2009/09/02

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

2009/08/05

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.

Body
  • 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

Mind
  • 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.
Spirit
  • 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.

2009/07/31

deadlines

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!?

2009/07/21

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?



2009/07/09

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.

2009/07/05

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.

2009/07/01

Talent show

There truly are some seriously talented individuals in our group, as I assume there are in every group. Some real pros (belly dancers and singers in our case ;)) came out of the woodwork. In some cases as a total surprise to us. No matter how you feel after 9 weeks, go to the talent show, it is worth your time, no matter how sleep deprived you are ;)

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?

2009/06/26

Advanced seminar

The week after TT Bikram is running an advanced seminar.  Nothing like TT, no monitored toilet visits, sleep deprivation and mandatory brain washing :)  I seriously considered attending, but eventually decided after 9 weeks in the yoga torture bubble I could do without extending it.  In addition, it would give me an excuse to return to spring training in 2010 :)  About a dozen of my classmates opted to do the advanced training this time around.  Most confessed that the primary driver was the high transportation fees already paid to come to TT.  If you are coming from Europe it is easy to see the value and logic in this. 

One of my yoga moms and dads are attending.  I hope they are having a blast :)

 

2009/06/22

Less than a week to go

Mixed feelings abound. I will sorely miss the only obstacle between me and 2 yoga classes a day being what outfit to put on. Reality lurks around the corner.. life has a way of getting in the way of a yoga practice. If it's not the commute, then it's the chores, or work, or family, or... whatever. Did I mention I love being on my mat? It's a great place. If you're questioning anything in your life i say TAKE IT TO THE MAT! ;) Anything the mat can't fix aint worth fixing or having.

There are so many people I have ready access to now that I will miss.  Just as I miss some folks back home while being here, there are plenty of faces I see in the yoga room today that I will sorely miss.  87 classes done, can you believe?  (any oddly worded expressions are Bikram-isms, you may as well get used to them... and "can you believe?" is right up there) So many fantastic teachers and staff and people. Some people have their first class after training set up.  Some as early as the Monday afterward.  Some have full blown schedules laid out for them.  Others, like me have no clue what awaits us.  Neither of my home studios have even begun discussing me teaching a class (mock or otherwise).  It'll all be okay though.  Things that don't make sense are typically following a path we don't see yet.

There is no way I am ready to teach a class (process be darned!).  Knowing this is a good thing though, it motivates me to work on my dialogue (and faith) for the next 2 weeks (I'm here till 4 July).

2009/06/20

Final (?) note on posture clinics

The posture clinics were long and tedious for sure. Sitting on the floor was uncomfortable and a total drag (strongly advise trail chairs (no legs or hard bits) and advise against camp chairs with metal tubing (several of us were injured trying to maneuver around those inconsiderate enough to bring these in (I have a bruise on both legs from these and a gouge in my left leg from one)) Delivering dialogue day after day was stressful no doubt. That being said, I sincerely doubt that there is a single person who did not benefit from the process. The way that most folks pitched in to help each other was also totally awesome yo! Yes, there were some superstars (no issues in posture clinics and came here knowing the whole dialogue already) that not once aided another person, and it does make one wonder about them as teachers. At the same time there were piles and piles of folks who went out of their way to help. One guy in my team really struggled even toward the end, and this one woman from LA (who could come across as pretty self-serving) worked with him night and day to get him back on track. She really was the right person to help him out, and she gave of herself freely.

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.

Friday's Lecture


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.

Water

I would like it officially noted for the record I am TIRED of having to drink 5 liters of water a day. 4 liters (non desert TT amount) now seems like it would be bliss to have to do! Don't try to tell me it will be easier if I flavor my water with lemon or orange; because I will simply hit you upside the head with a 2l jug of watermelon water for your complete lack of understanding.

VIP tool

...and the award for the most valuable tool goes to.... ... the voice recorder. While every one uses it a different way I think this is an invaluable tool that everyone should have. Since you can EASILY get one for under $50 (if you are spending more than that you are getting a fancy schmacy one) You can pick one up at any electronics or office supply store. Here is a list of things I have found said voice recorder to be handy for:

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

2009/06/19

week 8

8 days left

I actually have several topics I have been meaning to blog on, but you know how it goes. :)  Maybe I'll get to them now...

