… to BYTT (Week 4)

42 classes later and week 4 is complete! Week 4 was much better than the last but still faced its own challenges.


Monday 10/9/17 – Day 23
After a relaxing weekend, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for a new week. Manali taught the morning class and my group was in the front row so things were off to a good start. Manali decided to call students up to do the dialogue – talk about the element of surprise! When I was preparing for TT at home, Jerome, an instructor from home, once told me he was going to let me do Half Moon on the podium. Just before class, he told me he was not going to let me anymore and I legitimately was upset and thought he hated me. I did not say anything though – it was his class so it was his decision. He did Half Moon but when he got to Awkward, he caught me off guard and called me up to do it! I was surprised and fumbled through it and after class he told me that he wanted to do that so that I would not spend the entire time thinking about the Awkward dialogue and preparing. Tricky. It worked though and from then on, I was always prepared to be called up for any of the postures I knew. I really felt for the people Manali called up but they did great. Taryn did the 1st set of Half Moon (all 3 parts) and while she started off a little nervous, she was totally killing it by the end. Tom did the 2nd set of Half Moon, Karl did the 1st set of Awkward (all 3 parts), Alicia did the 2nd set of Awkward, Jana did 1/2 of the 1st set of Eagle (right arm only, I think Manali stopped her too soon), and Ali did the other half of the 1st set of Eagle and the entire 2nd set. Everyone did great and as a bonus, they did not have to do those in Posture Clinics later!

Anyway, it was a decent class for me. My body felt so much better: I could barely do my backbend at the end of last week so I was happy to be able to do that again… and Standing Separate Leg Stretching… and the 3rd part of Head to Knee with Stretching. Finally. The class went by quickly which was very much appreciated for a Monday morning. Manali and some of the teachers (and my teachers back home) do this thing at the end of class where they tell us to relax different parts of your body one at a time;
“relax your feet, relax your ankles, relax your calfs” and so on. My parents actually taught me that when I was very young to say to myself to help me fall asleep at night so every time I hear it, I immediately start to relax completely, both mentally and physically. My mind is trained! Manali’s savasana song was “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” by Bob Marley and we must have really needed to hear that song because we all sang along (even though the staff shushed us). It was a cool moment!

Ali saved my breakfast when the new omelet guy misheard me and put mushrooms in my omelet (first world problems). Ali just ordered 2 omelets instead, a new one for me and one for him, because I felt bad telling the guy it was wrong. Thanks, Ali!

There were too many people in my normal lobby spot (people from yoga and hotel guests) so I found Maryla and sat with her to study anatomy before our test that afternoon. The ‘doctor’ teaching us walked by and tried to tell us it would be fine – something we already knew. I had heard the test did not even matter and you never got your results back. Plus, it was multiple choice and he basically gave us the answers last week so we were only reading the notes once over to refresh our minds from the weekend. It was going to be fine. We treated ourselves to chocolate truffles from the cafe!

The afternoon lecture was… a mess. The best part about it was that Manali called Bikram “beyond repair.” Other than that, the longer we were in that room the more my anxiety went up and the more my patience went down. The test was a joke. They spent too long spacing us out and making it sound more serious than it was. I understand why they do it, though. I know they want us to try and make an effort and all of that but the chaos of it all was stressful to witness. The 30-question test took me less than 5 minutes and despite not knowing some of the answers (things that were never covered or told to us, by the way), I probably did fine. Again, it does not matter. We had to wait until everyone was finished before moving on and because we have so many non-english speakers, it took awhile. I know I make jokes about the test but I can imagine from their perspective it was probably very stressful to take a test in a language you do not know. I felt for them. As people were turning in their tests, Manali was on stage reading the tests and singling the person out and saying things like “oh did you not study?” That bothered me. There was no need to embarrass people.

After everyone finished their tests, Manali talked for a bit and told us stories about searching our rooms and finding alcohol. Because of the amount of untrue stories I have heard from all sorts of people here, I was just a bit of skeptic on the alcohol one (e.g. She told us that someone broke their leg last training from running on the wet ground… and that was a lie). It is like the boy who cried wolf, when you tell us so many things we know are untrue, it is difficult to know what IS true. I have no idea if someone here had alcohol or not in their room and I am pretty sure it is illegal for her to search our stuff (and I do not think she is actually doing it anyway), but whatever. I am a skeptic on it all. The motto here is “trust the process” and I have and am, but sometimes it feels like a bogus, inefficient process. If you cannot tell, I was in quite the mood.

