Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BYTT- Week 6

Light at the end of the tunnel....................

Oh goodness. Only 3 weeks left. Yippie!

Everyone keeps telling us to enjoy every minute, that we will miss this when we leave, blah, blah, blah...
I am anxious to be done with this madness, to move on with my life, to have some time alone.

This week ended much better than week 5. We had a really good teacher from NYC, Tricia Donegan, who also sat in one of my posture clinics. She was just too cool. And Friday we had the double pleasure of Sharon from Headquarters, who most of us had communicated when signing up for this madness, and her fiancee, Balwan, a beautiful soul, a man who goes around with a permanent smile, a soft giggle, and encouraging words for absolutely everyone. Sharon's class was quick, no nonsense, and easy going. And Balwan's! Balwan's was the highlight of this training so far! On Friday night, we were all just so burned out and tired, ready for the weekend. But when people saw him put on the mic, and realized that he was teaching, the cheers and claps, whistles, and screams that erupted and spread through the room were invigorating and energizing. He got the loudest and longest reception I have ever heard for anyone with a mic. It was kind of like a rock star was taking the stage, but with so much love. We love him, and that showed. His good cheer touches even the most bitter of us, and is magnetic. His class was funny, sweet, and energizing. He threw out nuggets, and jokes. And even his mistakes were humble and oh so cute. We were all energized and in harmony, moving as one. I loved this class.

The yoga is crazy.

I am so stiff and sore. My muscles are screaming at me all the time. Most of my classes are just a struggle to get through. But then one day, out of nowhere, I will do a pose and my body will just go into it, and then keep going! The posture will just turn into the best posture of my life, and I will be so surprised. And then the next day, I can't do it like that again, but the knowledge that I did once, and that I might again, is addictive and keeps me eagerly coming back to the mat. I can't wait to see what my practice looks like after I get back to a regular schedule. They say our bodies will open up AFTER we leave Training. So exciting.

Posture Clinics are ok. I still hate getting up there, but I no longer freeze like I used to. I can tell that once I figure out how to channel the nervous energy into the teaching, it will be easy breezy. But I haven't figured that out yet. :) I still wonder how the heck I am supposed to string this all together into a 90min class, but it terrifies me, so let's stop thinking about it, shall we?

One of my teachers from my island, F, came to visit Friday and Saturday. He is so passionate about the yoga. It is a delight to be considered a peer by this wise and distinguished gentleman. Our old studio owner from the island, who now lives here in LA, came and took class with us Saturday morning, and then took F & I to brunch in Santa Monica, a nice little walk around the grounds of Yogananda's Self Realization Fellowship, and some yummy gelato. We spent most of the time talking about teaching and about F's dream of opening a studio in his native country, and us coming to work for him. This yoga can take one anywhere!

F&I went to a movie on Saturday afternoon.
It's about some British retirees who retire to a place in India. It is not what they expected, but everything works out in the end. So charming, and made me miss India so much!

The best part about this week was our Thursday and Friday guest lecturer, Jon Burras .http://www.jonburras.com/bio.html
He spoke to us about Fascia, the connective tissue that wraps around everything in the body, and had lots of cool toys and visuals. He told us of how we store emotions and traumas in the body (if we don't express it then the body holds onto it and puts it somewhere in our tissues. It can manifest as pain.), and how the yoga can bring it up. He talked about a lot of other things as well, some of which are: how fit is not necessarily healthy, and how our language of sport has become the language of war, how he believes technology is killing us, how flat feet are better for us, and how children should sleep with their parents. This last one kind of inflamed people. It was exciting to see how people get all riled up by him. I guess it happens at every Training (he's been teaching at Training for 13 years!), and he watches the crowd to see how much he can get away with. After being in India, and seeing how my 14yr old niece and 10yr old nephew still sleep in their parents' bed, and how close they are to the family, and how they are not sullen bratty kids like most American kids, I think that somehow the West got it all wrong. Separation from the beginning only leads to separation in the end.

Actually, I agreed with every word this man said. Every word. And it inspired and and made me feel like I was supposed to be at Training just to know about this man. I bought his book, and I am eating up all his online articles. Finally! One thing at Training that put a smile on my face!

So, here we go. Week 7 is under way. We are on the second to last posture, and I am wondering what is in store when we finish. Probably more late night movies! Haven't see Bikram very much this Training, and we only saw Rajashree 3 times. Strange...

I just want to throw a thank you out to a staff member, Jake. He took the time to ask me how I was doing, and told me of his own struggles when he was at Training. His kindness helped me get through the week. Most of the staff stick to each other and don't really bother with us except to tell us what to do, but Jake goes out of his way to friend everyone and give pep talks when needed. If I ever come back to Training to help out, I will remember his kindness and pass it on. It helps immensely when a staff member notices you and cares to ask how you are holding up. In this sea of 420 other needy yogis, it is easy to feel lost and adrift. Just knowing that one staff member knows my name and how I have struggled, makes me want to hang on and try a little harder. If he could do it, then I can do it.

