Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back to Balancing Stick!

This morning's class was taught by Santiego from New Mexico. I had a really strong class and I got a compliment for my Standing Head to Knee Pose! Not easy to stand out amongst 430 other peops so I was thrilled. Mind you, I have to add that both my neighbours were sitting out the posture and I think several yogis around me had fallen out, so I think quite literally I stood out because I was the only one in my area who was standing at all! But hey, I'll still take the compliment :-)

The room didn't feel that hot again and so I made a concerted effort to not drink water throughout the class and I think that is really helping me get back my focus and discipline in other areas too. I felt less inclined to move unnecessarily between the postures and to wipe my sweat (the sin of all sins!)

Now thats not to say that I didn't want to drink but I made sure I was well hydrated before class and so I knew from experience that I could actually survive the 90 mins fine without taking a drink and in all honesty I feel a lot better through the class when I practice that way. The times I do drink in class, all that water rolling around in my stomach actually makes me feel worse and so then you're battling the thirst and nausea. Ugh.

Those peops who are drinking water, Gatorade and Coconut water in class - I just don't know how you do it? Actually in saying that, I just remembered that yesterday the teacher made a comment about how someone had a yoghurt in the room! OMG can you imagine how nice that would taste after being heated up for 90 mins.........

So onto Dialogue Clinic for today - OMG my best to date! Not only did I deliver Pranayama, a sit up and then Rabbit posture, but then the teacher asked everyone (along with the 3 yogis doing the demo) to stand up and I had to deliver Balancing Stick (which I must add I have not even looked out since I had to deliver it over a week ago. Its posture # 7 and Rabbit is #23). No time for me to worry about being perfect, to worry about whether I knew every word of every line etc, I just had to pull it out of the hat and get them into the posture for 10 seconds (yeah right!) and then back out.

And you know what, I did it! Somewhere deep inside my wee yoga brain the dialogue was there and I managed to get it out and have it make sense. It wasn't word perfect, I don't have a clue if it was anywhere near 10 seconds and you know what, it didn't matter. It was such a confidence boost to be able to do it.

Dare I say it, but the (goddamn) "process" works. Well who would've ever guessed.........?

Monday, May 30, 2011

And So Week 7 Begins ...

A short and sweet post tonight as I need to get on and study some dialogue. Tomorrow I have to deliver Sasangasana / Rabbit Posture which is the next in the series but prior to that I have to start off with Pranayama Breathing, and a sit up to get them into position for Rabbit Pose.

Now while I am thrilled to have been asked to do this, as its a testament to where I am at with my dialogue etc, its also the first time I have looked at Pranayama breathing - the understanding to date being that it is something that Bikram goes through with us all once everyone has completed all the other postures.

Its over 4 pages long, so needless to say feeling a little pressured by said request and will be up late tonight learning it. There are a few others in our group who have the same homework so we're going to rally together and study up.

Today has been a pretty cruisey day, and considering its a Monday I've felt pretty good. Shock, horror, I know! Usually it takes me at least till Tues / Wed to settle back into the routine after the weekend. Our class this morning was taught by Darren, who owns a studio in Sydney. Dare I say it, that after having mostly American teachers for the past six weeks it was nice to have a teacher with a familiar accent.

Also the room wasn't so hot so it made it a nice class to ease into Monday morning with. NOTE: Now when I say the room wasn't SO hot, that is in terms of TT standards. So it means the heat of the room still hits you when you walk in, we were still sweating etc etc, it just didn't feel the Australian outback!

So because of this I decided it was time to try and cut back my water drinking habit. I never used to take water into the studio at home when I practiced but since being here and having to do doubles every day I thought that was one habit I would let slide. And while some days I know I haven't been hydrated enough and so felt that drinking was necessary I am aware that it has definitely become a distraction that I use when I'm uncomfortable and don't want to do a posture. Oy! So now I am trying to undo this. And I managed fine today, though it took some doing. When 400 peops around you are having a drink at "party time" it took ALL my will to just stand there and just breathe.

From now on it will be something I continue to concentrate on but I am not putting myself under any pressure to go "waterless" every class. Call me chicken, but there are still too many "doubles" to go yet and still plenty of opportunities for them to turn up the heat!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Yoga Class Espanol

Today's class (Sat morning) was taught by Ulysses from Mexico who taught the first set of each posture in English and then the second set in Spanish. It was awesome!

I only wish I had been feeling better as I had plenty of "sparkly" moments through all the Standing Postures, as in that feeling when you stand up too fast. Ugh..... so needless to say I was very pleased to get to the floor series.

Anyway, regardless I still enjoyed the class as Ulysses was so passionate and enthusiastic and even when he was speaking in Spanish you could tell by his energy when to push in the postures etc.

He spoke about how we need to get to a place in our practice where we learn to trust that our breath is all we need. Not water, not having the exact mix of this and that in our water, having the mat in a specific spot etc etc. That so long as you can breath properly during your practice that you will get to a place where you can let all those other things drop away.

He also spoke about how its easier to do the postures than to sit them out. Hmmm, probably debatable at times eh? But I have to say I do agree with him. Like he said, if you're sitting on the floor you have WAY too much time to think about how uncomfortable you feel, about how hot the room is, how about many more posture to go etc etc. Whereas if you're doing the postures no matter how much you're struggling it at least gives you something else to focus on.

Those days when you're in "the zone" this is easy to do, but its finding a way to get to that place when you're having a tough class that takes mental strength. On those days when you just want to run from the room screaming, when camel posture makes you want to burst in tears and / or throw up, when the yoga bus comes into the room and runs over you and then beeps and f*n backs up to run over you again. UGH UGH UGH and somehow you have to find a way to "just breath". THOSE are the days I feel that amongst all the angst I gain SO much.

Whew..... excuse me while I go outside for some fresh air.... :-)

So, notes from our Posture Clinics this week:

There are 3 things you need to build your practice:
1. To come often
2. To practice hard
3. To acknowledge your mistakes and make the necessary corrections

Don't say, "I can't". Instead say, "how much of this posture CAN I do?". (I like that one, as there are certain postures I am convinced I will never be able to do.)

Lean to switch between commanding and being kind so that you can show compassion for your beginners and yogis with injuries, but still keep pushing those who are your regulars and working hard etc.

You will build a level of trust with your students through the class, and so they will do everything you ask them to (particularly beginners) so you have to give them permission NOT to do something if it hurts etc.

Instead of asking someone why they didn't do a part of the posture, instead say I noticed you can't do X, Y, Z and then let them reply. They will open up better this way and not feel you are accusing them of not doing posture.

Stick to the dialogue so that it becomes a tool that is ingrained in you. Then if something happens in the room, like someone fainting, then the dialogue will automatically come from you (yikes hopefully!)

Watch your regular students and notice week to week if they miss the same posture, sit out the same posture, always grab their water at the same time etc and equally to see when they make improvements, when their injuries heal or happen. This helps you learn something about your students and become aware of how the yoga is changing their bodies.

So in terms of how my progress with the dialogue is coming, I feel I have finally got to a place where I'm a bit more relaxed about not being perfect. Note: A "bit" more. I still have miles to go but have stopped "fighting it" and it has all come so much easier to me and I'm actually enjoying it (this could be said about everything I'm doing at the moment too - God forbid eh! LOL).

