11 more classes (20 total now) and zero earthquakes and I am finished with week 2! We have 7 weeks and 77 classes to go and I am hoping they all continue to go as well as the first 2 weeks have gone. We eat, sleep, and breathe yoga here and I love every minute of it!
Monday 9/25/17 – Day 9
Our hot room was not repaired yet so we kicked off our class in a new ‘studio’ in the hotel ballroom. The room has little-to-no heat, no humidity, no mirrors, no lines, and no air flow and was no fun! The musty old ballroom was definitely not the ideal studio but was better than not practicing at all. Deepak was our guest teacher and he was amazing! He knew the room was cold and adjusted us all accordingly so we would be warm enough and not get injured. He had great energy and flow and was so encouraging to everyone. It was a tough class, both physically and mentally, but I managed and ended up having a good class. I was in the front of the room and because there were no mirrors, I could not see the people behind and feed off their energy so it felt like a private class, almost. Again, that makes it a little tough! Deepak was great though and made all of those challenges moot.
I went swimming in the salt water pool after class but was so tired from the night before (did not sleep well) that I just wanted to get cleaned up, eat, and relax as soon as possible. After breakfast and fighting off the crazy, sugar packet-stealing birds, Lidia and I sat in the amazing swing chairs and chatted before afternoon lecture. It was the most perfect and beautiful weather outside so we had to take advantage of it, no matter how much a nap appealed to me.
Bikram lectured during afternoon lecture (did you know that there are 26 postures in the sequence because there are 26 letters in the alphabet which allows him to use the “A to Z” idiom? brilliant!) but let us out early so Maryla and I got ice cream and enjoyed the outdoors. I finally heard from Andrew and got confirmation he was home and alive, too. Everyone here misses him!
Noteworthy lecture quotes:
- Listen to your heart. Your mind is always going to confuse you.
- The only way it works is the right way.
- Your back itches? Scratch it yourself. Don’t even tell anybody it itches!
The evening class with Bikram was in the ballroom again. The vibe in there drains us all but we make it work. I had another good class but my mind just was not in it. Part of being a yogi is being able to adapt and adjust to situations… the temporary studio is definitely testing us! The room was warmer than it had been in the morning but not by much. Baby steps.
After a quick swim and dinner, Lidia, Maryla, and I put on our matching Walmart “Power” shirts and had a photoshoot. People thought we were crazy but we had a good time with it!
Before evening lecture, one of the visiting teachers told us about “Ikigai,” a Japanese concept that means “reason for being.” See the diagram below… it was a fascinating concept and really spoke to me!
The evening lecture was our first Bollywood movie night: Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai. Everyone here had heard about these prior to coming to training so we all thought we were prepared but I do not think any amount of ‘heads up’ could have prepared us. What an experience. I actually really enjoyed the first hour or so of the movie: singing, dancing, cheesiness? Yes, yes, and yes. At about halfway, the plot took a twist and that was when things got strange and started to drag on. Some people were sleeping during it but I just had to know how it ended… blame my endless curiosity. It was a long night in those uncomfortable chairs (I stood up for parts of the movie) and we were in bed by 1:30am. I barely slept the night before so I was beyond exhausted and slept like a rock.
Tuesday 9/26/17 – Day 10
I slept much better and had a great morning yoga class with Laju. The room was feeling hotter than it had been and as always, her energy was motivating. I am guilty of skipping a few postures (or just the second set) a little too often at home but I realized I had not once skipped anything since the very first death-class, so that made me a little proud of myself! At the end of class, instead of playing a song, Laju read us the most amazing poem: “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I loved it!
After breakfast, Lidia and I sat in a shaded spot near the pool and studied before afternoon lecture. I did not study… I looked up the poem Laju read us and wrote it out instead.
Bikram talked for a little bit during afternoon lecture and then we moved on. He wanted to hear everyone deliver their Half Moon dialogue again so we started from the top! Since I was one of the first ones last week, I had to go again. I was not wearing my ‘teaching costume’ because it was never made clear if we were ALL going again or just some, but it was fine. I did my dialogue and thought I did better even though I was a little more nervous but he gave me the same feedback. Basically, I am “chicken curry with no salt.” Oy. Salt will come with experience!