After Manali’s speech, the ‘doctor’ started a new anatomy lecture with us. It was a NIGHTMARE. He had to have been high or drunk or on SOMETHING because he repeated himself nearly word for word several times. It was as if someone had pressed rewind on our class and then pressed play again… 3 times. Everyone was so confused on what was happening. He was telling us about a term called “word salad” where people think they are saying the right thing but the wrong thing is coming out and let me tell you, that whole class felt like a word salad. It was nonsensical and he was making ridiculous jokes. If they really, truly wanted us to learn something from him, they would give us someone who could not only present the materials in a cohesive way but also answer our questions. It was frustrating.

I had too many snacks in my room after class before the evening class, as usual. I woke up fine in the morning but by this point, my patience was at an all time low and I could not calm myself down. I have as-needed anxiety medication and had the evening class not been about to start, I would have taken some.

Anurag taught the evening class and it was another good one. I did alright given my garbage mood and attitude and it actually ended up helping me feel better and calm down. Bikram yoga, for the win. He has such a smooth voice and pacing which helps me get in my zone and the class fly by. Danny, one of the Mundomex guys, took his first Bikram class ever (he did not take one last training!) with us. He did every posture and never gave up! We all cheered and were excited for him!

I took a dip in the ocean after class next and enjoyed dinner next to another beautiful sunset before heading off to study for Posture Clinic with Maryla in the hallway.

As we were waiting for them to unlock the doors for us, Kirsty and Fernando (who speaks little-to-no English) sang ABBA songs in Spanish and it was the greatest thing I have ever heard! We really need a karaoke night. Each group had their own room this time (instead of combined rooms last week) which helped us go through the postures a little more quickly. My group had a few people that needed to finish delivering the 2nd and 3rd parts of Awkward so we wrapped that up and the moved on to mostly finish Eagle, too. Karla and Nancy were the staff members in our room: they gave helpful feedback and they speak Spanish which is nice since we have a lot of Spanish-speakers in the group. It was really confusing listening to their feedback in Spanish and their conversations but I am sure that is how they feel when they listen to feedback in English for us! I am not making an effort to learn Spanish while I am here but I am trying to pick up on key words and follow along as best I can.

I kind of made myself look like an arrogant/ass/too-good-for-it-all when Nancy was giving me feedback and I felt bad about that (still do). They said I did great and as Nancy was reminding me to stay current on all the previous postures so that I would not forget, I made a comment along the lines of “I can do the whole standing series” and I did not mean for it to come off in the way it probably did. Facepalm. I was just trying to let her know that I was doing that but instead of just agreeing, I felt the need to over-communicate my progress with dialogue. Note to self: next time, just smile and nod. After a few arguments (in Spanish) between some group members and the staff, they let us out at midnight.


Tuesday 10/10/17 – Day 24
I woke up earlier than normal to help people in my group study but no one had taken me up on the offer so I went back to sleep. Karla and Nancy had asked English speakers to help Spanish speakers and because I did not want to stay up until the early hours of the morning, I told them I would get up early if they wanted to. Oh well, I tried. I cannot blame them for wanting to sleep! πŸ™‚

I went back to sleep but just as my alarm was going off again at 7:45am, a 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit. It was a lot more intense than the one we experienced the first week and because I was still in bed, it was much more alarming. It sure did wake me up, though!

Karla taught the morning class and despite me being in the dreaded 4th row and the room being insanely hot, I had a good class. I did feel like I could not breathe about the halfway mark so I rolled my shorts down a little bit to get off of my stomach and that helped. The air was so thick! Anyway, Karla had great energy and really woke us up. She does a good job at encouraging us to keep going and not drink water. She does not let us quit and because of that, the class goes by very quickly. For example: if you fall out of a posture on the balancing series, most people will either try again or just wait until the next set. Karla pushes us to never just stand there and to always, at least, stand on one leg if we are not going to try the posture again. Some of us need that extra push! She also forces us to look in the mirror which is not always easy. Her savasana song was “Livin’ in the Moment” by Jason Mraz. So good.