I would say that Wednesday was a break through point for me. I had to deliver Full Locust which is the posture where you get to "fly" and I was so pissed off and frustrated with everything, disappointed in the two previous days posture deliveries and so I decided I had to channel that somehow and just friggen get over it! So that is what I did, and I nailed it! By far my best delivery to date, cos I TOLD those yogis to GET INTO the posture and FLY home! What a buzz and a relief to feel like I was finally "getting it" in terms of starting to feel like I was teaching, and also a sense of peace by being able to let go and just be.... :-) Sigh

Then we had Caroline from NY take our clinic Thursday evening. She was in Oz earlier this year and did a class at our studio so it was cool to see her again. And she was just SOOOOO nice to me. She said that she loved my personality and felt people would really warm to me and trust me as a teacher (awwhhhh xx) but that they might not behave in class because I might not be commanding enough. I told her I had finally found my commanding voice last night (lol) and so would try and bring that too so that I had both styles - so look out you naughty yogis!

Friday's clinics both went well too. In the aft class I delivered Fixed Firm and as there were heaps of Ozzies in the other group we were working with, I said to "lift your chest and stomach up to create a perfect Sydney harbour bridge" hee hee (instead of perfect human bridge). A bit naughty because we are NOT supposed to divert from the dialogue at all, but I couldn't resist and it got a laugh from the Ozzie peops.

End of Week 6!

Well its now the end of week 6. I think I can bring myself to start counting down the days now without it making my stomach go in knots. Only 21 to go. By this time in 3 weeks we will be at our Graduation Ceremony!

I wonder how I'm going to feel then? Certainly there are so many beautiful amazing people here that it has been great to meet and so I hope we all stay in touch and that our paths cross again.

This week has been full on. Boss (Bikram) as he is affectionately called, has been away so we've had posture clinics after lunch and in the evenings which means I have been studying like mad to stay ahead of the game.

Certainly once you've been studying for a while and have worked out which learning style works for you I have found that the memorizing gets faster and faster. That and the fact that the Floor Postures are generally shorter (Yay - to learn and Yay when you're in class :-) and a lot of the sequencing are lines of dialogue from previous postures. i.e. Generally when you put your arms over your head, you're going to then put your hands-palms together. Hee hee, theres that new body part :-)

Anyway, Bikram popped in briefly on Thursday night while we were at Posture clinic and told us how good we were doing and that we were on schedule (finally!). And it mean't that next week we would have the evenings free for lectures and movies......... Oh expletive. Can't we learn the dialogue for all 86 postures? Can we go back and do the left side and second set? Anything but friggen movies..... Oh well.

So because we are back on schedule, there were rumours rife about how tonight, (Friday) we would have no posture clinic and they were going to arrange pizzas for everyone for dinner. Where this idea came from I don't know, but everyone was talking about it all during the day and while waiting for the P.M. yoga class to start the room was abuzz with talk about it.

Obviously it didn't happen! Not the night off, and not the pizza :-( Probably someone mentioned they felt like pizza for dinner, and someone walked past them and heard them and then said, yeah I feel like pizza and it went from there. You put 430 peops together. Lock them up in a hotel with little contact with the outside world and we will grasp at any hint of something that looks like it might give us a relief from the regimented yoga bubble we live in.

For tonight's class, they put on music before it started and got all the teachers to come in and dance around the room and on stage etc, so that did provide some light relief. And then Jude (Johnny's sister) taught. Those from the Goldie may have taken her class when she was back there. And true to form it was a toughie, as Jude's classes always are, but she has such great energy it makes you want to work for her. (In the top pic she is in the middle on stage along with 2 other teachers).

Other pics are of fellow yoginis from my group in the hot room - you can start to get an appreciation of the size of the room. It will no doubt seem strange going back to practice in a regular sized studio with only 30 - 40 yogis after having practiced in a ballroom with 430 others.

Last pic is of moi and Danni who I am SO lucky to have as a roommate. Living with a stranger in one room for 9 weeks is a difficult task under any circumstances so the fact we have managed to do it and stay friends is a credit to us both I'd say. So thank you Danni for being so understanding, for giving me a shoulder to cry on when I needed it, for being so patient with me when I was struggling to stay sane in this place, and for being a great friend. I hope you make it Down Under some time so that we can meet up again! xx

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Day in the Life of a TT Yogi

This is where it all happens folks! This pic is of the lecture room where we spend ccountless hours when not in the Hot Room. Emmy is teaching here and giving yogis corrections for Triangle Posture.

Now that you have a visual, I thought I'd give you a run down of our daily schedule.

8:00am - sign in for morning yoga class.
(that means lining up to sign in, lining up to get a towel and lining up to get a spot on your assigned line in the hot room)

8:30 - 10:30am - yoga class
(Note: classes are rarely only 90 mins. I don't even take a watch into the room though. I figure its better just to switch off and work thru the postures as you're directed. You can often "feel" when class is running over time but to see it in reality on a watch would just be torture!)

10:30 - 12:00 Midday - Free time
Now when I say "Free time" this is your time to:
- get back to your room (remember the 27th posture now!)
- shower, change
- prepare and eat a meal
- cram in some study time
- get back downstairs to sign in for the aft lecture / clinic

12:00 - 4:00pm - Posture Clinic / Lecture

5:00 - 7:00pm - yoga class

7:00 - 9:00pm "Free time"

9:00 - Midnight - if you're lucky!
Lecture / Posture Clinic / Movies

And so this is the routine day after day after day. Its funny because for the Saturday morning class we don't have to practice with our group on any assigned line in the yoga room and yet when given the choice we all find it hard to make our own decision about where to put our mat. Its like, "what? You're going to let me make a decision for myself? To think about where I might want to practice? You mean I have a choice about what I want to do?

Ah.... um..... duh......., sorry, I've lost all ability to make decisions now. I've spent all week learning scripted lines from the dialogue verbatum (that I'm not allowed to ad lib, or divert from), I eat only at specific times and follow orders all week about where to be and at what time and now you're letting me think for myself???????? No can do!

Getting back into the real world is going to be a strange transition.......

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Post

I haven't been able to write a post for the past two days. First, because the internet has been slow with all the yoga peops using it so its impossible to get on line, and secondly because I've actually needed the time to study the infamous dialogue..........

We're now up to Floor Bow, posture # 19 so we're nearly there! With 26 postures in total it means the end is in sight. Yay!

So some notes from the last few posture clinics for which we have been working through the Floor Series:

From Jenna (?) who has a studio in Manhatten and was AWESOME!

- Think how are you going to get the students to do the posture when they can't see you?
- How can you give them energy?
- Learn to use your voice, emphasize the actions, express passion.
- You have to learn how to "perform the dialogue"
- Kill them with kindness - smile. Let them know you want them to do this posture even though it hurts so much / its hot / they're tired etc etc, because its going to be SO good for them! And let them know you're not going to settle for anything less than 100% effort. Yikes!
- When you are pushing the students - SMILE :-)

And the one I have to remind myself all the time: Do you want to be perfect or a great yoga teacher?

I think that last one resonates with a lot of us here. Its SO frustrating when you know the dialogue perfectly but then get up to deliver it and screw it up. But, as they keep telling us we have to get over ourselves and just get on with it. Easier said than done as I have already said many times.

But like so many teachers remind us, we have the rest of our lives to deliver the dialgoue, so if you screw up a couple of times in posture clinic does it really matter? CHILL OUT MAN! :-)

Anyway, I was looking back over my notes and have noticed that the way I am memorizing the dialogue has changed and now instead of just coming up with acronyms and little rhymes to remember what lines come next I am actually thinking about the posture and how it fits the body, and how I would like to say it, what words to emphasize etc.

For tonight's posture - Full Locust I really thought about how to get someone to do the posture by just using my voice, changing the speed and where I put emphasis etc and it all came together really well. So I guess thats a sign of progress which I am thrilled about- because lately I have felt really "stuck" with where I am at.

I have lots of other notes from yoga classes that I would like to add but its now after 1pm so I'll finish up here and hopefully get time to write them up on the weekend. :-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

And Week 6 Begins......

Well its back to doubles for me this week. Lets hope the old bod is up for it. Actually I'm really looking forward to it. Yoga being what I came here to do and all.

