Bikram Teacher Training Fall 2010

A Yogini's Journey to Become a Bikram Yoga Teacher...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Timing Your Yoga Class.

It's been a month since I taught my first Bikram yoga class. I teach this afternoon at 4pm, and it will be my 13th class.

Not bad at all for someone who works full time and only teaches in their spare time!

Classes are going well. No one's left the room yet. I remember enough of the dialogue to get the students through the postures correctly. In fact, I have had a few students come up to me after class to tell me they appreciate how well I enunciate the words. It helps them understand a little more about what exactly it is they should be doing in the posture.

Sweet!

My first class was two minutes short. Every class since then has gone over by about 5 minutes, usually because we start 5 minutes late. So my timing is pretty good. But while there were many useful things learned at training, one of the things we got absolutely 100 percent no guidance on whatsoever (until the very last night of training when we screamed out, "What about timing?") was how to time your class so you don't go over.

Here is the reality: If you say every single word in the dialogue for both sets and both sides of every posture PLUS give your students exactly a 2-minute Savasana and 20-second Savasanas in between each posture in the floor series... YOU WILL GO OVER.

Not by a little. But by a LOT.

Some people didn't realize this. Actually, none of us did. And those people who were superstars with the dialogue and are intent on saying is 100% verbatim soon learn this.

I'm not saying that the dialogue isn't important. You bet your perfect Standing Bow pose it is! BUT, saying it verbatim every single time is not.

My advice to trainees in the future is:
  • Learn the dialogue.
  • Know which parts of each posture are 100% crucial for students to be able to execute correctly.
  • Don't stress (when you are teaching) over missing small words here and there.
  • Pay attention to students and how they marry their actions to the words. When you say "100% body weight in the heels," are they rolling their weight back into their heels?
  • Always keep studying the dialogue.
  • Wear a watch when teaching! Check in with it! This keeps you on track.
  • Cut postures short if you have to. Don't ever cut Savasanas. You could get your ass kicked by students.
Hopefully this helps.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Always Be Prepared To Teach.

I taught my first back-to-back double yesterday.

My first double-teaching day was this past Thursday... I taught the 6:30am and then came back and taught the 8pm. It felt good, the the day was long... And I didn't get a chance to practice because I worked all day. But I am in the "early days" of my teaching career... And so any chance I get to spend time up on the podium is good for me. And I was prepared to teach a double that day.

Yesterday, I was not... At least mentally.

I showed up at the studio to teach the 9:30am class. I had about 16 students in the class. It went smoothly. I held Standing-Head-to-Knee pose a little longer for them. And I made sure to turn the fans on halfway through class, to get the air circulating. I was finding my own pattern. And when class was done, I changed into my own practice clothes and laid down my mat where I wanted to stand in the room to practice in the next class.

About 20 minutes later, I was picking my mat up off the floor. I wasn't going to be practicing. I was going to be teaching that class.

There was some confusion with the schedule for the studio. We recently switched to an online sign-in and schedule publishing system. The printed schedule (the old method) was slightly different from the digital schedule. And thus, neither teacher listed on the schedules showed up to teach because they each thought the other schedule was the correct one. Easy mistake.

So I ended up stepping in and teaching at the last minute. And I was grateful for the experience. All the dialogue was fresh in my mind. I had over 20 students in the class (my most so far). And the second class was better for me than the first. My confidence boosted, realizing I could teach back-to-back classes.

I very much enjoy teaching Bikram yoga.

I didn't get to practice yesterday, though. But I certainly burned calories in the class teaching. You still sweat a lot.

I plan to always have a spare set of practice clothes in my purse from now on... I never know when I may get a call and be asked to step in and teach at the last second.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 9: DONE!

Hallelujah! It is done and over with! Apologies that it took so long for me to get around to doing this update... Things have been crazy. But here you go!




Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Learned Dialogue?

I know. I know. I haven't posted my Week 9 update. That's because I haven't done it yet. I decided I wanted to wait until after I teach my first class on Thursday morning.

And I am totally freaked out about that.

I truly and sincerely (no fucking shit) can NOT remember the dialogue. At all. All I can recall are the order of each pose, and the Sanskrit name. But the dialogue? Nothing but Sit-Up and Savasana are in my brain. I have been up tonight studying. And I will study tomorrow when I can... But holy shit... My first class won't contain much dialogue. My brain is too full.

It's funny... I look at the words for the dialogue now, and I wonder, "Did I actually recite this in posture clinic? Did I actually do a good job on it, like everyone has told me I did? Because I don't ever recall saying these words."

That's the thing about training and posture clinic... The dialogue truly is only in your short-term memory. People keep telling me, "You'll be fine! The words will flow out of your mouth like diarrhea."

But I think my brain is constipated. Badly.

We'll see what happens in class on Thursday AM... I apologize in advance for the shitastic class, if you attend. But I promise to work hard to get better.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hello. (Pause) My Name Is Heather. (Pause) I Am Your Yoga Teacher.

We are done!!!!!

Well, we still have graduation tomorrow afternoon... But we are officially Bikram yoga teachers now!

I never thought this day would come. And it seems like that first Saturday that I got here and was running around town in a taxi to get my room stocked with food and the essentials was so long ago.

Ahh!

I am very excited and not at all sad to be leaving training. I'm not the sentimental-sappy type though. I was ready to go home and was hanging on by mere threads by the end of week seven. Overall, training is an amazing experience. And I 100% recommend someone go if they love the yoga and want to broaden their knowledge of it. Even if they never intend to teach the yoga... There is tremendous value in going to training just for the hell of it.