Noteworthy lecture quotes:
- The faster you confess the truth, the faster you save your time and life.
- If you see everything, you are lost.
He let us out early so Maryla and I went swimming for a little bit. Again, we have to take advantage of nice weather when we have it! Plus, we decided that swimming would help prepare us for the evening class (spoiler alert: it did). The evening class with Bikram (again in the ballroom) was great! I put my mat front and center in Bikram’s “lion’s den.” Anyone front and center is subject to getting called out the entire class. Kiley and I decided we might as well have our turn… plus, we WANT his feedback on postures. That is one of the whole points of this, right?
Thankfully, Kiley and I managed to get a lot of feedback without ever getting berated! Whew. We both received a lot of silent feedback… he would point to us and then say something quickly like “move the knee” or “twist more,” just minor corrections. Remember, the ballroom does not have mirrors so we really cannot adjust ourselves on our own. He told me my left side Standing Bow was crooked (it always is, that is why I need the mirror!) but he did not use my name so when I looked up to verify he was talking to me, I fell out and he said, “ahhh I knew you would fall out when you looked!” Busted. I also got called out my step being too wide in Triangle and not wide enough in Balancing Stick. Minor things! He had told us about advanced Toe Stand and how to do it the day before and told us to try it if we wanted to… so of course I did. In the beginner version, you put your right foot on your left thigh so you are balancing on one leg, bend down with a straight standing leg until your hands are on the ground, then finally bend the standing leg until you are almost sitting down, only balancing on your toes. In the advanced version, you go straight into the sitting position without ever touching the ground. I attempted it and succeeded! Only me and another girl, Sarah, did it (that he saw, probably). I tried to come back up without using the ground but fell out. He seemed impressed and I was excited to have done it.
Bikram sometimes has some demo a posture to the class. We all have to stop what we are doing and watch the person do whatever it is he wanted us to see. Sometimes, this can be a demo of what TO do and sometimes it can be a demo of what NOT TO do. After the first set of Floor Bow, I was asked to demo as an example of what TO do! Good news! That was scary, but exciting. The only problem now is that I always have to do a perfect Floor Bow in class because he knows I am capable!
I also learned in class that when we grab our elbows during Fixed Firm, we are not supposed to grab underneath the elbows. Our hands should only cover the tops of the elbows and not touch the floor. It really did change the posture a little bit. I know none of this makes any sense to non-Bikram yoga students… but it will once you all start taking my classes! 🙂
Maryla and I went to the ocean after class. It was another beautiful sunset so of course I had to get a picture. I had a full dinner and 3 desserts (because I hate myself, apparently) and then studied in the lobby with Lidia and Vinny before the evening lecture. The lobby is one of my most favorite spots in the hotel. It is open-air and there is always a nice breeze! I love it.
We learned about the body and mind and how they work together during the evening lecture and about the origins of Hatha yoga. I found it all to be very, very interesting and really enjoyed it. Bikram makes it entertaining, too. It was thankfully not a very late night.
Wednesday 9/27/17 – Day 11
Our morning class was with Edward, again in the ballroom. We were all really missing the hot room by this point but we take what we can get. We are yogis, we adapt. I was very tired and my right-side lower back was feeling pretty sore but I managed to have a good class again. It seemed like everyone was coughing in class – I blame the musty, old, stale room! That carpet has got to be a major contributor and we have probably ruined it at this point with all of our sweat!
After breakfast, Kirsty and I took a photo to send to our mutual friend, Paul. She used to work with him in the UK and he is one of my instructors/mentors from back home. Small world! Lidia and I studied again by the pool in the shade. I actually studied this time! The morning was all about the birds… they stole sugar packets and squawk like crazy. I think I prefer sweet, chirping birds!
More people delivered their Half Moon dialogue in front of Bikram during the afternoon lecture. From everything I had heard from past trainings, we did not have to do Half Moon twice but… no expectations, go with the flow, trust the process. I studied a little bit during though. You can only hear Half Moon so many times.
We got out early again so Maryla and I went swimming before the evening class. We recited dialogue (which is much more difficult to do than reading/writing/saying it to yourself) and did laps. We sit so much during lecture that swimming really has proven to be a good pre-class stretch. I love it. Assuming time and weather permits, that might become a regular thing for us.