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Breakfast was breakfast and the weather was great. The lobby was packed (the hotel had 4 conferences going on this week) so I went to the area near Starbucks, where it was a little quieter, to study. I invited my group so we could help each other prepare for Posture Clinic in the evening and after a few messages of encouragement, people came. Several of them did ’round robin’ style (others worked with other people in the group) and I kind of just oversaw and threw in corrections or tips and tricks as necessary (or took away their dialogue to force them to not read it!). They all made good progress on Standing Head to Knee and hopefully I helped them a little bit. Bikram likes the phrase “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink” but he always ends it with “… bullshit, I will make them fucking drink!” I am not Bikram so I am not going to MAKE anyone study and memorize the dialogue but I can at least try and help get them to where they are going. Team effort.

We learned about the Endocrine System during anatomy and I swear, just being around this ‘doctor’ makes my blood pressure go up. I really should practice the “if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all” rule but I also want to convey how ridiculous these ‘courses’ are. Life is a balance! Instead, here is a video we had to watch. This should tell you everything you need to know about what we are experiencing during these classes.

After class, I had snacks and started this post so that I would not get stuck writing it until late Sunday night.

Our evening class was with Eddie. I did alright during the standing series despite a headache but the floor series was tough. For some reason, the air felt so thick and dense near the floor and it was so much more difficult to breathe. Eddie is always tough on us but in a good way. He always gives us a hard time for adding words to the dialogue but I noticed he said “round your spine like an angry cat” during Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee and that is not in the dialogue, Eddie! Mixed messages. Henrik and Taryn started to high five each other at the beginning of Standing Bow and that has started to catch on to everyone. We had the teachers in the back row laughing at us! Katy, my friend/teacher from home, would do that during the few classes we took together so it reminded me of home!

We got a lot of weird looks from the other hotel guests from the other conferences as we walked half naked from the hot room to our rooms! It is okay though, we look at them weird, too.

I was not very hungry for dinner so I had a light meal of chicken, carrots, and rice (and then a plate of desserts…) before heading back up to my room to blog and watch the insane rain storm. I had tried to study in the lobby and then on the 2nd floor but there were just so many people here that every place I went was distracting.


Our Posture Clinic was way too frustrating. I was still in a mood and I was allowing everything to bother me, even silly, petty things. I was taking things so personal when I know they were not. We had Manali and Nancy in our room to listen to us do Standing Head to Knee and provide feedback (side note: it was so difficult to demo this posture 3 times!). My dialogue was fine but she still wanted me to work on emphasizing the bold words more. I thought I had but I guess not enough. I will keep trying. Manali was making people re-do parts but luckily she did not make me re-do it so that was a bonus. She was asking everyone questions about their studio, where they were planning on teaching, and about their other job but she did not ask me anything. The only thing she said to me was, “Yes, Jillian. I know Jillian well.” Hmm. I hope she was not purposefully NOT asking me questions (this was the 2nd time) because she thinks she already knows the answer because of Laos. He and I might have come from the same studio but we do not have the same story so I would hate for her to make assumptions about me. It probably was not intentional but because of my mood, I definitely let it bother me. Maybe it is a blessing she is not asking me questions, maybe it is a curse? TBD. She was also inconsistent about feedback on people’s teaching costume (some people are allowed to wear their hair down, some are not) and the inconsistency was getting under my skin… probably because I was already sensitive at that point. She also made implications that we were not helping each other study and that was upsetting because I had spent all day trying to help my group; several of us had. She cannot be faulted for things she did not know about though. Deep breath! They say Postured Clinics can get dramatic and emotional and they were not lying… someone even walked out at the end out of frustration. Yikes. Thankfully, no matter what happens in the room, they let us out around midnight!


Wednesday 10/11/17 – Day 25
I woke up drooling so you know I slept well even though it took awhile to fall asleep. Axry taught the morning class and it was a real struggle. It felt like the class was going in slow motion and I was so miserable.

Maryla and I went to the pool after class and we both vented about our latest frustrations and miseries, in life and in training. It was good to get things out, for both of us. I was hoping to join a meeting at work but between a frustrating class and a therapeutic vent session, I did not have time to shower/eat AND go to the meeting. Hopefully I can catch the next one.

After breakfast, I studied with my group at the tables outside of Starbucks. I wanted to be helpful and keep us all moving in the right direction but I was also starting to realize that I was not making much forward progress on my own dialogue anymore and it was stressing me out. So, I made the decision to help people during the week (when and if they want it) which will help solidify my own dialogue and help others but on the weekends, I need to focus on myself.