Only 3 more weeks......

Monday, May 21, 2012

BYTT Week 5

Yes, I am in Hell.

This post might be pretty negative, so read at your own risk (Mom!)....

This week started off so wonderful. My mentor/friend N, (a teacher in NY who came out to my island in 2010 for a month and we just clicked right away) got here Monday. I just loved having her here to talk about all this stuff with. She is so relaxed and easy going, and a fabulous person. She gave me some inside scoops, like who was scheduled to teach that night, or what the staff was saying about us burning through posture clinics so fast, so we might have to watch more Bollywood movies to slow us down. It was fun having someone to eat my meals with that was not a trainee.

(At this point, I am just starting to get burned out. Just sick of being surrounded by hundreds of yogis, sick of hearing dialogue, sick of always waiting in lines, sick of everything about this. Since I can't just hang out in my room, I keep searching for someplace to study alone, and.. there. is. NO. place. to. be. alone. I am someone who recharges by being alone, so I have burned out my battery here folks. I am toast.)

My other friend, T, who was my roomie on my island, and also came to India last year and spent a week with me and my Husbo, came for recertification. So I was distracted by two friends, and was having a great week until about Thursday.

Rajashree finally came. Her classes are sweet. She asks us questions and tells us how lucky we are, and gives gentle pushes to keep trying. So unlike her bossy husband! I love listening to the Indian accent!

Wednesday, everyone was so excited as it was the halfway point of TT. And Friday, all the recertifying Teachers came so we had 120+ extra bodies in the yoga room. They said Friday night, Bikram's class, had 600 people, was 130 degrees, was 2.5 hours long and was being filmed.  Bikram was in a mood that night. He told stories between every posture, yelled at the visiting teachers for letting themselves go, and was very entertaining. I loved every second of it. I felt great.

I think it is interesting that as my mood and outlook outside the hot room has deteriorated, my yoga practice has gotten better. All my classes at the end of the week, were strong, focused, and energizing.

But outside the yoga room, something has taken over me.

I am struggling. The posture clinics have gotten worse. I am gripped with an irrational fear, and nervousness that wipes my mind of everything I thought I had memorized. I get up there and can't think, can't breathe. I can't remember any feedback, and I hate myself.

Yes, Hell is my mind this week, telling me how stupid I am. I am really hating myself, and berating myself, and feeling so unworthy and full of shit. What the heck am I doing here? I don't deserve any of this. I can't be a teacher, I can't even remember my own name standing in front of people. I don't want to be me this week. I am super envious of absolutely everyone else, because I am convinced that they are all much better than me in every aspect imaginable, and I am the scum of the earth.


So Friday night, they sprung a Posture Clinic on us, after we had done so many already, and they had even given us the hope of having the night off because Bikram was going to lecture to all the recert Teachers. Everyone was unprepared. I was completely numb. I had finished Wind Removing pose right before class, and did not even look at Cobra. So in PC, a fellow groupie got up and told them he hadn't looked at it, they told him to just wing it, and I thought I could do the same. I mean, I have done this yoga for 10 years, I have heard this dialogue thousands of times, why can't I just visualize what is happening and say it???

But my mood was so black and ugly, and when I got up there, of course I froze and went blank, and I don't remember what I said, but it was shit, and then I started crying. Yep, I am that girl. The one who lost it in public. But seeing as how I don't ever get any privacy EVER, I guess it was bound to happen in public. (Although, it would have been much better if it would have happened in the hot room, when no one would have noticed!)

I cried and they made me say the posture that I didn't know, AGAIN, and I said exactly the same things. She said it was better, and I said how could it possibly be better, as I said it exactly the same. She said it is because I was taking myself seriously the second time. Yes, hating my guts, being totally embarrassed and trying to hold back more tears was much better. I honestly don't get this. I can't seem to please anyone, and I am more and more miserable every day. I am seriously doubting my ability to teach this yoga. I am doubting whether I even want to.

After they let us go, I sat in the stairwell between the 10th and 11th floors and cried my eyes out. Even then, people came by. There is just NO place to be alone.

So before N left, she gave me a sweet card with a message that she got me a hotel room down the street for Saturday night. So I could have one night all alone. So wonderful. I studied dialogue, and took an epsom salt bath, and tried to Skype with Husbo but the internet wasn't working. :(

I think it's pretty sad that in order to have some alone time, I have to get another room. The selfishness of my roommate is pretty amazing isn't it? Both N and T, came up to the room to shower on different days, and while I was in the shower, both had the opportunity to observe her just sitting in her damn chair, just chewing. That's all she does, sit there and chew. N nicknamed her The Chewer. They both said it was kind of creepy. She just stares into space and chews. It is so creepy that I leave the room constantly. I can't stand to listen to it anymore. I want to change rooms. Is that even possible? I would rather have the noisiest, messiest roommate that will leave the room occasionally than have this one that refuses to leave EVER, and does nothing but sit in that chair and chews.

