Saturday, May 23, 2009

Week 4: Stay on Your Mat

Week 4 was a wild ride. It began with a class I thought I wasn't going to live through and it ended with a rejuvenating evening with family and friends. Staying on my own mat is what stands out for me when I reflect on Week 4 of training. Whether it was mentally or physically, I was definitely challenged to stay on my own mat but somehow I managed to get through another week of call it what you want - Bikram Teacher Training or Indian Boot Camp.

My first challenge was homesickness. Homesickness set in full force around Tuesday and I really started to wonder what the heck I was doing here when the people I love most in the world were away from me. I spent most of the day reflecting and keeping to myself because everything and everyone seemed to irritate me. Instead of vocalizing this, I tried to look inward until I came to peace with my feelings. I really had no idea what it would be like to be away from Dan and the kids for nine weeks until now - a month into a nine-week commitment. Everyone has told me that the middle weeks - 5, 6, and 7 - are the toughest and I'm starting to understand what they mean. I have a really good life at home and I miss it. It's as simple as that. It was, however, wonderful to see some familiar faces from home. Joe from the Long Beach studio visited us and took a double with us. Mayu, one of our teachers from home, took several classes and helped out with posture clinics. Betty and Judy were in town for the long weekend and both stopped by to visit for a bit. Dan and the kids also came out for their weekly visit and I loved every second they were here. I'm so fortunate to be able to see them so often and my heart goes out to all the parents here whose children are too far away to visit.

Yoga also challenged me. I had to learn go deal with distractions and to stay in the zone. I started to let the people around me lose my focus in the room and I didn't stay on my own mat for a few classes. This forced me to regroup and to remember that an important part of this yoga involves having enough discipline to ignore even a parade coming through the room.

I'm sure that being sleep deprived exacerbated my homesickness and my lapse in focus. Bikram returned this week and we were back to our very late nights - or early mornings, rather and three nights in a row we were dismissed at 2:30 or 4:30 AM. It was funny to take in the expressions on the faces of the Starbucks morning shift workers as they watched us trudge through the lobby at 4:30 as they were opening for the day. We're all becoming quite good at sleeping on the floor or in a chair during a marathon Indian movie. One trainee sleeps with her eyes open and never gets busted for sleeping during lecture or posture clinic. I envy her.

We're moving along with memorizing and delivering our teaching dialogue and the pace is going to speed up beginning this next week. We take our second and final anatomy test tomorrow and then we're going to start having posture/dialogue clinics twice a day. Instead of covering two to three postures a week, we'll probably cover four to five. We've all been assigned to a small group for these clinics and my group started getting together to practice together in the evenings. It's definitely helpful to recite the dialogue in front of people in the postures. We're slowly becoming more comfortable delivering our dialogue in front of groups of people. Everywhere through out the hotel, there are small groups of yogis talking to themselves or standing in postures. The hotel staff will really think we're crazy when we get to the floor series!

We had a nice variety of visiting teachers come through this week. My favorites have been Diane from Boston and Ulysses from Mexico City. Diane is a true posture clinician who stresses doing the postures 100% correct for your individual body. Ulysses treated us to a challenging class taught half in English and half in Spanish. He described pain in a way that stood out. He said that pain never goes away - your relationship with it changes. I've been thinking about this ever since he mentioned it in class the other day.

This Wednesday marks the halfway point in our training. I have such mixed feelings about the training overall that I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad that we're almost halfway through our time here. There are many things about the training I don't understand or agree with and there are many other things that I love and look forward to. I guess I'm still in the Bikram blender and it's not quite time to stop mixing. I need to keep in mind that I just need to continue to trust the process and before I know it, the process will make sense to me. It's a little hard for this control freak to do, but I'm taking it one day at a time. Trust the process... Trust the process...

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