Today heralded two great things: the end of Posture clinics (we are DONE!) and the return of Ren.  We are exhausted (hellooo, week 8!), excited (yay getting done) and exhausted (did I mention Bikram has been keep us up late?  4:30 am this morning)  Let's say we were not up to par in our morning class.  I heart Ren forever.  I know some people complain he's a diva, but I say be your true self and that Diva is Fabulous!

I blacked out in class on Tuesday.  Most bizarre sensation let me tell you!  I apparently made it down to the mat all by myself.  Then that night I fainted for a moment in posture clinic.  That was "interesting" too.  I remember thinking I wished the posture would end soon.  The thing is I was the one saying the posture.  I guess that is what was meant by trusting that you know the posture.  I was recording myself at the time, and let me tell you that it came out verbatim while I was on autopilot. (the voice lacked a little inflection - I guess it's okay to sound a little vapid when one is having a partial out of body experience ;) )  I have remained dizzy for the last 2 days... i can still consistently get myself to keel over by tilting my head (especially backwards). Cause unknown. And here a thought when the week started that getting my period for the 3rd time was inconvenient ;)

Did I mention that MUCH jubilation ensued after each person wrapped up their final posture?  I didn't need to, did I?!   

BTW, for those of you coming to the fall training... the $20 for the day pass to the spa... it's well worth while.  If not every weekend, then at least here and there.  The Bistro serves pretty good food.  The pool isn't huge, but it has 3 things going for it: saltwater iso chlorine; no kids; no drunks.  The main hotel pools are SWAMPED with drunks and kids over the weekend.  There is a Hammam (lemongrass-citrus scented), steam-room (eucalyptus scented), sauna, and both indoor and outside hot tubs.  The body and mind both find what they need at this peaceful retreat. 

2009/06/14

So far...

50 nights spent in this hotel so far
76 classes taken so far
18 postures delivered in posture clinics so far
4 Drs as guest speakers so far
0 days where i did not learn something new about myself so far


Changes within and without

I have lost at least 5kg/11lbs.  Before those of you planning on coming to TT get all excited, it is important to note I had this (and more) to lose.  Our bodies will do what they need to do.  Which means many of the twigs are lamenting the 1kg/2lbs of muscle they have gained.  I know of at least one that cut her food intake to "get back to her weight", which I would think would be a bad time to do it.  I guess some folks would rather go by a scale than by their body's natural evolution.  Heck, I just look at chocolate souffle and I'm up in weight.  Some folks here are scary thin (think walking xylophone) and I like to think that this is not due to their own doing (my own beloved is of meager breadth and this has nothing to do with him eating insufficiently).  I am starting to show some more muscle definition as my lard begins to melt.  I confess I like it.

I have spent much time reflecting upon things within and think that everyone should bring a journal to TT, even if they never journal.  I'm not saying one needs to journal weekly, or daily.  There will be times though when the thoughts and emotions may be tumultuous, and writing without editing oneself can be beneficial to finding one's own truth within.

2009/06/13

Week 7

Dr Anne Marie Bennstrom

Tori and I enjoying our Friday

Rajashree on Thursday

Pumpkin Pies on Thursday
 
Week 7 seemed to be a turning point for Group 6.  Without exception every person in the group made a significant advance in the posture clinics.  Those struggling to get the dialog out suddenly hammered it out, those who formerly hammered it out but failed to connect to the students suddenly made that connection.  It was inspirational to watch.  It was exhilarating for the whole team.  Next week should be interesting.  Our group has gotten to half way through fixed firm at this point. I was very sleepy by the end of the week learning 1 or 2 postures a day.  Bikram is back on Monday so I may even have more sleep deprivation headed my way.   My theme for the week seemed to be forgiving and forgetting.  Inner peace is seeming less and less elusive each day.  Things are what they are :)

2009/06/07

rebirth


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.

posture clinics

What I learn out of my bad turn was that if I am ever in a posture clinic on the other side of the fence it is absolutely essential to be very very gentle with the half baked cookies.  You never know where they are that moment.  Even if you have the best of intentions you never know when you're way off the mark.  So your delivery is very important.