Here's the breakdown of all that I have accomplished while here:
  • Strong dialogue delivery for all 26 postures
  • 97 yoga classes
  • NO MAKE UP CLASSES
  • Never yelled at by Bikram
  • Never once left the tent
  • Never cried out of frustration
  • Swore a whole lot... Even invented some new swear word combinations
  • Basic CPR certified
  • Passed anatomy
  • Still like 98% of the people here
  • Only dislike 2%
I will be doing my final video blog update when I get home on Sunday night. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

HUMP DAY!!!

Oh thank you Sweet Baby Jesus on Christmas morning! This show is almost over!!!

We just have...
  • 4 more yoga classes
  • 3 more evening lectures
  • 2 afternoon lectures
  • 1 graduation ceremony
And tomorrow my husband will be arriving! SQUEE! It's been NINE WEEKS since I saw him last. I can't believe how long it's been!

I have loved this experience. But I am ready to get back to the cold city of Toronto.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Posture Clinics... DONE!

Yay! Hooray!

We are DONE with Posture Clinics!

We finished up this afternoon with Ardha Matsyendrasana, the Spine Twist pose. We got all 45 people between the two groups through the posture... Which was amazing as we only usually get like 18-25 people through the dialogue during posture clinics.

Now it is time to go back and begin work on retaining the dialogue in our heads permanently. My first class is in exactly two weeks.

AHH!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tessism: Spring 2011 TT Trainee.

In case you were curious, and I hadn't made it clear, the purpose of this blog is share my teacher training life with others... In the hopes that it may inspire them in some way.

Inspire them to try Bikram yoga... Inspire them to try a 30-day challenge (or a 101-day challenge!)... Or to come to teacher training themselves.

The blog is meant to give a general overview of everything that happens, but not get too specific about everything that happens in the "yoga bubble." When I am happy, you will know it. And you may even know why. When I am having a tough week, you will know that too. And I will share the general reasons why.

This is because I want people to understand that teacher training will bring out a wide variety of experiences and emotions in you.

You will get exhausted.
You will be giddy beyond words for no reason.
You will surprise yourself by what you can actually do.
You will get angry at times.
Etc...

That said, I am beyond flattered with one reader (who started off reading my other blog) who found some of my tips for newbies to Bikram yoga helpful. She's followed me since then... And went on to do a number of challenges. (AMAZING!) And now, she plans on being a part of the Spring 2011 Teacher Training class.


AWESOME!

You can read Tessism's blog here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weak 7: Seventy-Six Classes Down!

We are 76 classes into training! Only 21 classes left!

I can NOT wait to get back to a regular practice schedule. I am so over the constant hydration and food intake you have to do here at training. I feel so bloated.

Anyway, here is this week's update.


P.S. Why do I look high in the still from this week's video? I guess I am a little "yoga stoned."

P.P.S. When I refer to the "assholes at training," I am referring to other trainees. There is one in particular I want to make do Standing-Head-to-Knee 100 times in a row, and force him to hold it for three minutes at a time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Guy Fawkes Day.

It's Bonfire Night. Let's build us a big bonfire and throw some unreasonable view points on the sexes, gays, AIDS and artists in it.

It's a new moon today. How about we burn some sage (as I like to do at the start of a new cycle) and start over with some perspective on what our key audience is?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bikram Yoga & The Female Body.

We've done 67 classes of yoga now that we are at the start of our 7th week here at Bikram Yoga teacher training. That much yoga in just over 30 days does things to your body.
  • Eating a lot.
  • Not eating at all.
  • Peeing a lot.
  • Not peeing a lot.
  • Pooping too much.
  • Not pooping at all.
  • Delayed menstruation.
  • Menstruation coming early.
  • Random colds that show up one day and are gone the next.
Lots of stuff. We've all talked about it here. But for me, all this yoga did my ovulation cycle in a little. It delayed it by about 5 days, and made it really painful.

So painful, I could barely get through class this evening.

I couldn't side bend or back bend... As ovulation pain shows up in my lower backsides. Usually just on one side. It's typically a dull ache. But tonight it was full on cramping, on my right side. I couldn't even do the spine strengthening series.

I am counting down the classes till I can return a normal Bikram practice schedule. (Only 30 classes left.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Group 10!

Just a quick shout-out to my Teacher Training posture clinic group...



GROUP 10!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On The Schedule!

I am writing on this on both my blogs this week. I'm too excited not to!

I now have my first class scheduled! You know, the first Bikram Yoga class I will be teaching... It is scheduled for December 2nd at 8pm, at the studio I practice at in Toronto.

YAY!!!

I never thought when I started this yoga six years ago that I would actually become a teacher and teach it!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tower Of Shame!

Want to see how we roll on a Saturday morning at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training???

Here you go...


Yep. That's me doing Salabhasana (Locust). And, of course, I am rocking the Tower of Shame water bottle.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week Five: Still Alive!

I am so out of it!

Look how tired I am in the video??? We had a lot of late nights. And I completely forgot to mention in the video that Juliana (The Dancing J) came and visited us this week! (Thanks for everything J!!!)

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Best Quotes Overheard In Class.

  • "I called you an 'idiot.' But that's a compliment. You know why? Because I used to call you 'dumb fuck.'"
  • "Push your hips, stomach, balls boobs, dick... EVERYTHING forward toward the mirror!"
I tell you... This is an amazing education I am getting here during these 9 weeks.

