… to BYTT (Week 9)

Wow, what a journey. We finished 96 class in 9 weeks and can officially call ourselves certified Bikram Yoga instructors. I never thought this moment would get here and the feelings are so surreal. This was never my dream or part of my life plan until recently and I am so happy, thankful, and lucky to have been able to achieve it. As you can probably imagine, the last week was a rollercoaster of emotions but we all pushed through and finished strong!


Monday 11/13/16 – Day 58
I accidentally woke up early but remembered that something was going on with the planets and Venus and Jupiter aligning before the sunrise. It was 6:30am so I opened the door to take a look but then realized I did not have my contacts in and could not see a single thing… I went back to sleep until my alarm. Hey, I tried.

Deborah, a visiting teacher, led the morning class. She led the make-up class last Saturday and I had heard good things about it and had made a comment that I hoped she taught again. Lucky me. I absolutely LOVED her class. To me, it was the textbook definition of a perfect class. Her dialogue was great, her energy was good, she was calm and compassionate but also firm and encouraging. She was amazing. I was 110% able to get into my zone and after a few postures, my stiff body loosened up and I did very well. I felt so strong and capable, especially during Triangle pose. She kept reminding us to connect her words to our body and I was completely on the same page as her. We were vibing and she did not even know it. I loved every second of class. She reminded us that there is no past and no future, only the present; everything else is an illusion. We have to live where we are now. If we had spent every day of the last 9 weeks looking forward and stressing out about how much longer we had, we would have never made it. Instead, we lived moment to moment and now here we were, almost finished.

I felt so relaxed at the end of class and sank into my final savasana. She did the thing I like where teachers say to relax our feet, relax our ankles, etc. all the way up the body and then her savasana song came on. From the first note, I smiled. It was my favorite song of all time: I Want to Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston. I actually started crying a little bit, for the first time since week 3 probably. Perfect class, perfect song. Everything had aligned and I felt so overwhelmed with happiness. It sounds so silly but I could not help myself!

I headed back to the room after class and Leah told me an interesting story about a conversation she had with someone on staff. The person was nicer to Leah than she had been last week and did a complete 180 degree turn from everything. She told Leah to take it easy and that everything was her own fault (not Leah’s) and it was her own karma, something Leah and I had already decided was the case. She also said that she loved Leah and she was a great person which was even more interesting since she had told another trainee to stay away from Leah because Leah was “bad news.” It was fascinating to hear of such an attitude change! It was the attitude she should have had towards Leah since the beginning of this rib ordeal. Better late than never I suppose. We will probably know which version is her true personality but at least she was being more kind.

My stomach was hurting a little and I did not want breakfast but I went down anyway to get some fruit. I somehow ended up with a plate of food which did not help. That is the problem with buffets. I skipped my omelet and opted for mostly fruit and a little bit of eggs and sausage. I also decided to try the french toast for the first time and it was delicious. I am so glad to have not had discovered that earlier or that probably would have been my go-to breakfast. The most interesting part of breakfast was our talk about the morning class. Some loved it (me) and some hated it. We then started talking about we liked/disliked about it and it was so crazy to see how differently we all felt. We talked about other teachers too and compared notes and there were very few that aligned. It just goes to show that we are all so different but more importantly, when we are teachers, that not everyone will like you and/or your class.

I went to the pool afterward to try and study but lasted about 5 minutes until I got too tired to focus. It was hot as hell outside and I felt like my insides were cooking. I prefer my body to be a good rare but the sun was heating me up to a medium well so I had to get out of there. I had enough time to go back to my room and rinse off before taking our 6-day photo and the afternoon lecture. On the way back, I ran into Deborah and confessed to her and fangirled about how much I enjoyed her class and how the song, even though upbeat and happy, put me in tears. She gave me a hug and told me it was all for me. It was not, we know that, but I appreciated the sentiment. The universe was definitely on my side though.

For our 6-day photo, we did spine twisting whilst sitting on the ledge of the stone bridge. Thank you to my volunteer models and risk takers: Leslie, Michele, Johanna, Irmina, Rose, and Kim (photographer)! People were waiting for us to finish so they could walk by but all of them were happy to wait; Micael said he liked my daily pictures and looked forward to whatever posture/posing was next. I am glad people enjoyed them so much!

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Before the afternoon lecture, Manali talked a lot more about graduation and our flights home. I wish I could explain the feeling more but I know y’all understand how I feel: the feeling of wanting to stay forever but wanting to leave immediately. I sometimes do not feel sad about leaving and just want to get the heck out but at other times, I do get sad and a little emotional about it. 9 weeks used to seem like a lifetime but now it seemed like nothing at all. I am ready to go but I know I will miss it. It can be a little surreal to see the light a the end of the tunnel though. Hell, to even SEE the tunnel is crazy.

The afternoon lecture was supposed to be our final posture clinic with Bikram to go over the last two postures but after about 30 minutes of that, he switched topics and talked about chronic skeletal diseases and their causes/solutions. I will give you a hint on the solution… yoga. Bikram yoga, to be precise. I listened but because we had heard some of this before, I mostly worked on another doodle and only took notes occasionally. I turned my phone on (I usually have it in airplane mode during class to save battery) and that worked out well because my co-workers were messaging me and emailing me about seating arrangement changes in the office that were happening this week. Why they (not my co-workers, it was out of their hands), could not wait 1 more week to do this until I got back, I will never know.


Bikram let us out early around 3:20pm. He said he had to make some calls. Whatever the reason, I was grateful. I snacked on popcorn and started my week 9 blog. I needed to stay on top of it this week so that I could have something to post on my final day home without the added stress of having to write it before graduation on Saturday.

During the short break, my head started to really hurt so I was not excited for class. Lidia and I were both there early and we broke the rules and took some pictures in the hot room before people started showing up. When Danni got there, she put her mat near mine, Lidia’s, Karl’s, and Diana’s and said she hoped being around strong people would hide her or give her energy. I told her that surely she meant them and not me and she made a comment about how she has never seen me skip a posture or leave the room (truth) so maybe she was on to something. However, Danni is the real champ because she is the only person I know of who did not sit down at all, not once, during the very first class ever 9 weeks ago. That class was torture so anyone who survived and did the whole thing deserves an award!


I told Leah I did not think Bikram would come because he sounded so sick during class but he showed up to teach. It was the most boring, non-Bikram-like class of all time. His energy was low and he seemed pissed off most of the class. My head was killing me, my body kept randomly cramping, and stomach started hurting. I wanted to give up but I reminded myself that I have had significantly worse classes before and did not quit then so I could not start now, especially after the conversation I just had with Danni and it being week 9. I thought Bikram would step it up as class went on because he sometimes does that but it never happened and he even later admitted that he did not feel well, that it was a boring class, and that his throat was hurting him. He even had the staff turn the fans back on in between the first and second set of Head to Knee with Stretching and yelled at Manali about why they were turned off in the first place. I did not think it was excessively hot in the room, not more than usual, but I appreciated the fans at the end there.

I decided to skip dinner and stay in the room because I felt so gross. My friend Alex had done the most amazing thing ever and had emailed me all of the Taylor Swift songs from her new album so I did not have to wait another week to listen to them. I will still buy the album when I get home of course but it was such an awesome surprise. Alex – you are the real MVP of the this 9 weeks!! My ability to sit and do nothing is limited so doing nothing lasted about 5 minutes before I got up and started packing up my stuff. I packed an entire suitcase up, reorganized/consolidated my remaining stuff, listened to the TS album, and danced around the room. I took headache medicine but since you should not take it on an empty stomach, I had a protein bar and some saltine crackers despite not being hungry at all. My head still hurt but whatever, worse things have happened. Also, my legs looked so swollen! What the hell.

I grabbed a chocolate bar on my way to the evening lecture in hopes that it would help with my headache. It did! Bikram was not feeling well so our evening lecture consisted of watching a few more episodes of Mahabharat (the TV show we started at the beginning of training). I accidentally fell asleep for probably about 20 minutes but I was so uncomfortable that it did not last long. He surprisingly let us out at midnight. It is funny to watch us all run and scatter when he says goodnight!

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Tuesday 11/14/17 – Day 59
I was up a little later than I would have liked to be the night before because I realized I needed to start getting myself back into the real world and making plans for next week to visit people. I unintentionally woke up early and responded to some of those late night messages until it was time to get up for class.

The morning class was with Ashley. I was not excited because I did not care for her last class very much and I was feeling tired. Kirsty and I talked about how our minds and bodies were mentally starting to quit just knowing that it was week 9 but I knew we would have to fight that mindset and finish strong. The class had, in my opinion, extremely low energy and was quite boring. However, the things that I did not like last time about her class either did not happen or I did not notice them (mostly her inflection changing so much that I felt tricked in postures). Despite the low energy, I had a decent class and I liked it more than her first one. I started off stiff but got better as class went on. The balancing series was tough and I kept falling. I apologize to my mat neighbors for being such a distraction! They left the fans on again during the floor series which was awesome. Maybe that will be a regular thing this final week; a little treat for us as we wrap up.

Housekeeping was already in our room when I got back which was really bizarre. They never came that early before. I did not want to be in the way so I sat on the patio and enjoyed the outdoors for a little bit. Leah sent me a message: she had apparently gotten really sick in the room so she sent housekeeping up and went to the doctor’s office who put her on an IV. She had a stomach infection, probably from the pain medication they had put her on. Taryn is a nurse back at home and she had warned Leah that the medicine they were giving her may do that so Leah had stopped taking it but I guess it was too late. I felt so bad for her. She could not catch a break!

I got ready and headed to breakfast. It was a nice day and since I was not going to the pool, I took my time. The egg guy was different and was a mess so we made jokes about how spoiled we have been to have a preference of which egg guy is there. Good Lord. We also had some interesting conversations about the different teaches we have had and how we feel about them, a continuation from Monday’s breakfast conversation. I love that we all feel so differently.

I took care of some things in my room (scheduled stuff, updated my calendar, went through emails, etc.) and blogged until it was time to head down and take the 5-day photo. I took some photos of the property on my way. We did Standing Separate Leg Stretching this time. Thank you to my volunteer models: Ilka, Rocio, Yoasil, Mari, and Tina (photographer). People actually wait to see the photo-of-the-day so no pressure, right?


The afternoon lecture part posture clinic, part lecture, and part Mahabharat. We went through Head to Knee with Stretching and Bikram stood or sat on just about everyone who went up for corrections. It blows my mind how he just jumps on people and goes for. He is so confident he will not actually hurt anyone! To be fair, he never has. He was actually really upset when he heard Leah broke her rib doing advanced stuff and last week he made a comment about how the advanced series will die with him because people do not do it correctly and get hurt all of the time. Only he can teach and supervise it, apparently (and Emmy Cleaves probably). After that, we watched Mahabharat until 4pm.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “Anything that works is right.” -Bikram
  • “Every American is either sick or lost.” -Bikram
  • “Yoga helps to do everything better and faster.” -Bikram

Laju taught the evening class instead of Bikram because Bikram wanted to TAKE the evening class with us. All of the staff and visiting teachers got to be front and center in the room with him. He was a mess! Bikram was a horrible, horrible student and NOT because he cannot do the postures (he can do just about all of them even if he looked a little crazy getting into them) but because he could not help himself and walked around correcting people and talking. It was actually pretty funny. Laju kept getting distracted and messing up the dialogue. She warned us we would have students like that one day. I hope not! Bikram demoed a few advanced postures for us, too. He might be a little “beyond repair” (as Manali says) but he sure is a talented guy. Impressive stuff.

It was an easy class but it was a strong one. I struggled a little bit with Standing Bow but it was overall a good class, definitely better than the morning. Geof, Taryn’s brother/a visiting teacher, was in front of me and kept making me laugh with his crazy faces and dance moves. He got to practice next to Taryn though and that had to have been exciting for both of them (staff/teachers usually practice behind all of us). They left the fans on again during the floor series. I obviously cannot be pleased because while I liked them on and I liked being able to breath, they cooled me off too much. Cannot win!

I was not hungry but went down to eat anyway. Huge mistake. The buffet can be so enticing and I always end up eating too much. The fish looked good so I grabbed some of that, the BBQ looked good so I took a little bit of that, and the chicken was basically schnitzel so I of course had to grab some of that (and later had another piece). I had my salad and fruit to balance me out but seesh. Then, because I apparently hate myself, I had 3 pieces of dessert. Had I stayed in my dang room, I would not have eaten until I was actually hungry and even then would have only had a protein bar or something simple. So much for minding my food the last week and trying to de-bloat before graduation/going home.

My mom and I video chatted for about 5 minutes and then I worked on my blog until the evening lecture, trying to stay on top of it.

Bikram complained about the evening class before lecture. He said it was too slow and “oh my God… 2 sets of everything! So long!” That made us laugh. If anyone knows how he feels, it is us! We watched another Hindu/Bollywood movie for the evening lecture: Jab Tak Hai Jaan. It was a love story and I think the majority of us were super into it. I know I was! I was getting annoyed with it when I thought he was going to choose this other girl over his true love. Leah and I had a serious conversation about it when we got back to the room so that should tell you how strongly we felt about it. It was an awesome movie. My only wish was that all of these movies were not SO incredibly long but otherwise, I have liked them all. It would not surprise me if I re-watched some of them at home… do not worry, I will not make any of you watch them with me. The movie ended around 1:20am.


Wednesday 11/15/17 – Day 60
Despite our late night, Alicia, Kirsty, Tina, Diana and I woke up early and met on the beach at 6:30am for the 4-day photo. We wanted to have softer lighting than the harsh middle-of-the-day sun and since we do not get to see the sunsets anymore, the sunrise was our only option. We almost decided to not do it because we were so tired from the movie night but we were all committed and I appreciate them for that! We did Triangle pose, replicating a picture that Bikram, his wife, and his kids took a few years ago. Thank you to my volunteer models: Tina, Alicia, Kirsty, and Diana (photographer). I think this was my favorite one so far!

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The photo only took a couple of minutes and sign-in for the morning class was not until 8am so we all headed back to our rooms to try and get a little more sleep. I managed to squeeze in another 20 minutes, better than nothing. When I got the morning class, it felt like we had taken the Triangle picture days ago. Time is crazy here.

Christian taught the morning class. I was feeling so tired, stiff, and sick. I felt defeated and like I was giving up but I was trying to hang in there. I enjoyed his class more than I did the first time, especially because he was not so strict with the water. When he practices with us as a student, he drinks ALL of the time so I was glad to hear him lighten up with us since he could not even follow his own teachings. I guess what I wrote in last week’s post implied that I hated his class but I really do not hate it. Is it my favorite? No. Is it my least favorite? No. He is a clever, high energy, good teacher but because of that, I find it difficult to get into meditation and if I had taken his class every day as a new student, I am not sure I would have ever fallen in love with the yoga. Meditation is half of the practice and without it, you do not get all the benefits. Anyway, I know I am alone on my feelings toward it all but that is okay. I prefer dialogue classes, y’all know that. Call me a purist! I surprisingly had a very good, strong class even though the room was a little cold. Thankfully, Micael turned the fans off for the floor series.

I was not very hungry but went down to eat breakfast anyway. Kelly and I talked about our feelings about this coming to an end and she said something very profound that I liked quite a bit: “I look forward to missing it.” We know we are going to miss it but we cannot miss it while we are here! It was a quick meal because I wanted to take a nap before the afternoon lecture, which I managed to do for about an hour. It was another beautiful day so I felt a little guilty for not spending my time near the pool but I just had to rest. Unfortunately, I woke up feeling worse. I had sneezed a lot in the morning class and after my nap, I felt more congested, sneezed more, and had a headache. Whoo hoo.

I laid on the floor in the lecture room before the afternoon lecture started. I felt like absolute crap. Vinny and Tom joined me and tried to tell me I was not sick and that I was not sneezing and that I was fine. In other words, that I could not LET myself be sick and I had to will it out of me. They jokingly told me I was making it all up and it got a laugh out of me. Vinny and I talked more about our first classes/our home studios/why we went to training. He also tried to describe to me how to do a headstand. I will try it one day when I am feeling better… maybe.

The afternoon lecture consisted of several episodes of the TV show, Mahabharat. Bikram insisted that watching the show/reading the book will solve all of our problems and I do not doubt him but I just cannot with that show anymore. I truly liked it at the beginning but we have jumped around so much that it has lost me. I never know what is going on and when he explains it, it makes it worse. He talked a lot more than usual while we were watching it, telling us to pay attention to certain parts. It was interesting but we watched it for almost 4 hours. Normally, we get out of the afternoon lecture at 4pm and have class at 5pm but he kept us there until 4:45pm and pushed class back to 5:30pm. He was in a foul mood at the end so I was nervous that he would be tough on us in class.

Sure enough, class was a mess. I did not want to be there but as we all know by now, that was not an option. They said it was tradition for the guys to all be in the middle of the room so our 11 guys took the center and the brunt of it. Troopers. Bikram was clearly upset with us and yelled at us just before the floor series. He called us disrespectful for not paying attention to the TV show and equated it to him coming into our church and smoking a cigarette or scratching his butt. He said we were helpless and never going to go anywhere in life because we refused to learn. And so on, and so on, and so on. Look, I understand that reaction but to be fair, MOST people were NOT behaving in a disrespectful way. Some were, most were not. Admittedly, I did fall asleep for about 20 minutes so I did feel a little guilty.

It is normal when people behave like children to turn around and treat them like children. I get it. However, maybe it would benefit him to look at it from our perspective for a minute. You put 70 people in a room who know nothing about Hinduism and this stuff. Then, you have them watch bits and pieces of episodes and episodes out of order, making it nearly impossible to follow along in an understandable way. Top it off with bad subtitles, a FREEZING room, and uncomfortable chairs and you are almost asking for us to stop paying attention. I personally find the topic very interesting and want to read the books on it when I get home but I cannot follow along this way. I try to pay attention but it can be difficult. Anyway, he got upset by it and actually left the hot room during our first savasana. I did not even see him leave but suddenly Manali was teaching the class. Leah told me afterward that he saw her basically throw the microphone at her and storm out. Yikes. Manali later tried to say he had a meeting to go to but I do not think any of us believed that. I told you it was a mess. The room was cold and the fans stayed on during the floor series. I barely broke a sweat but managed to do alright, despite only being able to breathe through one nostril.

I skipped dinner in favor of a protein bar/crackers and rest in my room. I was not hungry but if I did not eat before the evening lecture, where I suspected Bikram would keep us up late as a kind of punishment for the afternoon, I knew I would be starved later. I grabbed an ice cream on my way to lecture though. I have a problem.

Manali shared her “Bikram story” with us finally. I think it helped me and Leah understand her a little bit more and somewhat forgive the things she said to people/the way she treated people sometimes. I think her natural state is a nice, caring, loving person but sometimes the dark side comes out. We all have that side of us, though. Being in a situation like this, and especially in a situation like hers, probably amplified it. I have always liked Manali but just been frustrated and confused by various behaviors. I think it was all a good lesson for everyone and a reminder not to judge people until you really know them. Her sharing helped me really know her. She also talked about graduation/our flights and told us to “please go back home.” We are trying, Manali!

Bikram finished posture clinic with our final posture, Spine Twisting. I had a question about if people were allowed to grab the towel/extend their leg but was afraid to ask it because you never know what he will say (dumb question, etc.). However, he said it was a good question and he meant to talk about it but had forgotten. Whew. Afterward, he talked about chakras, kundalini, the mind, and the body. All of that stuff was really interesting and thankfully, he only kept us until 12:30am.

5 things you need to help control your mind:

  • Faith
  • Self Control
  • Determination
  • Concentration
  • Patience

Sidenote: Wednesday marked my 400th consecutive class!


Thursday 11/16/17 – Day 61
I still felt sick when I woke up but I survived. Anurag led the morning class but before he got started, the staff dressed up in wigs, danced around the hot room, and gave out free stuff (shorts, CDs, books, etc.). It was a weird little striptease but it was hilarious and a fun way to kick off the 2nd to last day. It was a little tough to transition from all the excitement to doing yoga, though! I could not breathe out of my nose, a huge problem when you are supposed to ONLY use your nose to breathe. I felt so awful and all but sneezed on Vinny during the floor series (I tired to cover quickly and he said it did not reach him but I still felt bad). It always grossed me out when I saw people blowing their nose into their towels in the past but I got over that really quickly when I did not have a choice; first time for everything. No way was I leaving the hot room. The standing series went by fast but it felt like the floor series dragged on forever, possibly because I felt like death. I did well and had a good class otherwise. My body physically did not hate me this week (minus the congestion/cold).

I was not hungry and felt awful so I stayed in my room for breakfast. I eventually had a protein bar but mostly because I took medicine and did not want to take it on an empty stomach. I video chatted with Katy and Paul for an hour or so. They were in Morocco this time and wherever they were looked so beautiful! Katy told me how much of a change she has seen in me and how happy she was that I got so much out of it. The 3 of us talked dialogue and how it may be difficult to transition back home after all of this. I am so glad and lucky to have them in my yoga family and to have had their support before, during, and after training. I had been feeling all over the place with my emotions, too. It seems like that always happens when I already have a call scheduled with them; timing is funny like that. As we approached the end, I was feeling reminded of how I felt during my visit in the Spring and then add that with my own feelings of the Fall training ending and it was a lot. I cried and I hate when I do that, even though I know it was fine. I was having a difficult time explaining it all to them but at the end of the day, I know it will all be okay and that the feelings would pass.