Our evening class with Bikram was in the ballroom again. I did well (I really have not had a bad class yet, especially not an evening one) and Bikram made us all laugh quite a bit, more so than usual. Tom was next to me and Bikram picked on him a lot so I knew I was in his sight – knowing that always makes me try harder. So many of my postures have already improved since I have been here, even without the heated room this week. I ALMOST got my forehead to touch my toes during the last part of Head to Knee with Stretching. Ah!
After class, I got to video chat with Jessica, Bailey, and Olivia. It was so good to see them! They are in Tennessee for a wedding so the girls told me about their fun adventures so far. It was good to catch up. Both girls looked happy to see me and Bailey asked when I was coming back. Be still, my heart! I wish Elliott could give me that kind of reaction!
I video chatted with dad and Suzette after dinner for a bit to check on Elliott and catch up. It was good to see and talk to them. I have not felt home sick so far (thankfully) but it is nice to be able to SEE and talk to people from home. It helps!
Our evening lecture was my nightmare. Bikram talked about Hatha yoga and I truly did find all of that to be interesting. It was what came AFTER his lecture that was horrible. Hatha yoga is all about uniting the Mind and Body; having the two work together. If the two are working together perfectly, you can do anything. He showed us the most disgusting and horribly fascinating videos of yogis, himself included, during extraordinary things that can only be done when the mind and body are united. Some clips were from an old TV show called “That’s Incredible” and some were just random clips. The videos included things like: incredibly flexible yogis, laying on a bed of nails and getting run over by a motorcycle (Bikram did this), getting walked on by an elephant, etc. These days, these acts would be called “danger acts” and they are NOT my cup of tea. When I see things like this on TV, I always fast forward or close my eyes (and then watch between my fingers anyway because my curiosity). My anxiety gets too high and if you know me at all, you know I tend to pass out whenever the human body gets involved so it was a rough hour of videos. Good thing I know how to do pranayama deep breathing and stay conscious. I was in bed by 12:45am.
Noteworthy lecture quotes:
- What is the most important thing in your life? Your life!
Thursday 9/28/17 – Day 12
I woke up with a sore throat but I had the best morning class to date! Christina taught and had great energy/pacing, was calm with us, and was clearly very knowledgeable and experienced. We share the same favorite posture (Standing Head to Knee, which Bikram said was the most difficult), too. I cannot do Rabbit pose properly to save my life in the morning but she singled me out to move my knees closer towards my head and when an instructor says to do something, you do it. As tough and painful as it was, I did it! I have to admit, I am incredibly intimidated by her because of the relationship she has with a someone from the Spring TT but I know it is paranoia and I will get past it. I truly enjoyed her class and really hope she teaches again soon (and that I can swipe some Hydroflask stickers). She had great wisdom for us too and dropped little nuggets like:
- People who are struggling in class need your encouragement – single them out and tell them they are doing well
- People who look the most miserable are probably the ones enjoying it the most (so true – I look like I hate every moment of class but I seriously cannot get enough of this)
- “Back bends aren’t about holding on, they’re about letting go.” – LOVE his one!
Bonus: she played “Man in the Mirror” as her Savasana song and that was cool. Always a good song to get you feeling powerful and motivated.
Instead of rushing to breakfast after my post-class shower, I got to have a long talk with Katy, my friend/instructor from back home. It was so good to catch up with her and it made me feel special that she would make the time for me during all of her overseas adventures. She has obviously already been through TT so she understood everything I had to say about classes and lectures more than my other friends and family would. She also knows all of the history of my past relationship and it was nice to get some of those emotions off my chest. As much as I love being here, the longer I am here the more I realize I spent 9+ weeks being lied to and deceived in SO, SO many ways (intentionally or not) and any normal person would feel bothered and beytrayed by that. It truly does not even make me sad at this point, just foolish, angry, and disappointed. I thought I knew him. I want to forgive and part of me does (we have been in contact on and off through this process, we are our original yogi buddies and he’s been supportive of me which has been nice) but it is tough sometimes, especially because I never got an apology. Getting those emotions out and talking through it was so incredibly helpful though. I love every second of this experience and nothing will ruin it for me so processing that stuff sooner rather than later was nice. Plus, Katy has one of the best attitudes of all time (not to mention she gives great advice!) and was so excited for me and everything going on here. She was very encouraging and talking to her really made my day! I had just enough time for a quick breakfast before afternoon lecture.
