Saturday, May 9, 2009
Week 2: Settling In
Today we completed our second week of training with our 11th yoga class of the week and CPR training. Our days are so full that the days begin to blend into each other around Wednesday. We are up by 7 and busy until anywhere from 11:30 PM to 3:15 AM. A short day was one where we got to go to bed the same day instead of the following morning. Claudia and I finally made it to the pool last night since we were dismissed from our evening lecture with Bikram. The nights here in the desert are beautiful - clear and warm with a view of the stars. It was so nice to be outside for a change.
As of right now, taking two yoga classes a day has been bearable. I always keep in mind the need to pace myself because we have a total of almost a hundred classes to take while we're here. What's funny is everyone already seems to have staked out their favorite practice spots in the room. I tried practicing near the front in order to see myself in the mirror but soon found out that wasn't the place for me. I found the front of the room a little too competitive and worked my way to the back of the room. I then found the back of the room to be too crowded with people trying to get out of the teacher's line of vision. I think I like the third or fourth row from the back (out of about 10 rows) and I've even gotten used to not being able to see even a hair on my head in the front mirror. When I get back to Long Beach, I don't think I will ever be peeved when someone sets up in front of me again.
Bikram's classes are always challenging and entertaining. I think he could easily go on the road with a stand up act and be successful! His blunt and sometimes harsh corrections definitely keep everyone on their toes. I wish I could bring my camera in and take a picture of over 320 people in awkward pose together - it's truly an awesome sight to see. We've had some other wonderful senior teachers this week and we were really fortunate to have Emmy for four of our morning classes. Taking one of her classes is like taking a yoga class and a physiology class in one - that's why most of her classes run close to two hours. What a wealth of knowledge.
The weather is is definitely heating up and it was about 105 here yesterday and today. The yoga room was hotter than last week and we all felt it. Many people needed to sit out postures or leave the room, but I'm proud to say the Long Beach crew has not sat down once. Whenever I feel tired, I just think about Haesook. At 15 years my senior, she has a solid practice every class. Now that's inspiration! The oldest teacher trainee is a lovely woman who is 69. I've never seen her leave the room and she's always smiling at the end of every class. What's tough to deal with is the temperature in the lecture room. The room has a very underpowered air conditioning unit that isn't able to cool such a large room filled with 320 people. It gets so warm in there that it's difficult to stay awake. The trickle of sweat rolling down my back usually shakes me out of my fog for a bit.
Bikram lectured more this week than last week and treated us to only one 4-hour epic Indian movie. I really enjoy his lectures and respect his views on living a yogi lifestyle. He said that since we're going to be "selling" an Indian product (Bikram yoga), we have to understand Indian culture. He's quite the historian and storyteller. I have especially enjoyed his lectures on self-realization, religion versus spiritualism, and how practicing yoga only brings about positive effects in your life.
I'm slowly adjusting to living in a hotel room. I've pretty much given up on trying to cook anything from scratch - it's too much trouble, I'm too tired, and I'm too short on time. The lunch included in our tuition is marginal, but it's easy and it does the deed. For dinner, I've been microwaving ready-made meals from Trader Joe's and having salad,but my biggest challenge is eating enough. What's funny is that last week I was starving all the time and this week I'm not hungry. Last night I didn't eat enough for dinner and I definitely felt it in class this morning. I'm trying to make sure I'm eating enough oxygen-rich foods and I'm using Cell Food and electrolyte-replacement powder so I feel well hydrated. I think we're all drinking more than 2 gallons of water each day. Colleen also introduced me to Kombucha and coconut water and I'm now an avid follower of both drinks. It's nice to drink something other than water sometimes!
Next week we're going to start our two weeks of anatomy and we'll also be breaking into our small groups of 20 for posture/dialoge clinic. It's time to get back to studying dialogue tomorrow after Dan and the kids come to visit for Mother's Day. I'm treating myself to a 90-minute massage (thanks, Pamela!) and should be well rested for Week 3.
Even though I'm tired to the bone and some days wish I were twenty years younger, I am thoroughly enjoying this experience. Bikram said that the training involves breaking us down to only rebuild us into better people. He even goes as far as saying that we will leave this training different people than when we arrived. I think the breaking down process is going to continue for several more weeks before the rebuilding begins. I'm trusting what he said to us the first day in orientation: let go of everything as we know it and not question his methods. In other words, we need to trust his Indian boot camp process and leave our Western ways of thinking and doing things at the door.