We learned about the Circulatory system in the afternoon anatomy class. I actually could not even take notes because I was so weak. I really despise learning about this stuff but this particular subject matter (the heart) really got to me. The first time I ever fainted was because there was a TV show talking about a kid with his hear born outside of his body. I cannot. The ‘doctor’ actually showed a video of a beating heart and I refused to look at it. Luckily, Christine and Lidia knew how sick to my stomach I was feeling and they told me when it was all clear to look again. I am a child. Ha.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “Keep your issues in your tissues.” -Manali
  • “I can do it. I will do it. I have to do it.” -Manali

As usual, I rested and snacked in my room in the short time we had before the evening class led by Micael. He is such an awesome teacher who always makes us laugh and I had a great, great class. I felt so strong and did really well which was a shock considering how miserable my morning class was. I am also convinced that they are slowly making the hot room more hot and more humid every single class. He tried to get us excited that we were at the half way point but he was one week off (not sure he knew that) so he was having trouble getting an excited reaction from us. The staff always says the last week does not count but I disagree! 

I hung out by the pool after class before a rainstorm rolled in. I had dinner, studied, and briefly video chatted with Jessica and the girls. I miss them all so much. My sister and I are really close and I do miss talking to her and seeing her, especially since I lived at her house for 2 weeks before going to training.

Posture Clinic was quite an experience. My group had Eddie and Axry in with us and they had us say our favorite Bikram phrase, in his voice, instead of saying “here” when taking attendance. Mine was when he says “yes or no?” really aggressively as if we have a choice to say No. Tanya had the best once: when Bikram says “bounce, and bounce, and bounce, and bounce, and bounce” for the 3rd part of Awkward pose. That us all laughing! Eddie asked us to name our group and I suggested Naughty Cows because in the morning class, Micael was calling the staff that name for not listening in class and it was funny. The group was not convinced though so we are still nameless!


Eddie had me deliver Standing Bow Pulling pose first because he wanted me to help Alonso study in the hall. I was ready so I went ahead and did it. Eddie acknowledged that I knew the dialogue but wanted to push me out of my comfort zone. He had me re-do several parts, speeding some up and slowing some down, and yell phrases over and over again as loud as I could. He said it my time for a breakthrough and as much as I do not want to admit he was right, he was. I am used to doing the dialogue the way I do it and it was good to be pushed into trying something out of my zone. Is teacher training teaching me how to be a teacher?! πŸ˜‰

After I went, I helped Alonso study Standing Head to Knee in the hallway for about half an hour. English is new to him but he knows it pretty well. As you can imagine, studying can be difficult for him when he does not know what words like “both” and “until” mean. Those were tough to define but he is a smart guy, he picked it up quickly. Earlier in the week we had to teach Fernando the difference between “palm” and “hand” and where the shoulder blade is. I could never learn this dialogue in Spanish so I commend them for working so hard to memorize 90 minutes of speaking in a language they do not know. It is amazing and so admirable!

Eddie put several people through the same experience of yelling and whatnot. Sometimes it felt like feedback was inconsistent which made it confusing but I guess we just need to trust the process. I can only assume it was more about making us do something out of our zone than it was about actually having perfect inflection. Eddie had the entire group scream the last part of the dialogue for Standing Bow together as loud as we could which was crazy, but fun. When someone wearing a sweet, leather Reebok hat tells you to scream, you do it. The other confusing part was that it was as if people who had great dialogue had more feedback than people who were still struggling to memorize it. It was bizarre but Leah, my roommate, reminded me that they are only going to give us feedback we are ready for and some people might not be ready for the nit-picky stuff.

Eddie had everyone thank me for helping Alonso and then Alicia and Tanya spoke up and said that I help everyone and was everyone’s “personal coach.” Eddie had everyone clap for me and told them to buy me a coffee but I said ice cream is always better. Ha. It is not about giving me credit, though, because we all help each other. A lot. I am not the only person making an effort, it is a complete team effort, but it was nice to be recognized especially having felt so beat down the night before.


