Bikram Teacher Training Fall 2010

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

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Going Over... Oops!

About a month and a half into teaching now. Have about 18 classes under my belt, and things are going well. I feel very comfortable up on the podium... And I have seen students come back to my class, which to me is a sign that they like my class.

The only thing I will say that I really need to work on is still the timing in my class. I started off with accurate timing. Things ended on time. But now, with the cold weather, classes are starting late and I am ending late.

See, students arriving just seconds before class starts. And I like to give them five minutes to get into the room. Then, once everyone gets into the room, I spend another minute talking and explaining things to the newbies. So, we tend to start almost eight minutes late. Then I go about three minutes over in teaching the actual class.

So class ends up running 111 minutes.

Not bad. But once classes stop being so crazy, and the weather doesn't prevent people from getting here on time, hopefully the timing will be tightened up naturally.

The woes of being a new 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.


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.


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
  • 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


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.