2009/06/02

Grrr

Today is my day to be pissed off.  It's not only actual events, it is also my own feelings.  Bad combination right now ;)  It seems to be contagious.  Some people came down with the huff-n-puffs last week and a number caught the agro bug early this week.  Yesterday we had two good posture clinics with Lynn and Ida.  Today we got a twat in posture clinic (another joyous 3 hours of him tonight).  Either he's a twat or all the people complaining about him have lost their senses.  I guess there is a third option... he is a twat and we are not in a good mental place to deal with him.

2009/05/31

End of week 5


So, week 5 will henceforth officially be known as the week I did not have diarrhea.  It has been much easier to keep my electrolytes in check without that complication.  Ironically there is a downside.  I am not kidding!  Because I don't have to pay extra special attention to my water intake due to the added complication (diarrhea is a complication right?), I have been less than diligent.  Headaches have ensued as a reminder that 3 to 4 liters of water will not suffice.  Every cloud has to have its silver lining even the shit ones... (OMG that was a bad pun... I am so sorry!)

Last night in the hot tub I realized something very important about drive.  Not desire, but drive.  In the hot tub was a partially paralyzed Canadian.  He received a spinal injury many years ago whilst doing some extreme motocross mid-air flip.  After 6 weeks in hospital and months of 6 hour a day rehab sessions he was officially as good as he was going to get?  So what did he do?  He got into wheelchair racing (marathon length).  He has sponsorship, and is working on getting more.  His aim is to get into motor racing once he has enough backing.  After speaking to him I am pretty sure this will become a reality.  Alistair gets himself to all of his sponsorship meetings in his big truck (bakkie for you south africans).  In order to defray his costs he tows a large trailer which he uses to haul stuff for a fee between his destinations.  Additionally he works as a public speaker (again with sponsorship, this time to remove the speakers fee which is typically a hinderance to entry.  This drives up overall demand for his services, due to the price of entry being better for the schools.)  Some people simply CHOSE to have the drive to do what it is that they wish for.  For them it is a matter of reaching out and grasping what it is that they want, not hoping their desires get fulfilled. For those desiring to be a yoga teacher... the same applies... if you want it, you can make it happen.   More than 1 person here did not come up with the money to be here all by themselves.

So, onto crying.  Some people cry every day.  Others not at all.  Every journey is different.  I have had a couple of occasions when I cried.  Sometimes it's nothing more than reverting to my primal inner child when I am so sleep deprived my conscious mind has checked out, and my poor inner child gets overwhelmed by some of the goings on.  I have cried over being bullied by one person here at TT, and then moved on to learning to be more assertive.  I have cried for the pain, and now I am learning how to block it from my mind.  I have cried as I released the fears buried deep inside.  Surrender...

5 is alive

Holy crud!  5 weeks over.  It is hard to believe.  On the one hand I feel like i just got here, and on the other I feel like I have been here forever. We have 4 weeks left to go... I'm guessing that means 20 postures in 15 days (come on, there is like totally not going to be any dialogue in week 9! Get real, they will make us do it all by the end of week 8 for sure.)  The perceptions of dialog delivery are in and of themselves interesting.  I have found people whose dialogue is good, and their delivery (energy, passion, etc) to be exceptional, beating themselves up feeling like they are not doing that well.  I have also seen people recite the dialogue without any energy, inflection, or attention to the bodies, think that they are the shiznick.  I'm not sure which is worse.  I am sure though, that as we progress we will all be aided by the posture clinics to be better at whatever it is that we need to improve.  Ultimately we will all be offered the tools we need to succeed. It is merely up to us to accept and use them.

This past week we had Emmy teaching most mornings and Bikram teaching most nights.  I think if I didn't do another class I would still hurt for a month!  As Emmy and Diane both said... I need more intensity.  So, I now kill myself in every class.  Some days that means I'm like an animal... in others I have much much less to give.  The results are pretty profound.  I'm getting ripped.  Seriously, even I can notice it.  People are commenting on it a lot. Another benefit is that I have learnt to focus, concentrate and mediate even through searing, stabbing or exploding pain.  Did I mention I booked myself for a much deserved and needed massage tomorrow?  I'm worth it! =D

