Summary #3 (teaching)

I have no idea where to even begin with this (I guess that's why I've been putting it off).

Whether or not you plan on teaching I think it is important to teach your 1st class. Teaching is as much a learning experience as practicing the yoga. You learn about yourself. Also, it completes the cycle of learning undertaken by executing TT. It conclusively proves to you that you can actually teach a class.

Tonight I teach my 42nd class.
My first week I taught 3 classes. Then I took off on holiday and taught 2 classes the next week. So in the 7.5 weeks since I started teaching I have averaged 5.6 classes a week. Neither of my local studios have the need of a full time teacher, so this is most gracious/generous on their part. Other than occasional fill-in, the studio owners have given up their classes so that I could teach.

Personally it took a few classes before I actually began to enjoy teaching. This was more about me than about teaching itself. I was able to pull off my first class without anyone dying. Actually the anticipation was worse than getting through the class! As per my TT, delivering the dialogue was not 100%, but I did an on-time class and all of the poses. I had to learn to let myself out. Being true and genuine is a fundamental part of being a good teacher... and for being able to enjoy teaching. On the podium it is not about you... it is about relating to the students. It's about looking at the bodies and intuiting who may be ready to hear what message. Some day you're up there and you recognize the signs of defeat that you have seen in yourself... then you hear yourself saying "don't worry how much it hurts, you just come to class... you keep giving it everything you have... your body will heal... it wants to heal... just give it the chance... don't give up on yourself." Inside you're head you have your hands on your hips and are rolling your eyes at yourself. After class when that student comes up to telling you they had given up and hearing u say what u said, knowing that you too knew pain... they have recommitted to their yoga... inside your head the version of you rolling their eyes gets slapped through the face.

Teaching is a journey... the more you put into it the more you get out of it. Reading the dialogue every day is mandatory for me. It's helping too ;) The best tip I got was from Lynn, it was to just say "thank you" to feedback from students. How much they like your class is more about them than about you. Including... it's disconcerting having students tell you how much they love your class and start coming to all the classes you teach (it was bad enough to have them say they wanted to take more of my classes, but to actually have someone come to the class you teach each day is weird). What matters most though is helping students come back. Nothing will help a student more than keeping up with their yoga. Remember that, especially with new students. Can you get them to come back tomorrow?

Things I forgot to mention...

  1. It cannot be said enough... the staff are awesome. They are their to help. If you find yourself in a tight spot mentally/emotionally do turn to them for help.
  2. The vertigo/dizziness I experienced was due to an inner ear issue.
  3. The TT boutique sells smaller versions of the dialogue (laminated) for $25. I got one of each the spiral bound copy (which I now carry in my handbag), and the single ring bound (which was great at TT because you could take out a page or 2 at a time to take with to lectures, bathroom, or even wet and slap on the shower door ;) )
  4. While all the yoga was great for our skin, reducing the need for lotion. In the heat, with the flip flops many of us suffered very dry and cracked heels (some to the point of bleeding).
  5. Increased physical demands typically lead to bodies wanting more protein and/or fat. Give in the the cravings man ;)
  6. Talk to your studio about what to expect when you get back. A few of my fellow trainees have been very disheartened by expectations not meeting reality. Your local studio may have a procedure whereby they build up new teachers starting with only a couple of classes a week (and if y'alls expectin' to be teaching 10 classes a week and are counting on the money from that... it pays to know and make alternate plans), or they may have no actual need of more teachers. Knowing is everything... =D


Summary #2 (self)

Body, mind and spirit...

Try to come with no expectations. I know that is easier said than done, but do try your best to erase these.

  • Try not to plan "things you will improve" while at TT. Don't be thinking that this is the time to lock out your leg or see your toes. If it happens great, if not that's okay too. Defecation occurs...
  • DO prepare for TT. I think it is a good idea to have executed a 60 day challenge prior. Also, pull a few doubles beforehand. In the month leasing up to TT don't go overboard, simply maintain a regular schedule.
  • If you have lots of extra weight (don't give me that "omg I like have to lose 5lbs/2kg or I'll die I'm so disgusting" (I'll poke your eyes out), we're talking about f-a-t), you may want to try and shed some of it beforehand if you have the time. No heavy dieting, just more contentious eating. If you are really overweight, the fat does tend to melt off at TT (even more so for the gents). If you have a lot of fat you already know it gets in your way.
  • At TT eat whatever your body demands. If your body is in a good place you will typically find an increased need for protein and fat (your body will need more of both of these, so if your body is functioning optimally it should crave these). Here is a point of interest... the weeks I ate like a pig I lost the most weight. I ate everything I craved.
  • Be aware that injuries do not tend to heal at TT... whatever issues you go with you typically have to endure for the duration.
  • As I said before, pack at least travel sizes of stuff like immodium, ibuprofen, etc

