Thursday, November 29, 2012

So much love

So I'm home now.  Home.  It is as surreal to me as TT was when I first arrived there.  But, I am settling back in, practicing, getting back to work, and of course teaching.  It is nice to be back home, in our space, seeing everyone, and really feeling the love.  Seriously, everyone from TT, students and teachers alike from my home studio, family, friends, everyone has been tremendously supportive and giving during this entire year and the process of TT.  And of course the husband who picked me up from LA and traveled cross-country with me for an extraordinary week.  He even endured visiting several Bikram Yoga studios and practicing during our trip.

My first class was packed with 48 students this past Monday night, including 1 newbie, the husband, several teachers, and numerous regulars that came out to support me.  I was less nervous than I anticipated that I would be, which was a pleasant surprise.  I stuck to the dialogue, felt more settled once we got to Eagle, and finished class at 87 minutes.  It felt sort of dreamy afterwards, like, "Did I just do that?"  Amazing.

My second class was last night, packed with 43 people this time, several of which had also taken my class Monday night.  It was fun hearing their feedback about the differences from Monday to Wednesday and directly from the source, the students I have known and practiced with.  My teacher-friend also came and I was so grateful to have her there as she was such a huge part of the reason that I ever believed I was capable of TT.  My love for her is endless <3.  I had a few moments on the podium where I thought to myself, "Holy (insert your choice of cuss words), I am UP HERE.  These students trust me to get them through class."  It was that moment that I knew I had already made the best decision of my life to go to TT.  Ushy gushy, yes, but true.  Looking forward to my 3rd class tomorrow and many more.


I share this picture of me and a friend from TT during our last week of training.  It sums up the emotions from training for which there are no words.  NOTE: We were allowed to take pictures at this point ;)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Last 2 weeks, graduation, and other stuff

I'm sitting in our (me and my hub's hotel room in San Diego) and decided it was time to finally sit down and sum up the last 2 weeks here.  Weeks 8 and 9 were the shortest 2 weeks of my life, packed with more lectures, classes, sleep deprivation, and fun.  It has only been a day since I left LA and it already feels like a century ago.  Graduation happened in a blur and I didn't have the sobbing breakdown that I thought I would.  I guess I cried out all those feelings in classes during week 9.  The last class on Friday night was amazing.  All of us trainees wore black costumes and Bikram said it looked like we were attending his funeral, but he liked it.  The class was filled with energy and we had a disco dance party instead of savasana. 

I have made amazing friends and it is true that BY is a worldwide family and community.  I now have places to visit and stay all over the world from London to Australia.  I am looking forward to keeping in touch with them all, visiting, taking their classes, and growing together as teachers.  It feels strange and wonderful to be able to say that I am a teacher now.  I was supposed to teach my first class yesterday at Bikram Yoga Temecula, but they had some more delays in opening, so my first class is scheduled for Wednesday 11/28 at 5:45pm back at home.  Everything happens for a reason and as they are supposed to.  I am looking forward to being on the podium next week. 

I've had a few people ask me about the TT experience and I can't really seem to answer that question yet.  There are just no words to fully explain it.  I truly do feel bulletproof.  Nothing can get to me.  For now, I am going to enjoy my road trip home with the hubs from LA to Detroit.  We bummed around San Diego yesterday, took a class at BYSD, and are off to the Natural History museum this morning before heading towards the Grand Canyon.  Adventure awaits!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In just 2 short weeks

Week 7 is done?  Crazy how fast this time goes.  75 classes in 49 days and only 21 more to go.  I feel like I could do 21 classes in my sleep!  The yoga, the physical practice, is really the most beautiful part of TT at this point.  Everyone is so strong and focused now, moving together, no one ever really sits down anymore, or leaves the room.  Truly remarkable considering their are 443 of us.  Back at home I always noticed how strong, yet calm, all of our teachers are when they take class, even on those particularly hot and humid Michigan summer days.  I get it (at least a portion of it) now.

This week we continued posture clinics, but put 3 or more postures together as opposed to 1 at a time.  We are the first TT group to do this (tooting our collective horn).  It was fun to see people's nerves start to fade away, personal growth, and get a glimpse of what their first class might look like.  As for me, I'm scheduled to teach my first class on Sunday at 10am, the day after graduation, at a friend's new studio which is opening here in California.  Whoa!  I'm nervous, excited, and every other emotion about it.

Bikram threw us a Halloween party this week on Wednesday night, complete with food and dancing.  Most everyone came in costume and danced their hearts away until about midnight.  It was a nice break from the routine of TT.

I had my ups and my downs this week, but have decided to just observe the downs, learn, and move on.  It is hard to believe that I will be certified in just 2 short weeks.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

From Half-Moon to Spine-Twist

It is the end of week 6.  Week 6!  Time is going by so fast.  I have delivered dialogue for all postures and the last few from my group will finish up on Monday.  It feels so good and I am actually looking forward to continuing posture clinics next week, but with the goal of stringing multiple postures together.  Apparently this is something new for our TT session since we finished PC early in the game.  So, go us. 