We had Jon Burras guest lecturing this week.  I like Jon.  I like Jon's lecture.  I especially like the way some people got worked up into a froth over his lecture.  ;)  Emmy also lectured.  I think her review of our triangles may very well have been the most productive thing that Emmy brought to us.  Why do I say that?  In a nutshell, folks who thought they had triangle nailed discovered they did not.  We all learnt how to correct different body types and limitations.  This knowledge is invaluable as a practitioner and as a teacher.  Next week we have Doctor week.  Dr Das will be presenting, as will Rajashree (assisted by the head of some medical centre (I'm too lazy to check my notes now - If i remember, i will do it later)).  I also had at least one Di-piphany (Di-piphany (noun) - when one suddenly "gets" a pose because of getting some insight from Diane Ducharme) this week, which was pretty cool.  Now, would it be too much to ask to get back to locking my knees in padahastasana and seeing my toes camel?  (without giving up my current height in full locust or low butt in the 1st part of awkward mind you!)  The body... it doeth whatevereth it pleaseth...

2009/05/29

On to class #52

Jon Burras

Kristen and I in a lecture

Diane Ducharme (love love love this woman!)

Emmy Cleaves (an icon for the ages)

Ashley doing a demo

2009/05/27

Bed before 2am?!


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!

I am now going to go meditate and then focus on my Balancing Stick a little before bed.  For some reason that wretched pose is not sticking!  New Shakti gear should be on sale soon... oooohhhh ;)

2009/05/25

Monday - week 5

I'm feeling better... physically and emotionally after today's 2 classes.  I guess a good gauge for the abuse of one's body is that this morning in the bathroom I realized it was my 4th consecutive day without bathroom issues.  I was immediately suspicious.  Now that everything is normal... can I trust it? How long will it last? Between that and today's classes ironing out much of my stiffness and aches I am ever hopeful that I may have turned a corner.  The class too seems to be doing well.  Some time after the middle of last week our discipline in class significantly improved.  We still have the odd person having a bad day (heck, that's a lot of abuse to be taking mentally and physically).  There are also only a few stranglers who are not yet fully committed to giving their all in every class.  I suspect the staff and faculty here will have us all toeing the line in no time.  YESSIR!

We had our second anatomy test today, and I believe it went well.  Afterwards we did our first daytime posture clinic.  I was looking forward to doing our usual evening one, but to no avail.  We have a lecture starting at 9:30pm.  The late start may not bode well for sleep :(

Tomorrow week 5 starts...

... and the process has me demoralized, depressed, deranged, dejected, distraught and distant...

Gross

4 weeks... 100 Ibuprofen tablets... that's an average of... um... 3.57 tablets per day. considering I try to abstain that's saying something. On to bottle #2.

The desert dirt is more pervasive than I thought.  Most of use tend to leave this dirty sweaty footprints right in the middle of our glistening white, hotel provided, towels during class.  Much of it is the desert dirt.  Some of it is our flip flops of course.  

I did some hand washing the end of the first week, and again at the end of this week.  All I have to say is EWW! The first batch washed out fine.  Today's stuff made it look like I was making tea (a blend of Green and Ceylon, if you must know).  The big difference... the floor.  The yoga capris I washed today got to sit on the carpet during posture clinic.  The hotel carpets must be filthy. I repeat again... EWW!

 practicing anywhere... any time...

2009/05/24

Brainwashing progress report

video
Agent 0177 reporting in. 
After 4 weeks the brain washing is almost complete.  Bed time for the new recruits was between 2:30am and 4:30am all of this week.  The sleep deprivation has worn them down.  They can't even think for themselves more often than not.  Crying, rage and fits of screaming are now frequent enough to prove efficacy. The final test of pliancy was Friday night when the very very bad Bikram Disco song (I believe track 3 on "Bikram's Lounge" ($14)) was played after class and the recruits were encouraged to dance.  Agent 0177 must report that she has been compromised.  She danced.  She even thinks this track is the best of the Bikram recordings.

2009/05/23

Group 6

I love love love my posture clinic group. They are a really great bunch of people and I am eagerly looking forward to getting to know them. Here are some of the folks in my group:
  • 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)

Posture clinics

After 2 weeks of posture clinics, here is my take on it SO FAR.
Some of the senior staff are simply better than others at certain aspects of the posture clinics.  Out of the folks I have had in my posture clinics the followings ones stand out for me due to them delivering a specific message (or being first to deliver it).
  • 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.