  • Bring a journal. Even if you don't typically journal, there will be times where the most constructive thing will be to
  • Cellphones are handy. If you don't normally text message you may start while at TT. Sometimes you just don't want to talk ;) Skype is your friend for video conferencing and for making dirt cheap international calls.
  • Bring your iPod/MP3 player. Pre-load it with all of your favorite tunes and/or books. Sometimes a musical bubble is a nice place to retreat :)
  • If you like to read you can even bring some books with.
  • What do you like to do that brings you inner peace? Is it meditating? Is it reading your bible? Is it playing your guitar? Whatever it is, bring the accruements with.
  • If you don't already meditate you may want to learn about it before you go. You never know when you'll need to meditate :)
  • Don't lose yourself in the process of TT. Embrace who you are. That is part of the process.



Who was that crazy woman that said I would post all of my summaries by the end of the month (i.e. today)?! Does she not know that unemployed people are really busy, what with all the yoga, getting together with folks not seen in months, and running errands for everyone!?


Fall 2009 Teacher training

Fall teacher training will now be the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas

Dates October 4th to December 5th

remember... no drinking or partying at all during the 9 weeks...

summary #1 (dialogue)

I have been meaning to put all of my thoughts, ideas and answers (to numerous emails I have received) into a couple of post for information purposes. It seems I have yet to find the time to sit my arse down and get on with it. I WILL do this by the end of this month, I swear. I will begin with this tiny summary/disclaimer/misc info.

  1. Everyone gets the dialogue after they have registered and paid. If you do this the week prior you will not have the dialogue very long... this is not an excuse to slack off from learning the dialogue. Some people complete their registration and get their dialogue on the day of orientation. These folks will simply not have had the chance to "pre"-learn dialogue. That being said, the only dialogue anyone will have to offer in the first couple of weeks is the first part of half-moon. So, you'll have time to learn even this there.
  2. Here is my take on learning the half-moon dialogue (for what it's worth) After you get the dialogue learn half moon. Work on it relentlessly. Know it better than you know your own address. Unless you are used to performing publicly (which a good number are), standing up in front of 300 and something of your peers, with a headset on, is going to knock the wind right out of your sails. If you know it, and know you know it, this will enable you to find your strength and confidence within. Remember, no one at this point cares about you enough to wish you failure... heck, the opposite is true... everyone is sitting there wishing the very best as each person steps up.
  3. Here is my take on learning the rest of the dialogue: IF you have time prior, sure go ahead and learn the dialogue (know that unless you're breathing it in day in and day out for months prior that you will have to relearn it once at TT (it will be easier the second time around)). IMHO what is more important is to figure out what memorization technique works best for you. Memorization does get faster with time, but would it not be nice to cut that time down right from the get go? I took over 40 hours of work to get half moon down pat. They got faster from then on in (the 6th pose took a mere 9.5hours to memorize), but since you don't really have that much free time... it would be better to practice than to memorize! In case you missed the point here: Knowing what memorization technique works for you is invaluable, as it will buy you more time, time that you can put to practicing your dialogue. (The bad news is that for about 1/3 of us that once we have it in we struggle to get it out smoothly... The only thing that helps here is practice practice practice! Now, aren't you glad you have that "extra" time to practice more?)
  4. The only dialogue anyone will have to offer in the first couple of weeks is the first part of half-moon. Most people fail to use this time to study further, don't be that foolish. Learn up to 2 poses ahead while you can! (The ideal is to know the "next pose to be delivered" + the next 2 (so, no more than 3 in your head at a time). Get ahead while you can, and there is NO better time than the first couple of weeks!)
  5. There IS a correlation between "time away from having to memorize things" and being able to do so with ease/speed. For most of us not in the theater this means the older we are the harder memorization is for us. So, if you're 20-something you're in luck. If you are older... Technique. Technique. Technique. Find yours now...
  6. Was that too subtle ?! ;)
  7. There is a downside to knowing the dialogue prior. Unless you're a rock star (and some of you are), your delivery will not be all it can be, but since you already learnt how to deliver your dialogue one way it will be harder to learn a new way. We had some folks in our group who came knowing the dialogue, and at first we all envied them (we were so not getting the dialogue out verbatim.. they were...). Later on, as we were all able to embrace the feedback we were getting and try our adjustments, it was easy to see how hard it was for these folks to try and make adjustments to their delivery. (don't get me wrong, some people don't want to accept the feedback, but that is another matter entirely ;))
  8. The downside to not knowing any dialogue prior is a no-brainer (or literally... a no-sleeper). If you have to work on your dialogue there... you're going to be giving up sleep... how much depends on how much time it takes you to memorize and practice.
  9. Another time that people don't utilize much is after the posture clinics are done. Some people don't look at the dialogue again. Some keep studying and practicing. Some really wise souls get into practice groups and practice other sides/ multiple poses at once/ALL of the dialogue/mock classes. Be as wise as you can... take this time while you have it to prepare for your first class.
  10. Yes, you can just cruise by, and kinda-sorta deliver the dialogue. What you have to worry about here is not so much that the staff will call you out on it (and they will) and make you work with some folks on it. That is by far not your biggest concern. The most important thing you have to ask yourself here is... is that the kind of teacher/person that you want to be?