Krishna, It Takes TWO To Have A Dialogue.

So, last night was a late night. But absolutely no complaints from me... I got about two hours of sleep and had a tough morning class. But my evening class was one of my best. And then I went to posture clinic and banged out another posture tonight.

So, despite the lack of sleep, I pulled through. However, I still have thoughts from last night's movie running through my head.

We watched about four episodes from the Mahabharat.

I won't go into what all the TV series is about... But I will point out that it is LONG. There are 94 episodes. And the production quality is pretty cheez-tastic. The story is indeed interesting, despite having to read subtitles throughout the whole thing. And then there is Krishna...


Krishna is a character in the movie. And he likes to talk a whole lot. In one of the episodes we watched, it was 99% Krishna talking... And one other character listening.

The only thing that kept running through my head while watching the film was, "I could never date you, Krishna. You're all 'me-me-me-me' and don't let anyone else speak."

I was really sleep deprived. And hungry. And missing the usual star of our films.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

"We Can See Your Balls. Put Them Away."

Please note:

Whether you are male or female, if you wear shorts that do not go right up against your skin - but, rather, hang loosely around your thighs - when you do Standing Bow Pulling pose, we will be able to see whether or not you are wearing underwear.

More importantly, should you choose to NOT wear underwear under your loosely hanging shorts, we will be able to see all your "goods in the hood" contained in the shorts.

So, for men, this means we will be able to see your balls. For women, we'll see whatever you got hanging around down in your shorts too.

So for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus on Christmas morning, please wear underwear. I don't want to inadvertently see what you're packing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

36 Down... 61 To Go.

We are 36 classes in to this teacher training. Which means we have 61 left to do.

That may sound daunting... But the yoga is the easiest thing we do here. It's all the other stuff that we have to learn that is (at times) a bit overwhelming. People are starting to breakdown physically and emotionally here. (Not me, yet.) Postures every day to learn and recite... Tests... Long lectures... A really hot room...

We're not at the halfway point yet. But once we get past week 5 (next week is week 5) things will start to feel better.

Let's just keep pushing forward, and this too will pass!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Week Three: The Week The Cold Came.

Here is you Week Three update.


P.S. Doesn't it look like I have vampire fangs in this starting screen shot? Channeling Bella Swan in "Breaking Dawn."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week Three, Moving Fast!

Week three started today. And we are moving fast.

FAST!

Bikram is out of town for the next two weeks, which means we won't be having late-night lectures and movies. In place, though, we will be going full force with anatomy lessons (with tests) AND doing at least (I imagine) six postures...
  • Awkward
  • Eagle
  • Standing Head to Knee
  • Standing Bow
  • Balancing Stick
  • Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee
EEP!!!!

I know Awkward, all three parts. Eagle is in my brain too. But the rest? Uh... Umm... Uh... Yeah. I will be staying up late to get those stuck in my head.

My goal for tonight is to get Eagle verbatim. I will do Awkward tomorrow, and hopefully Eagle by Thursday at the latest. As soon as I deliver Awkward, I will also get Standing Head to Knee in my head verbatim.

Once Eagle is delivered, I'll add Standing Bow.

Once Standing Head to Knee is delivered, I'll add Balancing Stick... And so on.

The goal for the next two weeks is to stay two postures ahead. But once the fifth week hits, that will all change. I will need to be at least three postures ahead, as we could conceivably have to deliver three postures in one day.

Ahh!!!!

Okay. Time to stop writing and start studying. Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week Two!

Week Two is done! Yay!!!

Here is your update...


(Please excuse the tired-looking face. We didn't get much sleep this week.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Yogi Disco Break.

This is what happens late at night at teacher training...

video

We take a disco break.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Questions?

The week is already half over. HOLY CRAP!

Time is flying by here in San Diego. We are already done with the first part of Half Moon in posture clinic. Who knows what the rest of the week will bring... But I will be sure to review it all in the weekly video update. Which brings me to my reason for this post...

Got any questions for me?

I've had a few people send me questions over the past few weeks. And I have been answering them piecemeal. But I thought they might make for an interesting post this week.

So, if you have questions for me, please leave them in the comments section below. I'll be sure to answer them if I can on Saturday.

Thanks!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week 1: Done!

It's a little cut off, in terms of the framing... But here is my week one update.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First Class With Boss.

He was "gentle." Yet, I found myself dying at various points. And the room wasn't even that hot.

I decided to plop my mat down at the front, since no one was volunteering to go there when I first got in the room. I decided it would be nice to be right in front of the mirrors. And, a senior teacher told me that was the coolest spot in the room.

(I am chicken shit sandwich.)

The humidity was thick when we walked into the room. You could see a slight misty presence to the air around us. And we all juiced up the classroom's new carpet pretty well. In Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Triangle and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee poses we were sliding on the carpet. Things were very slick. You have to work seriously hard to grip the carpet with your toes to keep from sliding.

It probably would also help if I didn't put lotion on my legs today after shaving them. The moisture from the cream made my legs extra slippery. And I have a feeling that is what made the bottoms of my feet super-duper slippery.

But Bikram was very kind today. And very funny. My favorite quote from today's class came when he started singing in the middle of the dialogue:

"Push bush! Push bush! Push the bush! Ants in my pants!"

Am I the only one who interpreted this as naughty?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Victoria: The Creepy Child.

Okay... So, I blogged about this over on my non-Bikram blog. But I think many of us here are weirded out by this...