2009/05/21

what's in store?

Holy Cow, it's Thursday again.  Thursdays are still the only day with a consistent dedication.  Thursday morning classes are still for the Lovely M (kick that C's ass!).  I did good today, lots of positive healing energy coming your way!

Another TMI alert.  Okay, so the Bikram yoga waltzed into my central control system found the big RESET button on the hormones console and whacked the button with all it's might.  Do things really have to insist on getting worse before they get better?  Yes, yes, it'll fix any issues I have in the body... yadda yadda...  but holy cow... a second period only 20 days after I started the last.  Urk.  The worst part of this, is that my cycles dial all aches and pains up several notches.

On a bright note, despite having to go to the lecture hall after posture clinic last night Bikram did not keep us up until 4:20am again!  Yay.  We got let out of the room at 2:30.  I miss sleep... I wonder if it misses me?

2009/05/20

week 4 update

Bikram and Dr T

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.

We had posture clinic on Monday night... but last night... Daddy was back... oh yes... lectures till midnight and movies till 4:20am.  Ah the joys of TT.  Now we're all tired, stressed and sore (the soreness never passes... best you can hope for is your aches to migrate to a new and more interesting place).

For those of you who have had the honor and privilege of ever being under the tutelage of Lynn whitlow or Diane Ducharme... you lucky dogs you!!! I'll say more when I stop being in awe... if I stop being in awe...

2009/05/19

Thought for week 4

There is no situation that could ever confront you that cannot be solved.
Life takes on real meaning when you set values for yourself, regard yourself as worthwhile and elevate your thoughts to things that are of God-good.
There is a Higher Power.
Turn to it and use it;
It is yours for the asking.
~ Brian Adams (How To Succeed) ~

2009/05/16

snippets

Some of the fabulous visiting teachers!

Martha telling us Thursday nite to go UP! ;)


I heart Martha


Picture it (Thursday nite class): 
322 teacher trainees, uncounted number of staff and visiting teachers
Full locust pose (on tummy... legs and arms in air)
Singing Sweet Caroline (with the tum, tum, tum in of course!)
YEAH!

correction

Pubali taught our Thursday morning class.  Lynn Whitlow taught that class.  My bad.  Don't hold it against me, this is groundhog day, the days and weeks blur into each other.  Days for week 3 are as follows...

Wake up. Pee. Dialogue. Get dressed. Dialogue. Breakfast. Study the Dialogue. Walk to class. Dialogue. Do class. Shower. Dialogue. Lunch. Study Dialogue or anatomy.  Lecture. Dialogue & change. Class. Shower. Dialogue. Dinner. Study Dialogue. Posture clinic. Study Dialogue. Sleep.  Rinse and repeat. 

PS. I have heard a number of people who knew large portions of the dialogue prior to TT complaining that it's not like they have to refresh it, but rather relearn it from scratch.

2009/05/14

Teachers

I have been remiss.  I last told you who taught on Tuesday.  My bad.  Wednesday morning Pubali Campbell (out of NH) taught another fabulous class.  That evening we had the John Salvatore show.  John is an entertainer with every fiber of his being foremost and a yoga teacher secondly. The class truly enjoyed the levity he brought to the class.  Make no mistake, these are senior teachers that understand their craft, and by that I mean that they truly try to bring out the very best of us. They are very good at making us demand the best of ourselves.  The classes are hard, we hurt, we ache, we fall over, but we learn to persevere. This is their gift to us, out of their hearts.  My hat goes off to the staff and volunteer teachers who so graciously and selflessly give and give to us to help us grow into better people and better teachers. They are beacons of light for most of us.  If this class is good or special in any way it in only in testament to the legions of teachers that coached all of us.

For the drama queens out there


We are injured and hurt emotionally, 
Not so much by other people or what they say and don't say, 
But by our own attitude and our own response.
~Maxwell Maltz~

2009/05/13

Who is the big bad wolf?


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?

internet

www.boingo.com
$10USD/month to use certain hotspots
The lobby is a hotspot!
Enjoy

2009/05/12

Slow roasted Turkey

Yup, with the heat here I am becoming the world's slowest roasted turkey... in a little less than 7 weeks the oven that is Palm Desert will ping and this glistening, golden turkey will emerge. One does not even manage to truly cool down while inside in the air conditioning.  It has the added downside of leading to a significant amount of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. I faint here, generally it does not lead to feeling fabulous. We all have to chug-a-lug about 5 liters of water a day.  Not something one can practice at home because this is too much water at home, so we all had to get used to it here.