I am feeling bittersweet about the end being so near because there is nothing quite like this 9-week long yoga bubble.  I will definitely miss my yoga family here, but I know that we are a worldwide family and are always connected.  It is cool to think that I now have family from London, Paris, Mexico, Australia, and all over the US and Canada!  I plan to do some traveling and visiting whenever possible.

I am scheduled to teach my first class at Bikram Yoga Temecula on Sunday 11/18 at 10am, the day after graduation.  I might as well get my feet wet straight away.  Then, the hubs and I will continue driving east, road-tripping our way home.  I'm looking forward to spending a week together before going back to real life.

On a different note, I reached some new points in my practice this past week.  On numerous occasions I could not feel my body in class.  I knew I was holding my foot, pulling my leg in, heart racing, etc. but could not feel it!  I spoke with some others about this and concluded that this phenomenon is due to the meditative nature of the practice, especially when uber-focused and pushed beyond the edge/limits.  This practice continues to amaze me.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week 5

So Week 5 comes with fables and tales from previous graduates, blogs, and horror stories that include emotional break downs, physical challenges, etc.  Also referred to as being hit by the yoga bus. 

Monday: Up at 7am.  Got a head and chest cold over the weekend which has been circulating around TT, and I was still fighting it off.  This made me lethargic, sleepy, and a little crabby.  But, after classes I felt better because it drained my sinuses.  Posture clinics night and day.  I delivered Triangle and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee poses; both went fine and my nerves lessened.  After PM clinic they told us that we could go watch a movie with Bikram or go to bed, it was our choice.  So, I went to bed at 11:30pm and was grateful for a full-night's sleep to get over this cold.

Tuesday: Up at 7am. Struggled in AM class because I was too much in my head.  I did not deliver Tree and Toe Stand in posture clinic, but that was ok as I was feeling tired from the head cold.  PM class with Bikram was challenging in a different way because there were news cameras filming us for an upcoming special on NBC's Dateline (airs in late November sometime).  It was awkward and difficult for me to focus on my practice with a camera in my face, but I got through it.  Posture clinic was great; I delivered Tree and Toe Stand as well as Wind Removing Pose, no problems, and was able to ignore the nerves that were trying to throw me off.  In bed by 12am and thankful again for a full night's sleep.  Cold nearly gone!

Wednesday:  Up at 7am.  AM class was amazing and the teacher (wish I could remember her name) reminded us of why we are all here: to spread this yoga and help people save their own lives.  Posture clinic: Cobra Pose and it went fine.  I felt like I stumbled some, but must have been my own internal critical voice because everyone else stated that they didn't notice or see that.  Fake it until you make it, right?!  PM class was a face-melter, HOT.  It was like a yoga graveyard outside of the yoga room after class and I had to step over many souls as they laid there recovering.  I held to my goal though of not leaving the room and I was able to hold every posture.  I have not sat down since the first week; going strong.  PM lecture with Bikram about the 4 stages of life until about 12am, then we started a Bollywood movie "Joddha Akbar."  Now what you must understand about Bollywood movies is that they are long, very, very, very long with an actual intermission.  The movie played until 4am.  Yes, 4am.  It was a good movie, and surprisingly enough I stayed up through the whole thing.  If you fall asleep, the staff come around and make you wake up anyway, even those hiding under their chairs to steal a nice 20 minute nap.  Bed around 4:15am.  Nitey-nite.

Thursday: Up at 7:15am (I slept in since I was up so late).  Emmy Cleaves teaches every Thursday morning here at TT and she is notorious and well-known for her teaching style, which basically is that if she says do something, you do it dammit or you and possibly the entire rest of the class will suffer for it.  She is Bikram's most eldest teacher; I think she is like 86 years old or something like that.  I did well in class, held all postures, and I walked out of class feeling good about my practice, myself, etc.  Screw sleep, right?  Who needs it.  Lecture with Jon Burras, a mind-body therapist, after class and mashing my face with food.  He lectured on fascia, which is a very interesting piece of the human anatomy and has everything to do with Bikram Yoga.  Many people were sleeping during lecture, being crabby, huffing and puffing, and you could feel that energy in the room.  PM class with Bikram.  Holy cuss words.  It was 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  I was drenched in sweat before Bikram even walked into the room.  I got through Breathing, Half-Moon, Eagle, and then in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee I collapsed in tears.  I thought: What the hell is happening, who am I, is this real, sobbing, sobbing, sobbing.  I stood back up, held the 2nd set while sobbing, held 1st set of Standing Bow and collapsed again in tears, straight to my mat, no holding it back that time.  I made eye contact with a fellow trainee who was behind me and she gave me an encouraging and supportive smile which I will forever love her for.  I sat and then got back up for Balancing Stick and made it to Tree Pose until I collapsed again.  Finally Savasana.  I stared at the ceiling, dying, didn't even notice when they did Wind-Removing, attempted Fixed-Firm, but back to my mat again.  I made intimate contact with the ceiling and my ice water.  Finally, I get up and finish strong with Final Stretching, Spine Twist, and Final Breathing.  Savasana.  What just happened?  It was an even larger yoga graveyard this time.  Even during class there were many people falling over, bursting into tears, passing out, and running out of the room.  I got back to my hotel room and processed this experience and considered the irony that just prior to class we had a lecture on how emotions are stored in the fascia of muscle tissue and can be released.  Hmmm.  PM lecture with Bikram: He discussed the 8 steps of yoga (Ashtanga) and I listened but wasn't able to take notes like I usually do as I was still thinking about my experiences in class and longing for sleep.  He let us go around 12:30am and finally at 1am I got to sleep.