I know. I am allowing her to steal my peace. But I am not a big-hearted yogi this week. I am a pissed off, full of self hatred, depressed, scared little girl this week. I am in Hell for certain. Hell is a black mind, I am sure of it. Does it get better?

Monday, May 14, 2012

BYTT- Week 4

Red wants more details, so I shall try harder to not let my brain fog get in the way...

Week 4 was rough.

Monday, I felt tired and my throat was a bit scratchy, and Tuesday, it turned into a horrible cough and fever. I tried to get through class in the morning, but I was so ill. When I got to posture clinic, I tried to tell M, the scary dude who runs the sound and yells at us to be quiet, and to my embarrassment I started crying. He told me to see the nurse. She gave me some cough drops, some tylenol, and told me to attend posture clinic, and then see her before the evening class. I spent the entire posture clinic coughing my lungs out. I sat in the back to avoid the freaked out looks from others, and I was miserable. At one point, I laid down on the chairs and must have fallen asleep, because I was rudely shaken awake and reprimanded by the evil queen who runs things around here, K ( I swear I haven't heard of her being the least bit nice to anyone. It's hard enough here without having to deal with people on power trips!), and I am sure that all the students were sorry about that because that was the only time I wasn't hacking!

I ended up having a fever, and missed class that night and both classes on Wed. I went straight to bed every time I got the ok to miss class. And because I coughed so much on Tues, on Wed I had no voice!! It made delivering my Standing Head to Knee dialogue very interesting. Luckily, M was in a good mood that day, and he just told me to get well.

Thursday, I was so anxious to get back into the hot room! I got my temp taken and go the okay from the nurse, and proceeded to get my ass kicked by senior teacher, Emmy. I wasn't as well as I had thought, felt very weak midway through. And Thursday evening, was my low point....

In ten years, I haven't left the room since a few times in the first year. The studio where I first started doing the yoga really stressed not leaving the room and I learned very quickly to just lay on my mat and let the mad feelings that were overwhelming me, just wash over and go away. No need to run from them. Just accept that it is hot and uncomfortable and move on. So leaving the room has never been an issue for me.

But Thursday nights class was with Jim Kallett and the room was so hot and steamy, that there were tons of people falling down and leaving and struggling big time. Even the teachers. In the floor series, (I swear the floor is heated, I think they are roasting us for dinner!) it was actually cooler to sit up and gasp for breath then lay on the mat. I felt so ill, and kept coughing, and I would do the sit up and then lay back down. No strength at all! I must have looked ill, because Sharon, a teacher practicing in the back directly behind me, came up around Rabbit pose and told me to step outside and get some air and then come back. No arguing with a teacher! I got out in the hall and cried for a bit. How humbling. Then smiley, shiny Felix came through on his way back into the hot room and he looked so miserable, but he put his hand out to help me up and I immediately felt energized by his looking out for me even when he was struggling. I went and blew my nose and then went back to my mat and finished the class with strength and intention.

Kind of dangerous, because now I want to leave the room all the time! ;)

Posture clinics are not getting any easier. It is so damn scary to get up in front of 40 something people and hope that your mind doesn't go completely blank. Which it always does. I don't know how I will ever teach a full class. I seriously struggle with this. And it affects the self esteem, and feelings of worth. It seems so easy, but is killing most of us. It helps to know that 99% of us hate this and we are all rooting for each other, but it is still the most uncomfortable thing to do ever. But, a teacher from New Zealand, Simon, said "There is beauty in the struggling" and I am trying to hold onto that and look for the beauty when my mind just wants to call myself names and put myself down.

Future trainees... A piece of advice... Find a roommate that has the courtesy to share the room with you. By share I mean, will occasionally eat and study downstairs so that you can have the room to yourself, to study dialogue out loud, cry into your pillow, skype with your husband, or just veg in alone-ness. My roommate NEVER leaves and it is seriously pissing me off. She sits in the chair by her bed every moment we are not in class. She never showers, and she changes her clothes by the bed, so I seriously NEVER get a single damn moment to myself. I am so sick of hearing her chew her food, that I leave the room and wander the hotel, trying to find a quiet place to think, but in a hotel full of 420 other yogis, it is not that easy. I haven't skyped with my husband since I have been here because I get NO privacy. And yes, I talked to her about it and her response was that she "didn't pay $4000 to have a room just to sit in the hotel somewhere". I think it is incredibly selfish. (I want to punch her in the face. Not very yogi-like, I know!) I leave all the time now, and she gets tons of time to herself. I AM SERIOUSLY GOING CRAZY.