Thursday 10/12/17 – Day 26
I woke up feeling so incredibly tight, probably because of the awesome class the night before. That always happens. Have a good class? Great, your punishment is that the next day is torture. Jolinda, a visiting teacher who got here last week, taught the morning class and despite how tired and sore I was, I did alright. It was a tough class though and I wanted to skip a posture or a set or sit down so badly but I stuck it out. Jim told us last week that there is no such thing as a modified posture, you just need to do less percentage. So, I did less percentage on a lot of them but I did what I could and that was all that mattered. For some reason I was having trouble breathing again so I rolled my Nike shorts down from the waist and up from the legs and that helped. Yikes. I was not sure how I felt about her class at the beginning but as class went on, I liked it more and more. She joked around with us and kept it casual and that was nice. Her savasana song was the classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

I was so tired that after class I took the fastest shower of all time, threw the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door, and crawled into bed for an hour-long nap. I skipped breakfast and everything. I woke up feeling like a new person! My body needed it. I try not to nap so that I do not get dependent on it or form that habit but sometimes, you just need it. Plus, I would rather nap in the mornings before the afternoon lecture rather than after the afternoon lecture so that I still can go to bed at night at a decent time. I had some snacks in the room before heading to the tables outside of Starbucks to study with my group.

The afternoon lecture was anatomy again but thankfully the last lecture and second-to-last class. We learned about the Lymphatic system and I was just so over it. I tried to pay attention but my patience with the anatomy process was so low and I found all of it to be so silly and pointless. I tried so hard to care at the beginning but as time went on, I could not put forth the energy for it anymore. I wrote my dialogue out most of the time and only took notes when he said something was important (e.g. that it was going to be on the test).

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We were out around 4pm and I had just enough time to fold all my clothes and organize my drawers. They were a mess and had been driving me crazy. I had a bit of a headache and was longing to go to the pool and enjoy the hot weather but there was no time. Our days of going to the pool between lecture/class are long gone.

Our evening class was with Tom Henle, a visiting teacher and studio owner in California. He was AMAZING and I had the most amazing class ever. I was expecting my practice to be awful because of how bad the morning was but it was the extreme opposite. He was so funny and encouraging and DID THE DIALOGUE. I cannot speak for everyone but I believe that the teacher has a HUGE impact on the performance of the students and when someone like Tom gets up there and does so well, I do well too. His energy is so high that we have no choice but to use it and boost our own performance. I hope to be a teacher like that some day – someone who can give their students everything to help them do well! I found it interesting, too, that some visiting teachers come and either never get to teach or do not get to teach for a couple of days or weeks but Tom got to teach on his first day here. I think that says a lot about him!

Several of us went to the ocean after class. I have noticed that when people have a good class, they are more likely to go the ocean or the pool to relax but when people have a bad class, they like to go straight to their rooms afterward. There were so many people at the ocean so that should say a lot about how we all felt. Tina and Kirsty had me cracking up before class talking about how all of our yoga stuff smells like cheese and after the beach, we shamelessly paraded our cheese-smelling selves through the crowds of people to get back to our rooms. I love it but I felt bad for the poor people sharing the elevator with us… hot yoga is stinky.

Dinner was beautiful and it is worth mentioning that the soup was this amazing poblano soup that I had 3 bowls of. It was so delicious and I could eat it forever and ever.

Our evening lecture was our LAST anatomy class!! Hallelujah. Manali updated us on the latest like she does before every lecture. A lot of people were having side conversations and all the chaos was stressing me out and making it tough to hear her. I leaned over to Lidia and told her that the side chatter was distracting and giving me a headache and Manali called me out to ask me what I was saying. Facepalm. Of all the people talking, of course she singled me out! She had been suggesting to anyone staying in Mexico past graduation to try and teach a class or two here before going home so when she asked me what I was talking about, I lied and told her that I had said it would be cool to teach a class in Mexico but that I had to go back to Houston ASAP. I felt like if I had told her that what I really was saying then everyone would have been upset at me for finger-pointing. Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

The ‘doctor’ finished the Circulatory system lecture and then we had a Q&A session to prepare us for Monday’s ‘final exam’ (still makes me laugh even thinking of it that way). He put all of the review questions on the screen but gave us no time to write them down as he went through answering them. He skipped around, too, so that made it confusing. Everyone was scrambling to write things out: I took my own notes (because writing helps me remember) but a huge shout out goes to Jana for taking notes for everyone and uploading the typed-versions in our Facebook group for everyone! People were asking questions a lot which was kind of pointless because he could barely hear them and in the rare case he could, he would not answer them. People were obviously worried about the test; I wish they knew to put their energy elsewhere. If their worry was because they wanted to actually learn the material, then I hope they know by now to learn it elsewhere. The ‘doctor’ was not the best source of information. We learned a little, but not a lot. We were out by midnight after reviewing 102 questions.