In saying that, it was still with some intrepidation that I went in for this aft's class. Bikram was teaching and he was in a pretty good mood, but held us in some of the postures for a-g-e-s while he corrected some people's postures.

It felt like we were in Standing Head to Knee 4-EVA and I didn't have a show of getting my head down to my knee and holding for that length of time. I managed to stay in Triangle for what seemed like eternity but only because Bikram was looking our way (we were on the 3rd line today right up near the podium) and I didn't want to get yelled out. Pretty good motivation really and amazing what one can do when one feels there is no option to come out of the posture! (Insert Grimace face here)

We had two Posture Clinics today as apparently we are behind schedule and need to catch up. This pic is of some of the girls and Lady Gaga from our group. Nicholas, his real name, had the envious task of delivery Tadasana / Tree Pose to a Lady Gaga song - hence from now on he will forever be known as the Lady Gaga performer.

My dialogue is coming along ok. I am trying to stay ahead of the game but I definitely don't feel as comfortable as I did with the Standing Series which is to be expected I guess since I'm learning the Floor Series on the fly. And a lot of the Floor postures are quite short and so we get through two in a day. Oy...... So I'm trying not to be the perfectionist and just enjoy what I'm doing, but I have to admit to getting pretty frustrated with it. Like in my yoga practice sometimes I feel "stuck" and that I'm not getting anywhere with it. So lets hope I have a break through in the days ahead and feel like I'm making progress :-)

Its interesting observing and listening to others and how they are feeling at this stage. There is definitely tension amongst the ranks. The woman who taught our class this morning got a huge round of applause when in Savasanah she told us how by week 6 she wasn't enjoying herself at all. I guess there is a lot to be said for shared suffering. She said the had put on weight, she was over it, and certainly didn't feel she would be ready for teaching. Yet somehow it all magically came together for her and 2 weeks after graduation she taught her first class and has been in love with teaching ever since.

So there is light at the end of the tunnel for us, and I just have to hold on to that dream of becoming a yoga teacher and hope it sees me through :-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The 27th Posture

Did I mention we've added a 27th posture to our practice? Well not officially but there is a daily ritual after class that we call the "27th posture".

Its walking back up all the flights of stairs to your room. Ugh as if 90 mins of yoga wasn't enough but its better than fighting 430 sweaty yogis for the elevator. The Hot Room is on the 2nd floor and so it means 4 flights of stairs for moi but there are others that live on the 9th floor so I shouldn't complain too loudly.

We have also gained some new body parts according to the dialogue - hands-palms and leg-heels. We can "cross our arms each other" (no thats not a typo on my behalf), "think very deeply about our standing leg" make it a "lamppost" and at times only have one leg. Ha ha ha ... ok I know its not that funny but I'm trying to find humour anywhere I can! I've been studying dialogue all weekend and its doing my head in. After a while none of it makes sense.

Speaking of which, Full Locust Pose awaits................time to fly.

From the Red Carpet in LA

So last night I went to the LA Film Festival in Hollywood!

Now before you get too excited I should probably admit that it was a short film festival for up and coming film makers so nobody famous was there. (Well nobody famous enough for me to know who they were.) They still had the red carpet rolled out and everyone got their photo taken against the sponsers' wall as they walked in - just like you see them do on ET etc.

The theme for the films was "This is my LA" and so it was really cool to see all the different iconic things around LA that people had put into their films.

Then it was out for dinner on Sunset Blvd. Oh it was SO nice to get out into the real world. To get out of yoga clothes and dressed up and talk to people outside of the yoga bubble! Its interesting though when people ask me what I'm doing here as they just can't get their head around what this TT involves. Mind you I can hardly get my head around it at times and I'm the one doing it!

Today, Sunday, was spent getting organised for the week ahead. Studying dialogue, getting groceries, studying more dialogue, catching up on emails and just for a change, more dialogue. Sigh..... what I wouldn't give to be having a Sunday roast dinner and then relaxing for the evening watching the Sunday night movie on TV! In time eh.......

Friday, May 20, 2011

TGIF - Wonderful Friday!

The end of week 5. Whew! :-)

I have to say that getting back to yoga has made this week SO much more bearable. Certainly I am feeling much more like my old self. My body is returning to normal, and it has been nice to wake up every day feeling sane and (fairly) rational rather than totally overwhelmed.

All you teachers who have been through TT will know that by week 5 peops are falling apart all over the place, so I feel I'm coping really well.
Watch out next week, 'cos I'll be back in full swing and ready to "charge forward" through to the end with my "smiling happy face", "chest open like a flower petal blooming"!

So, some notes from our latest posture clinic which was taken by Shelby from a studio here in the States (?) She was brilliant at getting people to try different things to bring out their personality and emphasized that WE have to be willing to get out of our comfort zone when teaching as we are asking all our students to get out of theirs and they will respond better to us when we do this.

She said we have a choice to be just another yoga teacher or a yoga teacher that yogis will make a special effort to come and take a class with. But its up to US to make that difference.

Needless to say I want to be the latter! HOW to get there is something I'm still working on though. Something Brandy said yesterday, (she is the current world yoga champion) was that we had to find what we liked about the posture and express that. Particuarly in the Floor Series as the postures are much less dynamic than the Standing Series so its harder to keep the students engaged and motivated to work hard.

Her advice was to record ourselves to see how we sound. Hmm....yeah ok. And that when we are saying the dialogue we have to really "go over the top" in our delivery - because chances are it will NOT sound as uncomfortable or over the top as it does to our own ears. Something I think I will try out in the privacy of my room before I let loose in dialogue clinic.... :-)

So that being said, I'm off with dictaphone in hand to go and practice delivering Pavanamuktasana / Wind Removing Pose. Though how I'm going to make a colon cleaning posture sounds exciting I'm not sure! LOL

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Made it to Savasana!

Last night we ended up going back after dinner and having another Posture Clinic instead of a lecture. A change in plan we hadn't expected but something that should have been of no suprise as Bikram was away for the night. It was then also announced that we had to deliver Tree Pose AND Toe Stand together. Our complaints about not having any advance notice about this just fell on deaf ears and we were told that we should always study 2-3 postures ahead so that we are prepared.

Ah yeah, well............. I wasn't. Its not been an issue for me to date as I learn't up to Triangle Pose at home but we're now starting to hit the postures I need to learn from scratch. It mean't I wasn't as prepared to deliver these postures as I would have liked, but I got up and did it anyway. A test for me to not be too hard on myself and just be ok with it not being perfect.

So as an added suprise, one of the teachers running the clinic asked for some more people to come up and be part of the demo team while I said my dialogue. Apparently in the notes from previous clinics it said that I was really starting to look at the bodies and connect the dialogue so was ready to start looking at more bodies. A nice compliment for how I'm doing :-)

As a side note, I need to explain that after you deliver each posture the teachers running the clinic all make notes in a binder about how you did and these are treated as TOP SECRET! So although they give you verbal feedback about your performance you DON'T get to see any of the notes written about you. Apparently its so that no matter who runs the "clinic" that day they can look back and see how you're tracking and improving etc. Which is fine except that a lot of the teachers have conflicting ideas about how you should deliver the dialgoue. So one day you may be told to do one thing and then the next, the total opposite. It all depends on the personality of the teacher etc and though it gives you some new ideas about how to develop your style it can also be a bit confusing some days.

Now that I've explained all that; thank you to all the yogis/ yoginis from Group 15 who jumped up and demo'd Tree Pose and Toe Stand for me :-) I am disappointed I didn't do better as I had some moments where I just went blank and mixed up the lines ... OY! So much for not needing to be perfect. Baby steps hey.