During afternoon lecture, we continued with our Half Moon dialogue and because we finished with everyone, we got out 2 hours early! Huge win. The weather was crummy so I decided to just stay in my room and rest. I checked work emails, started this post (this takes forever…) and watched Netflix. Maryla had bought a Bikram bra but did not like how it fit so I offered to buy it from her but instead, ended up trading her 3 of my bras that did not fit anymore. Everybody wins!
My evening class with Bikram was fantastic. The room was warmer than usual and I noticed that my postures are all quickly improving, especially the floor series (my Locust is higher than I have ever gotten it). I can almost do the advanced Separate Leg Stretching, too. I need to try it one day after class once we are back in the hot room. My Triangle is also significantly stronger. Bikram told us once that it is easy to build flexibility when you are already strong but it is not as easy to build strength if you are already flexible. Thank goodness I am already strong (leg strength only… my upper body strength is laughable)! Bikram had us laughing harder than ever today and ran around the room at one point and fixing their Locust. He is such a character and classes are so enjoyable. I usually do not like when classes are not dialogue driven but when he deviates, it is great. He frequently reminds us that he does not teach to the dialogue and instead teaches with corrections and advice because we already know the dialogue and it is the other stuff we will need to know as teachers. That is very true and it has been very helpful. We are, after all, learning to be teachers!
I studied in the lobby (have I mentioned that I love the lobby?) after another delicious dinner. Maryla, Lidia, and I walked around before evening lecture and tried to get some stretches in before we had to sit for hours on end in the uncomfortable lecture chairs.
Bikram lectures for a little bit but then we watched 3 episodes of a TV show (“Mahabharat”). I thought I would hate it and even though I was distracted by the horrible quality and atrocious set design, I totally loved it. People were sleeping but I just had to know what was going to happen next and did not want to miss anything. Each episode was a cliff hanger even though Bikram had already told us the whole story (with no spoiler alerts, mind you). We have 6 more episodes to watch of it (there are more than 9 but he only has us watch a few) and I cannot wait until we resume it again. I know that may sound sarcastic but I genuinely mean it. It was a late night and I was in bed after 1am. New late night record.
PS – My hips were a whole new level of sore. Thank you, Triangle pose.
Friday 9/29/17 – Day 13
My throat still hurt but I had a good class, taught by Carla. My brain was not functioning but by Standing Head to Knee I forced my brain to focus and just do the yoga. Bikram tells us “let my brain be your brain” which means the instructor should be doing all the thinking for the students which allows the student the freedom to ONLY have to LISTEN. So, I let Carla’s brain be my brain and let my body just do what it knows how to do. Success. Carla was a great teacher and killed us with compassion and a smile. I love that we get different teachers every morning so we can constantly learn different teaching styles and hear different advice. For example, Carla pointed out that only 1 posture has the word “I” in it proving that the class is not about the instructor, it is about the student. She reminded us to not use “I” in class and not make it about us. Good advice! We have to be selfless teachers, not egocentric teachers. Her Savasana song was “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles and man, that was rough. First of all, that song is always emotional for me for some reason deep down in my subconscious. Secondly, I do not know why but when I was landing in Mexico City 13 days ago, I got to watch the sunrise from the plane and that song randomly popped into my head. As you already know, being in Mexico City already brought back emotions but then to have that song pop up for whatever reason really compounded the emotion. Hearing it in class… oy. Good choice, Carla.
We learned a valuable lesson after class – the hotel does not belong to us! The place definitely filled up and our breakfast area was incredibly crowded. Weekenders! The hotel even had the pool waterfalls on and everything – something we do not usually get the pleasure of enjoying. I ate quickly at a crowded table and then washed my yoga clothes in our room before heading to study in the lobby. I had been writing the dialogue out by memory in the days before and as I went to compare what I wrote with the dialogue, I discovered so many inconsistencies. The dialogue in the PDF I was emailed is different than the dialogue in the laminated book I bought here (which is also different than the dialogue in the same laminated book other people bought here). AH! They are minor differences but that sure does make it tough!