Some of us have this picture of the little girl in our rooms. I have named her "Victoria." I am thinking about getting something to post over her face, as I currently can not sleep with my bathroom lights off because she scares me so.

We can't take the picture down, because it is glued to the wall. And I find myself wishing I had actually brought my "Wolf Pack" poster from my office just to hang over it. Because at least they could make me feel protected and safe.

And because they are hot.

"Bikram Yoga Is Simple."

Today was orientation day. This consisted of standing around in long lines. Long, long, long, long... As there are 400 of use at this teacher training.

FOUR HUNDRED!!!!

It is the biggest one there has ever been. INSANITY! But, on the "plus" side, this means I can blend into the crowd easily. No sticking out. No getting called "chicken shit sandwich"!

(Though I may have just jinxed myself.)

I finally got to meet a lot of the people I have been Facebooking and blogging with for a while. It was awesome!

We had our first few pep talks in the big tent during orientation this afternoon. The best one was from Jim Kallet, who owns a studio here in San Diego and was instrumental in finding a new home for the teacher training.

Jim said, "Bikram yoga is easy... You have everything you need... And there are three things you need to remember..."
  • No expectations. (Let go of what you think this is supposed to be. Keep an open mind.)
  • No judgements. (Again, an open mind. Forget about where you think you should be. Open you heart, your mind.)
  • Listen. (If all you do is listen, you are in the meditation. You are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Get out of your mind.)
The first week, he said, will be a "transitioning week" for us. They will be "easing" us into the intensity. But I still expect tomorrow night's first class in the hot tent to be insane. I will definitely be nervous. Just being here is crazy.

I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE I AM ACTUALLY DOING THIS!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting Settled.

I am here!

Well, I arrived Friday evening with Chrissy. We quickly dropped our luggage in our rooms and explored the grounds of the resort in a chilly darkness. It took us only a few minutes to find the lecture tent...



And the practice tent...

"Feet together at the line..."

Saturday morning, Chrissy and I joined Bettina for trips to Walmart, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I got a ton of stuff at Walmart, including a rice cooker for my room...


I also hit The Container Store at the huge mall next door to pick up a wooden drying rack for my room.

The trip to Whole Foods was for electrolytes. Trader Joe's was where I scored all of my delicious, cheap food...


Yep... Gonna be eating much healthier I have been. All things that my naturopathic doctor would approve for my intolerances.

Well... Actually. Not everything I got would be approved by her...



Really now, people. Are you even shocked?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"You Leave It All On The Mat."

It's a small delegation going to teacher training this Fall, from Toronto. So far, only three of us. And there are at least six active Bikram studios open here, and another two about to open later this year. So hopefully this means there will be classes available for us to teach when we get back.

But that is not the point to this post...

Anyway, because there are just three of us going, we have met up in trio once. And two of us have met up numerous times to practice side-by-side on the weekends. It's nice to practice next to someone who is going to be on the mats with you for the nine weeks.
  • There's the camaraderie.
  • The sharing of dialogue-memorization tips.
  • The dissection of what to pack in the suitcases.
  • The gossip.
  • The freaking out that it's next week.
  • And the sweat.
"The sweat?"

Well, yes. Seems like those of us who are prepping for training sweat a lot more than the average person.
  • We sweat so much that if we have to pee in the middle of class, by the end of class we no longer have to pee. It has seeped out through our pores and onto our towels.
  • We sweat so much that when we move our hips back fifteen inches in stretching pose, we hear a "squish" from our soggy Shaktis against the drenched towel.
  • We sweat so much that when we roll up our mats after class, a torrential downpour escapes out the sides of the roll and pierces the silence of the room.
But this is all a good thing. Sweating is what your body needs. And a good sweat is a sign of a valuable practice.

"(The bucket of sweat you left on the floor means) you leave it all on the mat," I said to my fellow trainee today. I expanded my theory for her though...

"When you have a good sweat, it means your body got out a ton of junk: Stress. Chemicals. Pain. Stuff you don't need. You just sweat it all out and left it on the mat."

She agreed.

When in doubt, sweat it out. Bikram yoga is therapy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Practice Schedule.

So, again, I have 12 days till I leave. And while I have received conflicting advice from teachers on how much I should practice before I leave ("Take it easy! Don't kill yourself before you go. REST!" to "You should be going every day and doing some doubles right up until a few days before you leave."), I have decided that this will (likely) be my practice schedule for the next few weeks...
  • This week: Practice every day, Monday through Sunday.
  • Next week: Practice Tuesday (maybe)
Yep. I will go every day this week, and then maybe practice Tuesday next week. I am going to take it easy the final few days before I get on the plane. You may think I am crazy... But I just don't want to exhaust myself before I go. And I want to spend as much time with The Husband as possible.

I Am Packed!

More or less.

But I am pretty much ready to go in t-minus 12 days.

TWELVE DAYS!!!

I will be taking one big suitcase...


And one small carry-on...


I have just a few things to wash and throw in right before I leave. But everything is mostly in there. I will only use two sets of practice clothes for the next 12 days for any classes I go to here in Toronto. But the rest of my Bikram practice clothes have been washed and disinfected. As has my main practice mat.

I will just be using the Scooby Doo yoga mat here in Toronto for the next few weeks. I feel it sends a great message.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What Will I Eat?

Yes. We all had the same feeling after finding out there was no food built into the price of our tuition and room costs for teacher training...

"WHAT THE DEUCE??!!!???"

Yep. On top of that nice price tag for tuition (which was even more expensive when converted to CAD), paying for a single room, buying insurance for the U.S., and paying for my flights... I now have to cover all of my food.