Friday: Up at 7am.  AM class with Julianna from Rhode Island, who is quite possibly the most up beat, cheery person ever.  Nice, relaxing class which was much appreciated after last night.  Lecture part 2 with Jon Burras, which focused more in detail on how fascia is related to the emotional body of humans, the chakras, and the heart.  He discussed far too much for me to recap here, but it is an immensely fascinating topic and if interested, like I am, check out his book called "Back to Nature."  His ending statement touched me as his recommendation was to practice (yoga) from the heart, live from the heart, and see how that affects not only your life but all of the lives around you.  Love.  PM class was a good strong, TT class.  It was still HOT, but not like last night.  I fed ice cubes to by 2 group buddies who were on either sides of me toward the end of class; that's how TT rolls.  The teacher, beautiful Cynthia, announced to us after class during final Savasana that we have the night off, but to BRING IT on Monday with our dialogue.  My buddy next to me burst into tears of joy and I held his hand.  Life here is very bonding and intense at times, but also very loving and accepting.  The night off!  My roomie and I hung out with a visiting teacher that used to teach back at our home studio then headed off for dinner and grocery shopping.  Shopping done before Saturday is like winning the lottery around here, seriously.  Bed at 11:45pm!

Saturday: Up at 7am.  AM class with Michon McGill who is on staff here the whole 9 weeks so it was fun to see the teacher side of him.  It was an amazing class.  He mixed his own brand of humor, which I personally love here at TT, in his class which made it fly by.  I felt for those having to stay for Team Saturday (2 classes back to back on Saturday, due to forgetting to sign in or other various breaking of the rules).  But, now I am looking back on WEEK 5 and am grateful for it.  It breaks you, holds you, and allows you to prove to yourself just what you are truly capable of.  It makes me think a lot about Jim Kallet's discussion about latent energy and that it exists within us all.

Long post today, but had to make up for missed time with blogging as well as to honor Week 5 and this process of teacher training.  Now, time for a restful weekend.  Xoxo.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


What an amazing day.  It started off like any other, 8:30am class, shower, eat, etc.  But, posture clinic with Balwan was absolutely wonderful.  He has this intuitive ability to look into each trainee's personality, soul, character, whole being and give them constructive, honest, and deserving feedback that they can use.  Myself included.  He taught me an immense amount about about myself in 5 minutes by making me get comfortable with projecting my voice, commanding the students to do the poses, and believing in myself that I am the teacher, no longer the student.  I delivered Eagle, then had to deliver it again with all 39 other trainees, Balwan, and a visiting teacher as my students.  I had to PROJECT my voice as if I was teaching the students in the next cabana over.  Amazingly enough the nerves started to fall way because something about being commanding gave me confidence.  Watching the other trainees go through similar transformations was great and put a smile on everyone's faces.  Followed that up with an awesome yoga class at 5pm with Lisa from San Antonio.  She is pregnant, and not just a little pregnant.  She is radiant and inspired the whole class to move together, support one another, and gave us confidence that we can all do this.  Heading off to anatomy class now with a smile and a renewed sense of why I came here in the first place. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week 3, where did you go?

Week 3 is just about over; 1 more yoga class tomorrow morning.  That is 30 yoga classes in 3 weeks.  This week we had anatomy classes every day and posture clinics started.  I was super nervous during standing back bend and hands-to feet pose, but did much better with awkward.  Everyone is very encouraging and supportive during posture clinics, both the trainees and the teachers.  This week was fast, super fast, busy from 7am to 12am every day: wake up 7am, 8:30am yoga class, shove food in my face, 12:30pm posture clinic and/or lecture, 5pm yoga class, shove some more food in my face, 9pm anatomy lecture, 12am bed.  I can see why they say to enjoy every minute of these 9 weeks because they are flying by.

Had my first emotional class yesterday evening, or as they call it, I was "hit by the yoga bus."  Sobbed during spine strengthening series, but still got into and held the postures.  If I'm gonna be a cry baby, I'm gonna be a cry baby in the postures :)  I feel fortunate that the universe saw fit to let me have these moments in one of Jim Kallett's classes, who is by far one of the most radiant instructors I have ever had.

Study time by the pool