The lecture room was freezing in the afternoon. Bikram spoke for quite awhile, summarizing the last night’s TV show and then discussing the heart and lungs (I quite enjoyed that part of it – despite my weak stomach). He has a way of making those topics interesting despite being a little long winded. He sure makes his point but it works because by the end of it, we all get it. We got to see his sassy side for the first time, too, which was a little intimidating!
Noteworthy lecture quotes:
- If somebody can steal your peace, you are a loser.
- Anything that works, is right.
- You have a problem? Great. Pay $10, stand on the line, look in the mirror, and lock the fucking knee. *my favorite*
- ‘They’ say? Who is ‘they?’ What do you say? Listen to your heart.
- Yoga is the slowest therapy ever. Why? Because it lasts forever.
We had a little time before the evening class so I continued the blog and enjoyed some snacks. I have got to stop eating snacks all the time!
I sat in the 3rd row for the first time during the evening class so that others would be forced to move to the front rows. That ended up working out well for me because before class, Manali was making people switch it up for that exact reason. I would rather voluntarily move around than be told to! Fridays are “performance day” and despite my small headache from what I later attributed to my too-tight hair tie, I think I did alright. Bikram was super funny again but got a little long winded and distracted during the floor series. Even he realized he was not totally focused and called himself out on it. The man is self-realized! He jokingly told us to just do whatever we wanted to which was tempting but I think we all knew better. He showed his intimidating side again when he temporarily kicked someone out of class for being too early on a couple of postures – yikes.
Several of us went swimming in the ocean after class. The big waves and nice weather was the perfect way to wind down. The other hotel guests sent several strange looks our way but who could blame them? How would you react if you saw a large group of people wearing hotel robes and carrying yoga mats strolling around the property and then stripping down into our barely-there yoga clothes to go for a swim?
Dinner was not nearly as crowded as breakfast, thankfully, and I enjoyed the best dessert they have had so far. I have a sweet tooth problem! Please help.
I rested in the room before the evening lecture and even video chatted with Andrew for a little bit (the guy who had to go home last week). It was good to see him feeling better! We all miss him here.
There was no evening lecture and instead, Manali and the staff talked to us about the dialogue and held a Q&A session for us. I wish the answer to every question had been the Teacher Training motto, “Trust the process” so that the night would have ended earlier, but it was a good lesson in patience. I liked hearing what the staff had to say about the dialogue and the advice they provided but my patience was surely tested with the Q&A. Part of this process is learning to let go: others to let go of the unknown and me letting go of trying to control others. We all have a long way to go! Luckily, it was still an early night and I was in bed by midnight.
Saturday 9/30/17 – Day 14
Saturday kicked off with my worst class of the entire 2 weeks of my time here, by a million miles. My throat was still hurting and for the first time, I skipped eating a protein bar before class. My whole body hurt. The ballroom was not as hot as it had been. Everything was wrong! I did not quit but it took everything in me to hold the postures without falling out and trust me, I was not successful. It was so frustrating because the staff takes every class with us and watches us from the back row and I hate not being able to prove I can do it, not that they necessarily need me to prove anything. I tried to get in my zone but never really made it there. It turned out that a lot of people had the same issue. Were we all overwhelmingly sore? Were we all mentally checked out because it was the last class of the week? Was the room too cold? Was something going on? As a group, it was very evident we all struggled but at least we struggled together! Thankfully, it was our last class in that place and we go back to the hot room Monday. We all miss it so much. Hopefully, if we can make so much improvement in 1 week in a cold/warm room, we will be beyond great in the hot room!
I had the fastest breakfast of all time and headed back up to the room to rest. I felt like a zombie and just wanted to lay down. It would have been smart to take a nap but of course I did not. Instead, I worked on the blog, watched Netflix, and went through my work emails. I definitely felt more tired than ever, possibly because I knew the week was over and I did not need the energy or possibly because I had no energy coming out of class. Maybe both.