BUT in saying that, I didn't mentally beat myself up too much for it. Hey it was 11:30 pm, no-one else was volunteering and I just wanted to get it over with. And the best part of all is that after Toe Stand, is Savasana........... It means I've made it to the Floor Series!

So today we had our regular Thursday class with Emmy and then she gave a lecture on Muscular Skeletal Dysfunction where she explained the problems that occur when specific joints / muscles don't work and other ones have to compensate for it. A lot of the problems we have today are due to our sedantary lifestlyes and the fact we go out and try to be "weekend warriors" after sitting at an office desk all week.

She also spoke about the Precision of Intent and stressed the need to do the postures the right way for your body at that time rather than adjusting the posture to suit your body as its the ONLY way to get improvements and its much harder to re-learn a posture once you have taught the joints / muscles how to do it incorrectly. Really interesting stuff and something to carry into the Hot Room :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


So today is officially the halfway mark. The pic is of the yoga top I wore today in honour of the occasion :-) "Never Give Up" My Mantra - and me standing there defiantly in the face of everything the Universe has thrown at me!

It would be so insincere of me to say that I'm not happy about reaching this point and being on the downward slope to graduation. And probably no surprise to any of you either. This experience to date has been such an oxymoron, in that the yoga is something I love so much and I am so excited about the prospect of being able to teach it, but the process in getting there has so far left a lot to be desired.

I had a dream last night that I was back on the Goldie about to teach my first class at the Burleigh Studio. Unfort the alarm woke me up before I actually got to teach the class, but I was there talking to Sean (the studio owner ) getting some last minute advice (thanks x) and all the regular yoga peops were there. Awwhhhhhh! :-) xx It was such an amazing feeling to wake up with. Like my subconscious was reminding me why I am here - something I've been needing lately.

So I did a second class today. Again, no rockstar effort just gently going through the paces. Every muscle is sore from having time off so that was reminder enough to take it easy. The room didn't feel particuarly hot and I coped really well.

For the last two nights we have had lectures with Bikram lasting about 2-3 hours each, from which I have NO notes to write. Read into that what you will. (I'm sure most of you will figure it out :-) I won't comment further as I just have to stop putting energy into fighting "the process" so much.

These were followed by Hindu movies and so that mean't we didn't get to bed till after 2 a.m. both nights. The movies are played at 100 (?) decibels so are deafening loud - purposely to keep you awake, and the air conditioning is set so low as to freeze us all, again purposely to keep you awake. Then if by some miracle you do manage to sleep sitting up frozen in your chair, the peops in charge come around and wake you up......... ?........................? ...............................?

Again, NO comment. A conscious decision NOT to ask why? Just to follow "the (goddamn) process".

We're up to Standing Seperate Leg Head to Knee Pose in our Posture Clinic. They have all been going fairly well for me. Some days I get the dialogue spot on and then others not so. I'm learning to recover from those times when the dialogue isn't coming to me and to just keep talking until I find my place again, but I'm certainly not comfortable with it. Probabaly more to do with my wanting to be the perfectionist than having trouble leading the class. Oy! Massive learning curve and lessons there for me. I know EXACTLY where it comes from, some of it being a Leo and some of it other "stuff" I don't need to go into here.

Lets hope that being aware helps me at least start to ease up about it a bit and give myself a bit of a break :-) Hmmm...... if you thought my standards were tough for others in terms of the level of compassion I decided to / or not to show others, you should see the standards I set for myself ... :-(

I wrote the beginning of this post before Posture Clinic today, and have just come back from there. One of the comments that the teacher running the clinic today made was, "Do you want to be perfect, or be a good yoga teacher?". Wow, how poignant considering what I had just written a few hours ago! I love how the Universe sends you signs like that to show you're on the right path :-) I will try and carry that with me throughout all areas of my life.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back into the Hot Room

I've fallen in love again! Sigh......................

.......with Bikram yoga that is. After having ten days off I went back into the Hot Room today and took a class this morning.

They say the best way to appreciate something is to be without it for a while, and boy do I EVER appreciate it now. I know undoubtedly that this is something I want in my life, today, tomorrow, and for many years to come. That this is something that makes me a better person and that without it I very quickly fall apart. (These comments can also be said about a certain Auzzie Cowboy back at home and I wish the decisions regarding that relationship were as easy and as clear to me. xx)

Anyway, I decided for my sanity's sake that although I still have another week excemption on my Medical Cert I needed to go and do a class. Either that or I could no longer be held responsible for my actions...... LOL (Actually not that funny, I have been feeling so depressed and irrational over the past week) So I checked my ego at the door, and went in and did a very gentle class. No rock star action needed here, just getting back into the room, breathing and easing through the postures.

Hmmm.... it was heaven. Well mentally anyway. Physically my body was tight and every joint and muscle a stark reminder of the emotional strain I've been under. My knees screamed at me through all 3 parts of Awkward - the place you store anger. Not really any surprises there. Then through Eagle and Standing Head to Knee my upper back was aching - a sign you're holding the weight of the world on your shoulders. Again, no surprise. And in Standing Bow and Triangle my hips barely opened up at all - having trouble making decisions about moving forward in your life? Again, bang on!

But despite all this, it felt SOooooo good just to be doing yoga again. It was a well timed reminder of why I am here. Because I LOVE this yoga, because it works and because I want to share that with people :-) So I will just try and remind myself of that when I'm feeling at my wits end with being here..........

Monday, May 16, 2011


There doesn't seem to be much energy around here today. I try and keep my negative energy to myself and don't comment on how I'm feeling about things so its been interesting to hear other people's comments about how they are feeling and where they are at.

My roommate wrote an email titled, "Breaking up with Bikram" over the weekend, which was very funny and pretty much says it all. It seems we are all experiencing frustrations in some way at some level with some aspect of "the process" here. Makes me feel a little better in that I'm not just going slowly insane!

So we had posture clinic today and did Standing Seperate Leg Stretching Pose / Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthansana - a posture I love to say the title of but wasn't as much fun trying to type :-) Its kind of an easy posture, in that after the stamina required for the previous posture which is Balancing Stick Pose its an easy stretching posture that gives you time to get some energy back. So based on that, its probably one of the easier postures to deliver as it doesn't require a lot of energy from either yourself or the students and so Posture Clinic was pretty mellow as a result.

I delivered my dialogue ok. Probably my least best in terms of getting it verbatim and when the teacher asked if I would like to change anything about it, I said I would have preferred to have gotten the dialogue right. "A perfectionist?" she asked. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. Yes, yes and yes. But at least I


The following is posted later on Tuesday - Couldn't get back on to the internet yesterday to finish this post and it seems it went up on my blog regardless. Reading back over it, maybe that was a good thing as you probably don't need to read anymore complaining and negative comments about how my days are going.

Sigh....... I have such a love / hate relationship with this whole experience.
Anyway, today (Tuesday) is a whole 'nother day :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Question the Universe

On this day of your life, I believe God wants you to know......
that "Why is this happening?" is the most useless question in the Universe.

The only really profitable question is, "What?" As in, "What do I choose now?" This question empowers. The "why" question simply perplexes, and rarely satisfies even when it gets a good answer.

So don't try to "figure it out." Stop it. Just focus on what you now wish to create. Keep moving forward. There's nothing behind you that can possibly serve you better than your highest thoughts about tomorrow.

I got this message over the weekend from Neale Donald Walsch - Conversations with God, and it is so fitting for where I am right now. My head is full of "why is this happening now?" questions and I am frustrated by a lack of immediate answers and an inability to make sense of a lot of things that have happened since I've been here.

Its been a week since I've done any yoga and boy do I ever NEED to get back into the Hot Room. At home if I miss even a few days in a row I start feeling a little frazzled and unnerved so to be forced to take a week off while here under these circumstances has just compounded any mental anxiety I've been under.