Our posture clinics went well last night after Jim's class.  We had Martha Williams (yes she of the women's retreat in Minnesota fame) as our staff lead in the room.  If fact, Martha taught a fabulous class this morning.  I sure found it hard... indeed brutal... BUT it was a good class.  We continued with our anatomy lecture with Dr T (Dr Frank Trapani and his lovely wife Sonia).  We have 2 weeks of Dr T.  I think we're all in love with doctor T.  Class this evening was with Jim again, who is under the impression this will be the last class he teaches at this TT :(  I heart Jim.  I had a supercalifragilistic class!  It was like a 90min yogasm!  I'm still a lot stiff, but i was able to sustain every pose with poise, focus and normal breathing.  That being said... ow... i think that may hurt in the morning!

2009/05/11

Bathed in sweat!

Welcome to week 3.  During the night somebody snuck into my room and used a binding agent on all of my joints (although it may have been a 2 night operation).  I would like to thank the culprits for they did me a favor.  Despite prior admonishments from teachers about pushing to hard I had consistently failed to find a balance between my recurring pain and a consistent practice. Saturday one of the peer advisors very kindly asked what was going on as she had seen me struggle in my practice.  We talked about me going into poses slower in order to find the point before the exploding pain.  It was the very thing Rajashree had told me at a seminar last year.  Yet, it was so hard to follow here at TT where one pressures oneself to do better, faster, harder.  I knew she was right.  I mentally prepared myself over the weekend, knowing my ego (a wretched thing to take into class) loathes to back off when it knows it can go deeper if only it pushed. I won't bore you with the details, but this is the first class ever that I have walked into with stabbing pain in areas and not once had my breath stolen from me.  Wow. 

We had class with Ren Soriano this morning.  Let me rephrase that.  We had a fabulous class with Ren Soriano this morning.  He is quite the comic and brings a great deal of passion for the yoga to class, not to mention a boat load of energy.  Lecture this afternoon will be anatomy with Dr T.   Class at 5pm will be with I don't know, because the big guy is out this week.  Evening lecture from 9pm onwards will be posture clinics!

2009/05/10

Escape from the Marriott

I would like to thank my 3 fellow TT students that provided the funds to pay for CPR certification for those that did not have the funds. These folks embody that it is better to give than to receive.  No wonder I like "yoga people" so much... what's not to like.

I have really been enjoying getting to know my fellow students and have already begun to regret that I will never truly get to know them all by the end of the 9 weeks.  Each person's story and spirit has uplifted, enlightened and/or inspired me.  I agree with Bikram that this is the smartest and luckiest group of people alive today.

Saturday I had an amazing visiting teacher (Thank you Lily's mom) take us off-site (and trust me, by the time saturday afternoon rolls around it does begin to feel like a bit of a prison camp no matter how lovely it is).  We picked up some supplies and grokked the joy of not having to have to do anything or be anywhere at a specific time.  Yay to buying treats/rewards (be they a tote for class, a new item of clothing, or other).  Just remember... no green... just because they have not been very serious about clamping down on this to date does not mean that they will not in future.  Just do it (or in the case of bringing anything green(ish) to TT... just don't do it).  If you forget, the on-site Bikram store will happy sell you shorts, tops, Ts, mats, totes and water bottles to replace your green ones.  

2009/05/09

End of week 2

Once our CPR training is done today we are done for week 2.  YAY!  The truth is that as the week progressed our practice got weaker. We still did class, but with less vim and vigor (and less smiles).  We had Patricia yesterday morning and Jim again last night.  One class was particularly bad with several folks needing a breather at the back of the room.  I felt really sorry for this one lass who went back and forth several times.  Yes I know it's bad and one aught not to do that.  It is so easy to criticize when you are not the one with the brain freak out.  I've been there and I hope that we all find our inner calm.  Trust me, the inner calm you bring from your studio is not big enough to encompass all that TT subjects you to. 

2009/05/07

Happy birthday Rajashree


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.  