I caught the 2nd shuttle to Walmart at 1:30pm and was so excited to finally be out. I made a list of things I needed as the week went on and was happy to be able to go get them. Not being able to go get something on my own as I think/need it is a new feeling and to be honest, I do not really care for it! I am glad we get the opportunity though on the weekends; better than nothing. I did not buy any snacks this time as I still have plenty of my own plus I still have the ones Andrew left me. The fewer snacks I buy, the fewer snacks I eat! I mostly bought notebooks and pens for our upcoming posture clinics and anatomy classes (and cough drops to sooth the sore throat, even though I do not have a cough). Maryla and I had ice cream from McDonald’s… we are weak.
The weather had been a little crummy all week but the sun decided to show itself today and despite the crowded pools and beach, Maryla, Lidia, and I found a nice spot and spent the afternoon studying and snacking on chips and guacamole. Well, they studied and I transferred my notes into my new journals and got everything organized for the week. My brain was too tired to study so it would not have been beneficial. Studying can wait until Sunday! Of course, we took yoga pictures. Yogis doing yoga shenanigans! Shocking. I joke about getting fat with all the snacks and buffets but honestly, I have never felt stronger or more in shape in my life. My baby abs are still alive!
We had an early dinner and after a short walk on the beach (cut short by the insane mosquitoes), all headed to our rooms by 8pm.
I had every intention of going to bed early but shockingly, did not. I wrote most of this blog post while watching Netflix. It was not very eventful but exactly what I needed to relax and decompress from the week. Unfortunately, I tossed and turned until around 1am so did not sleep well.
Sunday 10/1/17 – Day 15
I woke up around 10am to the sound of who-knows-what coming from who-knows-where! There was a LOUD announcer-type guy speaking in Spanish followed by random songs that were blaring on and off. My room is over the mezzanine which has conference rooms on it (and there was a Martial Arts competition this weekend in there) so I think that is where it was all coming from but seesh, talk about a wake up call. It was nice to sleep without an alarm though, even if it was not much sleep. My throat huts more than it has the past few days, too. I hope that goes away before the week starts.
Even though I did not want to get out of bed, I went down for breakfast at 10:30am to eat with everyone else before going back to my room. The sun was hiding and the weather was crummy so my desire to be outside was very low. The sun came up later though so I joined Kiley and Tayrn outside by the pool to study for a few hours. We did “round robin” studying which was a lot more difficult than I expected!
On another note, today is the 11 month mark since starting my yoga challenge last year. I should be at the 330 mark but I am just one class shy still at 329. Luckily, being at training and doing 11 classes a week will catch me up!
11 month stats:
- 241 90-min Bikram
- 41 60-min Bikram
- 22 Inferno Hot Pilates
- 21 Yin
- 4 Misc (other flow classes, etc.)
The goal is still to do enough classes to wipe out the non-90-min Bikram classes but that will not happen until early January. Once that happens, I will be able to say I did 365 90-min Bikram classes in 365 days!
I love this experience. It has easily been one of the best decisions of my life and I am so glad that everything came together to make it possible. I am even more thankful to everyone who has helped and supported me from back home! Even Katy said I sounded happier than I have in months. I hope that I still feel this way as the weeks go on and we get more exhausted. It is tough to describe but even though the days are paced so slowly sometimes, they go by quickly. I am bad at slowing down and I think this has helped me learn to embrace that speed, though. I have the entire standing series memorized already (plus left side dialogue) and we have not even started posture clinics yet so that helps keep a low stress level. My body is holding up pretty well, too. I tried to command myself to not get sick and have managed to dodge anything serious. If my throat is the only thing bothering me, I would consider that a win. So many people have had stomach issues and, knock on wood, I have managed to dodge that as well. Papaya is a lifesaver! Ha. Physically, I am sore some days more than others. I think I already said it but whether I mean to or not, I think I have just pushed myself harder than I ever have. They told us that old injuries will start to come out through this process so they can get fixed properly and I believe it! The crazy thing is, yoga is what is causing me to be sore/hurt but yoga is the only thing my body craves to fix it! It is a viscous cycle but I would not want it any other way. For all my friends and family at home (especially those at the studio), be prepared… I am coming back to force you all into the hot room to get all of your problems fixed! No more shortcuts in classes! You will lock the knee and you will thank me for it! 🙂
Love and miss y’all! You can Facebook call me anytime.
Wish me luck for week 3!
Until next time,