So I'm trying to let go and just go with the flow. To stop running my internal dialogue and trust the universe will look after me and send me exactly what I need at the exact right time. Hmmmm....... easier said than done.

Anyway, on to lighter things; this pic is taken at a beach side restaurant in Malibu where I caught up with my Kiwi friends again on Sunday aft. It is always SO nice to get away from here.

The weekends are a strange time here. You go suddenly from being tightly scheduled all day, having to be somewhere at an exact time, signing in and accounting for every movement along with 430 others to then having time to do whatever you want for 36 hours.

Its eerily silent in the halls as everyone makes their way out into the real world. And while its great being able to make simple decisions like when you want to get up and when you want to eat etc, it also leaves plenty of time for thinking. As I've said before, not always a good thing around here. I know I'm not the only one who finds the weekends harder than the weekdays purely for this reason. When you're constantly busy it takes your mind of things like feeling homesick and all those infamous, "why is this happening?" questions.

Today is the start of week 5. By the end of this week we will be on the downhill stretch. It still feels too long a time to start counting down though. At the moment I'm not putting in much so not getting much out of it all. Kind of a catch 22 because I feel like keeping to myself and yet when I hear how happy other yogis are and how much they are just loving the TT experience and I am jealous to not be feeling the same about my time here to date.

Am planning to try a morning class tomorrow so lets hope that helps start to change things around for me :-) Otherwise its going to be a bloody long 5 weeks..........

Friday, May 13, 2011

Compassionate huh?

Do you consider yourself a compassionate person? It is something that is talked about a LOT here. Both having compassion for each other while we are here and more importantly having compassion for our students in the classroom.

Certainly if anyone had asked me if I was I would have unequivocally said yes, truly believing I was. However over the past few days, I have realised that my so-called "compassion" is not given freely to everyone in the same manner. (I told you having too much time on your hands to muse over things may or may not be a good thing? lol)

Sure, I have compassion for babies, kittens, anything small and helpless. Hey, I cried for days afer having to take "Little Holly" back, the dog I fostered from the animal shelter for 6 weeks at Christmas. But when it comes to adults I realise that my "compassion" is given in measured quantities according to my own set of rules.

Now while I find it easy to help someone who is genuinely needing it, when you can see their soul is hurting and they are really trying, its the times when someone is incompetent and not putting an effort in (according to MY standards) that I struggle to find the patience to be compassionate. (V.P. I can see you smiling from here, because I know you know EXACTLY what I am like and what I am talking about :-)

I could give you numerous accounts of this exact situation as it happens here on a daily basis. Sh*t sometimes minute by minute. And to date I have let it infuriate me! My immediate reaction is that we've all paid a lot of money to be here and so if you're not going to take it seriously and put the effort in then stop wasting our bleeping time and bleeping go home. You get the picture, right?

However! I have spent the past few days thinking about my reaction to these situations and wondering what sort of teacher I am going to be if I only have compassion and patience for those students in the class who are practicing the way I (thats a BIG CAPITAL "I") think they should according to the rules and discipline I like in my own practice. Hence automatically making assumptions about what someone is capable of without knowing anything about what is happening in their lives.

Which is EXACTLY what we have been told by numerous teachers here NOT to do. They have all said that we have to let our students take their own journey, that we cannot assume anything about what they are capable of in their practice. I've even written those exact words in a previous post and yet its only in the past few days that it actually resonated with me. And since I have been focusing on this, there have been more and more signs and reminders popping up everywhere. Like they say, when the student is ready the teacher will come.

I think what has also helped it hit home too, is that I am currently excused from doing yoga for the week. From the outside I look like I am fine and that there is nothing wrong with me. Peops probably see me sunning by the pool, relaxed when they come out of class hot, sweaty and exhausted and wonder why the hell I get to get out of classes? Yet inside, there is obviously a physical stress I need to recover from and an emotional turmoil that I'm trying to deal with. None of which you could tell by just looking at me.

One of the visiting teachers last night read out a letter from a Studio Owner saying this exact thing. How we simply don't know what is going on in people's lives and what they may be struggling with and or had to overcome to get into the hot room that day and onto their mat. That we should respect each and every one of them for getting there and how they practice is none of our business (with the obvious exception of making sure they are practicing safely etc).

Then yesterday I got the following email from "Daily OM" a spiritual message centre I subscribe to. It really struck a cord with me and I hope that through my newfound awareness I can start to change and not make judgements about how I feel people should be performing. I'll let you know how I go! :-)

Conscious Evolution

Being Aware is the First Step. Awareness is the first step to creating change in any situation, without it, there would be no desire for change.

Life is a journey comprised of many steps on our personal path that takes us down a winding road of constant evolution. And each day, we are provided with a myriad of opportunities that can allow us to transform into our next best selves.

One moment we are presented with an opportunity to react differently when yet another someone in our life rubs us the wrong way; on another day we may find ourselves wanting to walk away from a particular circumstance but are not sure if we can. Eventually, we may find ourselves stuck in a rut that we can never seem to get out of. We may even make the same choices over and over again because we don’t know how to choose otherwise. Rather than moving us forward, our personal paths may take us in a seemingly never-ending circle where our actions and choices lead us nowhere but to where we’ve already been.

It is during these moments that awareness can be the first step to change.
Awareness is when we are able to realize what we are doing. We observe ourselves, noticing our reactions, actions, and choices as if we were a detached viewer.

Awareness is the first step to change because we can’t make a change unless we are aware that one needs to be made in the first place. We can then begin understanding why we are doing what we are doing. Afterward, it becomes difficult not to change because we are no longer asleep to the truth behind our behaviors. We also begin to realize that, just as much as we are the root source behind the causes for our behaviors, we are also the originator for any changes that we want to happen.

There is a freedom that comes with awareness. Rather than thinking that we are stuck in a repetitive cycle where there is no escape, we begin to see that we very much play a hand in creating our lives. Whether we are aware of them or not, our behaviors and choices are always ours to make. Our past and our present no longer have to dictate our future when we choose to be aware. We are then free to move beyond our old limits, make new choices, and take new actions. With awareness, our paths can’t help but wind us forward in our lives while paving the way for new experiences and new ways of being. It is through awareness that we can continue to consciously evolve.

Bikram is back

I haven't been able to post for a few days as the Blogger host website has been down so I have several days of musings to catch up on.

Since I'm not doing yoga classes at the moment it means I have an extra few hours each day to myself to think and reflect. Though I'm not sure that having too much time to think here is actually a good thing? Of course you can always easily chew up any spare time studying dialogue which I have been doing - no reason not to have it down verbatim now eh! (Oy, as if I wasn't hard enough on myself already.)

So Bikram came back yesterday and true to form kept us us till 2:00 a.m. watching a Hindu movie. Oh sh8t! For the past two weeks most of our evenings have been filled with Anatomy lectures with Dr Preddy who won HUGE favour with us by never going past midnight. We love you Dr. P!

Anyway, Bikram taught the 5pm yoga class yesterday and told everyone it was the worst class he had ever seen in the 4th week of training. Hmmm, as much as I am missing the yoga I have to admit to being quite glad to have missed that class as you can well imagine what it was like being in the Hot Room for that one :-(

It would seem the dark mood continued through to the evening lecture, as prior to the movie Bikram spoke for two hours berating the Western world for all the problems we create for ouselves, our lack of morals, how shitty our lives are, and how great the Indian way of life is. Oh and how much money he makes. As if we weren't depressed enough already.

Now to date I have had no problem with the fact that Bikram obviously makes a sh*t load of money with what he does. Hey if anything I'm jealous, I would love even just a fraction of what he makes. The reason I guess it find it "ok" is that the yoga works. Plain and simple. It is the best thing that has happened to me and you hear the same thing from everyone here. People's lives are dramatically changed for the better through doing this yoga. And so if he is smart enough to make money off it, more power to him.