Is that enough detail, Red? :)

Here comes week 5. Bikram comes back, so we can expect more late movie nights and lots of sleep deprivation.They call Week 5 the Hell Week. I have two teacher/friends coming to visit me, so I think it will be a wonderful week.

Wish me luck, and keep me in your prayers. Or send me money to get my own room. ;)

Monday, May 7, 2012

BYTT- Week 3

Sheer carnage.

That is what one person called our Saturday morning class. Saturday morning is our last class before we are free until Monday morning. I think they tried to kill us, to make us afraid for what is to come! I struggled from Tree pose onward. In fact, I did one set of two different postures for the entire floor series. Mostly I just laid on the mat, trying to slow down my breath and trying not to be jealous of all the people leaving the room. (In my opinion, leaving the room is not an option, so you find ways to soothe yourself and bring your crazy mind under control without the relief of running away. It helps with self control, willpower and determination.) My face was tingling, I wanted to puke, I wanted to curl in a ball and cry my eyes out. And after class, my hands were swollen! I think I need to work on more hydration and my electrolyte intake.

But we made it, we survived, and we are that much stronger for it! I need classes like that to remind me what it is like for beginners, as I have been doing this yoga for so long, most classes are easy, breezy for me. We have to remember, so we can find the compassion for the struggling.

This week was easy. I say that because Bikram is gone, so we have been able to go to bed by midnight every night. Enough sleep really does make a difference. I need at least 6 hours to function optimally. We have one more week without Bikram, so sleeping will be my main thing this week! Next week, I have a feeling that the shit will hit the fan!

The pace has been ramped up! After two weeks of watching 420+ people do half moon, I think we got a bit lazy. Posture clinics started this week, and they split us up into groups of about 20, and we are paired with another group and we have to say the postures in front of 3 demonstrators and visiting teachers, who are all staring at you, listening for your mistakes, and telling you what you need to work on. (It is horrible! I have NEVER been comfortable with more than 2 people looking at me, and now there is 40+ and my mind goes blank, and I am sweaty and so uncomfortable! Ugh.) We ended up doing 3 postures this week and I think people were caught off guard. Now you can't go anywhere in this hotel without seeing groups of people with the dialogue in their hands, frantically mumbling to themselves, or reciting to others. I have found a study buddy who I really enjoy and that has helped me immensely. (Thank you AGD!)

We started Anatomy this week as well. There is no pressure there for me as I have already studied Anatomy twice in my other professions, so I am focusing more on the dialogue. Although, the Anatomy teacher is the funniest man ever and who makes anything worth listening to. He is an ER doctor in Vegas, and also a massage therapist, and he used to be a cheerleader! He is so so enjoyable. What a treat to have him after Bikram's long winded lectures!

The friends I am making here are fabulous! There are some fantastic people here and I am already planning trips to visit them. This journey is so intense, that you just cant help but be bonded for life! I am loving my Sunday morning breakfast buddies, my gang that I sit with in lectures, and random people I meet while on the shuttle for grocery shopping trips. The Facebook group page has been a really fun way to plan things, invite people, or just have someone to share your misery with.

I just want to leave you with an idea of the schedule here, so you understand why it is so grueling.

8am- Sign in for class

8.30-10.25ish- 90min Bikram yoga class plus about 25 min to lay on my mat after and catch my breath!

10.30-12noon- Shower, Eat, Study (or jump in the pool for a refreshing cool down)

12noon- Sign in for Lecture or Posture clinics

12.30-415ish- Lecture or posture clinic

4.15-4.30pm- Run upstairs, change into yoga clothes, fill your water bottles, get down to the yoga room

4.30pm- Sign in for class

5pm-7ish- 90min Bikram yoga class plus time for the teacher who goes over (Bikram!) and to lay on my mat in my puddle of sweat after...

7-8.30 or 9pm- Shower, Eat, Study

9 or 9.30- Sign in for Lecture or Posure clinic

9/9.30- 12midnight, 1.30am, 3.30am! -Lecture, Posture clinic, Bollywood movie!

So you see why I can't call you or do anything during the week! We are like zombies, just being told what to do and doing it without a choice. Go, go go! It is funny, because on Saturday, when I finally get some free time, I struggle a bit with what to do as having an option is so weird by that point! :) But, then I am frantically trying to get laundry done, and grocery shop for the week, and study, and get out of the hotel for a bit! Such a strange ride this is.

Knees are holding up. I had some bad days, and then some really good days. I am trying to just trust the process. It is what it is, no use bitching and moaning about it. ;)

Off to sweat now! Bye!