This wouldn't be too big a deal if all previous trainings (in recent years) had some kind of food component built into their cost. But with ours, we get none. Zero. So I spent the better part of my weekend thinking about how exactly I am going to be cost-efficient while still getting enough healthy food. I haven't come up with any hard and fast conclusions. But so far, I am thinking my diet will consist veggies. Raw veggies and the following...


I'm in the U.S. How can I not?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shooting For Every Syllable.

Argh!!!

I am working on cleaning up the first few postures this week, now that I finally have some time to sit and think about them. (Work was insane up until this week.) I have Half Moon down... But...

I keep leaving out words. Little ones.

It's mostly just small words... Like using "you are" instead of "you're" or using "the" instead of "your." It may seem small... But it is annoying to me. I want to know every. Single. Syllable.

I know at this point I will probably only have Half Moon with Hands to Feet, Awkward and Eagle down pat before I go in three weeks. But I will have read through the full dialogue hundreds of times. I know bits and pieces of everything. But verbatim? I only will (probably) know just the first three postures that way.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Your" Leaning Against the Wall.

Just reviewing Awkward pose... And now have a question.

Can "leaning" ever be a thing? Instead of a verb?

I guess it can be, as in "leanings." As in, "I have leanings towards vegetarianism from time to time."

So, when it is used as a noun, it is okay to say "Your leaning is towards vegetarianism." But in this instance, "You're leaning towards vegetarianism" (as a verb) would be correct too.

But I am slightly thrown off by how it is used in a sentence of the dialogue... "Your leaning against the wall."

Shouldn't it be "You're leaning against the wall"?

Or am I getting too far into trying to understand each and every syllable in the dialogue that I am missing the point?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Whole 194 "Standing Head to Knee" Poses "Lucky."

I am lucky. I will not try to deny it.

When I hinted in January of this year, at work, that I was thinking about going to teacher training this Fall, my boss mentioned that a leave of absence was a rare thing.

I was in the first month of my Bikram 101 challenge, and I was finding myself randomly pushing my hips forward (towards the mirror) while standing in line for coffee during the work day. I would hear bits of the dialogue echoing through my ears while researching things for clients. The idea of finally attending teacher training was becoming more and more difficult to evade.

So by late February I made a decision. NOT going to teacher training was not an option for me. I wanted to go. I had already put it off once. I was not going to do it again.

So I said to my boss, "I have decided to go to teacher training in the Fall. I hope you'll have me back when I am finished. But I completely understand if I have to look for a new job when I come back. Either way, I wanted to make sure I gave you enough notice."

And to my surprise, he was happy to have a discussion with me about taking the time off. But back then, it seemed like Fall training was a long ways off. Way off. In the distance.

It was a whole seven months away.

It was. And now, it's a mere 27 days till I hop on a flight.

TWENTY-SEVEN DAYS!

And you know what? I only have 18 working days left.

EIGHTEEN WORKING DAYS!!!

Panic is now starting to set into my brain. Why? I feel like I have so much to do before then. New business to pitch. Contracts to put together. Duties to delegate. Egos to manage so that my boss won't see how poorly I run my team while I gone by having to deal with them himself.

Here's to busting my ass like crazy over the next few weeks, before I go. Yes, I am letting the guilt of taking the time off get to me.

But, I will have a whole nine weeks to let it pass. I mean, my mind will be preoccupied with other things. Like the (at minimum) 194 Standing-Head-to-Knee poses I will be doing.

After that many, I better finally have a fucking supreme Standing-Head-to-Knee.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting Through The Standing Series Is The Toughest Part.

My mind, as you may know, has been all over the place these past few weeks. And the "monkey mind" seeps into my practice... And as a result, causes me to have a crap-tastic class.

I so mentally exhausted that every time a "party time" (aka "water break") comes in class, I carelessly grasp for my 40 ounce Klean Kanteen filled with cold relief. Which then causes me to have acid reflux throughout the class, as the water slushing around in my belly makes things difficult.

So in this afternoon's class, I made a concrete ("lampost, you have no knee") decision. I decided I was not going to take any water break until I got to the floor series. And you know what I discovered?

Like with learning the dialogue, it is best to just get through the Standing Series... And then things will be easier in the Floor Series.

I drank after Toe Stand, right before Savasana. And then again in Supta Vajrasana (Fixed Firm). Then right before Final Savasana. And I had the best class I've had since - I kid you not - I finished the Bikram 101 Challenge.

Not throwing water in me right before Standing Head to Knee made the pose much easier. I only fell out once on each side. My Standing Bow was AWESOME today. And the spine strengthening series was amazing. I stayed in every single time.

This gave me a great opportunity to get some serious form guidance from my teacher today... As she was able to accurately see what I was doing and how I could tweak things.

So from here on out... I am going to be much cleaner and efficient with water. I've given way too much up to my monkey mind and started to get sloppy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bikram Yoga Teacher Training: A Peek At What It's Like.

Came across this article about teacher training earlier this week. Below is the video embedded within it.

Gives a small peek at what to expect at training. Really looking forward to being told to "get the fuck down" and that I am a "chicken shit."

And no, I am not kidding. This is going to be a ton of fun.

Good Form. No Fidgeting.

I took the early morning class yesterday with one of my studio's directors.

Any of the teachers at my studio would be ideal for me to practice with before I go away. Every single one I have practiced with in the past few months knows I am going to teacher training next month. And they have all given me great feedback.