Anatomy classes are next week with Dr T.  Posture clinics also start next week.  Saturday is our mandatory CPR certifications.  Last night we watched a bunch of news clips and specials on Bikram, Yoga and Bishnu Ghosh, and got to bed early (before 1am!  yay!)  Ah the joys of sleep deprivation.  I am really appreciating my hands today.  They do not hurt.  It is nice to have a body part without aching, burning, or stabbing pain. Other than that... drinking all this water is HARD if you are not used to it.  And the pain and suffering is NOT worth not making yourself feel like you are drowning in water.

The class is starting to have some emotional breakthroughs (and breakdowns). At this point much less than I had expected.  For the most part attitudes remain positive.  We are all working through our own stuff, and it comes out in different ways for different people.  They really are a fabulous bunch of human becomings.

2009/05/06

I love avocados


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 ;))

Week 2 Tuesday

We had our first Emmy lecture after lunch today, and also the class finished up our Half Moons this evening.  Whooohooo!  I was nervous and kinda botched the first half of mine and then raised the roof in the second half.  I found it better to forget the room and focus on my 4 demo students, when I did that I was able to begin to relax into just teaching.  The truth is I am petrified of standing up in front of groups and talking.  I must therefore face that which I fear most.  The class honestly did a fabulous job with their dialogues.  Were it not for nerves Bikram would have had so much less to focus on.


Here is a picture of my roommate and myself before enjoying Emmy's lecture in the sweltering heat...

Some days you just have the shit kicked out of you...

Cinco de Mayo brought two crappy classes... argh... curses upon my currently dysfunctional digestive tract.  Okay I will give it Kudos for coming through in the second class (but Pox on it for taking me to the restroom during class... grrr) Nailed from floor bow onwards... actually nailed it better than it has been nailed since getting here.  Ahhh the little victories...  Here are the pix from b4 and after this morning's class.  



2009/05/04

before and after class #11

Here we are... Monday morning

Does this sweat make my face look hot? (who cares about butts at this point?)

2009/05/03

My practice


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.

TMI ALERT
I knew before I came that I would have 3 cycles while here. I will tell you I had my PMS dialed up to a 12, Spinal Tap style.  OMG I wanted to punch everyone in the nose! I have never in my life felt so enraged. I tried to contain it but I would not be surprised if some folks are like "yeah I met her and WHAT a bitch!"  If you are not used to doing class during your TOM I advise you do some before coming to TT so you can gauge what typically happens to you (I typically get dizzy, and knowing this allowed me to be prepared and take some honey which is the one thing I've found to help).

I want to deliver a gargantuan THANK YOU to all the instructors that corrected my form and the form of those around me. I want to thank you for every "lock your knee", "straighten your arms", "flatten your hands", "keep still!", "heels together", "NO towel!", and other admonishment ever delivered before, during or after every class I was ever in. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. While it is true we have some rubber people here we also have many folks that are going to get such corrections delivered in a less nurturing way.  I accept I will be corrected, but I am grateful that it will not be for things I aught to know better about... things that you all cared about enough to make a habit for me.  So next time I suck in my gut, tuck in my tailbone and relax my shoulders away from my ears without so much as thinking about it... that's thanks to you guys!  I luv you and miss you all!!! (PS, thanx for all the texts, messages, emails, etc... keep em coming!)

Gratuitous pictures


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).




We procured a small cheap microwave (hot plates are strictly forbidden and can bring the wrath of the Bikram staff down on you when the hotel complains about you) as the hotel did not have any available (despite the fact that we requested one way in advance).  The box worked out very well and serves as a "kitchen" holding our supplies all neat and tidy (saving much surface space.

We were glad for coming in a day early, not just for being able to scoot around in a rental car and pick stuff up, but also because we were not caught in the deluge of check-ins.

the final paces to the yoga/lecture room




Come hydrated, this place is very dry and thus very deceptive in drying one out!

Shopping

This is for those attending future TT's at the locale!

There is a Ralphs and a Rite Aid really really close.  Shuttle is supposed to be up and running starting this weekend, but really it's just across the street so it's no big deal to walk. These 2 are VERY well stocked with just about anything you can think of which will make packing easy regardless of where you come from.  