However, what I don't appreciate is having it all shuved (sp?) in my face while you tell me what a piece of shit I am. Now I am smart enough to see that this is all a thinly guised veil of Bikram's attempt to push our buttons and so see it for what it is. But at the same time when I think of what this has all cost, the time and money invested, the emotional roller coaster ride etc, it is hard NOT to have your buttons pushed! And I realise now as I write this, that he did infact get to me, because here I am the morning after still writing about it rather than having just observed it and let it go. Oh expletive expletive expletive!

Bikram 1 - Stephanie 0

'Nuff said.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Poolside View

Well its not much of a view actually looking at a construction site and the back of some old utility buildings surrounded by concrete. Certainly if I was going to spend a summer in LA I would not choose to be spending it at some shitty hotel pool. :-(

But I wanted to put the pics up so that when you read in a post that I was outside by the pool you don't have a vision of us all laying on luxurious lounge chairs by a fabulous pool with waiters serving cocktails! lol

Ok......... grumbling over. I've been spoilt by living on the Gold Coast for too long and seeing all the beautifully manicured landscaped pool areas surrounding all the hotels there and having access to miles and miles of beautiful coastline.

I should just be thankful that the sun was shining and I was able to get out of the hotel room at all. I get cabin fever from being locked up in rooms with air conditioning all day and night. None of the windows open anywhere, all the lecture rooms are internal and we don't have balconies off our rooms so you can easily go all day without stepping outside and getting any fresh air and natural sunlight. Hard for a beach loving gal like moi.

The worst part is walking out of the Hot Room where you have been cooking for 90 mins in 40 degree heat and are totally wet with sweat, out into the air conditioned hallways. Ugh! Bloody freezing, and according to Dr Preddy (our Anatomy teacher) quite dangerous as it really stresses your system out after working so hard in the heat to then hit the icey temperatures.

Hmm ...... No comment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teaching Notes - New York Style

I realise that I haven't written up my notes from our posture clinic last week with Troy and Iko from New York, both of whom I just loved! I learnt so much from them in just one afternoon so I want to make sure that I write it all up while its still fresh in my mind so that I can refer back to it.

As follows:

KNOW what you are teaching. That way you can stay true to the dialogue.

When you are feeling nervous shake the energy off. Direct it somewhere i.e. with a hand gesture /a point or motion.

Watch the bodies and connect the words to the bodies to that you don't just "see" the dialogue in your head.

Don't say you're sorry for any mistakes you may make. Most students won't notice anyway as they are too busy suffering. Lol I love that one :-)

Don't sabotage yourself by saying, "I Can't". The negative energy compounds in your body. Say, "I Can". Tell your students, They Can!

We all have 100% potential to change. Just make up your mind to do so. Make up your mind to change 180 degree angle right in this moment.

Say your dialogue to the ocean or in an open space. Throw your energy out there. Practice developing your style. The ocean won't judge you.

Lead well. That way you will instill in your students the motivation to practice with integrity and energy and to work hard to "kill themselves".

Punch the words written in bold in the dialogue. These are action / command words.

Leave space between the paragraphs of dialogue. This is time for you to breath and for your students to settle into the posture.

And my favourite: You're ok! If you f*ck up, who cares? Its ONLY yoga! Its NOT supposed to be a stressful job. Enjoy yourself :-)

Remember why you wanted to become a teacher and carry this with you into your class. Convey it to your students and they will have a good class regardless of how you deliver the dialogue.

So you can see based on these notes, why I enjoyed the afternoon with Troy and Iko SO much. If I'm ever in NY I will be def be looking them up and heading to their studio!

Tuesday with Terry

Our Posture Clinic today was held by Terry who owns a studio in Merrimac Valley, Mass. She rocked! I would love to take a class with her. Her feedback and energy for everyone was great and so I have a whole page of notes that I took as a result.

She started by telling us the rules in her studio. They are as follows:
1. You have to breathe
2. You can only nod your head yes. Shaking your head no can cause brain damage
3. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, "how cute am I!" :-)

As you can imagine, based on these I warmed to her immediately. So, following are my notes, which are taken from the persepective of learning to teach so may or may not be of interest to other peops. ( They may seem a bit all over the place and random but they were written down after different people delivered their dialogue so there were numerous scenarios.)

The posture we had to deliver dialogue for today was Bow Pose. One of the lines in the set up for the hand position is; Say "Mama give me money" (to which the students are supposed to reply, Mama give me money).

Its as corney as it reads and feels even more corney saying it out loud let alone in front of the class. BUT one thing that Terry said, was that if you don't get used to asking the "Universe" for money then you're not going to get it! SO fellow yogis at home, get used to it, cos I'm going to be saying it and expecting you to say it back! LOL

Beginners will always look at you rather than at themselves in the mirror NO matter how many times you ask them to look in the mirror. She said if you do catch someone's eye to smile (for Beg's this reassures them that they WILL survive ) and then look away because as a new teacher it will be easy to get distracted by them. Its better to concentrate on the bodies.

There will be two dialogues running while you teach.
1. The external dialogue that you are saying to the class.
2. Your internal dialogue that you are saying in your head.
Make sure you don't let the Internal dialogue come out!

If you make too many unnecessary hand gestures while teaching try holding your water bottle. This will help you stop waving your hands around.

Give your students space to have their own energy. Hold onto some of your own so that you don't fill the room with your energy. This will exhaust you and your students.

Don't try and create the energy in the room. Let it build naturally. Start in Pranayama. Give a little and let them answer. Its a conversation. You say the dialogue and the bodies answer.
You need to learn how to build the energy so that you can teach at any time of the day and adjust your energy accordingly.

Precision in YOUR dialogue creates precision in THEIR practice.

When you see mistakes in a posture repeat the line of dialogue that will give the required instructions to correct. Don't ever adjust the student yourself. By saying the dialogue and letting the students self correct they will learn better.

You don't need to control your students journey. Let them make their mistakes. Tell them to come back tomorrow. To try again. They will learn in their own time when they are ready. Again this is why we don't adjust them ourselves.

If you get stuck and can't remember the next line of dialogue, repeat the last line you just said until the next line comes to you. Students will just think you are correcting someone in the class. Hee hee

Say it. See it. Process it.
Really connect with the bodies. Your eyes should look at the body parts you are talking about.

Set a Mantra for each posture. This is what you can say if you can't remember anything else. :-)
E.g. Lock the knee, lock the knee, lock the knee. Change.

Take care of yourself. When practicing in class, check your ego at the door. Do 100% of the posture correctly for how your body is feeling THAT day. Yoga is a lifetime practice. You have for ever, therefore you don't have to do everything today.

Monday, May 9, 2011

To Post or Not To Post.......

I have spent a few days wondering about how to write this post and / or whether I need to write it at all, but its going to become pretty obvious soon when I don't mention doing any yoga for the next week or so that something is up.

So here goes, firstly, I want everyone to know that I am ok! I just need some time to rest and recover but other than that I am totally healthy :-)

However, unfortunately within my first week of being here I got some news about something regarding my health that I had to make a pretty quick decision about. It made the first few weeks of Training even more stressful physically and mentally than they already were. It was without doubt a major testing point for me having to make a life changing decision under these circumstances and without the support of friends and family at home. But I managed it and was able to draw on strength and make my decison with a sense of calmness that I didn't know I had.

So everything has been taken care of and I'm recovering but am under Dr's orders not to do yoga for the next two weeks. Now as much as I am relishing having some extra time to myself (worth its weight in gold around here!) I wish I could have been excused from the late night lectures and movies, not the yoga classes. They are all that has kept me sane through all this!