Wear where?

Okay, time for a few notes on what to pack and what not to pack in terms of clothes.  
  • I was told to bring at least 10 sets of yoga clothes.  I found that washing my gear after class and hanging it outside in the heat made this number redundant.  You really can get by with 4 sets of yoga togs.  Decide for yourself what to take.  The boutique does sell the new shakti bikram yoga line.
  • Posture clinics (at least 40 sessions) you are required to dress as if you were teaching (no dresses, jeans, cargo pants and inappropriate gear please ;) )  Many folk came in yoga capris and tank/athletic tops.  Some folks came in yoga outfits with tank Ts over.  The boys came in athletic shorts of varying types (a few accused a guy in my group of "wearing the most g-d awful soccer shorts known to man").  Sometimes they were asked to take their tops off as they were wearing tops/Ts one would not teach in.
  • The posture clinic rooms can get pretty chilly so a pair of socks and a light jacket are a good thing to pack (the lecture tent also gets downright cold after 1am, so these will also serve you well here).  I had two light jackets of varying warmth, and would take these again.
  • Socks also served double duty when one slathered one's desert ravaged feet in foot lotion and buried them in a pair of lite sox to recover.
  • You do also need some "normal" clothes for the weekend (shopping, laundry, hiking and eating out).  The clothing fashion show ends in the second week and does not return until the posture clinic ends, so you can pack accordingly. ;)
  • Flip flops or waterproof sandals you can slide your feet into after class are a boon, so bring a pair or get a pair in palm desert.
  • You actually want more than 1 pr of sandals to slog around in.  The heat combined the walking gave many of us some gnarly blisters the first few weeks till we worked it out.  My suede Eccos felt like heaven on my aching footsies.
  • Back to yoga gear.  If you insist on wearing a skort in the yoga class, for crying in a bucket don't freaking do it in Bikram's class.  Ladies pants (other than dance tights) better not come below mid thigh.  Men, make sure your shorts are not anywhere near your knees.  You are meant to be able to se the thigh muscle.  As a teacher u aught to know this, and if you don't then Bikram (and some of the senior teachers) will be more than willing to educate/crucify you.
  • Personally I found some light cotton knit summer dresses really nice to have. They are nice n cool in the sweltering heat. 
  • I found wicking underpants invaluable in the 100+ heat of the desert.  Save the sweaty body parts for class!
  • Dress light n cool.  Rather add layers for heat, that's all I can say.
  • The 'Doh!' statement of the day... no green clothes.  Just leave them at home.  No green (solid, closely resembling, heavily patterned with green in it) in class, lectures, posture clinics or even at the pool... even if Bikram is on another continent.


Preparing for 1st class

I have this book I go to for inspiration. It is filled with quotes, and as I mental deal with a topic I open it on a random page to find my inspiration. I used this most days through TT. With my first class tomorrow morning, I flipped the book open and had the following quote offered up to me.

"How wonderful is the way in which, with quite ordinary folk, power leaps to our aid in any time of emergency. We lead timid lives, shrinking from difficult tasks till perhaps we are forced into them or ourselves determine on them, and immediatly we seem to unlock the unseen forces. When we have to face danger, then courage comes, when trial puts a long-continued strain upon us, we find ourselves possessed by the power to endure; if when disaster ultimately brings the fall which we so long dreaded, we feel underneath us the strength as of the everlasting arms. Common experience teaches that, when great demands are made upon us, if only we fearlessly accept the challenge and confidently expend our strength, every danger or difficulty brings its own strength - 'As thy days so shall thy strength be'. "

- Author: J.A.Hadfield
"The Psychology of Power"

I think the quote is not one only for one's first class, but for TT... and life as a whole. We all fear our own power.