Ralphs not only has a fair selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and juices they also have a fair selection of pre-made foods.  They have a pretty okay selection of foods also.  Yes, if you need Spanish Almonds picked by blind monks on a full moon then you'll have to bring your own, but is common almonds will suffice you'll be okay ;)  The Rite Aid has more stationary supplies (journals, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc) than you could ever wish for.  Again, if you insist on a Moleskin or specific pen brand you may want to bring your own. They have TONs of first aid supplies, hygiene products, ear plugs (if you forget this and your room mate snores you'll regret it day 1.  In addition the movies are DEAFENINGLY loud so I put my ear plugs in and i can hear everything clearly (the added bonus is you block out the people blabbering constantly during the movie).  The Rite Aid has an impressive selection of sun block but it does only carry the SPF30 Blue Lizard sport (if you have no idea why I mention this you can tan and thus are not subject to the nuances of the finer sunblocks ;) )  Hair supplies vary from Pantene to Paul Mitchell, so the selection is better than we would expect. Heck they have Matrix, Biolage, Nizoral, Fekkai, Redken, you name it, so no problems there. Neither with hair, nail and face accouterments. Water bottles may leave some to be desired for most.  The selection of protein bars and Protein powders (and similar delicacies) nearby is very limited (half a smidge above non existent).

The hotel itself has several shops where one could buy clothing, swim suits, cover ups, shoes, one (actually a good brand) of protein bar, spa essentials, and a handful of first aid supplies (nice to be able to get mootie when needed!)

In short, day to day supplies can be gotten across the street at any time; with certain other essentials being on hand on-site.

2009/05/02

It's alive!! (week 1 done)

Well actually it should be "it's still alive".  May I be the first to say "holy Budda"?!  (My room mate says to create balance in the universe for the all the times Bikram says "Jesus Christ" we should pick another deity to use their name in vain)

The room is now a lot hotter (since yesterday morning's class).  I would guess the temp is between 105F/31C and 120F/50C in there.  It is also a lot more humid so we are getting nice and hot n sweaty.  The weather here has cooled off a little to 85F/29C.  It's a nice dry warmth, so not as difficult as wet sweltering heat.  We may as well enjoy it, because as summer rolls in, things here is the desert will get pretty darn toasty.

We have more folks now needing to take a knee or lie down in class. With so many factors in play it is inevitable.  There was a lot of excitement and nerves for most of us, add the physical demands, the sleep deprivation (did I mention we stayed up until 4am on Thursday nite?), the change in diet, etc etc and it is no surprise that some people end up feeling severely faint or nauseous in class.  We had Rajashree teaching all the morning classes except this morning (Taught by Mike Winter out of Houston), and Bikram taught all the evening classes except the one Jim Kallett (from San Diego) taught.  We're all feeling a little worse for wear (so where do you ache?!), but spirits are high.  Whooohooo we survived one week!  Emmy comes next week.

Human traction... bones to skin... fingers to toes :)

2009/04/30

Time is starting to fly

Here is a shot up to our room (behind the trees).

Thursday morning classes remain dedicated to the Lovely M. You go girl!

7 classes down (we have 3 more this week). It was 91F/33C here today and the room we take lectures in is very susceptible to outside heat. The net result is that walking to the loo (the route to and from the lecture/yoga room is outside in the sun) one gets to really enjoy the cool 91F/33C temp! (that was NOT sarcasm, that was sincere... it is like a breath of fresh cool air stepping out of the sweltering room.)  Last night it got pretty darn cold in there!

One cute thing with both Rajashree and Bikram.  The way they say Palm Desert makes it sound like Palm Dessert.  Makes it sound like a much better place to have a hellish 9 week yoga bootcamp, no? ;)

People are starting to get achy (which is to be expected).  Today a small number of people got some pedialite/Gatorade to help them through a rough patch in class.  For our 4th day of yoga I think we are doing well.  It may be due to the preparation some students have done.  Unlike me many (most?) students seem to have been prepared by their local studio.  I confess I have clique envy of all the students that came in groups.  Speaking of groups, don't visit British Columbia as all of the studios there must be closed due to every last student in BC being here at TT ;)  There are also a LOT of Aussies and New Zealanders.  Many of the Americans are like me and have another mother country.  Nice bunch indeed, and very attractive!