We took our 3-day photo before the afternoon lecture. Tanya was scheduled but was feeling sick but with how successful the whole ‘project’ had been, it was easy to find someone to take her place. We did Full Locust on the rocks near the pond the swans live in. I am not sure if we were technically allowed to be climbing up there, but oh well. The shot came out great! Thank you to my volunteer models: Sara, Henrik, and Ilka (photographer, who told me I had a perfect/muscular body; thanks girl!).

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Lidia walked into lecture with a sandwich and asked if I wanted half. I had skipped breakfast so… that worked out incredibly well. I was pretty hungry. Vinny gave me an empty Coke can for the last class, too. During the last class, we are supposed to do a Coke toast during our water break and take a photo. Bikram loves Coke so it is tradition. I do not drink soda (for about 6 years minus the occasional Fresca and Vodka drink or Cherry Limeade from Sonic which has Sprite… both are incredibly rare though) so I did not want to go buy a Coke just to throw it away/waste it. Vinny was kind enough to give me the empty can so I could pretend for the photo. I also gave my departing flight info to Manali. It was getting real! Tom and Vinny reminded me again that I was not sick and asked about my fake illness (they did this every time they saw me since the first day I started feeling bad). I wish it had been all mental and trust me, I tried to “will” it away! Axry and I took a selfie, too. Love her.


Bikram did not have a lecture planned so we did a Q&A session where we were allowed to ask anything. We asked about the ‘no green’ rule, tattoos, different things about postures/timing/teaching, how to open a studio of our own, how to address incredibly sick/broken students, and a handful of other things. He answered almost every question but he is Bikram and likes to talk so some answers were incredibly long. When the answer gets long, the point sometimes gets a little lost and we go on a tangent but someone always had another question to help bring him back around. It was a good lecture and I think we all learned a lot.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “No. Who said that? Fuck them.” -Bikram, in response to someone asking if we should alternate our grips in class
  • “You will never have had a better time in your life than this 9 weeks.” -Bikram
  • “You will have a wonderful life, I guarantee it.” -Bikram

We were allowed to take photos before the evening class so we obviously did. My phone overheated though and acted really weird! Scary. For the last class on Friday night, we are supposed to wear all black so I assumed we would have another round of photos at that time, too.

The evening class with Bikram was finished in a record 87 minutes. He was on a roll. The standing series flew by and I managed to snag a compliment for my floor Bow. I had remembered before class that I brought Flonase so I used some of that but I still felt like garbage during the class. The inversion postures were torture; too much pressure built up in my head. I refused to skip a posture though. Not this late in the game. The crazy part of it was that my body was completely fine. I was nailing the postures and everything else, I just could not breathe/wanted to die when my head was upside down.

The hotel had a special dinner for us in Tavola (the Italian restaurant) instead of Chula Vista. Debatable on whether or not it was a genuine gift to us or if it was because the hotel had another conference going on and Chula Vista was busy… but it was nice nonetheless. The food was awesome and everyone looked so nice. I was hoping there would be pizza but when we got there, we did not see any. I got a plate full of other food and just as we sat down, they put pizza out. We swarmed to get some. It was such a nice dinner and we all laughed so much. We looked/felt/acted drunk but without the alcohol. Drunk on happiness, maybe?! I will miss them all.

They passed out our group shirts before the evening lecture and I loved them so much; they were so much better than the Spring shirts. Some people were still dressed up from dinner because we were to have an autograph/book signing thing with Bikram so they wanted to look nice. I did not really care so I had arrived casual and ended up throwing my new shirt on. I still looked cute! Kiley and I practiced our 2-Day photo for Friday and that was an absolute mess but we were laughing and others were laughing with (or AT) us so it was all good. We figured out the trick to the pose, though!

Bikram did his autograph signing which took about 2 hours and during that time, we all just enjoyed each other’s company. I had Bikram sign a book, my paper dialogue, and my journal. It was a low-key, casual night and was a nice break and nice way to spend one of our last nights together. Jana and I had a lovely talk, we always do, and Alicia and I paired up to take pictures and be ridiculous. I often times forget that she is only 18! I wish I could remember all of the crazy things we say/do but just know that we laughed and had a fun evening. H.A.G.S.!

At midnight, Bikram tried to start a movie but told us it was optional. I heard “if you want to stay…” and immediately started packing up my stuff. I enjoy the Bollywood movies but they are always 3+ hours long and it was midnight! He changed his mind though and told us to all go to bed. Bless his soul! My phone had died and I had been feeling worse as the night went on so I was thrilled.


Friday 11/17/17 – Day 62
I must have knocked out because I woke up drooling but also feeling extra sick. I was so happy we did not have to watch the movie the night before. I do wish I knew what the name of it was though so I could watch it at home one day.

It was a little bit of emotional morning; difficult to put into words. Leah and I woke up and immediately started talking about how it was the last day and how strange it was that it was finally here. I could not fathom it. When we walked down the stairs to the hot room, it was our last morning doing that. Everything was the last and it was exciting but it was sad. As others arrived, people started exchanging hugs and it was just a mess. If I had learned anything here, it was to just let yourself feel an emotion so I did not fight it and let it happen. Sigh.

Jim was back and taught the morning class. We were allowed to take photos again so we grabbed another group photo but I do not think we ever were able to grab one with ALL of us. It seemed we were always missing at least 1 person. We tried, though.

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Jim talked to all of us before class but it was difficult to hear him so I have no idea what he said. I like the guy but once again, I prefer him in the lecture room than in the hot room. He was still crazy about the line and lectured someone about Toe Stand again but that was just classic Jim. He was doing dialogue for the first time ever and I could see the clock and he was surprisingly right on schedule. We were on the floor at the right time but class still went over by 15 minutes. I stand by my comment from an earlier post: he cannot teach a 90 minute class. I forgot he did not play savasana songs too but I was glad he did not because I probably would have cried. Instead, he talked but again, I could barely hear him. He was so soft spoken. There was something he said in the middle of class that I know I liked but I could not remember it long enough to write it down after class. I blame my illness. I had a decent class even though I felt so sick. There was way too much pressure built up in my head and the floor series was so tough. Being horizontal made it tough to breathe.

I had breakfast and then started packing up my stuff a little bit more. I did not want to go sit in the sun because I felt so sick. I met up with Kiley before the afternoon lecture to day our 2-day photo, though. We did pada-hastasana by the pool and it was tricky. We thought we had figured out the trick from our inspiration photo but it was not working. We asked Tina to help smash us together and she came over and had us laughing so hard, making it more difficult to balance! Kiley eventually had the brilliant idea that we each do the posture on our own and then grab each other instead of instantly grabbing each other and boom, it worked and we got a great shot! Everyone loved it. Thank you to Kiley, Tina (for her assistance), and Alicia (photographer). We got some crazy looks at the pool from the hotel guests but such is life!

Thank you, everyone who participated in the photo-a-day. I was completely surprised at how popular it got and it was so unexpected to see everyone fall in love with it!

Denise presented Manali and the staff with flowers before the afternoon lecture and Manali cried which of course made us teary eyed. Okay, I cannot speak for everyone but it made me teary eyed. Karla announced that she was 3 months pregnant, too!! I had noticed her doing modified postures in the hot room during the morning class but did not recognize them as the pregnancy postures but it suddenly made perfect sense. We were all so excited for her!


Jim went through our names for graduation to make sure he would say them all correctly during the ceremony and then he gave a lecture on teaching and what to expect. Unfortunately for us, it was 100% the exact same as one of his lectures earlier in the training. I compared my old notes and it was essentially word for word and all of the same stories. The only new thing Jim mentioned but that everyone had said throughout training was that Bikram teaches to each person differently: some he praises, some he embarrasses, some he ignores. It has nothing to do with how he feels about us individually, all he does is a hold up a mirror and show us what we need. I know I need validation, so maybe I was intentionally being ignored because that was what I needed? Breakthrough? I was bummed Bikram was not there with us; I was already starting to miss the guy. We were out by 4pm and everyone scattered to get ready for the FINAL class. AHH!

We all dressed in black (tradition) and took some photos before class.

The final class was THE BEST. It was so much fun. The energy and adrenaline was palpable. Everyone was hugging and taking pictures and just so excited. We normally took up 4 rows but we all squeeze into just 3 so we could be close. It was special. Lidia, Alicia, and I put our mats together near Tina and Kirsty in the front row and everyone fed off of each other’s energy. I had an amazing class but I think we ALL did. How could we not? I even went all the way back in my back bend like I could do before training. I saw stars and wanted to pass out when I came up, but I did it. It was the last class so I had to no matter what!

During our first water break, we all did a cheers with our Coca Cola cans and took a picture. I toasted with a can full of water but I took a sip of Alicia’s so I could participate despite my no-soda lifestyle and wow… just that sip alone had me burping the rest of class. I do not know how everyone was actually able to drink it and do class!


I snagged a compliment on my Standing Bow and Toe Stand (after he told me to lean back a little more). I love my Toe Stand so I was happy to finally get a little praise on that. I told you I need validation! We did a bunch of stuff to play with Bikram during class, too. Tiina had planned a few things out and we were organized and ready. Last minute, Kirsty threw in another thing for us to do and we spread it down the rows like a game of telephone just before class. I love a good team effort.

  • For the first part of Awkward pose, for the first set of it, when Bikram said “you’re trying to fall down backwards,” we all actually fell down backwards. It was AWESOME. Kirsty and I looked at each other in the mirror and gave each other the ‘go’ and we went for it. Then everyone started collapsing like dominoes. He laughed and loved it. He told us we had “good choreography!”
  • Before Standing Pull Pulling pose, we slapped hands with our neighbors before starting. Less effective and was a lot slower than we thought but we did it anyway.
  • Bikram loves to sing us songs from his albums and there was one he always sang the most: I’m Feeling Lonely. We all knew the lyrics to one of the parts by the end so when we went into the right side of Triangle, we all started singing. He joined us in the middle and you could tell he totally loved it. I was so glad Anurag got video! He told that we cheated him though because singing means we did not hold the posture as long as we should have. For the left side, he called out Sara again and we all started singing some song he always sings to her. I forget the name of it but it has the name Sara in it!
  • During Wind Removing pose, some people decided to make fart noises. That was not on our official list of things to do but it was still funny.
  • We all linked arms for the first set of Full Locust (why our mats were placed so close together at the beginning) and we came up together. That was way more difficult than I think any of us thought it would be but it was fun.
  • As always, we yelled WOO before Camel pose.

Other memorable moments of our final class were when he and Anurag did a demo of their crazy abdominal tricks before our first savasana and how we had to do 4 sets of Cobra because we were “so good” and “picture worthy.” We shouted we wanted to do a 5th! He had us look in the mirror (normally you look up) and that had us laughing. We also looked in the mirror for Bow but luckily we did not have to do 4 sets of that one. We were all laughing and making jokes the whole time, actually. The best was when Bikram said to “always keep your knees open” (in context to a posture!!!) and I looked at Alicia and said, “definitely not good life advice.” It was a very fun, strong class with amazing energy. Before the final breathing, we stomped and pounded on the ground. After the final breathing, it was 10x crazier. Instead of clapping, we followed tradition and just pounded on the ground as hard and as loud as we could while cheering and screaming. That was it – we were finished. What a surreal feeling it was! Of course we all start crying and then hugging each other. I held it together until Lidia and I hugged… then I lost it. We both did. Then we realized we hate crying and hate hugging and we let go and got ourselves together… temporarily. Everyone hugged everyone and we were all one big, sweaty, sappy mess. I CANNOT BELIEVE WE DID IT. We got in one big circle for a group hug, put Bikram in the middle of it, and all rushed forward to hug him while he jumped up and down in the middle and we all chanted his name. It was amazing. We also took our last group photo! People hugged and lingered in the hot room forever. Some of us, myself included, did not want to leave it. By the end, the floor was covered in water and Coca Cola spills, plastic cups, and towels everywhere. It was weird to leave there for the final time: happy, sad, ready, emotional. That feeling you get when you know you just did something major and you are proud and you do not want to let go quite yet, even though it is time.

Class photos (always look for the giant blue HydroFlask and you will find me):


Standing Head to Knee:


Us singing in Triangle pose:


One of our many sets of Cobra:


Linking arms in Full Locust:


Post-class photos:


Group hug:


Singing during our group photo:


I got cleaned up and headed to Chula Vista for our last dinner there. They had a BBQ for us again which meant I got to have more of their amazing chorizo! Lidia, Alicia, Maryla, and I ate quickly and then went over to Tavola, the Italian place, for one last round of desserts with them. We loved that chocolate ball!


We had one last lecture that evening. Everyone had been telling us it would be a special one and that we were going to get the biggest gift of all time. Bikram himself had told us before that we were going to review the breathing during the last lecture so we assumed it had something to do with that, but we were not sure. Everyone still had high energy from the last class and people were still getting emotional. By that point, I was more excited than anything. We had done it and that was it. The end. Did I want to leave? No. Did I want to stay and do 11 more classes and 10 more lectures? Also no. So what can you do besides embrace the moment for what it is? Mari had told me that she wanted her daughters to be like me when they get old and that was so sweet. The love we all have for each other was overflowing.

We did, in fact, review the breathing in the final lecture and yes, we did receive a special gift. I will not share what was talked about and what we did because I do not want to ruin it for any readers who may go to training one day. You can know everything up until this lecture and still be 100% surprised by everything and have your own experience but let this one be a real surprise for yourself. I think we can all agree it was a good lecture and we got a lot out of it. It was our last, and it was sad. We were out just after midnight but Leah and I were up late again, talking in disbelief that it was actually all over.


Saturday 11/18/17 – Day 63 – GRADUATION DAY
There was an optional class in the morning for most of us but required for the demo team so they could get warmed up for their performance during graduation. I wanted to go but I decided to sleep with no alarm and let fate take its chance. If I woke up naturally in time, I would go. If not, I would miss it. I slept until 9:30am and missed the class.

I video chatted with mom for a few minutes. She told me how proud she was of me and my first thought was a standard “thank you” and my second, silent, thought was more along the lines of “you have no freaking idea.” I mean really, I am proud of myself and I understand that others are proud of me too and I so appreciate that but this experience… no matter how hard I have tried to explain it to y’all, is unexplainable. Everyone SHOULD be proud of us. After accomplishing that, hell yes. What a journey.

I blogged for a little bit before heading to breakfast with Maryla at 11am. I ate quickly because my nieces and dad were all available to chat so I headed back to my room. I talked to Bailey and Jessica first. Bailey was cute and told me she missed me and told me about her dance class. I called dad and Suzette next and once again, Elliott started licking them like crazy when he heard my voice. I could not believe I would finally get to see him again in just one more day.

After talking to everyone, I went to the pool with Maryla and Alicia for the little time we had left before we needed to get ready for graduation. It was going to be our last pool time! Everything was the last this, the last that. Wrecks. We had a fun time at the pool, laughing and being dumb. Of course we talked about dialogue and our first classes and how crazy that it was all over. Standard, last day stuff!

On my way back to my room, I stopped to video call Bailey again and show her the flamingos at the hotel and then headed up to get ready for graduation. EEK! It was quickly approaching. Leah, Alicia, and I got ready together and then headed down to the lecture room. Everyone looked so amazing dressed up! It was so hard to believe we were finally at that moment. After 9 weeks. We took pictures until 3pm when it was time to get the ceremony started.

We listened to the Upsanas and a speech from Bikram’s Guru, Bishnu Ghosh. Manali, Anurag, Laju, Jim, everyone spoke at some point. The demo team performed and did AMAZING! Training cheated them this year though because they got leftover outfits from previous years instead of a matching set like they normally do. But they looked amazing and did so well. My girls Alicia and Lidia were in the front row, Alicia front and center, and they killed it. Actually, a lot of people from Group 3 were on the demo team so I was proud of our group! I was so proud of them! I took video of it all on my phone and then had to charge my phone the rest of the ceremony so it would be ready for pictures afterward.

They gave out awards and we heard an amazing speech from our valedictorian, Matt. His words made me cry. He compared the 26 postures to our 9 weeks here and it was perfection. Sara won an award and Bikram said she could not have it unless she sang for us again (she sings Opera). She did and somehow she managed to pick the most perfect song. The lyrics were spot on and her voice was so beautiful it gave me goosebumps.


  • Flower Petal Blooming – Karen
  • Bengal Tiger Strength – Polina
  • English Bulldog Determination – Vinny
  • Dialogue – Kirsty
  • Anatomy – Sara
  • Yogi – Fernando
  • Yogini – Alicia

After awards, we finally graduated!

The photographers they brought in to take photos were horrendous. The cameras were garbage and had a bad delay. I just knew the photos would be bad quality and sure enough, they were. Below is my official, once in a lifetime photo with Bikram and my certificate and it is actually amazing compared to some people’s… but incredibly awful compared to the Spring training’s photos. It was so unfortunate that these were our photos. Better than nothing, yes, but very unfortunate. Bikram’s eyes are closed in some people’s and the lighting and framing is a nightmare. Some people did not even get their photo!! Insane.

PS – My 1-Day photo to complete my photo countdown was, on Instagram, a picture of just me and my certificate (1 day, 1 person) BUT on Facebook, it was a group photo (1 day, 1 yoga family).


We took a bunch of photos afterward!

After it was all said and done, I headed to my room to charge my phone for a few minutes and grab Leah to go to a small, secret after party in someone’s room for a champagne toast. It felt like college with the drinks, snacks, crowded room, dim lighting, and music. Hilarious. Lidia, Alicia, and I left when it was time for dinner because we were starving. We took the long way to avoid too much cobblestone and Denise told us we looked like we belonged on Sex in the City with our nice outfits, heals, the wind in our hair, and our proud struts. We were feeling fabulous. Dinner was by the pool and the weather was great. It was the same Chula Vista food… just outside by the pool. We had some random guys at our table so we ate and then headed out.

Alicia was leaving early Sunday and had not packed so the 3 of us went to her room to basically watch her pack and do nothing. I blogged for a little bit but did not make much progress. We listened to music, reminisced, and tried not to think about how sad we were. In reality, we laughed a lot and it was so fun. Alicia’s yogini trophy was huge and she had forgotten to pack it in her stuff so I had to halfway repack her bag. First the cake cutting at the dance party, then the helping people find their seats at graduation (the demo team did not know where they were sitting and they all went to the wrong spots which would mess up our order so I fixed it, of course), and then this. Lidia was right in saying that I could not help myself to take over things!

Once she was packed, or mostly packed, we went down to the bar/lounge area of the resort: our first time there in 9 weeks. A handful of people were already down there enjoying a beverage or 2 or 10. I was not going to have anything but Denise had ordered a glass of wine for someone else and then that person left so I did not want it to go to waste… call me a team player.

We hung out there for a little bit then went to the dance party in our lecture room to say goodbye to staff and anyone who was in there. I talked to Manali for a bit and despite everything that happened with Andrew and Leah and everything I had seen her do/heard about her doing, I could not help but like her. Talk about a 180 degree turn. Well, I never hated her so… maybe a 90 degree turn. Things started to get a little more emotional saying goodbye to people there. I did not cry but it was sad. I hate goodbyes and would rather seclude myself and disappear quietly BUT I decided to be an adult and face it all head on. Everyone got a hug. Europeans like to kiss you on the cheek, too, so talk about being out of my comfort zone. Hooray for growth!

We went back to the bar to say goodbye to the people there and that was when the real waterworks turned on. Alicia lost it and I was doing everything in my power to keep myself together. When I hugged Kirsty though, it was game over. I cried. Not sorry about it. You spend 9, life changing, amazing weeks with these people and you get VERY close with some of them, you cannot help but feel torn up when you have to leave. Especially since we live all over the world! It will not be easy to visit each other. Not impossible, but not easy.

I refused to say goodbye to Lidia and Alicia because 1. I did not think I could handle it and 2. I knew I would see them in the morning. I was back in my room by 11pm. I finished packing and got ready for bed and once I was in bed, it hit me. All of it. It was not really ending. It was not over. I refused. I texted Andrew that I was sad and he was so sweet to video chat me and talk it out with me. I am looking forward to the day he graduates next Fall and when he will understand all of the feelings I was poorly describing to him. Only someone who has been through this will ever understand. It is the most insane, overwhelming emotion. You all think I am a great writer (and thank you for your kind words) but I cannot put down how we felt. I just cannot. You know the feeling I am talking about: the feeling of being ready to leave but not wanting to? Something like that. I do not know. Leah got back so she joined our chat and then the two of us stayed up until close to 2am, running on adrenaline, talking about it all until we finally talked ourselves to sleep.