Friday 10/13/17 – Day 27
I was up late and early because I randomly got a stomach bug and was sick. Meh. I made it 4 weeks without getting the stomach bug so it was just my time, I guess. Caroline, a visiting teacher, taught the morning class (class #40!) and I spent all class trying not to be sick so I do not remember much about her except that she was a little firm with us. My group was in the first row so I put my mat on the far end just in case I had to run out. The breeze from the fan was strong on the end which I normally would have not liked but given my sick state, I was grateful. I did the best I could. Caroline’s savasana song was “One” by Mary J. Blige and U2. I had never heard that song before and it made me ugly cry. I get a little emotional all the time in this yoga but that song… feels. Seesh.

It was also Kim’s birthday so we all sang Happy Birthday to her in the hot room!

My stomach was still hurting after class but I managed. I had a light, sad breakfast and then did some laundry before heading out to study. I needed to make progress on my own dialogue and I finally felt like I was doing that.

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Our typical lecture room was being used by one of the many other groups at the hotel this week so we were forced back into the ballroom where we practiced during week 2. Instead of a normal lecture, Manali wanted everyone to share their yoga stories: who we are, what led us to Bikram yoga, how it impacted us, and why we decided to teach. In 3.5 hours we made it through a little over half of the group. We cried, laughed, and everything in between. The only way to form meaningful connections with people is to really get to know each other and up until that moment, we really had not been getting to know each other on deeper levels. We all have our “Bikram besties” here but we have not really spent time getting to know EVERYONE else in the group. We are all guilty of it. Sharing was a great way for us to overcome that. I commend everyone who shared and was brave enough to open up. There were some really amazing and touching stories and even though I have not interacted with every person here, I feel closer to them. I loved everyone’s stories but Mandi said a few things I related to quite a bit: “What do you do when the person who made you courageous goes away?” and “We cannot explain why we love and do this yoga, so we teach it.” Spot on, Mandi.

We had to finish sharing our stories to go to our evening class. Jonalyn Henle, a visiting teacher and studio owner (married to Tom, who taught Thursday night), led class and she was SO great. I thoroughly enjoyed her class. She was a great teacher and I had an awesome class, one of my best ones here. Again, my ability was surprising considering the morning class I had. It helped that my stomach was feeling better! I loved everything she had to say and she was playful, funny, and kept our spirits up. Her pacing and timing was spot on and it made the class fly by. I really hope to be able to visit her and Tom’s studio one day and learn from them.

Jana and I went to the ocean after class and had a great talk. The water was cold but the weather and sunset was beautiful and we had a nice talk, catching up and checking in with each other. She is so down to Earth and we relate in a lot of ways. She is so easy to talk to! 

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The hotel was so, so full. It was crazy all week with all of the conferences but the hotel was also the starting point/registration for a triathalon going on for the weekend so it was even more full with athletes and their families (and their bicycles!). Do they not know we are living here for 2 months? They are in our home!! *sarcasm*

Because of the amount of people in the hotel, Chula Vista (our buffet) had twice as much food and twice as many desserts. Yum.

After dinner, I walked around with Maryla. Neither one of us had shared our “story” earlier in the afternoon so we talked about what we wanted to say or thought we could say. You cannot really ‘prepare’ to share though – when put on the spot, you never know what will come out of your mouth.

Everyone else finished sharing their stories during our evening lecture. Nadine told us something that I really liked: “You live your life forwards but you understand it backwards.” I do not remember who said this but someone else mentioned that this yoga is “empowering and humbling” and that could not be more true! Everyone had great stories and things to say. I went towards the end (we were going by row and I was in the 2nd to last row) and it was late and I knew people were getting tired. I do not remember everything I said but I know that I did not say everything I wanted to, particularly about the huge impact Bikram yoga has had on my life. I talked really fast and was asked to “calm down and slow down” twice (I was calm! I just talk fast!) but I had people laughing. I guess I was funny, too? I am glad I could make them laugh a little bit though! My entire ‘speech’ seems so nonsensical looking back but hopefully it was okay. Manali also finally asked me what studio I plan on teaching at. Maybe she does not actually hate me. We were out a little after midnight.

Happy wedding day to Brian and Melissa back home! Wish I could have been there. Miss y’all!


Saturday 10/15/17 – Day 28
I could tell the sunrise was beautiful because I could see the orange peeking through our shutters but I was so tired that I fell back asleep and missed it. I swiped this photo from someone else!

