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


Fall 2009 Teacher training

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

Dates October 4th to December 5th

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

summary #1 (dialogue)

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

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


Wear where?

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


Preparing for 1st class

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

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

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

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


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?