However, I am trying to make sure I take classes with the directors before I go because they are the ones who wrote my recommendation letter for me. I want them to be secure with the fact that they signed their name to paper to say I was "ready" for teacher training.

Plus, it's good to practice with them so that they will remember you are going to teacher training... And will hopefully be willing to give you classes to teach when you get back. (Fingers crossed!)

Anyway... Back to yesterday's early class...

Early morning classes are tough for me. I am naturally dehydrated. My body isn't warmed up yet, because I haven't been up all day walking around. Any water that I do drink for the first hour after I am up tastes like toothpaste. So I knew this, one of my first early morning classes in a long time, was going to be rough.

My endurance in the poses was crap. Complete crap. I fell out of Standing-Head-to-Knee and Standing Bow a dozen times each. And during Half Moon, I wasn't able to go nearly as deep as I normally can.

It was disappointing.

Till after class.

My director waited around for me to come out of the room. He said my focus in my practice is much improved from where it had been.

"You aren't fidgeting anymore," he said.

I am normally a fidgeter. I scratch. I wipe. I tug. I grimace and make funny faces. And before I go away to teacher training, the fidgeting is something that needed to stop.

I don't want to be called a "chicken shit" by Bikram for fidgeting.

I told the director that I felt I needed to build up my endurance before I go away. He said not to worry too much about that.

"You have good form. And you aren't fidgeting as much as you used to," he said.

So I am going to stress less about the fact that I am falling out of postures. There will be plenty of time practice staying in them, as Bikram allegedly likes to make us hold poses super-duper-extra long.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Here's The Plan!

Following up yesterday's post about having a shitty practice lately...

I was in class last evening, chatting with a teacher about training. I was telling her how I was trying to do another 30-day before training begins in six and a half weeks. She told me, though, to make sure I don't kill myself with my yoga practice right up to the start of training.

"Take a week or two off beforehand. The first two weeks of training are spent getting used to the energy and the room. You want to go in craving the yoga. Best way to do that is to take a break right before you go."

I said I didn't want to have a shitty practice when I get there, and that I wanted to have everything in good form.

"The first two weeks is a leveling for everyone. People are falling out left and right. You will be no different from anyone else when you get there."

This made me feel TONS better. I will take the week and a half before training off and just focus on my dialogue. I will finish my current 30-day, and then take a little break.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shitty Practice Lately.

My practice has gone to total shit lately. Total shit.

I am doing my best to pull through each class. But my mind is being a total asshole to the rest of my body, and as a result, my practice has sucked the past few weeks. I can't seem to "concentrate and meditate." It's all emotional and mental stress. Totally in the mind. It's not my body. My body can execute the postures. But my mind is all over the place lately.

"What's going on in my head?" you may be wondering. Well, there's so much to take care of before I leave for San Diego for two months...
  • Work: I am trying to hustle and confirm a significant promotion for myself before I leave. And in order to do this, I am doing a lot of work to get new business signed on and make sure my team is able to handle it while I am gone. They totally are. But I still stress about every single little thing. I have a hard time letting go and stopping the micro-managing. I have this, "If the business fails, it's my fault" mentality.
  • Husband: The Husband has been nothing but wonderful about the whole "going away for two months" thing. But it still stresses me out... The guilt, that is. It's guilt that is brought on by myself. And so I am trying to spend as much time as possible with him before I leave... But then the work thing gets in the way. As does the yoga and the dialogue studying.
  • The Yoga: I am forcing myself to get to class as much as possible, despite the shitty practices I have been having. And the dialogue study is taking some major focus and commitment on my part to actually get done.
  • Redecorating. I am trying to get a room redecorated in my house before the end of August. My mind is scattered, despite having a half dozen things to do.
I leave for San Diego in less than seven weeks. It will be nice to finally get there, and just immerse myself in the yoga and the study. But until then, I still have all this to deal with... And it is definitely taking its toll on my practice.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Packing Test-Run.

I am a dork. I did a packing test-run this weekend.

Please don't think I spent my Friday night just packing for an adventure that doesn't even begin for another seven weeks. No... I was packing as a distraction.

See, I brought home a pile of work this weekend. And after I did a few bits and pieces of it, I decided I needed a break. So I went into my closet, put on "All About Eve" on my iPad... And began to clean my closet.

I got rid of a ton of things I don't wear. And while I was at it, I decided to do a test-run to see what all I could fit in my large lady-bug suitcase from Rome.


Yes... It all fit in there. And I still have some room to spare. But I may be taking a carry-on bag as well. The white binder contains my dialogue. And there are some books relevant to the yoga that I want to take as reference.

And of course, I can't go anywhere significant without my most favorite shoes ever... The Miss Dior Gladiators. They've been to Amsterdam, Brussels, Los Angeles, the Bahamas, Paris... And now San Diego.

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Bikinis On Top..."

I've told this story many times... It wasn't until I had been practicing Bikram for two and a half years, and finished two 30-day challenges, that I was comfortable switching from long yoga pants to shorts.

TWO AND A HALF YEARS!

And I only switched because I was finally at the point where I NEEDED to see my knees locking out in certain poses. I needed the visual. So yoga shorts became my standard after that. But I never went with the popular Shakti yoga shorts - the really short ones - that many Bikram yoginis would wear. I went with long-ish Lululemon yoga shorts... Which cover everything, but definitely begin to sag after the first few postures from all the sweat.

I constantly have to tug at them to keep them up on me.