Sunday 11/19/17 – Day 64
Alicia was in the first group of people leaving and had to be in the lobby at 7am. I woke up, had my last breakfast at Chula Vista/said goodbye to the wonderful Gilberto the omelet guy, and then headed to the lobby for the first round of final goodbyes. It was so sad to have to see people go!

The Mundomex guys had our official photo print outs and I was so disappointed in the quality of the photo. Such is life. They did not have any of them labeled and since they do not know all of their names, Ali volunteered me to label all of the envelopes. People were coming over to get their photo and Kathi shook her head, laughed, and told me I could not help myself to take charge. People in line were making comments that I should have run the training! Not going to happen, but thanks guys!

We gave our final hugs. I hated seeing Alicia go! Our little baby (she was 18, the youngest here) off into the world. Wah. Lidia and I were so sad and tried to hold back tears. We might have cried a little bit after she left. Shh. We went to Starbucks so Lidia could get coffee and we decided to eat our feelings and get chocolate truffles. We missed her already.

I headed back to my room to finish packing because my shuttle left 2 hours later. Leah was awake and we continued all of the typical “last day” discussions and talked about how sad and happy and everything we were. I tried to blog and had a panic attack because the text was not appearing in the editor and I thought I lost it all! All my hard work. The look on my face must had been very bad because Leah froze and looked like she was about to have to scoop me off of the floor. It was okay though, it recovered and all was not lost. Whew. As if I was not already emotionally fragile from goodbyes… I do not think I could have tolerated a lost blog post that I spent all week working on.

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When it was my time to go at 9am, I headed to the lobby. Leah helped me carry my stuff down and so kindly made comments like “goodbye room,” “goodbye elevator,” “goodbye beach,” “goodbye Chula Vista,” “goodbye flamingos,” “goodbye chair swings,” “goodbye lobby.” Thank you, Leah! That was not torture at all! Now that it was time to go, I did not want to! Of course. Maryla was in the lobby getting ready for he first class so I said my goodbye to her and then Lidia came down to wait with us. The wait to get on the shuttle was excruciating. I hate goodbyes so long, drawn out ones are so rough. Why did this training have to continue to push me?! The Mundomex guys said it was time and that is when it got even worse. Lidia and I hugged, hard, and started crying. I love everyone I met and became friends with but saying goodbye to Alicia earlier in the morning and now Lidia… brutal. I always cried the most hugging Lidia. My Bikram bestie. I exchanged hugs with everyone who had come to send us off and hugged Leah one last time before loading up.

Sophia, Kiley, Denise and I were all on the same flight so it was nice to be able to travel with my friends and navigate the way. It also helped me keep my emotions a little more in check! The ride to the airport was short but felt like a lifetime. Sophia’s bags and boxes were accidentally left at the hotel so they had to go back for her stuff but Denise, Kiley, and I went ahead and checked in. My bags were overweight on the way in, of course, but one of them was in the proper weight range on the way back so it cost me less. Little victory. Axry, a staff member, went along for the ride and snagged this photo of us at the airport.


Kiley, Denise, and I talked while we waited for our flight. We talked about all the crazy things that happened at training and everything under the sun. I heard some rather surprising and disappointing things! But, we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. I was thankful we got just a few more moments together.

It was a short flight to Mexico City, about 40 minutes. I studied dialogue and tried to sleep but we were in Mexico City before I knew it. I do not know why but being in Mexico City still gave me a weird feeling. I had come a long way in the 9 weeks but Mexico City… that place might always be a sore spot for me. Again, I was thankful to be with friends to help distract my mind. We could not find our flights on the departure board but we knew we had a lot of time so we had lunch. We lost Sophia somewhere along the way and Denise went to check out the special lounge she had access to. Kiley and I went to a restaurant/bar and ate our weight in food. I got beef tacos and french fries because why not? I also had a glass of red wine. Sue me. We talked about training, our fears in going home, and everything. All we knew for 9 weeks was yoga, so of course all conversations were about yoga. The best part about it all was that Kiley and I had been friends from the beginning so it was enjoyable and easy to sit and converse, easier than if it had been someone I only kind of knew. After we ate, we found our flights and said goodbye. The last goodbye!

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I found a charging station and got WiFi to semi-work and started checking in with people at home and people still at the hotel. I could not imagine how the people who were leaving in the evening or the next day felt… having to say goodbye literally ALL day to people. Suddenly I was grateful to have left in the morning. My flight was supposed to leave at 3pm but we left a little late. I was so anxious to get going at that point. Once I was alone, it was more of a “let’s get this show on the road” feeling. As Kiley described it at the Acapulco airport, being away from the hotel made the idea of leaving a little “less romantic.” Spot on.

The plane was small and not full at all. I had the row to myself! I was exhausted from being up late Saturday and getting up early so I was hoping the glass of wine would help me sleep a little bit. It did; I slept for nearly the first 2 hours of the flight and woke up just in time for the airplane snacks. I ate, studied the breathing exercise to a good enough state, and then started reading the Red Book (Bikram’s first beginner’s book). It was so interesting! I wished I had read it before training. Michele, a visiting teacher, mentioned that we could always ‘brand’ ourselves and make our own yoga pages and reading that book started giving me ideas for something like that. Maybe one day.

As we started our descent into Houston, the sun set and the trees were unblocking and blocking the lights and it made the city look like it was twinkling. My heart started to swell at the sight of all of it. I had the song “I’m Coming Home” by J.Cole stuck in my head, specifically these lyrics:

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the world that I’m coming home
Let the rain
Wash away
All the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits
And they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming

On my way TO Acapulco, I had the song “Here Comes the Sun” in my head and now that one. The brain has a funny way of remembering the most fitting things to help set the mood. I started getting teary-eyed… tears of happiness. Pure happiness. I could not believe I had just done teacher training for 9 weeks in Acapulco, Mexico and that I was returning as a certified instructor. The emotion and sense of accomplishment was overwhelming. I missed my friends already but in that moment, it was so nice to finally be home. I was ready to hug my family, see my dog, see my friends, and lay in my bed.

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I turned my phone on when we landed around 5:45pm and saw that my mom was in the airport, she had also returned from her Mexico trip just a few minutes before me and was waiting for me at baggage claim. I got off the plane and as I walked out and through the airport, I was… giddy? I could not stop laughing AND crying. Hysterically. I was texting my best friend and it was just all making me laugh even more, which made me cry even more. I was so happy and so emotional. Others were looking at me like I was crazy, as expected, but I knew they had no idea that I had not been in the USA for 9 weeks! To see and hear English again, to feel comfortable and familiar, everything. I was a wreck but in the best of ways. It was finally real. The idea of “home” was no longer out of reach! Being in Houston also signified the official end of the trip. My teacher training journey will never be over, there will always be things to learn and ways to grow, but my yoga bubble was officially popped and it was all over.

I saw my mom, Robert, and their friends at baggage claim while they waited for their bags. Such a small world that we would be there at the same but it worked out well because they were going to be out of town for Thanksgiving and I was not sure I would see them before they left. So, I was thankful we at least had that brief moment! They waited for me while I got my bags and we headed out together. Dad and Suzette were waiting for me in the car outside so I said goodbye to mom and Robert and headed out. I started getting texts congratulating me on being home and I sent messages to all of my yoga friends telling them I had made it safely AND with both bags (always a worry of mine). Shout out to Kelsey for letting me borrow her amazing suitcases. Dad and Suzette pulled up and I all but sprinted over to their car, through the road. I started chanting “USA, USA, USA”  and gave my dad a big hug. We loaded the car and headed to their house!

I told them about the day and answered questions but I instantly started to feel a little… off. I had talked about yoga for 9 weeks and I was very self conscious talking to them, people not in my yoga bubble. I did not want to talk too much about yoga because I knew they were not as interested in the subject as I am, plus they had read my blog and already knew everything that I had done. They told me about things going on with them and that felt a little more natural to sit and listen instead of talking. First time in my life, probably, that it felt natural to be a little more silent. I obviously had a lot to say and I was excited so I know I did a little rambling, though. I tried hard to keep myself in check.

We got to their house shortly after and it was finally time to be reunited with my sweet puppy, Elliott. Dad and Suzette went inside first to plug my phone in and get the video going and then I came in behind them. I was SO happy to see him! He looked at me, confused at first, then ran over and got in his spot in my lap. His tail was wagging a million miles an hour. He kept looking at my dad and then back at me, as if he did not think it was real! Dad kept saying, “I told you she was coming back!” Maggie, our family dog who lived with my mom post-divorce but who recently moved in with my dad post-hurricane Harvey, was there. She looked so much better than I had seen her in years and dad had warned me to be gentle and move slowly with her (she is at least 14 years old at this point and partially blind/deaf), but I forgot and reached too quickly and startled her. It was good to see her, too.

Kelsey, my step sister, was there and Alex, my brother, arrived shortly after. We all caught up for a little bit. I could feel that I was different already in a way that I cannot really explain. Their discussion on the the latest TV shows did not interest me and neither did spending the time to go back and watch everything I recorded on my DVR while I was gone. The idea of sitting and watching TV for hours on hours did not seem fun. I started to get a little overwhelmed so I said my goodbyes, loaded up my car (which Alex had driven over in), and took us back. Alex lives in my apartment complex in another building so it was good to get his help loading my stuff up without a lot of extra hassle. Elliott was SO excited to be back in the apartment. He ran around everywhere and then I took him outside and he had to sniff and pee on everything. I texted my neighbor, Luke, that we were back and he brought Barkley, his dog, down. She was pretty excited to see Elliott but I think Elliott was more excited to see Luke! I was happy to see both of them and we chatted outside before I got too cold (I was not dressed for the cooler weather!) and headed back home.

I unpacked everything, started laundry, and had a lot of trouble sleeping. I tossed and turned quite a bit all through the night. I struggled to get comfortable. Who knew it would be more difficult to adjust back home than it was to adjust to leaving?! Either way, I was happy to be back, with Elliott snuggled up beside me. That was it. Welcome to your new life, Jillian.


Training Summary
This was the best experience of my entire life. I wanted to go to training for 100 reasons but one of the big ones was because I wanted to be challenged. Mission accomplished. Training was a huge challenge, if not the biggest one of my life so far. The yoga part of it (2 classes a day) never scared me going into it but the mental part of it was intimidating and I was so nervous to go. Despite a few upsets, minor frustrations with people, a little drama, and 2 rough weeks that looking back on, were not that rough, I did fine. I loved the environment; I thrive in a camp-like setting. I made enough alone time for myself to keep me grounded and I think that helped a lot too. I feel changed and different, but in a good way. A better way. I hope others see it, too. I feel like I know myself more and understand the world more. I feel proud of myself, a feeling I have struggled with in the past. If I could do this, I can do anything now.

I am so thankful to everyone who helped make this trip possible for me (my job, my family, my friends) and to everyone who helped support me along the way. I know, first hand, that this can be more difficult on the people at home. I also know that people went out of their way to help me while I was away with watching Elliott, checking on my apartment, etc. I appreciate it all. I am thankful for the friends I met here and the experiences I had. We are all so lucky to have met each other and even though we are all going off in our separate directions and even though most of us will not talk regularly, we all know in our hearts that we have a loving, supportive, yoga family forever. I know that if I am ever in one of the 21 countries represented here, I can call up someone from training, even if they were not my #BikramBestie, and meet up with them/take a class together/teach at their studio and that is a warm feeling. I know that when I teach my first class and post it on the group page, everyone will show me love and support and that I will do the same for them. Not to mention, all of our visiting teachers who we connected with to support us as we move on with our lives. I love it. My heart has grown 10x being here and it is overwhelming! I hope to never lose this feeling.

To my Bikram girls, you know who you are, you made this wonderful for me. It would not have been the same without you and I love you all forever!

I need to make one special shout out: Before coming, one of my biggest worries was my roommate. Who was it going to be? Were we going to get along? Someone even told me to pay the extra $4k and not have a roommate. I am so glad I did not do that because Leah, my roommate, was one of my favorite parts of training and there was no way I could have done this without her. We got along from the start and even though we did not always hang out in classes/lectures, we spent a lot of time in the evenings after the day ended or during breaks between activities in our room talking and laughing. About everything. We trusted each other and got to vent about frustrations, talk each other off of ledges, motivate each other (especially with the dialogue), study together, and everything. We spent so many days/nights just laughing hysterically, sometimes a little delusional, at each other and the dumb crap stuff our yoga brains would come up with. We constantly, jokingly laughed about how “bougie” we had gotten about having clean bath robes to wear to class and little things like that. There are a lot of great memories. We also had so many serious conversations about life and yoga (like the one night we stayed up until 1am having a SERIOUS talk about Triangle pose). We have a lot of similar views and while we never fully opened up and shared our full life stories with each other, we definitely understood each other and supported each other and that made everything so much easier. I could not have been more lucky getting assigned a room with her!

There are so many more things I am going to miss, too: finding the perfect spot in the hot room and the daily conversation you have with yourself about if you should go in the center or not (the center was cooler, but directly in front of Bikram), the sarcastic comments we made to each other under our breaths during lecture (highest regards to Alicia and Vinny for that… every day was funnier than the previous), how Bikram pronounced the word “sauna” and how Alicia and I laughed every time, and the list goes on.

They constantly describe teacher training as a life-changing experience. I believe a person can have more than one life-changing experience but I do agree, this 100% was one of them and a big one nonetheless. Everything about this experience from leaving my job/dog/family/friends for 9 weeks to actually saying goodbye instead of my preferred method of sneaking out quietly pushed me out of my comfort zone. I spent 9 weeks out of my comfort zone, in a yoga bubble, and I feel so changed and bulletproof for it. I know it might have looked like a vacation to an outsider and yes, we were at a beautiful resort and had great weather and outstanding amenities, but it was not always a vacation. We had long, 18 hour days that pushed us beyond every limitation we could imagine. Some cracked, some just bent a little bit, but we all went through our own journey… together. It was so much more mentally difficult than I thought it would be, so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be, so much more everything than I thought it would be. I could have never dreamed up something so rewarding and worthwhile. It was absolutely worth every sacrifice and hardship. I am so proud of myself, of all of us.


Training Quotes
Most are Bikram’s, others are indicated with their name.

  • Food in Chula Vista. -Manali
  • Check check.
  • My hearty request… -Manali
  • How you guys are doing? -Manali
  • You can balance you can balance you can balance… -Manali
  • Bounce, and bounce, and bounce, and bounce…
  • What is the best food? No food.
  • Men are 3 things: dog, pig, goat.
  • Are you thinking what I am thinking?
  • No pain, no gain. No money, no honey.
  • 99% right is 100% wrong.
  • Chicken shit.
  • My way or the highway.
  • Good things come in the small packages.
  • Quality over quantity.
  • I hate lazy people.
  • Too good is no good.
  • Wind blows, fire burns. water cools, Bikram works.
  • Yes or no?
  • Ask me why!
  • I suck your ass like a leech.
  • I jump on your coffin box.
  • Don’t look so sad.
  • Do it from the heart.
  • Fuck Zara.
  • God gave you brain. Learn how to use it.
  • If women lose the hand (or grip), no future with a man.
  • Humans are slaves of the bad habits.
  • Mind gone with the wind.
  • Blind cannot lead the blind.
  • Can I teach you how to swim?
  • That’s called Bikram.
  • Steel to the fire, it gets soft.
  • I didn’t need to explain, I proved it already.
  • They’re all my students.
  • A Apple, B Bat, C Cat.
  • Mental masturbation.
  • Did I prove it?
  • Can’t start a Mercedes with a Toyota key.
  • Ass out. Ass front.
  • How many times did you go back and forth, “yes I will go to training, no I will not, yes I will, I will borrow the money, steal the money, I am going.”
  • Get in, get in! -Manali
  • Sit up on your mats! -Manali
  • You got it!
  • Ahhh thank you!
  • It’s a good news!


My Name Is…
Bikram had a habit of always telling us what his name was (or asking us what his name was). Hint: the answer was NEVER Bikram. Here is a list of names I started keeping during week 7 and no, I will not explain any because I find it more entertaining this way. If you were there, you know! Also, if you remember any that I missed, send them my way!

  • Mr. Garbage Collector
  • Janitor
  • Mr. India
  • Mr. Perfectionist
  • Mr. Knee
  • Monty Hall
  • Mr. Rabbit
  • Mr. Hollywood


Savasana Songs
Songs that teachers played during final savasana that I remembered long enough to write down after class or that people had sent in the group chat.

  • Songs from Bikram’s CDs
  • Bikram actually singing to us
  • Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
  • Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker
  • Livin’ in the Moment – Jazon Mraz
  • One – Mary J Blige and U2
  • Still Standing – Elton John
  • Hot in Here – Nelly
  • I Feel It Coming – the Weeknd
  • Shanti Ashtangi – Madonna
  • Take me to Church – Hozier
  • “Love” poem by Rajashree from the CD Kavita

Jolina, a visiting teacher who stayed with us the entire 9 weeks like a champ, put together an amazing YouTube playlist for us with a lot more! So amazing of her to do!



  • Awaken: The Autobiography of Yogananda
  • Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai
  • Jodhaa Akbar
  • Jab Tak Hai Jaan
  • Mahabharat (TV show)


Random Statistics

  • Number of classes or lectures I missed: 0
  • Number of times I signed in late: 0
  • Number of make-up classes: 0
  • Number of times I left the hot room: 0
  • Number of times I skipped a posture: 0 (with the exception of the very first class during week 1 where everyone, except Danni, had to sit down at least once or face death because it was so brutal)
  • Number of yoga classes: 96 (unless you did a make-up)
  • Minutes of yoga: roughly 9,000
  • Number of earthquakes: 3


My Subjective Advice to Future Trainees

  • Go in with zero expectations, no matter what you have read here/other blogs, no matter what you have been told, and no matter what THEY tell you. We had no additional doctor lectures/speech therapists/sanksrit classes as they promised. Expect nothing (including sympathy).
  • Take everything “with a grain of salt.” Not all of their feedback is valid or necessary and not everything the staff/Bikram tells you is true.
  • Focus and take of yourself. Build relationships but stay out of the drama. Know that if you get sick, you are almost entirely on your own.
  • Take it one day, one moment, at a time and you will get through it.
  • Enjoy yourself. Take it easy but take it seriously. Do not stress too much (especially with dialogue), you will be okay.
  • There is no process to back up their “trust the process” motto but just… trust it, whatever it may be. Do not fight the disorganization and chaos or try to fix it. Ignore it or laugh at it and move on. You cannot control things.
  • Come knowing some of the dialogue. The more you know, the better time you will have the more sleep you will get. Definitely know Half Moon, at a minimum, but do yourself a favor and learn Spine Twisting too. Obviously learn all of it if you can, maybe not perfectly but at least to some degree.
  • You will be tired. Get over it. Do not complain about it. You can sleep on the weekends.
  • The real world exists out here. The bubble is great and you should absolutely embrace being in it while you can but it is not real. Be prepared for a big adjustment when you go home.
  • Listen to what visiting teachers say. Yes, it is repetitive and can get old (it did for me), but know that they have been through it and trust that they just want to be helpful. Listen and you might hear something new.
  • Bring a puzzle book or something to doodle on/with during long nights. Otherwise, do what so many people here did and copy them off of the internet into your notebook.
  • Pack lightly. You do not need as many clothes as you think you do AND you can buy things at the Walmart or local store once you are there (shampoo, etc.)! I brought WAY too many t-shirts (too hot for sleeves… plus, pit stains), sweaters for the lecture room (you can only wear one at a time anyway), jeans (HA!), socks/real shoes (yeah, right), and underwear (you are in yoga clothes 90% of the time, you do not need underwear). You (women… I cannot speak for the guys) need clothes for the hot room, some tank tops, some yoga pants (for lectures, posture clinics), bathing suits, and sandals. Bring a few nice outfits for special dinners and obviously a formal outfit for graduation. You can do laundry and it is not that expensive so take advantage of that. I did not need to bring 2 suitcases.
  • Never doubt or regret your decision to go to training. You may have given up a lot to go but trust that you did the right thing. 


Thank you for reading! Until the next adventure…




Post-Training Life
Monday was a struggle. I was incredibly over-stimulated returning to work. I barely slept the night before so not only was I exhausted, but the act of driving, hearing the radio in my car, the street lights, the CHRISTMAS lights, the cooler weather, everything… was a lot to take in at once. When I got to the office, I was so happy to see my co-workers and they appeared to be happy to see me. I moved my desk to my new office; new life, new office. It was a tough day trying to get back into the swing of things but everyone was patient with my silly questions and I managed. It was a lot to take in. I had lunch at Chipotle with my best friend Kelsey and it was so nice to see her, too! She said I seemed different and I took that as a compliment. Like I have said, I feel different. When I left, she was only a little pregnant but WOW! She definitely has a little nugget in there. I could not believe it! She makes a beautiful pregnant woman! We had a great talk about everything and I felt like I could talk openly about things that I cannot necessarily write about here so that was nice. I love that feeling of familiarity and I just loved seeing here again. I definitely missed her.

