Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bend It Like Bikram

            We are a very lucky training group.  We had senior, principal teacher Emmy Cleaves all week long!  Emmy has been with Bikram for decades.  She’s in her eighties, but a prime example of what this yoga can do for you.  She looks years and years younger and still practices and teaches regularly. She taught Monday-Friday morning classes and stayed to lecture/ do posture clinics in the afternoons Monday- Thursday.  She is a wealth of knowledge on everything, not just yoga.  She is one of the few/ possibly the only teacher who will walk around while we practice yoga (usually teacher stands on podium in front).  She is full of good technique and posture corrections, which helped me to understand how to adjust my postures to progress further. She told us not to go all out in every class, which made me feel a little bit better about struggling in my morning classes. I’m struggling with a really tight lower back and hamstrings.  I’ve taken about 10 steps back from where I was when I got here.  I’m taking my morning classes easy to loosen it all up, then in the evening classes pushing to my max in hopes of keeping it loosened up for good.  I know it’s normal for your body to tighten/stiffen up with all the yoga (and sitting endless hours in lecture/ bollywood) that we are doing, but it’s frustrating not being able to do what I could 2 weeks ago.

Emmy giving posture clinic

            This week started rough.  I was just clearing the final stages of my cold, so I was a little out of it Monday morning class.  I found it difficult to focus on everything Emmy was saying and all I wanted to do was roll over and go to sleep.  My previous post recaps how the rest of Monday went… High temp was 112 degrees, I think.  So Monday was fun.
            On Tuesday we finished the first posture dialogue in front of Bikram! We watched old interviews of Bikram from as early as the 70’s.  It was so amusing to watch. Bikram still says a lot of the same analogies as he did back then!
Bikram was gone on Wednesday, which meant it wasn’t going to be a late night!  He had two T.V. interviews to do.  One was for a local San Diego news station, and one for Las Vegas. Bikram did the San Diego interview in our “Bikram Village” and even came in to the tent.  The reporter got down and did the last 20 min. or so of the class. He struggled, but I definitely give him credit!
that's him on the floor by the cameraman. 

Here's a link to the news cast.  It shows in the yoga tent and a little into our "village"

  Wednesday Night we were split into our posture clinic groups where we will complete the rest of the postures. We got half way through the next posture. I haven’t given mine yet.  The posture clinics will pick up this upcoming week.  Bikram will be gone for the next two weeks.  This means we will be kept no later than midnight (yay!), but we will be knocking out a huge chunk of postures. There will be endless hours of studying. Our early dismissals from posture clinic/ lecture at night might result in late nights cramming the dialogue!
Thursday night Bikram was back.  He had some friends visiting him.  One was a huge musician/entertainer from India who was releasing a CD in L.A. He sang a little bit for us.  Bikram then played one of his own songs….  This one a particularly eclectic, techno style.  He has a very broad range of music.  Soothing, to caribbean, to techno apparently!  Very entertaining to say the least!  Bikram left with his friends and we were left in the tent to watch Bollywood alone.  Until 2 a.m. 
            Friday I was exhausted.  I guess that’s what the 9 yoga classes so far and 4 hours of sleep the night before will do to you! Bikram lectured in the afternoon, and it took everything I had not to fall asleep.  He likes to talk.  He starts on one topic, and ends up 2 hours later finally making his point.  It literally takes all of your energy just to follow what tangent he’s on and where the conversation is going.  He makes quite a few detours en route to the point he’s making!  Today, I did not have the energy.  I unfortunately missed a chunk of it by zoning out, but I couldn’t help it.  I was worried how the afternoon class was going to go, being so tired, but I had a pretty strong class.  The class ended as Bikram said goodbye for two weeks and we were given the night off!  They really have the training process down.  Just when you think you can’t make it and you’re so tired, they go and give you the night off.  The BEST words you can hear at training!
            The week ended on a much higher note than it started.  I am continuously amazed at what I am truly able to accomplish here, especially with very little sleep. The energy in and after yoga really seems to get me through.  I haven’t gotten to the point yet where I need to go to class on Sunday, our only day off.  And yes, there are quite a few here who take classes willing on Sunday!  I hope by the end I do get to that point.  The point where I’m craving yoga everyday, regardless of how much I did the day before.  Both my practice, and myself, have changed noticeably each week I’m here.  Most change has been for the good, but some for the bad.  I still struggle in the morning classes.  I’m stiff, tired, weak etc. I find myself getting frustrated with poor yoga etiquette in the hot room. Everyone here has been practicing a while, why would you put your mat right in front of mine with your feet in my face?! (Proper etiquette in the room is to stagger mats of those in front and behind so you do not directly line up.) I hope to snap myself out of it in week 3, we’ll see.  My evening classes have all been amazing.  It’s my own little redemption for my lacking morning classes.  I overcame the heat wave Monday and managed to have a decent class.  I have yet to leave the yoga room, which is great.  I’ve been doing a ton better with sleep deprivation than I thought.   I am finding out I can get by with very little.  I may not have full attention sometimes, but I can do it.  If I went to bed late at home, I felt like I couldn’t do yoga in the morning and I wouldn’t go.  I now understand what the yoga does to my body.  I am tired when I get up, and it’s difficult, but when I get in that hot room and get moving, the energy is amazing and lasting.  I know my breaking point will come in this training, that is the point of the crazy hours.  I hope that when it does come, I can continue to practice mind-over-matter and take it as it comes. 

Here are some pics- more to come
View from my balcony

Getting settled for class

Ahh I love final savasana! 


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