Well, now it is time, I have decided, to get some more appropriate shorts. Especially since BKTT is about six weeks away. So last week I ordered five pairs of Shakti fold-over string shorts...


And three bikini tops.

They arrived yesterday, and the shorts are great. They actually cover everything, despite my fear that they wouldn't. I don't know why I was so afraid to try them. But the bikini tops??? I am so not comfortable wearing those yet.

I normally wear sweat-wicking tanks from Lululemon. I have six pairs of the exact same one, just in different colors. But I thought maybe this would be the time to switch to bikini tops. So I ordered three large tops, thinking they could hold my "goods in the hood."

I was wrong.

I tried them on... And I just can NOT imagine me being able to move around in them without something popping out. It feels like the support just isn't there.

In reality, I think it is just going to take me a few classes to get used to the idea of baring my belly and having a different kind of support. I will wear them at training... Probably. But like with the pants-to-shorts thing... It's going to take some time for me to ease into it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dialogue Dissection.

Maybe I am a little slow and lack an attention to detail... But I just realized something while studying the Sanskrit names. Something that has made learning the Sanskrit names of each pose much easier (even though I am told we don't need to know them)...

Here is what I have just realized:
  • Ardha means "half."
  • Dandayamana means "standing."
  • Janushirasana means "head to knee."
  • Hasthasana means "hands to feet."
  • Bibhaktapada means "separate leg."
  • Paschimotthanasana means "stretching."
This realization helped me finally remember which pose is "Standing Separate Leg Stretching" pose and which is "Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee" pose.

All I can say to myself is "duh." Took me long enough to realize this.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dialogue Tips From Boston.

The Bikram community in Boston is amazing. A-MAY-ZING.

Not that the one in Toronto (where I live now) isn't fantastic too. But in Boston, my old home studio (Bikram Yoga Boston) begins prepping #BKTT attendees as soon as someone decides they want to go. A study group is formed, and teachers crack the whip on students with the dialogue.

Melissa from Boston (whom I never met while I lived there, funny enough) wrote me today to give me the low-down on what exactly they are doing in Beantown to prep...

"We actually stand up on the podium and use the microphone. Standing up, hearing your voice through a sound system, and announcing it to others feels wildly different than lounging on a couch - I've started practicing standing up and enunciating in a loud voice now. Cheesy, yes, but helpful :)

The only time I've completely drawn a blank is on the second part of awkward. I got nervous having the other future teacher trainees hanging on and waiting for my words. I crumbled under the pressure of their shaky knees. So getting friends to do it while you call it out is definitely helpful!

For poses like awkward and balancing stick, we focused on speaking rapidly/clearly without hesitation or any pauses so students don't have time to "think" about how long they've been in the posture. The goal is to have their bodies simply react to your words without time to ponder.

During the week, we all have our own memorization strategies. Some of the ones we all seem to like are: (1) just reading it a ton of times the first day to have everything sink in, without actively trying to memorize anything, (2) writing out the first letter of every word and saying the dialogue looking at that sheet, (3) saying it while others do it (if you're lucky enough to have other bikram friends you can recruit), (4) recording yourself saying it and then playing it back to make sure you got it entirely right and aren't stuck in a robotic monotone."

These are great tips!

Maybe I should try to get The Husband (whose never done Bikram before) to do the poses while I recite them? Or perhaps I should crack the whip on my team members at work, and force them to help me out during a lunch break?

Thanks Melissa!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Wanted To Do Another 30-Day...

Really. I did. I wanted to do another 30-day challenge before I go to training in mid-September. And while there are a great number of days between now and then which would make a 30-day challenge possible, my schedule doesn't seem to want to accommodate it.

What's preventing me?

Well...
  • Work. I have a shit-ton of things to take care of prior to leaving for two months. Work is being amazingly wonderful about me stepping away for two months. So I intend to make sure I have things in great shape before I leave.
  • Husband. I really, truly don't want to leave him for two months. But I have to. And I am doing my best to make sure I spend time with him before I go. And this means taking a trip with him to visit friends in August, even though I don't have the time to do even that.
Those are pretty much the only things. Doesn't seem like much... But the work thing is really the biggest factor. With me gone, it could mean there are two months without any solid new business pitching going on. So any new business I can bring in before I go would be really super cool.

I am following a strict 5-day a week practice between now and the time I go. And I do intend to pull some doubles as well. The back-to-back kind.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"I Feel Like Crying."

I took a newbie to class tonight. She was once a competitive dancer, and now works in digital marketing with me. So she has plenty of stress (like me) and needs a way to get it out of her system at the end of the day.

So last week she came to me and asked, "Do you mind if I tag along to yoga with you one night after work?"

Of course I was thrilled that she wanted to come! I think I have convinced a few people in my time to give Bikram a try. Some have onky tried it once and never come back. Others practice as regularly as they can since the first day. But I am always ecstatic when someone wants to give it a try.

Tonight's newbie was amazing. She stayed in the room the whole time. She had proper yoga etiquette. She tried to get back in and do the poses when she could. She was definitely overwhelmed at times... But we all are!

We wouldn't be doing the yoga correctly if we didn't occasionally get overwhelmed at times. Shit, I get overwhelmed with Standing-Head-to-Knee. Something about shoving my leg into my chest just to get at my foot... It gets me every time. And I want to vomit. And my heart starts pounding really, really ridiculously fast. But some poses make me want to have another reaction. One I only in the past year began having. But the newbie had it tonight on her first class....

"I feel like crying," she told me after class.