After work, I grabbed Elliott and hauled over to my sister’s house to see my sister, my brother in law, and my nieces. Talk about a happy reunion and being over stimulated! They were so energetic and wanted to show and tell me everything. Bailey made me a beautiful drawing (when did she learn to draw and write????) and we played all night. Jessica and Justin welcomed me with a yummy meal, too! Thank you guys, I missed y’all!

2017-11-22 12.19.04


I had another tough night sleeping but the next day at work was easier. Baby steps. Tuesday was the day of my first class so I had that lingering over me all day. I started reciting dialogue in my head the second I woke up. I focused on work while I was at work but when I left, I was back to dialogue. Saying it, reading it, everything. I was so nervous.

Jessica and the girls visited me at work and we went to Grimalidi’s for lunch with my co-worker Emily. Bailey fell in love with Emily!

I got the studio an hour before class to socialize with people and say hello. It was nice to be back but a little intimidating. I was so excited when Tanja arrived! Tanja is one of my mentors and she used to teach at the studio so I was not the only one excited to see her again, other students were too. It meant so much to me that she came! Everyone told me how tan I looked and was happy to see me (and vice versa, of course). It was so cool to see my name on the sign-in sheet as the instructor so I sent a picture to the training group chat. If anyone was going to understand my nerves, it would be them.

I had 14 people in my class (pretty average for my studio) including my brother, sister, friend from volleyball, 3 of my teachers, and some of my studio friends. My brother and Todd (volleyball) had never taken a class before and my sister had only taken it one but they all did so great. They stayed in the room and everything! I am sure they all want to kill me now but I am proud of them for doing it and thankful for their support.

I was nervous starting the breathing exercise and honestly have no idea what I said or how many they actually did… but I felt like it was not great. I made it up as I went. Oh well, it happened. By Half Moon, I felt comfortable and in my zone and before I knew it, class was over. Was my dialogue perfect? No. I fumbled a little but nothing noticeable. I was told I held Triangle too long but I definitely could sense that… a few extra seconds in Triangle never killed anyone (sarcasm, it was probably torture; sorry guys). Tanja, one of my instructors, gave me a few subtle queues when she could tell I was losing it and that was so helpful. I unintentionally gave a few corrections (I told people to put their feet together and I corrected Todd’s hands in Cobra) which I know was a big no-no (we are told NO corrections the first 6 months), but it just happened! Sometimes it was okay, sometimes it caused me to fumble. I will need to make a conscious effort to not do that for my next several classes. Head to Knee with Stretching was definitely my weakest of all of them but I also looked at my brother who looked like he was dying and I completely forgot what was going on in the room. Do not look at the new people!!!! I also forgot the clock was there but I looked at it in Savasana and I was right on track and we finished at 90 minutes and 30 seconds! Right on time! The whole thing flew by and was such an adrenaline rush. Thank you to my sister for sneaking in her phone at the end and grabbing a photo of me doing Spine Twisting (the only time I sat, of course), and of the end of class!

Afterward, everyone congratulated me and it was so exciting. I high-fived everyone in lobby waiting for the next class even though I did not know half of them. I was pumped. The adrenaline rush was insane. My heart was overflowing with love for my siblings for going out of their comfort zone to support me, with love for Todd who gave it his all and even gave the rest of our volleyball friends a ton of crap for not going with him, with love for my teachers for supporting me in my first class and unknowingly letting me stare at them for guidance the whole 90 minutes. It was all so amazing. 9 weeks of everything all led up to that moment and it was such a relief to have finally done it. I had so many messages on my phone with people telling me good luck and congratulations and I felt very loved.

When I got home, I video chatted with Lidia (YAY) and told her all about it. I miss her so much and it was so good to see her and talk to someone from our bubble. I video chatted with Katy on Wednesday morning for a little bit to tell her all about it, too. We had a nice chat! Not only is Katy able to understand every emotion I had during training, she understands the feeling of returning home and the feeling of teaching your first class. I find it difficult to explain things to people who have not been through it so it makes it very easy for me to talk to someone who just “gets” it. Also, Katy and I have the same “weight loss” story so she understands all of those feelings and emotions, too (PS I weighed myself Monday and I did not gain weight at training; I have, however, lost 4lbs already since being home). I have said it a million times but I am so thankful for her friendship and guidance!

The rest of the week will be spent visiting more family and more friends! It is a short week at work because of Thanksgiving so I will have plenty of time to see everyone. I have not gone to TAKE a yoga class yet so I plan to do that soon, too. I miss it already but am nervous! Lidia took her first class back and said it was so different to not have us around her and have the group energy. She also said that she noticed the teacher did significantly less dialogue than she had thought. Uh oh… are we all going to notice bad dialogue now??? Eek. Either way, I am looking forward to getting back into it and seeing how I do with my body a little more relaxed and healed!

Wish me luck!

… to BYTT (Week 8)

86 classes and 8 weeks complete! Week 8 flew by so quickly. We had 30 new faces join us for re-certification week, several visiting teachers/families/friends, more posture clinics with Bikram, and another dance party. The week also brought new emotions as our time here starts to come to an end. It is so crazy to think that we have spent 8 weeks here but it is even more crazy to think that we only have 1 left!


Monday 11/6/17 – Day 51
Monday was the completion of my 365 Day Challenge! I completed 386 classes in 365 days. I struggle with feeling proud of myself sometimes but I legitimately was proud of myself all day! You can read all about it in last week’s post but the accomplishment had me feeling on a high. I never thought I would find something in life that I felt this passionate about and I am grateful all of the time.

After a relaxing weekend, I was ready for Monday’s class. All of the re-certification teachers joined us. There were definitely not 50 of them as we were told but there were quite a bit. It was a little bit of a cluster to get us all on the correct rows, though. Eddie had been putting the recert teachers on the first two lines and then the rest of us in our groups on the following four lines. After almost 75% of the room was setup, someone else on staff tried to get me and another girl to move, saying we were on the wrong lines, and I was not having it.

Laju taught and I did alright. I got a little deeper into my back bend for the first time in over 2 weeks and that was a good feeling. Lidia had told me that I had not been able to do it because I was scared; a common reason people cannot go all the way back in the posture. I did not think I was scared but I considered what she said and when attempting the posture in class, I tried to be fearless and go for it. My back genuinely hurt and there was clearly a physical limitation but I pushed and did make a little progress. I saw stars when I came up, but at least there was movement. I zoned out for most of the class and the floor series went by so quickly.

2017-11-06 11.27.37_LI

I felt so bad for Leah because her rib had been bothering her all weekend (she had gone to the doctor 3 times and talked to Manali twice). After the Friday night class last week, she was practicing an advanced posture as she was instructed to do. No one told her how to do the posture, just that she needed to practice it, and no one supervised her. During that, she heard a crack and figured she had maybe dislocated something. It was bothering her Saturday morning but she did class anyway and by Saturday night, it was too much to take so she went to the doctor. On Sunday, it was not feeling any better. She wanted to do the Monday morning class but collapsed and screamed in pain when she got out of bed. If you can barely get out of bed because you are in so much pain, there is a problem. She went to class anyway but got pulled out during the first posture when she stopped trying because of the pain. The staff threatened her and implied she was faking it. I told her to go get an X-Ray to prove that she was not and later in the afternoon, she did (spoiler alert: she broke her rib; a clean break right from the base of the rib).

Breakfast was normal and delicious as always. I sat in the sun and could feel the sweat drip down my back which was a disgusting feeling but whatever. I did not stay there long because I wanted to get out before the crowd of people came.

2017-11-06 10.47.09

I decided that this week, I would spend the morning breaks studying by the pool and working on my tan. Alicia and I had noticed we were losing our color so it was a conscious effort to get some sun. So, I went to the pool after breakfast and did just that. It was a gorgeous day and I was on a high from it being my 365 Day Challenge. Alicia and Lidia helped me get an awesome jumping picture to celebrate and I texted with my BFF Kelsey for a little bit. I was in such a great mood and feeling so happy to have done a full year of yoga. Just the first of many to come!


Eddie always plays music before lectures and he caught me dancing by my chair and called me out. I cannot help that I love a good rap song, Eddie! They were so not prepared for the recert teachers though because there were no extra chairs ready and it was all a mess. Not surprising. I made a comment to Vinny and he sarcastically reminded me to just “trust the process.” Yessir!

Bikram arrived and kicked off our posture clinic with him. All the recert teachers were so happy to see him and were very clearly entertained by him; this was probably very nostalgic for them and they were not burned out from 8 weeks of the same jokes. I am sure I will be the same way to some degree when or if I ever come back to visit training. He welcomed them all to Acapulco, “the land of crime, murder, rape, drugs” (his words). That got a good awkward laugh out of us… because it was true. He ripped off his clothes to reveal his latest flashy yoga outfit and everyone cheered. He jokingly told us to “shut the fuck up” because we did not mean it. Busted. He said we were all sick of him. I would not say I am sick of him though; I recognize that this is a once in a lifetime thing and we should embrace it while we can, even if parts of it are frustrating. It was only Monday afternoon and the recert teachers were already annoying us; they would not stop talking during lecture. Several of us had to shush them and ask them to be quiet several times.

Bikram went through Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Triangle, and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. During one person’s corrections for Standing Separate Leg Stretching, he had all clapping and chanting “lock and drop” for her to lock her knees and drop her head down. That was different! He was definitely extra funny and making us laugh a lot. Kiley and I were going to go up for corrections on Triangle but there were enough people in line and ours are not too terrible so we decided against it and sat back down. Bikram demoed his left side Triangle for us (he demos Triangle a lot but only the right side) and it was tragic; he said he never practices that side. Why would you only practice one side?!

When we moved on to Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, I did not get in line for corrections. I considered going up because Axry had told me at breakfast last Sunday that my forehead was not touching my knee BUT I knew I knew how to do the posture and had just been struggling at training. You get better at some postures here and you get worse at others; such is life. I know how to do this posture but had just gotten worse at since being here. Anyway, I did not go up but then Axry ran down and made me get in line! She was right though, I should have gone on up on my own. There are so many moving parts to this posture and it is normal a struggle to get them all but all you can do is try. So, I tried on stage. Bikram said it was not terrible but then started helping me and because I have ears and a brain, I listened to him and implemented his corrections and it got better. It hurt and was difficult, but I tried. At the end, he said I had “a whole lot of culo” and told me to marry a Hawaiian man because they love bug culos. Culo means ass. I had already been feeling sensitive about my weight so that comment was a little annoying (not to mention I was already feeling a little annoyed for being up there at all). Everyone said “aw” and Ilka yelled that I was beautiful as I walked off stage. That was nice. I realized later that his comment hurt my feelings a lot more than it should have. Leah and Alicia told me that they interpreted it as saying I have a nice ass which only showed how a single comment can be taken all sorts of ways. Bikram comments on people’s bodies ALL OF THE TIME. I know it was not personal but it bothers me when he says things like that to other people so of course it bothered me when it was about me. Guess they figured out my weak spot.


Watching the video back, it was not as bad as I remember it being when I heard it the first time. I sent it to Kelsey and she said she could not even understand him. Ha. Yes, it can be difficult but the more you are around him the easier it gets.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “Achievement is easy. Maintenance is hard.” -Bikram
  • “Of course it hurts. That’s what you pay for.” -Bikram

I picked up my laundry after lecture and then Leah told me she did go get an X-Ray and her rib was in fact, broken. Ouch! I do not know how she made it all weekend with a broken rib.

Before the evening class, Michaela asked me if I was okay because of Bikram’s comment which was nice of her. While I was warming up, Ilka slapped my ass and told me I had a nice ass and to never let anyone tell me otherwise. Thanks, ladies! Bikram has no filter and does not give a shit. He advertises himself on being honest and that is fine. Like I said, the comment was not personal. I do have a whole lot of culo but it is a nice culo so… whatever. I have also heard that our bodies are retaining water right now which is why so many of us feel bloated. They say that when we get home and return to our normal lives, we are going to at least shrink back down to normal, if not smaller. I sure hope.

Bikram taught the evening class as usual. I hated being so far away from the mirror (5th row) to accommodate the recert teachers but what can you do? Nothing. Just take class the best you can. It was so incredibly hot and humid and people, mostly the recert teachers, were dropping like flies. It reminded me of the first class all over again. Bikram picked on the recerts a lot more than us which as nice. Welcome back to the Bikram Yoga torture chamber, recerts. I had an okay class, not great but not bad. Nothing special. It was a long class but that was kind of expected because Bikram likes an audience and he had 30 new people to entertain.

Leah was like a celebrity at dinner. Everyone wanted to know how she was, what happened, what was going to happen, etc. One thing I love about this place is that everyone cares about everyone. Even if it is not someone you talk to all the time or are good friends with, if someone is sick, injured, looking sad, or literally anything, people genuinely care.

Before the evening lecture, Ali told me that Bikram was wrong to make his comment about me. I seriously appreciated everyone caring about my feelings toward it. Alicia and I planned my photo ideas for the last 10 days of training (can you believe we are almost finished??). Bikram’s lecture was mostly a repeat of things he had already told us in previous lectures. He asked us of he looked good, as if we could reply with anything besides “Yes.” We spent way too long trying to teach him the word “peephole” (he kept saying “peekhole”). One incredibly unique thing about Bikram is that he has a story/metaphor for EVERYTHING. He knows it too. Some of them make perfect sense and some are kind of a stretch but I can admit that even if the story is initially confusing, it always comes together. It is amazing every time. He let us out at 12:15am.

After lecture, Axry stopped me and told me congratulations on my challenge, that I was a good yogi, and that I would be a great teacher. Then she asked me if I understood her English and if she said it right because she practiced it specifically for me. It was SO sweet and really, truly made my entire day. I had been feeling on a high because of my challenge and I foolishly let Bikram knock me down and hearing Axry’s words really helped pick me back up. Thank you, Axry. You are the sweetest!

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “You don’t like anything on this Earth because you don’t like yourself.” -Bikram

There was a lot of drama between Leah and some of the staff regarding her rib. It was a big reminder of what happened with Andrew during week 1. There was almost no compassion or ownership of their role in her injury. For some reason, they try to create unnecessary fear and intimidation. Her rib is broken, what can she do? Threatening her and insulting her as a person does not accomplish anything. Luckily, she was able to talk to directly to Bikram after the evening lecture and explain what happened and her injury. He can be a character but he is a nice guy at the core and he was very sweet and compassionate with her. He told her she had done enough and to take it easy the rest of training. It made me forgive him a little bit for his comment towards me earlier!


Tuesday 11/7/17 – Day 52 
For some reason, I woke up an hour before my alarm. Bummer. Ashley, a visiting teacher/yoga champion/the person they brought in to help the Demo Team with their routine, taught the morning class. The class started out a little rough for me but got better as it went on. I sometimes felt like she was trying to trick us (maybe unintentionally?) because her inflection would change and signal that the posture was over but then she would keep going. It was a little confusing but overall it was a fine class. She seemed like an incredibly nice person and I liked her energy and passion for it. The room was also incredibly hot, again.

I ate breakfast quickly before the crowd formed and then headed to the pool to study. I recorded dialogue on my phone from memory to test myself until my phone got too hot. After that, I read dialogue for a little bit and enjoyed the sun. At least I attempted to study. Alicia joined me and we swam a little bit. She very randomly asked about Laos and I think for the first time ever, I told someone the whole, honest story (even the embarrassing/shameful parts for me) without feeling upset about it. I would call that a win. It was the first time I had thought about him/talked about him in a long time. It was also kind of bizarre that she asked me on this day of all days because I realized later it was his birthday.

The afternoon lecture with Bikram was part posture clinic (Tree pose and Toe Stand), part about why savasana is so important, and part his repetitive ramblings which I think I have grown to accept. Congratulations, y’all have worn me down. He had his best outfit (so far) on and I do not mean that sarcastically. It was not nearly as flashy as the previous ones and looked nice. As Leah and I had recently speculated about, he also admitted to spending $60K on hair plugs. Good eye, Leah.

Surprisingly, there were a lot of questions about Toe Stand and even MORE surprisingly, he answered all of them. It was a really good clinic. I love when we do something enjoyable and obviously relevant. Also, if you want to know what true love looks like, just look at the way our lady love bird of the trainees looks at her gentleman love bird when he is on stage getting corrections. I cannot handle the cuteness.

After clinic, Bikram switched to talk about the importance of savasana. I finally learned the real reason they say “yoga is a gas station” and as silly as it sounds, that was exciting for me. It was one of those phrases I heard all of the time but no one had ever clearly explained to me so it was nice to learn the reasoning directly from the source. It was a long lecture on savasana but a good one. I would say that I learned a lot. I had an “ah ha” moment too. He talked about how dedicated yogis need less food and less sleep. Our bodies get energy from food and sleep but when we do yoga, our body creates energy on its own and therefor we do not need the food and sleep to supplement it. His way of explaining it was better BUT it made so many things come together for me. People ask me all the time how I just go, and go, and go, and go. I also honestly do not eat that much (usually), either. I never tried to attribute my energy/lack of sleep/lack of appetite at home to anything specific but after hearing everything Bikram had to say combined with the fact that I just completed over 380 classes in 1 year, it made sense. So, to anyone wondering… there is your answer: do Bikram yoga!

He told us some random stories to kill time but still let us out early at 3:45pm. I love when he does that.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “You have a brain and eyes, look in the mirror and fix it.” -Bikram
  • “You never know anything about yourself until you take a Bikram yoga class.” -Bikram (and oh gosh, so true)
  • “I don’t like people dying. People should live 500 years or however long they want.” -Bikram
  • “Jesus left and got the fuck out of here before he lost his virginity.” -Bikram (don’t even ask… this isn’t the most insane thing we’ve heard here! you just have to laugh)
  • “People die early because they eat too much and sleep too much.” -Bikram

I relaxed during the break before the evening class at with Bikram. Before class, Leslie said I had a perfect body and said that one time, she saw Lidia and me talking and thought to herself that we had the exact same body. Bikram always says that Lidia is perfectly proportioned so I will take that as a compliment. I also talked to Jana for a little bit. I swear, every time we talk I feel like we have more and more in common. She was looking a little defeated and just the way she explained everything she was feeling… same, girl. We got this! On my way back to my mat, Maryla asked me why I was so sweaty because class had not even started yet. I mean, I had been in the hot room for over 30 minutes already but I looked around and I definitely looked like the sweatiest one there. Awesome. It was a hot week in that room! Maybe they were trying to intimidate the recert teachers. There were 4 recert teachers wearing green so clearly the rules did not apply to them but one of the things I have learned to do here is stop being the Justice Police. Hooray for progress.

It was a long class (over 2 hours) but a really good one. My body felt like it was on the verge of a breakthrough: both in the morning and evening classes it had cracked/popped SO much during every single posture. My back, shoulders, and neck were competing for who could crack the loudest and the most. It felt AMAZING though. They were definitely good cracks and I truly felt like I could feel the blood reaching those areas and the nerves working. I had some very weird, indescribable sensations going down my back. I tried to think of a good analogy but I am not Bikram and do not have a comparison story for everything under the sun. All I know is that I could feel something shooting down my back, especially on the right side, all of class and it was not painful so it had to have been good. My Full Locust was probably my best ever and I got called out to pull my elbows down more for Eagle but otherwise, it was a standard class. Sidenote: His reasoning for why the elbow is called an elbow is the greatest thing I have ever heard… because the bow of the arm makes an L. I love it.

Update: I thought of an analogy! Imagine that my back was like a bunch of dried up mud. Over time, the mud started to crack (open up). Now, it feels like I have a small stream of water working its way through the mud, loosening up more of it as it goes through. Maybe one day there will be no more dried mud! Rough analogy but whatever.

The staff had told Leah she could not go in the room with her broken rib and do a 90-min savasana but Leah asked Bikram directly on his way into the room and he said she could. Not 5 minutes into class, the staff pulled her out of the room. I could hear words being exchanged in the hot room but could not make out what was being said. Leah told me what happened after class and it was all so insane. She was very upset about how she was being talked to and treated. After class, Leah’s teacher (who was here for recert) came to our room to talk things out with her. She offered a different perspective on things and I agreed with a lot of what she had to say. I truly did. She gave a lot of the same advice my teachers/mentors would have given me so I really respected and welcomed everything she offered up. On the other hand, I think it is okay to sit and feel an emotion for a minute before letting it go. The way you feel is fine… for now… you will not always feel that way forever. I think Leah had every right to feel as upset as she was and if I were in her shoes, I would feel the same way. She explained humans as having 3 people in them: a kid, a teenager, and an adult. Only you can appease the kid and the teenager inside of you and their ridiculous emotional demands, you cannot expect others to. She explained it better than I could ever do but I liked it. She was also convinced that the staff intentionally finds our weaknesses and picks at them to help make us better people. They cannot pick on Leah physically anymore (since she cannot do yoga with a broken rib), so they have to pick at her mentally. I would like to think they do not sit around in a room and think of 70 individual ways to beat us down… so I am not entirely sure how I felt about that. I will say, however, that I know I am a person who needs validation and they have, at times, not given it to me when it was clearly deserved (e.g. in posture clinics). So, maybe it is true. Who knows what is true anymore and honestly, who cares?! Trust the process, right?

