Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Teaching Journey Begins

So after 2 years of dreaming, after countless hours spent on my own practice, countless hours spent studying the dialogue, and 9 weeks full time at teaching training, my yoga journey has come full circle and I have taught my first ever Bikram Yoga Class on Saturday, July 2nd, 2011, 4pm.

I have to say I absolutely LOVED it! I am still buzzing. It made all the tears and frustration of TT worthwhile (dare I say it).

I was so anxious beforehand and have to admit to having spent the last week prior to the class with that bl**dy dialogue ever present in my hand (to which my Mother who was over visiting from NZ can attest to), but have to admit that was more to my being a perfectionist and wanting to teach the class as near to perfect as I could rather than being anxious about the actual teaching of the class. After 9 week of training it was SO frustrating to realise that nothing - nothing! - of the dialogue that I had learnt at TT had stuck in my brain. It seems my short term memory was only good for that. Short term. That is to say, that the Floor Series which I learnt day to day while in LA (i.e. generally read twenty or so times over before I presented it in dialogue clinic) did NOT stick in my brain for anything more than the few minutes required to step up and recite it.

Anyway, in spite of that, I felt as prepared as I could possibly have been for the class. There was nothing else I could have done, no more hours I could have possibly crammed or re-read the dialogue.

I am so lucky and blessed to have many yogi friends who made the effort to come to the class - some travelling from other studios, so I thank you all for your support. It made the class all that much more special for me to have you all there. There were 40 yogis in total for the class which for our studio meant it was very full. Nothing by TT standards of course (you could easily fit perhaps another 10 yogis in there by TT standards) but I have to remember that for most peops having someone else's sweat flicked over you and having no room in front, behind or on either side or your mat, actually freaks a lot of people out. :-) Another note for anyone considering going to TT - loose ALL sense of personal space, get used to having NO space either side of your mat, get used to feet on or very close to your head in Savasana, your feet on or very close to someone else's head in Savasana and being up close and personal with yogis you don't know.

So prior to the start of class, I asked my Angels of Expression to be with me, took a few Pranayama deep breaths before I walked into the studio and then stepped onto the podium and said those infamous words that I had worked so hard to have the right to say - "Hello. My name is Stephanie. Welcome to your Bikram yoga class".

And then went from there...............

I have to say I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Yes, I messed up a few times. I didn't always get my lefts and rights correct. When you're facing peops its the opposite to your own L&R which you get the hand of pretty quickly but when peops are in postures and all twisted around I found it bloody near impossible to figure out sometimes. So my apologies because if it was confusing to me it was prob more so to anyone listening and trying to follow (especially the beginners). (Which gives even more influence to the question - why didn't we bloody practice this at TT?)

Yes, there were a few moments when I had brain farts and couldn't think what the hell came next. It was so different just "saying the words" for the postures than doing them and so a few times I couldn't remember if we had done 2 sets etc. And in the floor series had to "quietly" ask one of my fellow teachers if we were up to Fixed Firm? But all in all I felt really good about the class and certainly the applause at the end confirmed that. I managed to get them on the floor in 55 mins (the recommended time is 54 mins) and we were in final savasana in 90 mins. Not bad considering I had never "practiced" the dialogue for a full class and just fudged my way through the 2nd set of each posture in terms of timing.

I want to extend a big THANK YOU ALL for your positive feedback and comments. For Sean and Jodie, the studio owners for letting me teach my first class at your studio and to my friends and fellow yogis. For those who didn't even know me but made the time to come up after class and thank me and tell me how much you enjoyed the class. I can't tell you how much it all mean't to me. It has been a dream of mine for so long to teach Bikram yoga and so was such a wonderful experience to be able to fulfill that.

So my next class is Satuday week. I am now back in the "real world" working full-time so that is soon enough for now. It gives me time to polish my dialgoue and get a better feel for those 2nd sets. I have to add that I can't wait. This feels so "right" for me and I hope that it is the beginning of a long wonderful journey. :-)


  1. Congratulations!!! So good to hear that you love teaching, and that TT was actually worthwhile. I hope you will check in from time to time. I must say that you and the other trainees I've followed are inspirations to me. Thank you!!

  2. Way to go ;-)
    Totally rocks that you adored your first teaching experience. Will look forward to your ongoing Bikram journey and am happy that the 'bizarreness' of TT was a journey worth taking to enable you to do what you love. Well done!

  3. Hi there,

    I stumbled upon your blog just today and have been reading every single post on it. Reading was like an emotional rollercoaster, so I can't even imagine what it must have been like to go through all of this yourself. There are so many things I recognize, one being to never truly have any expectations when entering the hot room. However, I find it only fair to have certain expectations when coming to a training like this, wanting to take a new step in your life and career. Too bad these expectations were not (fully) met. I am very glad you've got a great studio to go back to and trust the people over there will guide you on your way to become an amazing teacher. From what I can tell by reading your words/thoughts, you seem to be a very open-minded person, willing to adjust her views when needed. I am very curious what teaching will be like for you, during the next period and can only hope for you to continue blogging about all of this. I can't wait to read more about your process and the way you will incorporate more humor in to your classes in a while. I would love to become a yoga teacher in the future, although I will need more practice before I am ready to do so. I totally adore Bikram yoga, but am already considering to take a training in Thailand at Absolute Yoga. It's a sequence similar to Bikram yoga, but it's got some added poses. The training is one month, but the group will be way smaller and it seems to be a very inspiring team of teachers there. I will have to try a class over there to see whether I like their style and all, but right now it is something that keeps me motivated and happy in life. Currently I am getting a lot out of my yoga practice and it must be awesome to help other people feel the same way in the future. Being a certified Bikram teacher is awesome, but the way to get me some shivers. I am very proud of you and would like to give you a virtual hug for pulling through so well and strong.
    All the best,



  4. Hi Saar

    Thank you for your wonderful comments. I have been reading your Blog and love your posts. I wonder if you have made a decision regarding your Yoga Training?

    I am familiar with the Training in Thailand as I buy a number of products thru Lucas - and can highly recommend the YogaBody by the way.

    A friend of mine went and did his yoga training through Absolute and LOVED it! Like me it was a decision he found hard with regards to whether to go the Bikram TT route or with Absolute.

    From what he said it was such a different experience from mine. I get the impression that Lucas has a more open and balanced view of yoga / and teacher training. You are encouraged to try ALL kinds of yoga prior to attending, the food is organic etc and the setting looks just beautiful. Hmmmmm......'nuff said eh! Its still a bitter pill to swallow when I think of my experience but I have to remind myself I am teaching now and LOVING LOVING LOVING it.

    My thoughts are quite simply the more people doing yoga the better and while I understand some of the "politics" of Bikram Vs Non-Bikram rivalry I try not to add fuel to any of it, and just teach at the Bikram registered studios and share my love for what the yoga does for you.

    Good luck with your yoga journey. I hope you continue to get inspiration from your practice.

    Stephanie xx