But I have to remind myself that I have a lifetime to practice yoga and so if I miss a few weeks its no big deal. Its just the timing that sux as the challenge of being here and doing doubles (2 classes a day) for 9 weeks was something I was really interested to see how I would cope with.
So it is what it is and at the moment the lesson is still unclear to me, and may always be, so I'll just continue to take it day by day and see what comes :-)

Beginning of Week 4

Well Monday has rolled around already and we're back into things. I got away again on Sunday and caught up with my Kiwi friends down the coast. Got to do some sightseeing and look around Huntington and Newport Beach in Orange County.

You could easily have been on the harbour in Brisbane or at Runaway Bay on the Coast. Its all very beautiful and I imagine very expensive. For anyone who has watched the O.C. or Laguna beach on TV and seen the mansions all with 180 degree coastal views up to LA city, I can vouch that there are rows upon rows of million dollar homes like that. In another lifetime maybe...?

Anyway, today we had posture clinic and I delivered Standing Head to Knee. It went really well and I am feeling much more comfortable about the public speaking aspect of teaching. I am really trying to connect the dialogue with the bodies and work on getting the timing right and trying to accentuate the appropriate words at the right time etc so that the yogis know when to push and work harder in the posture etc etc.

Some of it feels very natural and some of it still feels forced so I'm hoping in time I will develop my own style and feel a bit more at home with being bossy / pushy! Not my natural personality. (Tho some may beg to differ here :-) So far I have had no probs with my dialogue and am thankful every day that I took the time to learn it before I came here. There are so many people who are trying to learn it while they are here and I just don't know how they manage it.

So we're back in the lecture room tonight for Anatomy. Bikram is still away so at least we can count on being fin by midnight. Still loving that sleep! :-)

Friday, May 6, 2011

1/3 - One third - Won Thurd

Check out these smiling happy faces! Yes we're a third of the way through our training. I'm not sure how I feel about that? But this pic was taken after class this morning, and I think the smiles were as much to do with the fact we all had a great class, as it was the fact that the class was over and as its Friday it means the weekend is just around the corner :-)

Ironically after writing my post the other day where I was saying how boring I found some of this, I came across an article that Emmy Cleaves had written about Bikram yoga. In it she was asked if she ever got bored with doing the same 26 postures every day and she said, no, that it was a chance to develop patience and mindfulness. Oh....... I might have known there would be a lesson like that in there. I guess I have a ways to go then.........

Anyway, its now Friday night and we've just finished posture clinic. So instead of relaxing with friends and sharing a meal and a vino I found myself standing on a podium delivering Eagle posture dialogue in front of 40 yogis. A far cry from what I would normally be doing, but hey thats life at TT!

I had no problem remembering the dialogue (but then Eagle is one of the easier postures to remember :-) and am actually starting to try and really connect the words with the bodies. Sounds easy but sometimes the connection isn't very obvious visually as there are often lots of little things happening that aren't very big movements. And I have to admit that sometimes I just say things because I know thats the next line but don't really understand why it has to be that way?

Which is something I hope we get to spend more time on so that I have a real knowledge of the technique in all the postures and why things are done the way they are, rather than just doing them because thats what it says in the dialogue.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Heading to the weekend

Last night was another early night by TT standards. We finished up our Anatomy lecture at 11:30pm and then were free to go. A lot of peops chose to stay up studying the dialogue but I hit the sack and enjoyed a good 7 hours sleep. Still have this cold hanging around and so thats not making me feel the best so I'm making the most of our chance to catch up on sleep while I can.

Bikram is away in Japan at the moment hence no Bollywood movies. He is teaching some classes at a studio there and doing some lectures as a way to help out with the disaster relief over there. For all the critics and bad media who say he is all about making money, he does seem to be very generous in offering his time and money to help where needed and is always helping people network etc to get things done.

This morning we had Emmy again, and our group was on line 1 right in front of the mirrors. I haven't been able to see myself in the mirrors for days so was interested to see if my postures looked how I felt they were.

Half moon was pretty crap but my upper back has been really tight and sore for days so I didn't expect much change in that posture. My bow has deepened which I am thrilled about as I feel that I have been stuck and not progressed in that posture for ages. For the past few days I have felt like my back has opened up a lot more so it was interesting to see just how far I could get my chest down and really feel the back bend in Bow. My Camel also feels a lot deeper and though I may not be getting my back bend any deeper I feel like I am def able to push my hips further forward.

Triangle. Ugh. I could feel that my hips haven't been coming down enough in the set up even without being able to see myself. The carpet is really slippery when you're sweating heaps and for some reason my legs just don't feel strong enough, though at home it was one of my fav postures because I finally had gained the strength and my hips had opened up enough to find that "sweet" spot that makes the posture almost easy. Note: ALMOST :-). Anyway, all of this was confirmed when I could see in the mirror. Oh dear. My hips were miles up and my knee far too far over my toes. I hope its just a sign of other things changing and it will all come back into line but I'll have to be really conscious to make sure that sitting up too high doesn't becomes a habit.

Emmy stressed the importance of Frequency, and practicsing with Precsion and Intent. She said if you're just going through the motions and doing the postures the wrong way you aren't going to get any benefits. Uh oh...............guilty as charged on some days :-(

Her thoughts about yoga differ from Bikram's in that she believes you should practice with mindfulness and be aware of everthing that is going on in your body, whereas Bikram likes to distract you with humour so that you forget how painful and torturous it all is. I think I like a bit of both depending on my mood. Some days I am focused and have a rock star class and others I just want to get the hell out of there so are thankful for any kind of distraction. Unfortunately lately the later has been more true for me, but I must admit, being in front of the mirrors today made a big difference. You can feel the energy is more focused up there. The further towards the back of the room you constantly have people walking past leaving the room etc and it really does effect the energy and flow.

Anyway, so tonight we had Rajashree and I had my best class to date! Sheesh it only took 3 bloody weeks to happen, but hey it happened! I nailed every postue, only fell out of Bow at the end of the L side first set and charged through the rest. There is no rhyme or reason, I wasn't feeling particularly strong or motivated, but once I got in there I just seemed to hit my stride and away I went. Mmmmm.... I love yoga again :-) So on that note I think I'll sign off for the day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mid Week # 3

So last night we finished up at 11:00pm. We could hardly believe it! It felt like Christmas to finish so early. The benefit of having studied the dialogue before I got here is already paying off ten-fold as it mean't I could go straight to bed whereas there were plenty of yogis up till the wee hours trying to learn Awkward. Oy!

I realise looking back over my posts I haven't mentioned anything about the Anatomy lectures we have started this week. I am really enjoying them and the Dr Preddy who is teaching them has a great sense of humour and practices Bikram yoga himself so can make everything totally relevant for us. Although I know the basic muscle groups and some of the terms are familiar from hearing them in class, a lot of it is like another language and just goes right over my head. So I think it could be in for the start of a steep learning curve for me.

We also had a lecture yesterday with Emmy on Pain and its connection with the body. Unfortunately she only spoke about it for an hour or so and I SO wish she could have had more time as this is an area I find fascinating. The mind body connection and how our emotions and thoughts connect directly to the body etc. She gave us the names of a few books that I hope to read when I get back home.

Class this morning was taught by a visiting teacher, David, who lead the class exactly as per the dialogue and held us in the postures for what seemed like ages. By the 2nd set of Awkward my legs were dying and yogis were coming out of the posture early and falling out but he didn't give us any relief by speeding up the dialogue at all. Oh expleteive.......

The rest of the class went ok and I got my head to knee in both 1st and 2nd set Standing Head to Knee with no trouble but again when its done to someone saying EVERY word of the dialogue s-l-o-w-l-y it makes for a bloody long set and so my bow was crap as a result as I was buggered.

