Saturday, June 13, 2009

Week 7: Upside Down in the Yoga Bubble

Week 7 of Teacher Training was a slow, steady burn. There wasn't anything too unusual about it, but it steadily gained intensity as the week progressed. By the end of our last class today, I was thoroughly and utterly exhausted. I don't think I was ever this exhausted even when my children were newborns and I needed to wake up every couple of hours during the night to feed them. The good thing is, I am so exhausted and I don't think I could feel any more exhausted; therefore, I think I should be able to handle anything they throw at us in Week 8.

Rajashree stood in for Bikram this week while he was traveling out of the country. She taught most of the classes in a loving and fierce manner that I admire. She's a siren who smiles while she sweetly entices you to stay in the postures. Her tactics are deceivingly wicked and they work well. She also lectured on yoga theraphy for a couple of afternoons. She shared her extensive knowledge of how yoga works from the inside out. I'm beginning to understand more and more why yogis have long, productive lives. She explained how Bikram yoga works every gland, organ, ligament, tendon, and muscle in your body in every class.

We were also treated to a lecture from Dr. Anne Marie Benstrom, the famous guru of "The Ashram" in Calabassas. What a vivacious woman of 81 years of age! We enjoyed her anecdotes from her personal experiences and her knowledge of the Chakric System. Some of her ideas I found to be pretty out there, but I think it's good to listen to someone challenge your belief system every now and then.

What's funny is that I actually look forward to going to yoga twice a day. Though sometimes I feel pretty tired and don't want to go initially, I always feel more energized that when I first walked in the door. If it wasn't for the yoga, I don't think we would be able to sit in lecture and posture clinics for hours at a time. Despite my fatigue, I feel stronger than when I arrived and I'm looking forward to seeing how my practice will continue to evolve after I get home and give my muscles a chance to fully rest. I've had some new aches and pains this week, but fortunately nothing to really worry about, I think.

I'm still falling in love with the dialogue. I think it's going to be a long courtship. We covered four more postures this week and we still have five to cover next week. I'm slowly feeling more comfortable getting up in front of forty-plus people and delivering my dialogue. I finally got the ok to give corrections, so that will be a new challenge for me next week. The group of people that I rotate with is a wonderful group of people. Our ages range from 21 to 58 and we represent many countries around the world - Austria, Canada, Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Russia and the United States. What's amazing to me is that for many people here, English is their third or even fourth language. They have to learn the dialogue in English for training, but many of them will teach in their first or second languages. It's truly impressive. Everyone in Group 16 (the last of 16 groups of 20 people because of alphabetical order) is very supportive of one another and everyone gets along well. That's a good thing considering that we spend up to 7 hours a day together sharing the dialogue challenges, the injuries, the illnesses, and the homesickness. The picture I included in this blog entry is of most of the people in Group 16.

Week 8 is going to be a tough week, I think. Bikram is back on Monday for the remainder of training and we still have several postures to get through in posture clinic. I'm sure there they'll also throw in some Bikram lectures and some more episodes of the Mahabharat. That's ok because after Week 8 comes Week 9 and after Week 9 we go home!

Manali, Bikram's niece who always greets us in the mornings and extends birthday wishes, asked us the other day if we were sad that training is almost over. Some shouted yes while others shouted no. I didn't say anything at all because I'm not sure how I feel about training ending. Being in this yoga bubble will be unlike anything else I'll ever do in my life and I think this experience will definitely be one of biggest challenges of my life. I like my break from the ordinary responsibilities of my life, but that has come with a very high price tag: homesickness. I know that nine weeks is only a blip of time in the big scheme of things, but to me every moment with my family is precious. I'm a stay-at-home mom for a reason: I want to be there for them and with them. Yeah, I think I'm ready to go home.

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