I was not very hungry so I skipped dinner in favor of a protein bar and a couple of Oreos (and the chat with Leah and her teacher). I got people to sign up for my final countdown photo-a-day before the evening lecture. It made me feel a little warm and fuzzy to know people wanted to participate. That sounds cheesy but I can get a little self conscious about what people think of me and I always just assume I am tolerated (at best) so when people willingly participated in something I was organizing, it felt nice. How is that for some open and honest vulnerability? Please do not use it against me, guys.

The evening lecture was with Bikram. He told us he kicked one of the recert teachers out and sent him back home for being lazy. The guy WAS lazy though. He did not do anything in any class he had taken. Doing 2 classes a day is difficult but you cannot just do nothing. Bikram made Christian (a visiting teacher that he had talked about a lot during training) show us his abs which looked like it made him him uncomfortable but I also think he kind of liked it. We all hoot and holler when someone takes their clothes off here. We are a mess of a group! I do not remember what was going on but I remember we laughed a lot during lecture. Bikram told us more random stories with names and cities I could never pronounce, let alone spell, so I just listened instead of taking notes and worked on my doodle in the back of my notebook instead. Earlier, I had told Leah that I really wished I had an orange pen for it and then in lecture, Vinny (who had no idea of my conversation with Leah and who was sitting behind me), randomly handed me an orange pen. WHAT? It was so awesome and made my doodle complete. It just goes to show, if you put something out in the universe, it will happen. Alright, a bit of a stretch but still… I was pretty excited about the orange pen. That was what my evening had come to.

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Bikram let us out early at 11:45pm.


Wednesday 11/8/17 – Day 53
I woke up feeling incredibly refreshed and I was not sure why. No complaint! I also had a very vivid dream that I surprised my good friend Steven in NYC. I wish.

Eddie taught the morning class. He is such a character when he teaches but I noticed for the first time this entire training that he is one of the very few who actually uses the proper left side dialogue for the few postures that have it. Most importantly, for the first time in at least TWO weeks, I had a remarkably strong class. I did not want to jinx it but I felt like my body was finally on its way to recovery and returning to normal. My Cobra and Locust were probably my all-time best (even though you cannot see yourself in those postures… I could just sense it) and I was feeling so, so good. Everything was still cracking/popping but Bikram said cracking/popping was a good thing as long as there was no pain and there was definitely no pain. My shoulders were more sore but it was all a good thing. I could feel it all the most during Balancing Stick when I reached forward. It was seriously like someone shocked a nerve at the top of my neck and I could feel it travel down my back. I liked it though and was ready for 2nd set. I felt 110% in my zone and it was SO nice to feel that way after a mediocre couple of weeks.

For the first time in 8 weeks, they left the fans on during the floor series. The hot room has a few fans on the walls that help circulate the air (they do a little ‘cooling off’ but not a lot). During the floor series though, the staff always turns them off. I cannot believe they left them on! They turned them off at first but Eddie must have given a wink or a nudge and they turned them right back on. Everyone cheered.

After a crazy and hilarious breakfast with Kirsty, Tina, and Henrik talking about farting (yes, farting), I headed to the pool again. I recorded more dialogue and enjoyed the slightly overcast weather and small breeze before the afternoon lecture.

Atlantes, our lecture hall where we spend a lot of our time, smelt horrible again. That room is such a mess but it is our mess. The carpet is probably the original carpet from the 70’s and we find bugs crawling around all of the time but we love it anyway. It is a little rough when it stinks like sewage though.

Dash, a visiting teacher, approached me before lecture to offer some help with my Camel pose. He was a few rows behind me in the morning class and in class I felt like he had wanted to correct me so I was not surprised to see him. He told me I needed to lift my chest up more and try to engage my abs and legs more. That way, it would take the pressure off of my lower back. I tried it and it was a completely different posture for me! Yikes. I appreciated his help and I knew that would be a tough one to work on. I was happy my body was feeling more open and strong so I could try it.

Vinny fixed the loose flooring on the stage (TT MVP) and we got started with the evening lecture. It was apparent Bikram was not coming because Manali asked all of the recert teachers (around 30) to tell us a little bit about themselves. So many of them had great stories, some even gave me goosebumps. The big theme of it all was that we are so lucky to be here at this resort (some of them had their TT in a parking lot tent and with no nice buffet, pool, etc.), how much we are going to miss this when we go home, and how much of an impact this will have on our lives. I completely agree with all of their sentiments, completely, and I am so grateful to have been able to be here and have this experience. I understood what they were saying (and know for a fact that everything they said will come true) but at the same time, at that exact moment, I was ready to leave. So many of us are. We are appreciative and know that we will look back and wish we had our yoga bubble and some of us may even return to it as a visitor, but I am sure all of those teachers remember feeling ready to leave, too. It is a trade off. Them talking about it all did make me a little sad… but also a little excited.

Here is some advice/wisdom I wrote down from the recert teachers:

  • Stay true to 90-min, 26 and 2.
  • Stay responsible and truthful to yourself and ignore the bullshit.
  • You can only be as good a teacher as you are a student.
  • In your life, keep your “eyes always open, breathing always normal.”
  • If you have to do something, don’t wait.
  • Your body is a physical representation of your mind. (I loved this)
  • Mentorship is important and read the books.
  • If the yoga ever gets boring, it is because you have stopped listening.
  • You cannot meet bad energy with bad energy.

After the recert teachers finished sharing for about an hour, Manali took the center of the room and started talking. I really felt like she was stalling for something and that Bikram was not coming. He eventually showed and we started posture clinic, starting with Wind Removing pose. A few people demoed (I love when he says he will correct someone using only one finger and then immediately uses all ten fingers of both hands) and then I had a question. I hate asking questions because he tends to dismiss most of them but I have a teacher at home who always makes a big deal about getting the ankle, knee, and shoulder completely aligned and no where in the dialogue does it say to check for that. So, I wanted to see if that was actually the goal. Bikram told me to show him what I meant so I went on stage and demoed and he said my teacher was giving me a stupid correction, that the foot/ankle should go wherever it goes naturally. Boom. Straight from the source.

I could see Leah from the other side of the room and she looked rough. The doctor had given her Tramadol for her pain which would normally knock a person out but she still had to attend lectures so she looked insanely high the entire time. I felt so bad for her to have to sit there. After class, I went to the little store here and bought a few bags of chips and Oreos for her. She had been sharing her snacks with me every day and I felt like it was the right thing to do to replenish them for her plus it gave her one less thing to have to worry about. We snacked on those until the evening class.

The evening class with Bikram was still extra hot. I was feeling on top of the world still from the morning class and was feeling determined to get this guru of ours to notice me, either in a good way or bad way. I did not care anymore. He says he knows us and watches us every day and part of me believes that but he seems to not know the majority of our names and that bothered me. Learn my name, Bikram! Anyway, I wore my bright orange sports bra and put my mat directly in front of the podium. I had been near/next to the podium a million times but never directly in front, mostly because the mirrors on the podium are distorted like fun-house mirrors and move when Bikram walks. Screw the mirrors, I was going for it.

I had another insanely strong class and he actually acknowledged my Standing Bow. He said “wow” and that I was the Statue of Liberty and doing very good. I know it sounds petty and childish but all I could think was “damn straight.” My class was so good that I told Leah afterward that I felt like a yoga goddess again. It had been so frustrating and draining to not be able to do the postures like I know how to for the last few weeks so to finally have 2 AWESOME classes in a row was the most rewarding feeling. Even if the rest of the week was not as strong again, at least I had 2 in a row.

We had probably a 15-20 minute break in the middle of class so Ashley could demo several advanced postures to us. She was amazing and impressive. My jaw dropped each time she did something new. I could only ever dream of being able to do 10% of what she could. It was a nice break for us, too.

Bikram left class during the first savanasa for some reason and Eddie took over for a little bit. Bikram came back in between the 1st and 2nd set of Cobra and made us do a 3rd set also. C’mon, man. I also tried Dash’s advice on Camel and my entire upper back popped like bubble wrap. Breakthrough.

I had a quick dinner and got sucked into a YouTube spiral of Carpool Karaoke in my room until the evening lecture.

Before the evening lecture, Manali talked about graduation and our flights home. It was so crazy to even start thinking about those things but at the same time, they are quickly approaching and we have to. The end is near! Bikram started his lecture and talked about all the same stuff he normally did. I wrote out dialogue, starting from the last posture and I worked my way backwards. Bikram shared some weird, awkward stories about things I will spare y’all from but Alicia and Vinny were cracking me up with comments like, “this is what this has come to” and “oh great, now I can teach yoga.” More often than not, the most entertaining part of the lectures are the comments we all make to each other under our breaths. They always make me laugh. I also really enjoy playing Bikram’s guessing game: He likes to ask a question or make a statement and then pause for us to finish it but we almost never know the answer/rest of the statement. It is hilarious because we never know what he is thinking and we are almost always wrong. Then, he he gives us crap for being wrong and comes up with the most random answer of all time. I love it and I am not even being sarcastic.

He let us out just after midnight.


Thursday 11/9/17 – Day 54
My body was still popping as I woke up. My back cracked as I rolled over to turn my alarm off. Oy. Christian, a visiting teacher, taught the morning class. I had very mixed feelings about his class. As a person, he was top notch and I enjoyed him. I found him to be very incredibly knowledgeable and I would have loved to learn more from him in a lecture. His class was very energetic and entertaining and full of pop culture references/jokes. I also had another amazing class and felt amazing, despite not being able to see myself once in the front mirror and the random bug I saw crawling on my towel that I had to smash. HOWEVER, he was very strict with us about water and was kind of crazy about it. That was frustrating because I had seen him take class as a student with us and he drank water/left the room/skipped stuff a lot. We are constantly told to practice yoga like teachers now; we have to set an example. He also did not do pure dialogue which can make it difficult to get into meditation. I liked what he said about why we do “right side” first for everything and when he said, “Your body has a rhythm. Your brain has a melody. When they come together perfectly, you hear the symphony of the soul.” My favorite thing was, “If you want to recover, relax completely. That means completely. In totality. Not partially. Completely.” It might sound crazy to non-yogis but everyone is guilty of not relaxing entirely in savasana and I liked that reminder of his.

I skipped breakfast in favor of snacking on cookies in my room. It was my grandma’s birthday so I gave her a call and talked to her and Baba for a little bit. I worked on my blog and then ended up talking to Katy on the phone for the rest of my break. I am so thankful for her friendship and wisdom. She was such a lifesaver during so many rough parts of the last year but her support and guidance during teacher training has meant everything to me. I cannot wait for her and Paul to get back home. And, PS, they got engaged this week too! Whoo hoo! Congratulations!

Before the afternoon lecture, I talked to Christian more about what he was saying about why we do the “right side” first. I understood his reasoning: it has Hatha yoga. ‘Ha’ is our sun side (right side) and ‘tha’ is our moon side (left side). We honor the sun side first. I get it. On board. However, why do we bring our left hand up first for Toe Stand? He did not have a direct answer and instead talked about how some teachers tell us to alternate our grips/directions in an effort to balance our body and how unnecessary comments like that are. Advanced yogis can choose to do that on their own but teachers should not say it. Anyway, he did not really answer my question but I liked talking to him. As I said earlier, I like the guy and he is incredibly knowledgeable about the yoga. I would have liked a lecture from him, I think. I talked about it with Jana and Alicia and Jana reminded me that in Toe Stand, even though we bring our left hand up first, we still do our right leg first so many it is okay. Alicia also pointed out that someone had asked Bikram that question during lecture and his response was “because my Guru said so.” Cannot argue with that.

Dash came up to me and told me to write down some postures. He was near me in the morning class so I could only assume he watched to see if I implemented his changes for Camel and maybe caught a few other mistakes I was making/improvements I could try. I respect him quite a bit so I was thankful for his personalized attention and care towards my practice.

We went through Bow Pose during the afternoon lecture/posture clinic with Bikram. Afterward, he talked about the important of the spine and why Bow Pose is where it is in the sequence of postures. He walked us through all the precautions we have to take and watch for in our students when it comes to not only Bow pose but all of the spine strengthening series. I have said it before but when lectures are obviously relevant, I really enjoy them. These are the types of things I came here to learn about.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “That’s called Bikram.” -Bikram, when he says anything wise/helpful
  • “People are fucking dumb fuck.” -Bikram, when people apply the phrase ‘something is better than nothing’ as a justification for 60-minute classes (we all laughed at this, me listing this as a quote is not to make the guy look bad; I loved it)
  • “Life is crystal clear. Everything is simple. You make it complicated. Everything is beautiful. You make it dirty.” -Bikram (TRUTH, probably one of the most important things I have come to accept here)

Bikram let us out a 3pm, a whole hour early! What a gift.

Thursday marked 10 days left of training so my first volunteers for the 10-day photo got together and headed to the beach to take our picture. We did Half Tortoise (sea turtles on the beach) and the water snuck up on us once but we got a good one. Thank you to my volunteer models: Tiina, Kim, Christine, Kati, Ilka, Julie, Kathie, Valentina, Jana, and Alicia (photographer)!

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Leah and I hung out in our room and snacked and talked before the evening class. This place can be crazy sometimes and I am thankful for a roommate like her!

It was picture day again in our evening class with Bikram. I was in the back row so I knew I would not be in many shots so I put myself on the outside of the row with the thought that maybe I would get to be in one or two of the pictures. It was so hot and so humid still (had been all week) but I was positioned next to the fan so that helped. Kiley and I tried to practice our 2-day photo (for next week) and that was a disaster. My sister sent me a cool idea we could do with Pada Hastasana and it was TOUGH. A lot more difficult than I thought. We will have to practice it but I know we can get it and it will be worth it.

Dash put his mat behind mine and talked to me about the postures he had me write down earlier in the day. He helped me with Pada Hastasana, Eagle (why do I suck so much at Eagle?), Standing Separate Leg Stretching, and Standing Bow. He gave me some great advice and I tried my hardest to implement his feedback during class. Class was great. So great. 4 great ones in a row! Whoop!

Dinner was special because I sat with Ali and he somehow managed to get me a special bowl of soup. I was telling him about a certain Poblano soup they had a few weeks ago that I really enjoyed and he was talking to the waiters about it and before I knew it, they brought me a bowl! Y’all, I love that soup. It was so good and made my night!

I blogged in my room for a bit, scored a date to my company Christmas party, and then made my way to our evening posture clinic. The recert teachers had a special lecture with Bikram so us trainees got to visit our posture clinic rooms one more time. Groups 1 and 2 were together in one room and groups 3 and 4 were together in another. Dash caught me before clinic started and talked to me about my postures again. He said I did really well and I was grateful for his personalized feedback and attention.

When we finished dialogue in our posture clinics a few weeks ago, we still had a few extra posture clinic sessions. In those, we randomly got called on to do additional dialogue. I got called on 3 times in 2 days in my group and some people did not get called once. That was fine. When I walked into the special posture clinic this night and I realized we were going to do dialogue, I knew I would get called on again. Deborah (a visiting teacher) and Karla led it and Deborah asked us who had their first class scheduled. I raised my hand before realizing that would make me a target. Tiina got called on first to do Half Moon and Awkward. Deborah picked me next to do Eagle and Standing Head to Knee (1st set of each, right and left side). I knew those very well so I was not nervous about it. I also got to show off my left-side dialogue for Standing Head to Knee. Ha. When I finished, I looked at her and she told me to keep going and do Standing Bow. Oy! I did that one too, right and left side. Her feedback to me was to slow down a little bit. I knew I was rushing, I did not want to be up there! Anyway, after I went, others were called on and we made it partially through the floor series before they let us go at 11pm. We did all of our previous posture clinics with just our group so it was cool to hear people from group 4 do dialogue. Everyone taught so differently and was amazing in their own way.

Tina and Kirsty (roommates in different groups) met up in the hall afterward and found out they both had to deliver the same postures. What are the odds? These two are legitimately soul sisters meant to have found each other!

Even though we got out at 11pm, I stayed up and blogged until 1am. There was no way I was going to be able to sleep at 11pm.


Friday 11/10/17 – Day 55
After 4 A+ classes, I woke up feeling sore and exhausted. I was not in pain but I knew the rest of the week was going to be a struggle. Anurag taught the morning class and it was a standard class. His voice was so relaxing and soothing that it was easy for me to zone out and get into meditation. I remember we got to Cobra pose (a little over the halfway mark) and I thought, “how did we get here?” I literally had spaced out for a handful of postures. I did well and felt strong but knew I was kind of being lazy, especially during the balancing series. Usually if I fall out I will get back in and keep trying but I was not even bothering. If I fell out, that was it for me. It was Kiley’s birthday so we sang to her before class and again during Triangle pose, right side. It was also Tony’s birthday (one of our Mundomex guys) so we sang to him for Triangle pose, left side.

I had a quick breakfast then needed to finish up some additional parts of my best friend Kelsey’s baby shower invitation that her sister needed before the weekend. I also read and organized work emails, chatted with my co-worker Emily, and blogged. It was a gorgeous day so I felt a little guilty for staying inside during the break but I knew the weekend was near and I would spend most of it out and about. Hooray for behavior justifications.

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We continued our posture clinic with Bikram during the afternoon, focusing on Fixed Firm, Half Tortoise, Camel, and Rabbit poses. Bikram showed us the ‘best’ ab workouts and all his abdomen tricks, too. Bikram heard it was Kiley’s birthday so we sang to her for a 3rd time. What a memorable birthday experience.

I went up for corrections on Rabbit pose because not only do I hate that pose, I think I am terrible at it. You cannot see yourself in the mirror during that one and I never do posture pictures of it because I am convinced I am horrible. He told me I needed to walk my knees up more (tough to do for me without a warm up) but was otherwise good, just needed to work on getting my hips up a little bit more. Alicia said I was almost all the way up which was VERY surprising to hear considering I only ever feel like I am an inch away from my heels. Now I know!

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “You can laugh.” -Bikram, as he was demoing his Fixed Firm pose to us (and we did laugh)

After posture clinic, I rounded up the troops for our 9-day photo. We did Awkward Pose, any of the 3 parts. Thank you to my volunteer models and especially to the ones who volunteered last minute when the people who signed up forgot: Andres, Lidia, Karina, Kathi, Nadine, Elsa, Pavel, Kim, and Johnnie (photographer)! (Pay no attention to the fact that this is a panoramic picture that got stitched together right on my face/arms.)

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The evening class with Bikram was also a standard class. A lot of the girls I hang out with the most lumped together in the middle so I was hopeful we would be able to feed off each other’s energy, especially since I could not see myself in the mirror again. More often than not, you can at least get a little sliver of yourself but with the recerts in town, those odds had gone way down. I had a mostly decent class. I was not in full beast-mode but I did well and tried hard to practice Dash’s feedback. Starting at second set of Triangle, something lit a fire under Bikram’s butt because he started moving FAST. We were flying through postures. I goofed during Locust second set and instead of lifting just my right leg (the posture goes right leg lift up, then left leg lift up, then both legs lift up), I lifted both legs and did not realize it until he told us to lower down and do left leg. He either saw it and let me slide or he did not see it and I got lucky and avoided being berated. Ashley gave us a demo of all 4 versions of Camel pose too and that was impressive. The girl must not have a single bone in her body to be able to bend the way she does. It is amazing.

I had a quick dinner again and then worked on the baby shower invitation and my blog some more before the evening activity. We somehow managed to get a second dance party instead of an evening lecture so I did not have a lot of time to do much of anything before having to get ready for the party and head over.

The evening dance party was beyond. For the first party, they had food, put some tables out, and that was that. For this party… Bikram went all out. He had said earlier in the week or the week before that he wanted a dance floor, lights, and a DJ but even I was not entirely sure if he was joking or not. Nope, no jokes. We walked in to a completely transformed lecture room complete with all of those things: a dance floor, lights, a DJ, props (big glasses, light-up headbands, etc.), balloons, and a screen to play the music videos on. They had drinks and snacks for us, too. As nice as it was, I did not feel like being there at all. Luckily, Lidia pulled me onto the lit-up dance floor and I ended up having a great time. The music was more recent and not all Indian like last time so it was fun.

They brought in 2 cakes, one for Kiley and one for Tony, and we sang happy birthday to them again. Seriously, what a once in a lifetime birthday! I mean, all birthdays are but I think this one has to go down in history. No one took charge of cutting/distributing the cake after we sang so of course I did. For the 3rd time this week (once for the 10-day photo, once for the 9-day photo, and once for this), I was told I needed to be a party planner/event coordinator. Yes, I know! In my next life I will. Lidia saw me cutting the cake and shook her head and saying, “you just cannot help yourself can you?” Nope! At least everyone got cake so you are welcome.

I left the party shortly after the cake but heard it went until 1:30am. Insane. When Leah got back to the room, we talked about all the crazy that happened at the party and then freaked out over the fact that she might have taken too much of the pain pills the doctor gave her. I say that jokingly because we could not stop laughing about it. She was fine!


Saturday 11/11/17 – Day 56
I did not sleep well Friday night. It took me forever to actually fall asleep and then I woke up about 100 times (okay, not 100 times but enough times for it to be annoying). Every time I woke up, I was afraid I had missed my alarm and slept through the morning class. Clearly I was subconsciously worried about missing it.

