- 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.
- The vertigo/dizziness I experienced was due to an inner ear issue.
- 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 ;) )
- 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).
- Increased physical demands typically lead to bodies wanting more protein and/or fat. Give in the the cravings man ;)
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?)
- 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!)
- 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...
- Was that too subtle ?! ;)
- 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 ;))
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
"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.
Week 9 was totally awful. We got let go at 1am on Monday, and that would turn out to be the easiest night :( After that it was 3:30 and 5:30 in the morning. We were walking zombies. Not to mention those aches and pains one develops do not get better at the end. Heck, week 9 saw me pinch another nerve and having to leave class to go throw up (go figure). On the bright side, we were all bulletpoop and painpoop (what do you mean it's "bulletproof and painproof"? That's not what that cute Bengali says!), so we were all like "whatever, bring it on dudes". One really does learn how to shirk things off. I wonder if this is a permanent new power or not.
Much of week nine (over and above trying to get time with people that mattered, boosting your photo quotient, and napping in your lunch plate) was dedicated to musing over our first class. While some superstars came here trained and could have taught a class on day one, some of us needed TT to get us ready. Many feel they are not ready to teach. I think many of us fear not being able to get much of the dialogue out, instead of accepting that we won't and focusing on just doing what we can and teaching a class. I feel like i have no chance in hell of having a successful 1st class. As long as no one dies I have a chance of getting better, right?
I took a lot of notes and paid attention to all feedback, not only my own. Some folks listened to their ipods or talked through every session, which is sad. I think i got more from listening to the feedback for the other 39 people in the room than only my own (law of averages and all of that...) I guess you get out what you put in. I strongly advise future TTs to put forth their very best BUT not to set expectations upon themselves. We are all our own worst critics, and when we beat ourselves down we are not doing anyone any favors. Do. Accept. Learn, and move on.
Karma will ensue.
Most people were delighted with Lynn's lecture on Friday which focussed on aspects of teaching. I think some folks.. erm... did not "appreciate" the philosophical and spiritual side of many of the lectures (the screaming outside of the lecture tent on more than one occasion may have been a clue to their disdain of all things not in alignment with their world view). Nonetheless, the lecture was good, and I took copious notes. What I really need now is my first couple of classes set up.
1) when you are memorizing you can record yourself reading the pose with inflection, and listen to yourself over and over (walking to and from classes)
2) once you have it memorized you can say it along with your own voice to see if you miss anything
3) you can record yourself to check you are saying it verbatim
4) you can record yourself to check your own inflection and emphasis
5) record yourself and "take your own class" - you will very quickly learn to improve your delivery ;)
6) you can record yourself in posture clinic (so you know what you really said - for the most part at this training people thought they screwed up WAY more than they actually did)
7) record the feedback you receive in the posture clinics
8) record your first class (and any subsequent class) You are uniquely qualified to improve your own dialogue delivery.
9) you can do voice journaling which is way faster than writing (the digital recorders have at least 4 folders, so you can be organized about it)
10) you can record your room mate's rants and put a permanent end to such behavior
Tori and I enjoying our Friday
I have often likened TT to giving birth. Week 6 this really seemed to be the theme for me. What I used to say was that TT was similar in that during the labor pains there is much pain and cussing, yet afterward all of that is forgot as one revels in the new life. Many here bemoan the visitors constantly telling us how joyous this all is and how very much we will miss it. Although they are right, they forgot the labor pains and how they cursed everyone and everything during their time in the wringer. It struck me this week that it is not the yoga teacher's certificate that we are giving birth to, it is ourselves! This is a rebirth. Then one class I saw a horde of visiting teachers watching us through the doors of the lecture room. I felt decidedly like a baby in the hospital nursery with the visitors coming by to see the newborns all swaddled up in their cribs. That was when i began to think further on my own analogy. What do you do with a newborn? You pretty much have to feed it and look after it a whole lot, no? If you don't do that and they tend to get very ill, or in the worst case... die. That is the truth of it then. Labor pains, rebirth, then constant care, then ongoing care. Inside out, bones to skin, body to soul.
I fear what this means... Tonight there was no movie after our posture clinic. We all left our posture clinics as scheduled at 11:30pm, only to be told in the lecture hall that Bikram had decided to let us go for the night. Are we in for an ass-whomping come morning? Guys, Emmy already kicked my ever shrinking behind good and proper this morning! ah what the heck... bring it on!
- Lori - has been an actress for 37 years, and is our resident "drama queen" (literally =D) and mother figure from Colorado. Of course she learns the dialogue in like minutes. I would like to hate her for that, only she is sooo good at giving me tips when a line or paragraph won't stick with me I have to forgive her :)
- Victor - Is this lovely lovely man from Mexico. He will tell you in the most fluent English that his English is not so good, and that he only really learnt it in the month prior to TT. Of course he just blew most of his vocabulary in telling you this. He is the epitome of "smiling happy face".
- Kristin - you know that beautiful, thin, super flexible, blonde you just want to dismember our of sheer jealousy; but you can't because you really really like them? That's Kristin. Sigh. Darn that cute Texan for being so likable!