A little suprise discovery I made in the class was that our group was on line 10, the very back row and unbeknownst to me (as I had never practiced back there), if you are set up near the exit doors you actually get a little bit of fresh air everyone time someone walks out or in the class. Absolute heaven as they don't open the doors EVER during class and even when its finished the heat stays on. Ugh. And yes, yogis are allowed to leave at their own discretion whenever they feel the need. Some teachers comment on it and others don't.

So this afternoon we had Posture Clinic and we went through Awkward. The teachers we had for this clinic were Troy & Iko from New York and they were AMAZING! I have a whole page of notes on teaching that I will write up on the weekend as they had just so much valuable information that they shared with us. They showed such compassion, motivation and passion for EVERY student who said their dialogue regardless of how good they did or didn't do and I feel I could learn SO much from them, purely on just how to carry yourself in life both inside and outside of the hot room. They were such models of the kind of person I endeavour to be. Needless to say I hope we get to see them again.

Anyway, I got up and did my dialogue and it went pretty well. They said I smiled a lot and looked pretty natural - some of that because I had a yogi from my home studio in the demo group so that helped me relax.

In the 3rd part, I forgot the 3rd line, which is "Exhale breathing, suck your stomach in, spine straight", and so Troy asked me to do just the 3rd part again. As soon as I started and got to that line I realised I had forgotten it the first time and said so to Troy. He said that was all he needed to know as he wanted to check I hadn't learnt it without that line, and then explained the importance of exhale breathing and how that helps straighten your spine - something I hadn't realised before. He said there are some lines that it doesn't matter if you omit them but that particular line was really important in setting up the posture. So you can bet I'll NEVER forget it again.

Unfortunately while we are here we aren't given time to have all the postures and dialogue broken down for us like that and so they said it is up to us to make sure we learn how to connect the postures with the dialogue and really start to recognise what the bodies are doing so that the dialogue almost comes 2nd place to us as we already know what the bodies are supposed to be doing. Does that make sense? Its kind of hard to explain, but for now for myself and I think for a lot of the others we are just repeating lines and not really connecting them with the bodies so that will be the biggest thing to learn.

So we're back tonight for another Anatomy lecture. Fingers crossed we finish before midnight. I am still enjoying my sleep as that supposed "not needing sleep' benefit from 2 classes a day has not kicked in!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Only Tuesday

Today's post will be short and sweet. They have moved up our evening start time from 9:30pm to 8:30pm which means we have less time after the afternoon class to get our dinner organised, cram in some studying and be ready for the lecture. As this is the only time I find to write a post, I'll make it a quick one.

So tonight we're having posture clinic. Hopefully the rest of the peops in our group will finish up Back Bending and Hands to Feet so that we can move on to Awkward. The reason for the early start is that because we are such a large group they need to make up some time somewhere along the way. The other option would be to make training 10 weeks. Oh God NO! I will stay up late, I will stay up late! Anything to make the bad days come to an end.

Well ok, its not that bad......yet. But I am certainly not loving the experience like I had envisaged. Everyone says that by the end you will just not want to leave so I'm hanging out for that because at the mo I'm ready to change my flight and get the hell out of here asap.

Its kind of hard to explain, because its not horrible, its just kind of dare I say it, boring? Oh and bloody hard work. From the minute you wake up the day is tightly run to a schedule that is exactly the same everyday (except weekends) and though some of the lectures are different and very very good, I still have a sense of dread knowing that tomorrow we do it all over again exactly the bloody same.

Anyway, enough whining, I bored everyone enough for the past two years talking about how much I wanted to come here so I had better not bore you all with details of how little I'm enjoying it!

This morning's class was taught by Emmy. She said our Rabbit postures were so bad that the only things those rabbits were good for is stew. Baaahaaaahaaa. I just loved that one! Small things make for great humour in that torture chamber!

She also said how in Bow Pose it is really important to bring your chest down parallel to the floor especially if you are inflexible. Will def think about it more next time I'm in class.

Tonight we had Rajashree again who once again charmed everyone with her lovely nature. Even when she says she is not giving us anymore Mother Love and is going to get mean she is still wonderful. She asked if anyone was homesick and then said how its good to get away so that we appreciate the people in our lives, and also to really value this experience as its not often we get a chance in life to dedicate 9 weeks purely to ourselves and our own development. A nice thought to end the class on. :-)

So in light of that I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful people back on the Goldie and in NZ whom I am missing right now. I am so blessed to have such great people in my life who make being here all the more bittersweet. Namaste to you all. xxx

Monday, May 2, 2011

At last! Rajashree !

So this morning's class went fairly well for me considering how crap I am feeling with this cold. Certainly if I was at home I would have chosen the stay at home option but when you have to practice its amazing how well you can turn off your mind, listen to the dialogue and just do the postures. Thats not to say that it was one of my best efforts by any stretch of the imagination but I got through it without too much problem.

Then this aft we broke into our groups and started working on the rest of the dialogue. We are all divided into groups of approx 20 students and from now on we will practice and do the posture clinics with that group. This includes practicing on a specific line in the hot room which is rotated daily so that everyone gets a chance to practice in the front row. Up till today we had been allowed to practice wherever we wanted and so it was interesting to see that already there were people who had established their spots in the front rows etc.

For the posture clinics we work together with another group, so there is 40 of us in total. Again, these group combinations are rotated on a daily basis so that my group gets to work with every other group here. A good way to meet everyone and keep things fresh.

Today we did Back Bending and Pada Hastasana / Hands to Feet Pose. I got up and delivered my dialogue - though not feeling the best, I just wanted it over so I could start reviewing the next posture, which is Awkward pose. Awkward to do and awkward to learn!

I did ok, though the teacher said I need to connect with the students more to try and see what they are doing / feeling. Granted at this stage, I pretty much just say the words and don't make much of a connection at all with the bodies in front of me. Something I will endeavour to work on but I'm also hoping it will develop naturally over time once I'm more comfortable with public speaking.

Then this afternoon we had our first class with Rasjashree, Bikram's wife. The two of them couldn't be more opposite. She has such a calming, loving nature and energy it makes you want to work hard just to please her. Apparently we will be seeing more of her over the next few weeks both in the hot room and in the lecture room so I'm really looking forward to that.

Tonight is our first Anatomy lecture so it will be interesting to see what that involves. Its all very well to learn the dialogue but I hope to learn why we do things a certain way and what muscles etc are involved so that I really understand the posture rather than just recite some written words. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes. :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend at Laguna Beach

Well the weekend is over already. I can't help but feel a bit of a sense of dread at the week ahead. I'm battling a cold, still feel exhausted amd feeling a little homesick too so the thought of the intense week ahead is a little overwhelming. Lets just hope the Mondayitist doesn't settle in too badly.

I did have a fantastic weekend though. Some friends I know from NZ live near Laguna beach which is about an hour away so I hired a car and went down to spend the weekend with them. Unfort the cost of hiring a car doesn't make it something I can do every weekend but it was SO nice to get out of this hotel and away from here.

The weather was fabulous so we went to a restaurant on the hilltop overlooking the beach and spent the afternoon up there. My friend left NZ over 5 years ago and it was before I'd discovered Bikram yoga so it was interesting to hear him say the change he could see in me. Certainly I feel very different and handle things in my day to day life with so much more clarity and confidence than I ever did before so it was nice to have that recognised. It will be interesting too to see how my personal strength and perspective on life changes over the next month and a half.

So we start posture clinic tomorrow. That is where we break into smaller groups and work on each posture including delivering the dialogue. I am SO grateful I put in the time to learn the dialogue before I came here. It means what little free time we have is mine to do as I wish which is a god-send!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to an early night so will sign off here. I have pics to upload from the weekend but the internet is really really slow so am unable to at the moment. I believe its a long weekend for all the peops in Oz so you guys have Monday off. Oh what bliss! :-)