Manali led the morning class. It was a standard class and I did fine. I was so tired though that my only goal was to just stay awake and do the postures. It was taking everything in me not to fall asleep during the floor series and just that is an exercise in itself. I actually felt really relaxed in final savasana, too. For the last few weeks, it had been tough to relax because my body would ache or I would not be able to get comfortable but I think being so exhausted helped. I loved whatever she played for the final savasana, too. It was not a song, it was like poetry being read, but it was awesome. I need to ask Jana, she knows all of the savasana songs.

We took our 8-day photo after class. We did back bends in a few different arrangements. Looking back, we should have done one where we were in a straight line so everyone could be visible but I think they came out great. It also somehow worked out that 8 days left was the end of week 8! Thank you to my volunteer models: Mandi, Henrik, Taryn, Karl, Kathi, Denise, Danni, and Kiley (photographer)! Also, look how amazing Taryn and Karl are with their heart back bend! Mine used to be good but never that good. I am just grateful to get back as far as I did for these photos after struggling so much with this posture for the last couple of weeks.

I went to my room to get organized for the day and then headed to my final Walmart trip here. I did not need anything but I did not want Leah to have to go while she was in a fog from pain medicine but also because the ride there can be bumpy and I did not want it to hurt her rib even more. I grabbed her some groceries, enjoyed some triple chocolate ice cream, then looked for some cheap gold earrings I could wear for graduation. My dress is red and I only brought silver which will not look bad, but I decided I wanted gold. I found a pair I really liked at a random counter in the mall but she only took cash and I had none so I took it as a sign for me not to spend money and headed back to the hotel.

Maryla and I were supposed to go to McDonald’s so I had skipped breakfast. We ended up not going and when I got back, Chula Vista was closed and I was starving. I grabbed a sandwich from the cafe and then rested in my room for a little bit.

I went to the top pool to study with people in group 3 but it ended up just being me and Kathi. Despite being in my group, the two of us had never really talked before so it was nice to get to know her more and I really enjoyed our conversation. I had heard her do dialogue during all of our posture clinics and I always thought she had a great voice and great energy, she just needed to work on not making her statements sound like questions and getting the dialogue more exact. I had been wanting to help her but I had to help myself first and now that posture clinics were finished and it was just us two, I offered her my advice. At the end of about an hour and a half, she was nailing the dialogue perfectly and confidently. She was totally killing it! It was a beautiful afternoon, sunny with a nice breeze so that it never got hot, and it was nice to soak up the sun for 2 hours by the pool with her. Kathi is from Kansas City but mentioned she might be moving to San Antonio when this is all over so maybe I will get to take one of her classes one day!

I headed to the beach next and took a short nap before Maryla joined me. She wanted to deliver the dialogue for the floor series and practicing stringing the postures all together so I listened and pretended to do the poses whilst laying in the beach lounge chair. She did great but was being so hard on herself so I had to pep-talk her and remind her that no one will have 100% perfect dialogue their first class. No one. Not even me, the supposed Dialogue Queen. Bikram once told us a story about how if a person is 50lbs over weight, it is easy to lose the first 45lbs and really difficult to lose the 5lbs. As someone who has lost 50lbs, so true. Anyway, I compared her dialogue to that story. She has 90% memorized, the last 10% is going to be difficult. That is alright and she will do great with the 90%! I also reminded her of little things she has to say between postures like “turn your head to the right” and things like that.

I took a quick shower and then Lidia and I headed to the salon to get manicures and pedicures. It was so relaxing! Between the massage chair and the lady massaging my feet and hands, it was a struggle to stay awake. Lidia and I had a good talk too, as always. She is complex but so am I and I love her for it. All of the crazy Bikram stuff from the weeks prior did not calm down this week and she handled it the best she could. We talked a lot about what will happen when we all go home and the things and people we are going to miss. It was a little depressing but at the end of the day, we know we cannot stay here in our comfortable little yoga bubble forever. The real world is out there. She asked me that knowing what I know now about this experience, and assuming it would be 100% the same as it was, would I have made the same decision to come? I told her that I absolutely would have. This experience has been so much better and rewarding and worthwhile than I could ever have imagined and while I would not do it a SECOND time, if I had to go back in time and make the decision again, it would be the same one.

We tried to go to Tavola (the Italian restaurant at the resort) and get a chocolate ball for the last time of training but they were closed. It was a bummer but we decided to try the taco place that the resort had been setting up on the weekends for the last few weeks. It was across from Chula Vista in the courtyard (and below my window from my hotel room so I had heard the music a million times). The menu was in Spanish and we had no idea what we were doing but we saw Veronica and Denise there and Lidia had the brilliant idea to go see what they ordered and for us to just get the same thing. It worked perfectly because whatever we ordered was absolutely fantastic. We think one of the dishes was chicken but the other was definitely shrimp and covered in peppers and cheese. Yum. We also ordered churros and they were just as delicious. It was a beautiful night with a nice breeze and I enjoyed the music so much more from my dinner table than from my room!

I was back in my room by 9pm. I probably should have gone out to enjoy my last Saturday here but I was exhausted and ready for bed. I tried to blog and listen to music but my brain was not functioning. When Leah got back, we talked for a little bit before we both crashed early. It is crazy how the mind works: if it had been 9pm on any other day of the week, I would not have been that tired because I would not have been ALLOWED to be that tired. But Saturday night with nothing to do? Zzzzzzzzz. After Bikram gave us a lecture on how yogis do not need sleep or food, Kelly asked him why she was always so tired and hungry! His response was that we are CHOOSING to be tired and hungry because we THINK we are supposed to be. I thought his screws were loose in his brain but maybe he was on to something…


Sunday 11/12/17 – Day 57
I was randomly awake between the hours of 4am and 5am but fell back asleep and slept until about 9am. That counted as sleeping in! I also could not get my work email to sync and got paranoid that my account was shut down and that was their way of telling me I was fired… but it turned out my password had just expired. Oy.

My 7-day photo volunteers and I had planned to meet at 10am for our photo. It was easy to coordinate people on days where we do things together but on Sunday, we all have our own schedule so I was double grateful that people took time, especially in the morning, to participate. I had planned for Bow but we group voted to do Standing Bow instead and I love how it turned out. Thank you to my volunteer models: Johnnie, Kelly, Jana, Maryla, Diana, Vincent, and Lidia (photographer)!

2017-11-12 10.13.28

I grabbed some fruit at the crowded Chula Vista and then headed to my room to try and make progress on the blog. At noon, I went back down to Chula Vista because Ali and Denise had so generously been collecting and organizing tips for the waiters from all of us and they wanted to present the envelopes and card to them. We did a little presentation and thanked them all. They have been so great to us and have treated us unbelievably well. They deserved so much more than we could have given them! Especially Gilberto, the most amazing omelet guy of all time.

Lidia and I had our last Sunday lunch at the Beach Club. We finally tried the shrimp tacos (YUM) and enjoyed our last burger and fries. Again, we started feeling sad that it was all coming to an end but it will all be good. There are things I miss about home that I am excited to go back to but there are things that scare me, too. Not to mention, I know I will miss this place and our bubble so much and will always look back with fond memories, even with all the craziness. We both agreed that we did everything we could to make the experience memorable and had no regrets.

With my incredibly full stomach, I headed to the top pool to study with Maryla. She had been wanting to recite the dialogue (first set only) of every posture, all the way through and I volunteered to be her student. She got a couple more volunteers, Diana, Nadine, and Rocio, and she officially taught her first mock class. It was about an hour and a half which was a little long but we stopped a few times so it was probably right on time. We decided to do Triangle pose in the pool on the steps which was hilarious and then we stayed there until around Bow pose when there started to be a foul smell coming from somewhere. We all agreed that she did great and will have an awesome first class!

I was going to study but then Maryla said she wanted to be someone’s student so I volunteered to be the teacher and teach my official first mock class from start to finish (first set only). Maryla, Diana, Kathi, and Pavel were my students and it went pretty well. I felt more comfortable with the dialogue than I thought and even though I struggled a little bit with the last 4 postures, I did well enough to get through a class. If I can brush up on those, and the breathing exercise, then I will be set! I finished the class in about 50-55 minutes which was not too bad for just first sets; maybe a little long? It was a weird feeling to actually be teaching, too. By Awkward pose (the 2nd posture), I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, they look miserable. This has to suck for them. What if they are bored?” and things of that nature. Somehow, by the middle of the class, all of those thoughts went away and it was almost as if I was in my own meditation and just doing it without thinking. The words were just flowing and they were doing everything I said! I even had them laughing with little comments between postures (that they all told me I HAVE to say during my first class so I will not spoil the jokes here). Laughing with them helped me relax, too. Dale, a visiting teacher who graduated last Spring, was listening to my class in the pool and he told me after that he loved it and loved all my hand motions. He said I did great and will be great! It was a LOT of talking and my mouth kept getting dry but it was exhilarating and made me more excited to get back and start teaching.


I laid in the sun for a bit after and apparently fell asleep for a little bit. Maryla ordered nachos and said she had yelled my name a few times for me to come have some but I swear I never heard her. Teaching was so exhausting that I fell asleep! Seesh. It was cool to look around and see so many of us trainees studying and doing mock classes. I had seen other groups during lunch practicing and more groups near us doing it while we were. Everyone was out in full force! It was the perfect day to do so though because it was another sunny but breezy day so it was never too hot or humid. The weather here is incredible and I will definitely miss it.

As the sun went down, I realized it was going to be my last sunset here. Our evening classes get out after the sun goes down and we will be in our graduation ceremony next Saturday so this was it for me. I headed to the beach to enjoy it after telling the little massage lady I did not want a massage; not now, not later, not tomorrow. My phone died but it helped make me more present in the moment. As Karla told us over and over again during the last 8 weeks, just be where you are. So I did. I napped and woke up in time to see the sun set with Karl and Michele. Lidia came over after her massage and we snapped a few pictures in its last moments before I headed back to my room.

Tree pose on a tree… clever. I almost fell when Lidia started saying “you can balance, you can balance, you can balance…” the way Manali says it. Hilarious.

I blogged literally the rest of the night. Facebook, Instagram, and the internet were distracting but Lidia and several others had asked me a thousand times today when the blog was coming up! It takes time to write, guys. I have to check my journal, my lecture notes, my phone, etc.: it is like writing a research paper. I have come to figure that it takes about 1 hour to write out each day when I am completely focused. Sometimes I regret starting this because it takes so long but I know I will look back and be grateful I did it!

I was not hungry so I skipped dinner but ended up snacking on Oreos and saltine crackers. I was hoping to be able to start packing up my stuff to head home and go to bed early but writing this of course took longer than I wanted! Leah and I chatted in the room for a little bit before calling it a night around 11pm.


Weekly Summary
I have a short summary for this week because nothing new and groundbreaking happened! This biggest change was that I started to feel the emotion of leaving. I want to go home AND I want to stay here. Everything is all over the place! I will save all of those emotions and try my best to write them all out next week, for my final BYTT blog post.

When I get home, please note that my amazing tan came entirely from week 8 (and probably week 9). I spent some time in the sun every week but this week wins with the most hours clocked. It was so gorgeous all week and I had to take advantage of what little time we have left here.

Also, Taylor Swift released her latest album on Friday and she only released it to iTunes, Target, and Walmart. I do not have iTunes, access to a Target, and did not see it at the Walmart here so I still have not been able to hear it. Prioritized list of things to do when I get home: snuggle the hell out of my dog, visit my family, buy Taylor Swift’s album.

Until next time,


… to BYTT (Week 7)

We have finished 75 classes in 7 weeks! That is such a crazy thing to think about. I cannot believe we have been here 7 weeks and have done so much. Sometimes it feels like we just got here, sometimes it feels like we have been here for so much longer. The days can drag on but the week always go by fast. Week 7 was a whole new experience for me. Mentally, I did so much better than I had the previous week but physically, I was a mess. My body experienced a whole new realm of sore/pain/discomfort but not necessarily in a bad way. Sometimes your body has to break in order to rebuild and I just hope that is what happened to me this week and that I will start the rebuilding process during week 8!

A special message about last week’s blog:
Apparently, my Week 6 blog post was a hot, controversial topic at the beginning of this week. Several people expressed directly to me that I was brave to write it, that they agreed with me, that they were worried I would get in trouble for it, etc. Thank you! Several people (I do not know who and it does not matter) expressed (not to me) that I should not have written it, that it was out of line, that it was inappropriate, etc. I cannot please everyone but I make a very conscious effort when writing my blogs to not insult individuals, including Birkam, or include/comment on gossip. I can definitely see how I was walking the line with my entry, and I respect everyone’s opinions about what I said, but I only stated facts about what happened and then my opinion/feelings about those facts. I re-wrote several parts of last week’s post over and over again before publishing it to be sure I was not saying anything inappropriate but writing is always going to be subjected to criticism and evaluation. That is okay with me. I stand by what I wrote, especially because it sounded like a lot of people agreed with me and had been feeling the same way without knowing how to express it. They way I saw it, the worst “they” (the staff, etc.) could do was ask me to take it down. Thank you, Ali, for being my defense attorney. Send me an invoice! 

Also, last week I mentioned that Bikram explained why he does not like tattoos but I never communicated his reasoning. You would think it would be the common “you do not put a bumper sticker on a Porsche” perspective but he took a different approach. He asked us, “If your friend asks you to watch their house, would you go take a shit on their couch?” Obviously, we answered no and he asked why. We said, “Because it is not ours.” His response? “Exactly. Your body is not yours.” He said there was a longer explanation but that was all he had time for. I kind of get but there are other times where he says it is our mind and our body so it was a little confusing. Hopefully his longer explanation will clear it all up. Now we know.


Monday 10/30/17 – Day 44
I did not sleep well. At all. I woke up several times and was awake between 3:30 and 5am, just tossing and turning. I tried to recite dialogue to put me back to sleep but it was not working. I blame the time change. Eventually I fell back asleep though and even slept through my first alarm. Thank you, back up alarms (and Leah’s!).

I missed the sunrise but saw beautiful photos of it (so many people posted pictures). I stole this one from Abigail!

2017-10-30 07.57.55

It was colder out in the morning than it had been and I was still a little sore but feeling much better compared to last week. There was a little mat-placement confusion before the morning class and I ended up moving people’s mats around to fix it. Teamwork makes the dream work. Manali led the class and it was a little long but I did well. The room was not hot/borderline cold; if I am not dripping sweat by Eagle pose, it is not hot enough! Manali kept telling us to smile and was being particular about our palms not touching before the side-stepping postures because the dialogue does not say “palms together.” Look, she was not wrong so it was a valid remark but how have we made it 7 weeks without anyone ever making a comment about it? Also, the dialogue also does not say to put our arms back over our head as we step back to the left for those same postures but we are told to do that. The dialogue also does not say to step on our heels for Standing Separate Leg Stretching so… I am fine with her pointing out that our palms should not touch but we should not be picking and choosing which parts of the dialogue to enforce and not enforce. Such is life. Manali always tries to get us to laugh in class too and she was having us say “hee haw” as we did our sit up and made her mistake of saying “pleasure” instead of “pressure” into a joke.

After class, I was in the shower and kept hearing knocking on the door. I knew it was not Leah because she was at Demo Team practice and I knew it was not housekeeping because they would just let themselves in so I was very confused. After I got out, I answered the door and it was the hotel maintenance. He started saying something in Spanish to me and I said, “No hablo Espanol” which is one of the few things I know in Spanish. He kept going though and finally I said “I have no idea what you are saying.” I was not about to let him in though because I was in a towel and needed to get ready for my day. He made a motion that someone would call me and a few minutes later, the room phone rang. The person on the other end explained to me that maintenance needed to get in to fix something in the bathroom and I said that was fine, but I needed 15 minutes to get dressed and ready and they could come in afterward. She said okay and problem solved. By that point, I was annoyed because the guy had knocked 4 different times!

I had breakfast with Ali and Diana. Ali always picks on me and even though he had not read my blog post, had thanked me for his shout out. The 3 of us had a good chat about all sorts of things going on at training and tried to comfort Diana because she was going through a tough time. Diana has the most energy out of all of us and has made an effort to literally be friends with everyone here, and I mean everyone. She knows everyone at the hotel and all of the people that help run training and actively says hello to everyone, by name, every day. It is impressive! I felt bad for the little bit of drama she was going through. She, of all people, does not deserve that. Ali also one-upped us all by turning his omelet into an egg sandwich (he requested that I include that on this entry!). Denise joined us after she got out of Demo Team practice and we talked about my blog a little. I completely understood where she was coming from and truly appreciated her concern for me (and that she said it to me!). She was the first person who pointed out to me that I was near and/or at the metaphorical line so after our chat, even I had to go back and re-read what I wrote to be sure I did not go too far.

It was a long breakfast because I did not have to go study dialogue for once and that was nice! I rested in my room doing a whole lot of nothing until it was time for posture clinic.

Jolinda and Axry ran our posture clinic and we officially all finished delivering dialogue. Jolinda always gives the best advice and customized feedback per person so I appreciated that. We celebrated being finished with a 1 minute dance party because we were so happy to be finished. I am so proud of everyone and all of their hard word! During our break, we discussed what we should do for our Halloween costumes for Tuesday night’s class. Manali had told us in the morning that we could dress up – something we had all discussed but wished we had known we were allowed to do before the weekend so we could have gone to Walmart to get supplies for a costume! Everything here is last minute.


Because we had finished dialogue but they have to keep us until 4pm, they started calling on us to deliver old postures. I got picked first and had to do Triangle. I did right and left side dialogue and probably got 65-70% of it which was not bad for having zero time to look or even think about it. Even if they did not give me a chance to read over the dialogue, if I had more than 30 seconds to think about it, I would have gotten it all. I know Triangle! Grr. But, they said I did well. Alicia had to do both sets of Standing Head to Knee, Veronica did one set of Awkward pose in Italian (awesome), Fernando did one set of Standing Bow Pulling pose in Spanish, and Tina did one set of Eagle pose.

After clinic, Leah and I… ate too many chips! Shocking! We headed to the evening class with Bikram. The room was a little warmer than it was in the morning but I still did not think it was very hot. I put my mat right next to the podium and I could feel the air that comes from behind the podium (to keep Bikram cool) so that could have been why, though. I officially got yelled at for the first time, too. Before, I had been called out for little things but this time, he was straight pissed off at me. That is what I get for being by the podium! I had fallen out of Balancing Stick and he looked over right as I was getting back into it and yelled at me for starting late, not being with the group, holding everyone up, etc. Nevermind that he did not see me start ON TIME and then FALL OUT but whatever. I just looked up and starred at him. Not much you can really do. He corrected my Triangle (get my arms back more) and also nicely tried to get me to do namaskar during Tree pose. Could have been worse. He seemed to be in a bad mood though (he told us later during evening lecture that a friend from his childhood had passed away that day) and at one point kicked Alonso out. Alonso can be disruptive sometimes but he was practicing next to me and was actually NOT being disruptive so it was odd that he was kicked out. The back row was full of visiting teachers and I noticed that most of them, including Manali and our normal staff, were putting their palms together during the side-stepping postures… the same thing we were told NOT to do earlier that morning. Suspicious!

Noteworthy quotes:

  • Savasana is the natural irrigation of the circulatory system with the help of the respiratory system. Bikram yoga is the only yoga that utilizes savasanas during class.

Because of the time change, it was so dark after class. No more ocean swims and sunsets for us! At least we got to enjoy them for 43 days! We will just have to try to go to the ocean more after the morning classes. Major loss though.

Jerome, my teacher from home, sent me a photo of my name on the studio schedule! Very cool and surreal.


I had a long dinner (there was pizza, too!) because not having to study dialogue means we could take our time a little bit more. I rested in the room, watched Netflix, and started this blog until the evening lecture.

The evening lecture was more funny, entertaining, and relevant than the previous week’s. He was easy to follow and making more sense despite some of it being a little repetitive from a lecture from Week 1 or 2. Bikram tends to take a looooong, roundabout way to explain things but it eventually all comes together. He did tell us that right now he is “explaining the parts” of a car and that during the 9th week he will “assemble” the car for us. Whew. It sounded like we were going to have some long days and nights for the rest of our time here, though.