- Lennart - talk about a strong practice! This guy is good with a capital G. He is the sweetest German guy out; but trust me, I have also seen glimpses of his mischievous sense of humor.
- Lauren - I wanna be Lauren when I grow up! (although she's probably a lot younger than me)
- Martha Williams helped us understand the role of a teacher as it pertained to being up there on the podium. The thing that sticks out for me from Martha's posture clinics is that the teacher is teaching one student at a time. The dialogue is not plural... it is "kick your leg up", "suck your stomach in". This was actually very profound for me.
- Ren taught us a lot more about being a teacher, what you can and cannot do with the dialogue in order to be successful.
- Mike Frayer has scary 6th sense like abilities. He not only sees what you are lacking in your delivery, but somehow manages to know what part of it you need to hear at that moment. For everyone in my group the night we had him he managed to pinpoint a focal point and draw them away from what they were obsessing over.
- Diane Ducharme got us after we had gotten some conflicting messages "you must stand still", "you should make natural movements", etc. What she reminded us was that this was a laboratory where we would be free to experiment and learn to be our very best teacher-selves. We should learn to let go in order to find out what works. If feedback does not resonate as true within you and make you less effective... leave it on the floor.
I have been lax in posting, I know. My husband was in town for the weekend. Studying my dialogue, studying for my anatomy test (yeah... nailed that sucker!), and spending time with him took precedence over updating y'all. Truth is, the anatomy is served up in such a manner that the only way one cannot excel on the test is if you are English Second Language (there are indeed some folks here who's grasp on English is very tenuous - my heart goes out to them, and my admiration too!), or you simply failed to pay any attention whatsoever. Anatomy is not something to fret over, as Dr Trapani makes it really simple to follow. It is a very dry topic, so focusing could be a fun thing to try and practice.
Picture it (Thursday nite class):
It struck me today that strangers are nicer to me than I am to myself. I don't only mean people that have met me, but just another yogi walking by. I guess as we work through our stuff we will each have our own things to deal with. I have been very impressed by the general positive attitude, generosity, kindness and compassion of this group of people. This week we have being seeing more people break down, but this is good. Trust the process, right?
This afternoon was my favorite Bikram lecture to date. I could really relate to it and it struck a chord in me. The lecture room was just so darn hot it's hard not to feel like it's an extra 4 hours of class without the poses. Emmy Cleaves had to leave early on some personal matters, we all hope for the best. I can't wait till she comes back. Jim is back, yay.
I really do. Yum. I bought this big bag at Costco the Saturday b4 TT started and stuck them in this stay fresh veggie bag. I have 2 left. Oh woe is me when I run out. Some folks are apparently having PB and Jelly for dinner. That would not fly with moi for sure! With the coffee maker's hot water one could at the very least make instant oatmeal or ramen noodles once in a while. The aches continue... whoohoo? At least I'm not dead right? Actually the class did fabulously this morning, the last couple of mornings we had a number of people taking a knee or needing a breather. This morning they were rocking it. Emmy is the bomb, not only for classes and lectures, but also for just being Emmy. Bikram is a very very very smart man with a substantial knowledge base. He is also a delightful entertainer who really puts a great deal of himself into his craft. The two things (well as I see it at this point anyways) that he is not is succinct and able to relate his point to the masses. After his lectures people try to phantom his point. This too may be part of his bigger plan (and trust me, the man always has some devious plan ;))
Other than the fact that I feel like a bunch of rabid monkey's broke into my room last night and beat me to a tender pulp (I must have been lying face down at the time) with baseball bats, I am doing better so far than I had expected myself to do. Body pains seem as likely as sunshine here. As I was warned, my practice varied A LOT. What surprised me is that it did so from the very first class. As we all know, there are two kinds of yogis. Those born strong and those born flexible. I am NOT the bendo doll, trust me every millimeter I can move from perfectly rigid was earned in sweat (and many cases tears). Well, for the first 2 days I could not balance on one leg for more than 10 seconds at a time. While it is getting better, all the poses I traditionally find "easier" have taken me work. Elements of poses that formerly took no effort are now my nemesis :( On the bright side I can forward bend all of a sudden. The bad news is that I am so not used to being able to do this that I am struggling to find the happy medium between trying hard enough and injuring my back further than I have already (2 pinched nerves to date). Please bear in mind that this will not happen to everyone. I have some pre-existing conditions I have to contend with.
As I said before the fridges are small. So that takes a savvy brian to deal with. At this point the hotel charges $2 a day to rent the fridge. The minibar (52F/12C) is free, but will not properly keep certain foodstuffs (now is not the time to be inviting Salmonella to the party). Internet and parking both run $12 a day (yes you can request the internet in your room for just one 24hr period per week (say noon Saturday to noon Sunday)). I am using phone-as-a-modem for my internet connectivity, but for international visitors this may not be viable/cost effective. The lobby/business center charges $3 for 30 min of internet (where they provide the computer).
Thursday morning classes remain dedicated to the Lovely M. You go girl!
Last night was our first movie night. I will not ruin it for others, so I will confine myself to saying we had our first true "lecture" from Bikram (2hrs) and then watched a movie for 3.5hrs. The class really seemed to enjoy it and for today at least we all stayed awake for the whole movie.