico, and random shots from TT, including Chunky & Kimi, the resident Golden Retrievers; Todd with Orange Jug; and me and BJ, who practices at my home studio and is kickin' ass and takin' names at training!