He bounced around the stage, literally, and then bounced right off of it before saying, “Holy shit my knees hurt, oh fuck.” Bouncing off a stage like that will do that to you! It sure was impressive though. The man bounced sideways, backwards, every which direction. I do not think any of us would be able to do that! We were out around 12:15am.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “I know it is hard and challenging but if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be worth it.” -Michele, visiting teacher/studio owner
  • “Having doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to use it.” -Bikram, he says this to us 10x daily… I just do not remember if I have included it or not
  • “Take them on a rollercoaster. Not around Disneyland, around the fucking globe!” -Bikram, when telling us how to teach a class
  • “You are you. You be you.” -Bikram, when telling us how to teach a class


Tuesday 10/31/17 – Day 45
I was back to being level 10 sore, mostly on my upper back and on the left side. I cannot wait until my body goes back to feeling ‘normal’ one day! Michele, a visiting teacher/studio owner, led the morning class. My body hurt and I struggled with the balancing series but I managed. Her positive attitude and passion for this yoga was incredibly apparent and her energy during the floor series was astounding. She really gave us her all. With that said, I think I would have preferred her class significantly more if it was outside of this Teacher Training bubble. She had a lot of advice/tips and tricks which I usually enjoy but at this point in week 7, I just wanted a standard class. I felt like postures were being held extremely long but class only ran over by a few minutes so maybe that was just my mind being distracted and my body hurting. I heard mixed reviews on the class: some loved it, some hated it, some were in the middle. Typical. That just goes to show you, you cannot please everyone. I truly like her as a human being so I really wanted to enjoy class more.

Polina’s husband joined us for class, too. Our ‘visitor’ line in the room has been growing every class! It was his first time doing Bikram yoga and he struggled with English (they are from Russia) so I know he was having a tough time following along. He was giving it his best effort and I think we all felt for him. Michele tried to help him along but took the opportunity as a teaching moment: if someone is struggling, only correct them a few times before just letting them ‘have their experience’ in class.

Manali told us they would give us extra Walmart shuttles after class and before posture clinic so we could prepare for Halloween. Because class ran long, we had only about a half hour to shower and get ready for the first shuttle! I grabbed a protein bar for breakfast and tried to get money out of the ATM but of course both were not dispensing cash. Luckily, I still had a few pesos. Some people went only to get groceries but others were all on a Halloween mission. The shuttle was packed and we made jokes about it taking us to the airport instead of Walmart. Wishful thinking. When we got to Walmart, we immediately had to start thinking of ways to get creative because the Christmas display was out! The limited amount of Halloween stuff they had left was hiding in another area of the store so I wanted to avoid it as to not have duplicate costumes with people. I was thinking about being a scarecrow (I have short overalls with me) but could not find any hay/straw. I was thinking about being a Greek goddess and wearing a toga and found some really cool gold rope/ribbon in the Christmas section. We cannot wear green so the idea of a flower crown had to be scratched. As Alicia and I walked around the store, we saw a small stack of masks in the kids’ toy section and I fell in love with the Batman one! How much easier would it be to just throw on a mask instead of messing with a toga?! Done and done. Plus, I was confident that people would think to go look in the toy section and that I would be the only Batman. Lidia asked me to bring her back something simple but there was literally nothing left by the time our Bikram hurricane went through. Vinny, however, grabbed some devil ears because he wanted the face paint that came with them and he so generously donated them to me (to give to Lidia). Bonus, they lit up! Thanks, Vinny. I ate a quick breakfast (why???) when we got back.

Taryn french braided my hair in pig tails before our final posture clinic! My group started off with just Karla but eventually grew to include Dash and Brad (visiting teachers). Karla called me up to deliver Praynama Breathing, something we do not have to officially receive sign off on. That was interesting because I had not see the dialogue for it yet. I just went with what I knew from all of my classes and I did not too terrible. Karla was out to make a point: we need to study that one on our own! She also had people do the second sets of Awkward and Standing Head to Knee poses because those have extra parts as well. We then had a little Q&A session which was interesting. There were a lot of questions, mostly odd ones. The general vibe I got was that people were just very, very worried and nervous about their first class. I was getting frustrated though because Karla would either answer their question or tell us that Bikram would answer it for us during his posture clinics but people were just not listening and asking random things. I know it was all nervous energy so I was trying to be patient with it. It will all be okay! For everyone.

Dash joined us and we went back to delivering dialogue again. Basically, they would just pick a person and a posture and that person would have to deliver the dialogue for it. The point of the exercise was to see what we remembered and remind us that we need to keep studying. Alonso had fallen asleep during Q&A so he got called on to go first and deliver Cobra. By this point, Brad had joined us. I guess Brad could tell that I was annoyed at Alonso’s delivery and inability to take it seriously and he asked Alonso to do it again so that I would not be upset. I made a sassy remark back that I only halfway regret and that I will not repeat here. He had Alonso do a few other postures, too, and each time he would ask me my thoughts on it. Sigh.

I knew Brad had his eye on me and had a feeling he would call me up to do dialogue (for my 3rd time… some people did not even get called once). Sure enough, he did. He called me the boss of the room and asked me which posture I wanted to do. I told him to just pick anything; I do not know them all perfectly but I know them well enough to survive the exercise (and even if I did not it did not really matter). He chose Awkward Pose (hell yes) and I knew I was going to be fine. I definitely felt like I had to ‘back up’ my attitude and nail it and I mostly did. Brad was impressed and Dash gave me feedback about my inflections and tone. Karla laughed because she knows that has been my feedback the entire time! I did it again and did better so he stopped me before I even got through it all. He said once I got more comfortable, I would be better. I did the one thing I hate and ‘explained’ myself: I said that I practice with inflection and energy but when I get up in the room to do it, it just does not come out that way. He attributed that to nerves and I just let him think it because I know I was not nervous and I know I was not uncomfortable. I think it mostly happens because I know it is not a real situation. When Holly let me teach one time before coming to training, her feedback to me was that I was boring during Half Moon but had warmed up by Eagle and was much better for the rest of it (only up to Triangle). So, I know that when I am on the podium, I will be better. Not perfect… but better. Also, I was thinking about my Halloween costume so I think I was a little distracted.

Anyway, we spent the rest of posture clinic listening to other people do dialogue for random postures. Dash and Brad had good feedback for everyone. I liked them a lot. We were out early so everyone could get ready for Halloween. I decided to be bold and borrow Alicia’s black lipstick which was absolutely terrifying but I think I pulled it off. I am usually not a fan of lipstick because I think it looks weird on me but for a costume, I managed. Alicia had warned me that once I put it on, it was not going to come off so I needed to commit! I put my Batman mask on while I applied it to help make me brave, ha! Leah and I got ready and then Alicia came to help do my eyeliner. I am 28 and cannot do top eyeliner. Adult.

We joined some people in the lobby and took a few pictures before moving to the hot room. We were clearly disturbing some type of Day of the Dead ceremony they were having so I felt bad and tried to usher people along. Everyone looked so great in their costumes – some people committed and got very creative! It was great. We all took photos outside before going into the hot room and taking more photos before class started. I did another think that I hate and asked Tom to scoot his mat over so I could see myself. He replied, “but you are in the 4th row” and I kicked myself. He was right. I believe that when you are in the 4th row, you should just accept that you might not be able to see yourself in the mirror so I felt bad about trying to move him. I was not even thinking! It all worked out though.

Bikram showed up wearing a mask and even taught class in it after a few group pictures with him and the staff. We did class in our costumes and it was funny to watch everyone slowly take a part of their costume off, one by one, as class went on. My costume was simple so it was easy to leave the mask on (and I could breathe in it so it was fine). I left it on the entire class but did take it off for final savasana. Class went by very, very fast! During the savasana before the 1st set of Rabbit, Bikram ‘fell asleep’ (I think he passed out). Those savasnas are supposed to be about 20 seconds long and at first I thought he was just giving us a long break but then I got a little suspicious because he was not calling us out of it but more noticeably, he was not talking. VERY unlike him to not be talking. I heard someone banging on the ground and I looked up and the staff had started calling his name. He woke up, took off his mask, and looked a little disoriented. At first I thought he had been playing a joke on us but he really made it sound like he had no recollection of falling sleep. We think the heat with his mask on was too much. Everyone was really worried, especially his daughter (Laju had gotten back the day before). It was insane. But, we kept going and finished class.

I video chatted with Bailey, Olivia, and Jessica after class so I could see their costumes and be a part of their Halloween. Thank you, Jessica. They were zombie brides (re-purposing their flower girl dresses from a wedding they were in recently) and were so adorable. Olivia just kept saying, “I am a zombie bride” and eating candy. She had no idea what that meant but it was cute that she kept saying it. They told me about their trick or treating and Bailey promised to save me some Skittles.

There was a delicious new entree for dinner: fried fish. It looked like schnitzel at first and I got VERY excited but it was just as good. The entrees and food change every night (with a few core things: rice, beans, etc.) but this was the first new thing we had seen in 7 weeks. I ate two and I was not even upset about it. I also walked around the lobby and took pictures of all of their Day of the Dead displays! They were so pretty, especially lit up at night. I had to take pictures and send them all to John at home because I know how much he loves it all. You are welcome, John!

I rested in the room after. I did not want to study so I watched Netflix and worked on my blog. A few of us wore little costumes to the evening lecture, too. Must keep the Halloween celebration going!

The evening lecture was with Bikram. He promised not to lecture but of course, he did. He said something in another language to someone on staff and Alicia looked at me and said, “What?” as if I would know! We literally laughed about that the rest of the night. After his short talk, we started a movie: Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham. It was 3 and a half hours long but starred the same hot actor as the other movies so I was not mad about. None of us were… we all cheered when we saw him on the screen. I actually enjoy the Bollywood movies quite a bit, they are just so long and we watch them at night so it can be tough to stay focused and not get fidgety.

Movie thoughts:

  • Misspelled subtitles – crack me up.
  • The female stars always have a very squeaky/high pitched voice when they sing. I do not care for that.
  • I jumped down the 3 steps after coming back from the bathroom (instead of walking down them like a normal person) and I think I messed up my knee a little bit. It hurt the rest of the movie (and spoiler: the rest of the week). It was not a level 10 pain… probably around a level 3. Either way, ow.
  • We are not allowed to lay down during the movie but we ARE allowed to sit on the floor. I did lay down for 2 seconds before I was told to sit up but other people around me were laying down and even sleeping. Gr! I cannot follow the rules if the rules are not consistently enforced! Maybe I am just envious of those people getting away with it… lucky!

We were out at 2am.


Wednesday 11/1/17 – Day 46
As expected, I woke up Wednesday utterly exhausted from our late night. My knee was still feeling odd – not pain, just discomfort.

Brad led our morning class and he was great. I was pretty nervous because someone had told me some negative things about his classes but I really enjoyed it. I was mostly in my own world though so I am not sure if that had any impact. Maybe I liked him and the class so much because I had already developed respect for him because of posture clinic the day before. Either way, it was good. He was very motivating and did not hold us in postures longer than intended. He called me out to lock my top leg in Standing Head to Knee before bringing my elbows down which I already know to do… but was struggling to do. Fair enough. Physically, I did mostly alright and my knee was not too much of a bother. My left side for Standing Bow was brutal, Bow was brutal, and the left side of Locust was brutal.

He spent a lot of time correcting staff and other visiting teachers which was a little odd but everyone needs corrections, trainees or not, because no one is perfect. At one point, he asked where the “Houston Strong” girl was (I was wearing that tank top in posture clinic on Tuesday when he was with our group) and I raised my hand. He said he was glad I was teaching there and that Houston needed me. It was nice to be remembered! Polina’s husband came back for another try and did better. Major props to him for trying again. At the end, he played a song for us and prefaced it with a short story about how someone asked him what yoga teachers do and he decided to write a song. So, what do yoga teachers do? “Smiles on faces.” Mostly true… except when we all want to die in class. BUT, we smile after so that still counts!

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “The posture that hurts the most/is the most difficult is the one your body needs the most.”

I skipped breakfast at Chula Vista and instead had a protein bar in my room and took an hour and 15 minute nap. It was awesome! I was so knocked out that I never heard Leah coming and going.

In the afternoon, we started our posture clinic with Bikram. Finally! Just in time because before lecture, Alicia and I were have an  existential crisis and wondering what we were even doing here and how crazy it was that we, ALL OF US, would sign up to do something like this for 9 weeks. In his posture clinics, we are supposed actually learn about the ins and outs of each posture, in detail, AND he lets people come on the stage, one at a time, and do the posture to receive individual corrections. THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE! Boom.

Bikram showed up wearing a normal track suit but stripped it off and showed us the flashiest matching shirt/shorts outfit I have ever seen. It was blue, sparkly, shiny, and 100% Bikram. The shorts were so short you could see his butt. No words. He lectured a little but then got started with Half Moon. He called people on stage and took volunteers to help correct them. Maryla has been saying for weeks that she needs help with her back bend so when it came time for that, I hollered at her from across the room to get up there! Bikram continued his fixation on Lidia and called her up two different times. Mari demoed Hands to Feet pose and Brad yelled from the back, “a real Japanese ham sandwich!” which was funny for 2 reasons: 1. Mari is Japanese and 2. the dialogue says “from the side, you should look like a Japanese ham sandwich, no gap anywhere.” Alright, maybe you had to be there but we all laughed. Bikram even picked her up while she was folded over and moved her around and she never broke form. It was impressive and I was happy we were finally at this point in the training. I wish we had been doing this all along.

Bikram let us ask questions at any time but it was bizarre and quite frustrating because he answered almost none of them. He would dismiss some by saying that the question was “not a first day question” or reply with “follow the dialogue” which was not even a relevant response (it usually is, but sometimes is not). A lot of our questions were apparently “dumb” and that made us dumb, too. Of course. I asked for advice on what to do if you are always dizzy when you go into your back bend, a problem I have been having a lot while I have been here, and he said, “You have 2 choices, live or die. You having nothing to lose.” Thanks for the tip, I guess? Kirsty asked about her hamstrings and his only response was that hamstrings were not a real thing and then did not answer her question. Okay? Later I learned that he preferred the term ‘thigh bicep’ but even if she used the correct term, he ignored the question. That was a common theme. Deflect, deflect, deflect. How are we supposed to answer questions from our students if he does not answer them for us? What if someone ever asks me how to be less dizzy in back bend? Hmm. They say trust the process and that everything will come together in the end and all make sense for us eventually (may not be until we actually start teaching for months/years) but for him to not answer 9 out of 10 questions was kind of insane. We still learned a lot, in my opinion, but wow.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “Life is a balance of good and bad. One day it rains, the next day it is sunny. But we don’t cry about the rain. Somebody need rain. Somebody need sun.”
  • “Life is compromise, balance, and moderation. We have to adjust ourselves and decide how, with who, and to what extent.”
  • “Bikram yoga is the only subject where the object is not the subject: you are the object.”
  • “They forget about their pain because the rest of their body hurts like hell.”
  • “Pull the ear and the head comes with it.”
  • “Ultimate destination of life: satisfaction of living.”

After lecture, Leah and I snacked. Ulesis taught the evening class which was a big surprise to all of us. We were not expecting to see him on the podium and when he walked up, several of the people around me, myself included, made comments about getting ready to hold Half Moon for an hour! It was a 2 hour class and I. Did. Horrible. My head started to hurt as soon as I got into the hot room and it only got worse as the class went on. I was seeing stars the entire time. I still did every posture to the best of my ability but my ability was incredibly limited. It was a disaster. My body would not do anything: I could not kick my foot out in Standing Head to Knee, I could not even see my foot over the top of my head for Standing Bow Pulling. I wanted to cry because everything was so difficult and I was so frustrated and mad and embarrassed. I wanted to just sit down or leave the room. So badly. I was unintentionally moving around so much (falling, mostly) and I felt bad for being disruptive to Kelly, Kim, Tanya, and Anna (the people directly around me). Ulesis left me alone though so he must have been able to tell I was trying my hardest. He, and Bikram, usually only pick on people who are being lazy and I was definitely not being lazy.

My headache never improved. I had a fast and light dinner because I had been feeling like I was gaining weight and even though I say it does not bother me, it does. A lot. I also squeezed in a 20 minute nap before the evening lecture.

On my way to lecture, I saw the Houston Astros (our baseball team) was ahead 5-1 in Game 7 of the World Series. It was the top of the 6th and while I could not watch it, I was constantly refreshing the score. Ali and I were chatting and I told him that I was nervous the game would not finish before lecture started. 2 minutes before lecture started, Ali and I both stood up on opposite sides of the room because we both saw the final score at the same time: Astros won the World Series! It was their first time in franchise history and so exciting, especially because of all the tragedy that Houston had with the floods just a few short months ago. Then, Micael (on staff) came on the microphone and told us that Houston won and I cheered. I am sure the energy in Houston was beyond! I so wish I could have been there and I am not even a big baseball fan! Ha.

The evening lecture was with Michele and Brad. I really enjoyed what they had to say and thought they had great advice. I was mostly happy to have an easy night that ended at a reasonable time.

Michele talked about tips for new teachers (us) and how to be successful when we get out of here.

  1. Be very patient (stick to the dialogue regardless of how you feel)
  2. Approach everything with kindness (listen, respect, focus more on context)
  3. Maintain empathy and compassion (build trust and credibility with students)

She also talked a lot about owning a studio (she owns Bikram Yoga San Jose) and gave advice on how to run a studio, mostly on how to retain new students and get them to come back. Her 4 big points were:

  1. Consistency (make a decision and stick to it, example: set your class times and do not change them)
  2. Community (don’t worry about the competition, take care of you and your product; get in touch the type of people in your area and make it easy for them; connect with everyone who comes in the door)
  3. Connection (connect to all aspects of the business (don’t do everything alone but know what is going on); always evaluate your data such as retention rate, etc.)
  4. Communication (communicate with the staff and the students; take care of issues before they snowball into drama)

She opened it up for a Q&A session for a little bit before passing it off to Brad. Brad talked about similar stuff but with a different perspective. He used to own a studio in Canada for 11 years and now he travels and acts like the Jon Taffer of yoga studios. He reminded us to keep it simple and stick with 90-min classes using the dialogue, no exception. He talked about how a lot of studios are adding Inferno Hot Pilates classes and his thoughts on that. Our group has a lot of certified IHP instructors (and the studios I go to at home offer IHP classes and I find them to be fun) so his thoughts were very interesting and probably a little controversial. I neither agreed or disagreed with what he said but he did make some good points: 1. It is difficult to tell someone that Bikram is the best thing for you and your body but the turn around and try to convince them to do something different. (Note: I do not think Bikram should be made to SELL IHP classes, but they should be expected to at least not talk badly about it. Different people like different things, and that is okay!) 2. What will they be able to do in 10 years? Bikram or IHP? 3. “You cannot sell the Big Mac and the Whopper in the same place… especially when you do not even like the Whopper.” (Some people do like Whoppers though!)

He also focused a lot on how to work with new students and connect with them to inspire them to come back. I liked this part a lot because as a student, I have seen so many people come into my home studio and take their first class and then I never see them again. I would know, too, because I go every day!

Their lecture really got my mind spinning and thinking a lot about all sorts of things and what kind of teacher I hope to be.

2017-11-01 21.34.49


Thursday 11/2/17 – Day 47
I woke up thinking it was Saturday. What a disappointment. Michele taught our morning class and I surprisingly did alright. I enjoyed her class more than Tuesday but even she admitted she can be quite the talker. Class was pretty standard otherwise and exceptionally humid.

It was a beautiful day out but Chula Vista was busy so I ate quickly and headed back to my room. I told myself I would split my free time: blog half of it and go sit by the pool the other half of it. I ended up going through work emails and blogging so I never made it to the pool to enjoy the weather. Oops. Time just flew by and before I knew it, it was time for lecture. The way I saw it though was the more time I spent blogging and doing this during the week, the more free time I would have on the weekend. Give and take.

We continued our posture clinic with Bikram in the afternoon. Manali told us to be ready to get up on stage when Bikram asked for people and Bikram said he would get started quickly but he ended up lecturing a little bit first. As usual. We went through Awkward and Eagle poses. They said to go on stage for corrections if we were good or bad, it did not matter. The problem was that people have some ideas of what postures they want corrections on but for the most part, we do not know what we should go up for. Bikram cannot be bothered to know our names (with the exception of a few people) so he cannot really call on us but Manali and the staff watch us all the time so I felt like it would be better if they just told us to go. I decided to go up on stage and get corrections for Eagle. He twisted my arms and it popped/cracked my shoulders and back and sure enough, I got my damn hands together AND in front of my face. My back/shoulders hurt the rest of the day (and spoiler alert: the rest of the week), but in a good way. It was like they opened up more. I still struggled with getting it right in the hot room but I attribute that to my arms being more slippery. At least I know how to get myself to do it now; I just need to work on it.

For the 2nd part of Awkward pose, the dialogue says, “Imagine I am pulling your hair up to the ceiling.” Julie went to get corrections for the pose and he actually pulled her hair as she sat down. It was insane! But… it freaking worked. She sat down with a perfectly straight spine and did the posture perfectly. Matt also asked a few questions about his knees popping out of socket in the 3rd part of Awkward and he was just so sweet about it. Bikram said popping is good and we should only be worried if we DO NOT pop. That was good news because my body has been popping for weeks now! He also admitted that he did not know the answer to some of our questions: “I do not know. My spirit told me to do it that way. That is why.” Cannot argue with that and I appreciated the honesty.

Other than that, the afternoon lecture was full of dirty, filthy jokes that he somehow felt the need to explain to us afterward. We got it! As bizarre as he can be, he sure is entertaining. I cannot help but laugh and still enjoy his presence. I wish I could explain it in a way that made sense! As much as he loves his flashy outfits and being the center of attention, you can tell how much he loves doing these types of lectures and hands-on corrections. We love it, too. It is why we are here.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “I don’t care if you live or die as long as the posture is correct. Patient is dead and doctor is proud because he gets paid by Blue Cross.”