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Nancy led our morning class. I was in the 4th row and so out of it. I think part of the struggle was that I was so tired but part of it was that I had unknowingly mentally checked out because it was Saturday. Nancy is such a quiet teacher and it was soothing me to be more tired, too. I know if I had been at home and felt this tired, I would have taken a break during the floor series and skipped a few postures (or class entirely and done a double another day) but that is not really an option here. I was determined to not be lazy but I have to admit, I was closing my eyes during savasanas. Her savasana song was “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw and I do not know if it was the emotion of the day before or my exhaustion but I did get a little choked up. I was so, so happy when class was over!

Chula Vista was crowded for breakfast but I enjoyed a leisurely one, nonetheless. The juices here are amazing. My table went a little crazy.

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I needed a break from everything so I took a 1 hour break in my room to blog and watch Netflix before heading to the pool to study. I ran into Kiley and Taryn and we all studied quietly near the pool. I got through another posture. Forward progress, finally. There was a special study session at 2pm and because Manali had mentioned earlier in the week that people who know the dialogue should go to help their peers (and specifically called out Taryn, Kiley, and me along with a few other people), the 3 of us felt like we needed to go. The study session was to help people who are struggling to study learn some tips and tricks to help them along. It was led by Jonalyn and Tom and they gave great advice. Thankfully, the advice they gave was exactly how I study so I felt good about that. The other visiting teachers gave some advice too and it was all helpful information. They had us implement those study methods for a little bit so I partnered with Andres to help him. Then, Manali had Taryn, Kiley, and me share our own advice on how to study for a few minutes. We each had our own extra things that have helped us so maybe something we said resonated with someone and it will help them moving forward. 

One thing Jonalyn said that I really liked was if you are ever in a situation that makes you angry or upset, just start reciting dialogue in your head. Not only will it distract you and calm you down, it will prepare you for all the crazy things that students do while you are teaching. Fun fact, when I have trouble sleeping here, I mentally go through the dialogue to help distract me enough until I fall asleep! I have been trying not to use my anxiety medication here (and have not since the first week) and that has really been helping.

After the study session, we all went back to the pool. We saw Jonalyn and Tom walk by so we stopped them and chatted with them for a little bit. Kiley and I asked them questions about all sorts of things and we had a very nice and enlightening chat. They are awesome people and I am glad we got to know them more. What they had to say really changed my entire perspective of training and on what is to come and I am thankful they took time to talk to us. I also learned that they are the ones behind the awesome water bottle stickers Christina was handing out during week 1. They said one of their teachers is coming next week and will bring some with her. Yes!

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I hung out at the pool studying for a while longer as various people came and went. We snacked on chips and guacamole, too. I love the salsa/pico here! It is so much more spicy than at home but not in a too-spicy way. 

Taryn came up with and took my picture-of-the-day, too. I was studying Locust so it made sense to do Locust! Locust has never been my strongest posture (and definitely not my favorite) but I had felt like I had been improving more and more here. Photo evidence! Maybe one day I will be able to do Scorpion. Taryn used to participate in yoga competitions so she critiqued my Wheel picture from earlier in the week and gave me some tips and advice to help perfect it. I still consider myself new to the yoga world so I was more than grateful for the insight. She was pretty confident I could do Full Wheel with a little bit of training but the idea of that is terrifying! If I could do Scorpion, I could probably do Full Wheel though. Again, maybe one day. (By the way, neither Full Wheel or Scorpion are Bikram postures.)

There were random guys walking around socializing with different people. They chatted with us for a bit and while they were very nice, they were clearly shopping for some girls to hang out with… cough cough. They brought up drinking, partying, drugs, and sex and were shocked to hear we were not allowed to do anything non-yoga related, as if we would hang out with them if we could. Yeah right. It was flattering but nice try guys.

After the pool, Lidia, Maryla, and I cleaned up and heading back to Tavola (the Italian restaurant) for dinner. We enjoyed another amazing dinner with great service. They treated us like queens there and brought us ice for our water bottles and free appetizers. The food was so good and the chef even came by to say hello to us! Of course, we had to order 3 desserts again. We have a problem! We also have started to realize how much we value our friendship and just how much we are going to miss each other when this is over. After many laughs and after our stomachs were over-stuffed, we walked around for a bit before calling it a night. I love these girls! Some people in our group went down to an area the hotel turned into a karaoke ‘bar’ and I was tempted to go but I did not have the energy! Maybe another time, if the hotel does it again.

I blogged and watched Netflix until way too late in the evening/morning.