I got excited for her. I told her, "This is what is supposed to happen! You are releasing emotions! This is good!"

I don't know if she believed me. But I see crying for now reason as a good thing. Usually happens to me in Poorna-Salabasana or Ustrasana. (Trying to get used to the Sanskrit names.) But crying means something is coming out that needs to. I see it as a greeat thing. And to have experienced it in the first class you ever take???

LUCKY!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Backwards, Forwards. Balance Needed.

The bane of my existence in any Bikram class is a forward bend.

Lately, I find myself developing the "pukey acid reflux" feeling as soon as we do the first instance of Pada-Hastasana. It lasts the rest of the class... Often seriously hampering my efforts in Standing-Head-to-Knee and Rabbit poses.

But back bends? Those I LOVE!

Bending backwards is easy-peasy for me. Standing Bow, Half Moon Backward Bending ("You're back is going to hurt like hell, don't be scared!"), Cobra, Full Locust, CAMEL... These are my favorite poses!

"Back bends are therapeutic," one of my teachers said while teaching class this past Friday evening. "There was a time in my life when I was really struggling (emotionally?)... And I would stand in my apartment and just do back bend after back bend after back bend. It helped!"

I feel this way too. I think that back bends come very easy to those of us who like to express ourselves (sometimes too much). Whatever is in my head, you can pretty much guarantee will likely end up coming out of my mouth or out of my finger tips as I type it into something.

But the point is to be "balanced." And right now, I am "out-of-balance." I am too efficient at the backward bending. And not nearly as efficient with the forward-bending. And while I am certainly not going to stop trying to progress with my back bends, I do need to do what I can to improve my forward bends.

I need to improve my ability to be more discreet.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bikram Yoga & Social Networking.

Wow! It is hard to believe we only have 11 weeks till Fall Teacher Training begins.

INSANITY!!!

In order to start building a community before the training begins, a few of us have been developing some social networking schemes to get people talking and pumped up before we all hit San Diego.

Fellow trainee, Chrissy, has created a Facebook page for the training session. All are welcome to join! It would be great to see if anyone has questions that the group can answer... As well as get to know some faces and names beforehand.

Also, in the Spring of 2009 Training, Yogaballs created a Bikram Yoga Teacher Training hash tag for Twitter. It is #bktt. Whenever you have a question or want to reference Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in a tweet.

Let's get this community activated!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Tips.

I am fortunate to have paid well in advance of training beginning this Fall.

Many people who go to teacher training do not decide to go until about six weeks before it begins. And they don't issue you your copy of the dialogue until after you have been accepted and pay in full. So now that I have the dialogue, I am doing all I can to memorize as many of the great number of pages before I get on the plane to San Diego. And here are some of the ways I am doing it...
  • Write down the poses by hand. Or you could type them, I guess. Either way, it helps me with remembering which phrases come after the other.
  • Study in a group. Regular study sessions to help demo the poses and memorize the dialogue in groups helps. Some studios even start a study group for the students planning to attend training at some point in the future.
  • Record myself reciting the poses. This has been really helpful. I play them back on my commute to work each morning, while at the gym and even while I am falling asleep. (Learning through osmosis!)
Anyone else got any other memorization techniques???

Official Bikram Yoga Dialogue!

This arrived in the mail today...


It is my receipt and my official copy of the Bikram yoga dialogue!

YAY!!!

This is all I can really show you of the dialogue...


Yep, it is trademarked. So I am not allowed to share it. But trust me, it's intense! It is 45 pages long!

Now off to memorize to begin memorizing!

Monday, June 28, 2010

It Is How You Know The Bikram Is Working.

"Great #Bikram class tonight. I got my mojo back!"

This was a Tweet from one of my buddies in the Bikram community. She been having a few rough classes lately. But tonight she bounced back and was in the zone.

"This is how you know the Bikram is working!" I Tweeted back.

While she was having a kick ass class tonight, I was having an awful class. Horrible acid reflux was present, which sent a burning sensation in my chest and throat during Standing Head to Knee pose. It started then, and remained for the rest of the class. And it really sucked.

If you've never had the "pleasure" of experiencing this feeling in your Bikram class, consider yourself "unlucky."

Yep, you read that right. "Unlucky."

For me, when I have small aches and pains in my Bikram practice, it is because (I have learned) that my body is healing itself in some way. When I eat badly (too much wheat and dairy), I get acid reflux. My body has a tough time digesting and recovering from these things (which I am not allergic to, but have an intolerance to when eaten too frequently).

The burning sensation to me is a sign that my body is trying to process and detox from the crap that I have put into it. And it shows itself in this way.

Over the past few years, I have noticed changes in the way my body works as a result of my Bikram practice. How it reacts to certain things. (Like gluten or alcohol.) How it affects my cycle. and ovulation. How it affects my dreams and sleep.

It is amazing. Everyone should do this. Everyone should be so lucky.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Accepted!!!

The first step in my wonderful journey to becoming a certified Bikram Yoga teacher... The application.

And it has now officially been accepted!



Yes, in a little less than THREE months I will be heading out to San Diego to spend nine weeks in "Bikram's Torture Chamber." YAY!

Long nights... Loud Bollywood films... Double classes... Forty-plus pages of dialogue to be memorized... Two months away from The Husband...

It will be insane. But it will fly by. And at the end, I will be able to help others do what I have begun to do: Heal my body and mind.

I can't wait. But come back to read about my journey. I will be posting as I prep for the training, as well as while I am there. Hopefully it will provide you some entertainment.