Bikram let us out 30 minutes early so we had a full hour before sign-in for the evening class! Leah and I were so excited to have twice as much time to snack on chips and do nothing.

Bikram was back for our evening class. Again, the room was so humid but I did a lot better. Not great still, but better. My whole body was still really hurting but I was trying my best and that is all anyone could ever ask. Class was a standard class and went by fast. Nothing memorable. I have not decided if it is a blessing or not to NOT get called out in class. He seems to always mention the same people over and over again, for good and bad things, and occasionally pick on someone else. It is a bizarre feeling to rarely (or never!) get mentioned. You cannot help but think you are either good enough to not need corrections or bad enough that he does not want to waste his time on you. On days where you know you need help, he does not help. On days where you feel like a yoga goddess and that the hot room is your bitch, he does not recognize you. Again, blessing or not? TBD. Others have expressed having similar feelings so I know I am not alone on that. I definitely do not want to be berated like he does with someone people but little corrections here and there or even a compliment are always nice. I should be careful what I wish for!

Dinner had another new option: bacon wrapped chicken. I wonder what we did to deserve so many new foods this week! I was trying to eat better so I had a salad and avoided the rice and desserts. It did not matter though because the second I got to my room, I started snacking on my bag of marshmallows (which, by the way, I have decided is the food you crave when you are slowly dying because they were all I wanted for nearly 3 weeks) and eventually finished it.

I video chatted with Mom for a little bit and then with Dad and Suzette (and Elliott, obviously). Dad said that whenever we video chat, Elliott licks his hands non-stop but tha Elliott never does it when we are not video chatting. Maybe when he hears my voice he gets excited? I would like to think so. It was good to talk to everyone. Mentally I had been feeling a LOT better than week 6 but physically I had been a lot worse. I was feeling drained and needed to feel normal and at home for a minute. I told my dad about how I could not do a lot of the postures they way I normally could this week and he said “now you are reminded of how new people feel during their first class.” Good point, dad. No wonder people are scared to do this!


I headed out to the evening lecture after our chats. Bikram clearly did not want to lecture because he never showed up and instead, the staff all shared their “Bikram stories” like we had done a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed getting to learn more about them and I wish they had done it sooner in the training! It was easy to relate to all of them, proving how much alike we all are.


Eddie shared first and told us story. It is not my place to go into what he had to say but man, what a life. It was moving, touching, emotional, funny, everything. He was a great story teller! We all stood up and applauded and hollered at him when he was finished. Karla went next and her story was a little shorter but she spent a lot of time telling us to always keep our heart and minds open and to get in touch with ourselves. She reminded us to be present in whatever moment we are in and to always do what you have to do. She echoed something my friend Katy tells me a LOT, “do not resist; if you feel an emotion, then feel it, observe what is happening, do not judge it, and then let it go.” Axry shared after and boy was she cute. She was so real and had us laughing the whole time and helping her with English. I think a lot of people could relate to her story of how yoga helped them grow up and be more responsible. Her little bit of advice was to maintain a balance between our practice, teaching, and the rest of our lives. I know that when I started to REALLY get invested my yoga challenge, I was negating other aspects of my life. Once I start teaching, I will need to make a conscious effort to keep a balance with the many things I have going on. Micael went last and I think I related to him and his story the most. He talked about how mean he always felt he was and how he knew he needed to be more compassionate in situations but did not know how to change or did not care to. He saw his family start getting into Bikram yoga and while he saw their changes, he actively resisted getting involved because of his arrogance and “meanness” (he called himself mean so many times which was crazy because he is probably the nicest/funniest person ever). He said he always believed the negative and was in denial about all sorts of things. SAME. Eventually, he recognized that if he wanted to be able to help people and teach, he needed to change first and he started to soften his edges… through Bikram yoga. He had to let go of whatever he thought he knew before and just have faith. It was like he was speaking directly to me. The craziest thing (but something I truly believe in because of what happened with my friend during the Spring training; I did not recognize him anymore) was that he told us that we will always be a completely different person after training. We will forever think of things as BT and AT (before training and after training). He said that if he had met himself before training, he probably would not have liked the guy. Again, same. I know in my heart that I have changed a lot in the last year with this yoga. A lot. I know I have changed a lot more in the past 7 weeks, too. I cannot describe it but I hope that my friends and family all have noticed it. I am slowly starting to become a lot more proud of myself and not just with my yoga accomplishments, but with everything. A little self worth, check that out!

After everyone shared, Manali talked about karma and how our actions always have a result. Things always come back to us. We do not have the right to hurt other people’s souls or our own soul. We are all too small to understand the things in our lives. We have to mercy through our own happiness.

She had us stand (and by the way, my knees were killing me when I stood – I had to move them around and warm up basically to just stand) and participate in a meditation chant:

Om Om Om
Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Shantir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Poornam Bhavatu
Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavatu
Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

Mantra’s Meaning:
May there be happiness in all
May there be peace in all
May there be completeness in all
May there be success in all

After we did that, she had us sit back down while she did a meditation chant from the Bhagavad Gita. We all closed our eyes as Manali chanted for probably 10-15 minutes (maybe even longer, honestly). It was so amazing. My mind was all over the place but in a good way. I once did EMDR therapy (Google it) and I was told it would feel like you were on a train with random images just passing by quickly. It was and doing this meditation so reminded me of that. Things were just flying through my mind but before I could even react to whatever it was, the next image was already there. Then suddenly I was re-focused on the chant. It was amazing.

We were asked to not talk/get on our phones and just go straight to bed when it was over. Everyone was quiet on the way back but I doubt people stayed that way once back in their rooms. Leah and I definitely talked – we could not help it!


Friday 11/3/17 – Day 48
It took everything in me to get out of bed. If I thought I knew was sore and discomfort was before… I was wrong. Good Lord my body was a mess. My knees were not cooperating. I should start sitting like a normal person in the lecture chairs and stop sitting with my legs up like a contortionist. Usually, I use my giant HydroFlask as a footstool which probably better for my knees.

Micael taught the morning class. I was so happy it was him on our Friday. I know I say this every time but not only does he consistently make us laugh with new jokes and whatnot, his dialogue is so perfect that I can actually recite the dialogue along with him as I practiced. I do not think there has been another teacher I could do that with! It was a tough class on my body but I think it was one of my best ones of the week so I felt a little better about myself. It was also Michele’s birthday and instead of singing to her before class like we had done for others, we sang to her while we held Triangle pose (both sides)! I am not going to lie; it was pretty cool. It gave me goosebumps AND it cut the time we had to hold the pose nearly in half. At some point in class during the floor series, some of the lights went out and someone yelled to the person fixing the switch, “it is the switch that says ‘fan'” and we all laughed. We wish! They turn the fans off for the floor series because our bodies start to cool off naturally and we do not want to cool off TOO much. The logic is there but sometimes you just want a nice breeze.

Since visiting the ocean after the evening class was now off the table, a few of us went to the salt water pool after class. It was so cold it was almost like sitting in an ice bath and that is not a complaint: I loved it. It was what my body needed! The weather was also beautiful so it was nice to soak some of that up before going to breakfast and then to my room to blog and rest for a little bit. The hotel was so crowded again so I wanted to get away from it.

The afternoon lecture was posture clinic with Bikram again. He lectured a little bit and then we started in on on Standing Head to Knee, Standing Bow Pulling, and Balancing Stick. He said so many memorable things about those postures, especially Standing Head to Knee. My favorite was when he said that if you can balance on one leg and put your forehead to your knee, you have a peaceful soul, you create a moment, you have enlightenment in your life. I went up to get corrections for Standing Bow because while I have not gotten very close to locking my top knee very often here, I have at home and I wanted to see if Bikram could help me get it locked since he tends to make things happen. Sure enough, he pulled on my knee and I got VERY close. Not bad for a cold room. Having him hold my left arm and keep me balanced really helped me use my own strength to focus on kicking my leg up so I think that helped a lot. He said I had the flexibility to do it, I just needed to keep at it. Yes, boss. He laughed and said he was mean to me because he was literally yanking my leg up but it did not hurt, it actually felt good. I will get it one day! I did my right leg but afterward I wished I had done my left one since that side of my body had been bothering me all week: maybe him yanking on me would have fixed it.

Noteworthy quotes:

  • “A problem is not a problem unless you try to solve it and if you solve it, it’s not a problem.”

The evening class was with Bikram. With him teaching the afternoon lectures now, we sure were getting a lot of him. Not a bad thing, though! It was a good, standard class. He seemed to be in a mood or not feeling well but still had good energy. He always does. My knees and back were hurting but I did alright considering.

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Dinner was great because the hotel had ANOTHER new option: BBQ! Everything was so good, especially the chorizo. I ate too much. They also had a new apple dessert and that was delicious also. How am I supposed to kick-start my diet if they keep feeding us like this? Bikram came by and chatted with our table for a little bit. He joked about giving Tina his shirt and watch and how Fernando does not understand anything he yells at him during class. When he left, Fernando told us that he understands more English than he can speak! He is a smart guy so that did not surprise me. He has spent 7 weeks surrounded by English-speakers full time, he was bound to learn a little bit.

Sara is an opera singer and sang us a song before the evening lecture. She was amazing!

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We kind of figured earlier in the day that Bikram was not in the mood to give a lecture and we were right. Instead, we watched random TV clippings of his old interviews on late night shows (like “Marv”) and 60-Minutes. He was the EXACT same back then as he is now. Just, wow. We were all laughing at how scary it was. He has not changed at all. There were a lot of celebrities I did not not recognize but the ones I did really caught me off guard because of how young/good they looked. Most of the interviews were from the 70s and 80s, the most recent being from 2005. It was cool to see all of them but I wish there had been more recent ones. Someone should make a movie on his life or something. Every celebrity in the clips mentioned how they ate less and slept less once they started Bikram yoga, something he tells us all the time (“The best food is no food.”). For the first time, I realized it was true. Since I started doing yoga regularly almost a year ago, my normal 5-6 hours of sleep a night became less awful and I ate less. I barely eat when I am at home… unless a friend invites me over and then I stuff my face like a bear about to go into hibernation. I eat a lot here but this is different: if we do not eat, we die.

We were out at midnight but Leah and I stayed up talking. We had a real, serious discussion about Triangle pose until 1am. We were demoing for each other and everything. Hello, yoga bubble. Then we started laughing that we were even having this discussion at all when we could be sleeping. It is going to suck being at home and not having people to have these conversations with!


Saturday 11/4/17 – Day 49
For some reason, I woke up before my alarm. I started moving around and then Leah got up and I looked at her and said,  “Don’t worry, you have more time.” She said, “oh thank God” and hit the pillow again. Then we both laughed for way too long about it. We value every single minute of sleep we are allowed! Ha.

Karla taught the morning class which was perfect because it was her birthday (and class #75 for us). We sang at the beginning of class but when we hit Triangle, we sang again… for both sides. She was trying to keep us focused but we kept singing anyway. It was a good class even though I still felt sore. Again, one of my better ones of the week. She caught me in a lazy moment when I was not putting my forehead all the way on my knee in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. Busted. I like Karla’s classes because she keeps the energy high and basically forces us to work hard. We do not have a choice with her! But, she does not kill our bodies or spirits. She reminds us to look in our own eyes in the mirror and to smile if we are struggling.

Chula Vista was packed and they would not let us in so we headed to Tavola for breakfast. I was annoyed because we are promised 2 meal a day as part of our training fee and we should be able to easily access those meals. Tavola was free for us for this one occasion but that was not the point. The hotel should have blocked off tables for the Bikram group or should have set up a buffet for us in one of the conference rooms. We have lived here for 2 months, the least they could do was make it easy for us to eat. Tavola was just as busy but Diana handled it and got us in and gave us her table.

I went back to my room and got my laundry ready to take down at noon. I took Leah’s down too because she was in the make-up class and everyone thought I had 2 bags of my own laundry. Negative, guys.

It was a beautiful day so I headed to the beach with Lidia. Every pool was beyond crowded and most of the beach. We found a quieter spot and I started to study dialogue before I got bored and stopped. I tried. Alicia joined us and we had fun just hanging out, relaxing, getting sun, and talking. We took a dip in the ocean at one point and the water was so much clearer than I had ever seen it before. It felt so nice in the hot weather.

After a few hours, I went to my room and took an epsom salt bath, washed my yoga clothes (I did not send those off with my laundry), and worked on my best friend’s baby shower invitation until it was time to get ready for dinner.

Leah and I met up with Alicia, Kiley, Taryn, Irmina, and Lidia in the lobby for dinner. Everyone looked so nice dressed up. Our reservation at Zibu, a nice restaurant nearby, was for 6pm but Manali was making us leave at 5pm so we got to the restaurant a little too early. It was okay though because it was still nice out and the restaurant had an amazing view for us to enjoy while we waited. We took some pictures and talked until they opened at 6pm.

The restaurant was so beautiful. I loved it. The service was outstanding and the food was even better. It was nice to be out, off property, doing something normal. It felt like we were not at training anymore which was a nice break. We had so many laughs (I promise our drinks were non-alcoholic!) and it was a lovely time. Poor Leah hurt her rib earlier in the week and it hurt for her to laugh! Kiley’s birthday is next Friday so we made it into a mini-birthday celebration for her, too. We ordered way too many desserts (Crunchy Jungle, Sherbet, Chocolate Souffle, Pineapple ice cream cake). We had no idea what the Crunchy Jungle was but the waiter said it was a popular one so we got it anyway. It was ice cream with little crunchy strips on top and it was delicious. He came over and asked if we knew what the crunchy strips were and we had no idea. He said he would tell us after we paid which made me nervous it was going to be something gross! Irmina guessed it correctly though: they were fried carrots. I somehow did not get a picture of the chocolate souffle but it was amazing, too.

When it came time for the bill, Kiley, Taryn, and I took charge. We took the time to split everything: drinks, appetizers, desserts, etc. Taryn told Kiley and I what the total needed to be plus tip and after we split everything then added it back up, we were about 30 pesos off. Pretty close, if you ask me. We all rounded up for our share anyway, anything extra just meant more tip for the staff and they sure did deserve it. It was a fabulous time!

When we got back, there were some tables set up with different goods (jewelry, shoes, clothes, etc.) so we took a look at those. I did not want to spend money so I bailed and went to check out the karaoke event Tom had helped coordinate for us. There were only a few people in there and no one was singing so I left that too and decided to just go to my room. I worked on my blog a little but mostly chatted with Leah. She eventually went to the doctor late at night for her rib; I hope it is not fractured! We were up until around 12:30am.


Sunday 11/5/17 – Day 50
Sleeping without an alarm will forever be one of the top 10 best feelings in the world. I slept until around 9:30am which was more than enough. After being lazy and watching a little Netflix, I made the finishing touches on Kelsey’s baby shower invitation and worked on my blog until about 11:30am. I had breakfast with Lidia in Chula Vista (we were allowed back in there today) and Axry and Dash came to sit and talk to us for a little bit which was nice. I like getting to know the staff more!


I missed the laundry guy at noon (I knew I would forget) but I set an alarm to go pick it up tomorrow when he comes. Ah!

Leah and I hung out in the room and studied. We decided to each take a turn at saying the postures all the way through, starting at Standing Head to Knee, to see what we needed to work on. I went first and did alright. I knew more than I thought I would but it could use some polishing. Luckily I have 2 more weeks to make it happen. Leah took a turn afterward and then decided her brain was not working. Same. It can be so tough to focus sometimes! Her teachers from home arrived for re-certification week so they stopped by before heading out to eat.

I went to the pool around 3pm and hung out with Maryla. No dialogue, just lounging and talking. I do not know why but I ordered chips and guacamole and it was delicious. We hung out there until the pool area had no more sun. It was a peaceful afternoon and I desperately needed the sun so it was nice.

Maryla wanted to go shopping and I did not so I started heading back to my room and saw that some of the chairs on the beach still had sun and I stopped to lounge there. Micaela was there and asked me if my blog was up. She always tells me how much she loves reading it and that makes me feel good to know someone literally waits for it all week and gets excited to read it! It was so much quieter there than anywhere else it seemed! Plus, I could watch our 3rd to last sunset (we do not get to see them anymore during the week so it was only tonight, next Saturday, and next Sunday; the last weekend here is graduation and we will miss it then, too). I was so relaxed that I fell asleep for a little bit. Oops. Angie, Michaela, and I went to the water to take some pictures and my phone died, of course. We ran into Denise down there and we all soaked up the view until it was gone. Angie took some photos for me though for my picture-of-the-day.

A lot of the group went downtown and then on a ‘cruise’ today but I opted to not go. I have skipped those types of outings so far (they did the zip line one of the first few weeks and a city-tour another). I like the idea of going and doing something different but I mostly do not want to spend the money or be gone for so long. I would prefer to rest and keep a low profile on the weekends since we do so much during the week. Plus, this was our 2nd to last real weekend here so I was okay with lounging around at the resort. I was surprised to see so many people stick around and stay here, though. It was a nice, quiet day!

Once the sun was gone, I went to my room, cleaned up, and finished this post. I hung out and did a whole lot of nothing until dinner time. Leah and I had dinner with her teachers from home. They were really cool and I liked talking to them. It was nice to have new people around. We have a lot (around 50) extra teachers coming this week for re-certification so it should be an interesting week. I like the idea of new faces but not the idea of a crowded hot room and Chula Vista!


Weekly Summary
As I said at the beginning, mentally I did so much better this week but physically, I did so much worse. My back hurt and was going through the most bizarre feelings I have ever felt. I would like to think that it is because I am getting stronger but who knows. I know my back/shoulders cracked when Bikram corrected my Eagle but it had already been bothering me before that. His correction definitely did not make it feel better but I think it was necessary for me to start doing Eagle correctly. My knees were hurting and my right glute was so bad at the end of the week and I think that was because of Bikram’s correction on Standing Bow. Other people who had him correct their Standing Bow mentioned having the same soreness. I do not remember which teacher told us this but someone had mentioned earlier in the training that part of the reason we do so much yoga is so that we can experience all sorts of pains/aches and then when we teach, we can relate to our students more. I am definitely understanding that concept more and more.

I still do not feel incredibly homesick but being gone for a ‘holiday’ was a little more tough. I hated missing Halloween with my friends and family. Every year, my friend Amber throws a fun Halloween party and I love going to that. My best friends Kelsey, John, and I carve pumpkins, too. I love watching my nieces dress up and go trick-or-treating! It was tough missing all of that but I am glad we did something here to celebrate a little. And I am so thankful my sister video chatted me to see the girls pass out candy and whatnot. It was nice to feel like I was a part of it and made it a little easier.

Everyone told me before coming here that you are going to reach a point where you never want to leave. I cannot say that I have reached that point yet. I fully recognize that it is coming to an end and I know I will be sad to leave and that I will miss a lot of people and things about our little yoga bubble… but I also am looking forward to going home. Going home scares me too, though. It will be a difficult transition going back to the ‘real world’ with my responsibilities, job, schedule, etc. but I know it will be okay. It always is. I just do not want to lose the feelings and self worth I have developed here.

Bikram talked about the importance of Savasana and why we do it. He talked about how Bikram yoga is the only yoga that utilizes Savasana as much as we do. No other yoga uses it like us! Anyway, all that to say that I love the way he defines/explains Savasana. It is so catch: A natural irrigation of the circulatory system with the help of the respiratory system.

Lastly, tomorrow (Monday, November 6) will mark the completion of my 1-Year Yoga Challenge! Happy yoga-versary to me! I walked into my studio a year ago after taking a 4 month break (and only doing yoga 5-6 times a month for the 6 months prior to that break) with zero intention of doing a challenge. Zero. Before I knew it, I had completed a 30-Day Challenge: 30 classes in 30 days. That snowballed into 300 days in a row and then suddenly I was at training in Mexico getting certified. Now, I am almost a certified Bikram Yoga instructor and have completed over 365 classes  in 365 days. It is so amazing how life can take you to places where you least expect it. If you had asked me a year ago where I would be today, I would have never, EVER imagined this. I sometimes do not even recognize myself! Who am I?

365 Day Yoga Challenge Breakdown (as of end-of-day Monday, 11/6/17):

  • 298 90-min Bikram Yoga
  • 41 60-min Bikram Yoga (Have I mentioned how much I hate that I did these? I mean, they are better than nothing and sometimes all my schedule had time for but after being here, I feel so strongly against them! AH! Bikram always says, “If you could get all the same benefits in 60 minutes, why would I have made it 90? Do you think I am stupid?” Touche.)
  • 22 Inferno Hot Pilates
  • 21 Yin Yoga
  • 4 Other (classical pilates, baptise flow, etc.)

Total: 386

386 yoga classes in 365 days. What?! I wish I could say it was 365 days of only Bikram yoga but it is not. I plan to keep going with the challenge until it only consists of 90-min Bikram classes though so stay tuned! Maybe I will hit that target by the end of the year.

Until next time,