Sunday 10/16/17 – Day 29
I had every intention to take the 10am shuttle to Walmart but I was up so late that I decided not to set an alarm and let fate take its course: I woke up around 11:30am. I can never sleep that long at home so that was nice. I missed Walmart but everything on my list was optional (snacks, snacks, more snacks) so it was okay. Lidia and I went to The Beach Club for lunch because their burgers and french fries are amazing. I had hamburger last week but decided to try the chicken burger this time and it was just as good! We had a nice talk about all sorts of things and our life plans/fears when we go home. The more I get to know her, the more I realize how alike we are. We both are tough on the outside but soft on the inside! 

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After lunch, she wanted to head to the beach but I did not want to deal with sand so I went to the pool. I was at the pool for hours and hours and hours, soaking up the sun. I reviewed and refreshed my dialogue on postures I already knew and studied another new one. With my new outlook on training, I am hoping to have through the spine series, at a minimum, memorized by the end of week 5! There were several of us coming and going and while we all studied independently, it was nice to have people nearby because we can only study for so long before needing a break to socialize: Tina, Kirsty, Tanya, Elsa, Kiley, Taryn, Jana, Karl, Marya. Great people, great times.

My water was empty and my brain was fried from the studying so I went back to my room to take a break from the sun and finish this post before dinner! For the first time since I have been here, I really wish I had not forgotten my Adderall at home. It would have come in handy today with my distracted brain.

I went down for dinner and enjoyed a nice conversation with Karl, Jana, and Kathie. Jana had an interesting “how I got to training” story and it was nice getting to hear more about it and her perspective on things. She was involved in a rough, life changing car accident that put her through a lot. I believe I really relate to her family in a lot of ways and she really reminded me of my brother. Different events but still so much in common. 

Happy birthday, Denise!

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My mom and I talked for a little while after dinner and caught up. It is always nice seeing a familiar face and I am glad to have her support and understanding on this process!


Weekly Summary
Week 4 was all over the place, emotionally and physically. It was my “time of the month” and while I hate attributing my low patience and emotional state to that, it sure does have an effect. I am learning a lot here, about yoga, myself, others, and life in general and I am so very grateful to be able to be here. Some people gave up literally everything to be here or have suffered and survived through a variety of things (accidents, deaths, drugs, etc.) and it has helped me realize how fortunate I am. Manali reminded us earlier in the week to stay positive through this experience. Despite how negative and frustrating this blog entry may have sounded, I have not felt overly negative about the experience. Little things have frustrated me here and there and for a little longer than they should (classic Jillian move) but I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience so far. I was told that at some point I (and other people, probably) might question why we are even here and doing this but I have not felt that yet. It has been a rollercoaster but I have truly loved it. This experience has been way more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined.

Some other fun things I jotted down during the week:

  • I am noticing when studying postures that I can hear my instructors’ voices in my head. I say things the way they say them, especially Tanja! It is so helpful and really goes a long way in memorizing.
  • There have been a lot of conversations about how to hold your foot during Standing Head to Knee and I shared with them the way Paul taught me one day: to make your fingers and thumbs touch and form a circle during the grip. I cannot explain it here but all my yoga people will know. Several people have tried it and already said it has helped them. Go Paul.
  • Paul also once told me that delivering consistent and correct dialogue is how you build trust with your students. I knew he was right because I have teachers I trust more than others but I was thinking about it a lot this week. We have had such a variety of teachers and I find myself struggling to adjust to each one. I will break a posture ‘early’ because I know it is time for the posture to end and then the teacher will tell us ‘do not anticipate’ and ‘listen to my words.’ Well, I am listening but the dialogue exists for a reason and by not following it, you are not building trust. It can get distracting. Eddie echoed a similar statement to Paul’s during posture clinics which was such odd timing since it was weighing so heavy on my mind this week.
  • No matter if my class is a good class or a bad class, I leave every single one thinking, “I cannot believe I just did that.” Bikram yoga is tough but when do it, you cannot help but be proud of yourself! Even so, the yoga here is the easy part. It is everything else that makes it tough! 

We are almost at the halfway mark! I am still not feeling homesick but there are things about home I miss. I am happy here, though. I  would love to snuggle with my sweet puppy, Elliott! 

Until next time,



P.S. I am posting a picture-a-day on Instagram so follow along there (@jillianrahn) if you want to see pictures throughout the week! Shout out to Taryn for always helping me come up with ideas.

You can also subscribe to the blog to get an email when a new one is posted. 

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