Thursday, May 31, 2012

Total Recall

Today marks the end of our individual-pose deliveries. I was so excited to get to this point and go out with a bang on my Spine Twisting Pose. There is a serious wave of relief that you feel knowing you said the 26 poses (semi-verbatim), in front of your peers. There is also the torture of knowing that its now time to piece it all together and turn on the magic. Today, I became a teacher of this series, not just an observant. Which means, that even when I'm practicing, I will be judged by myself and others around me by a higher standard. Now, things will start getting it's up to us to independently stay self-motivated.

If each week at Training has it's own personality, then this week's persona is independent. For starters, those of us with cars and who don't want a break from practicing, have been forced to find yoga outside of the hotel. The heat is repaired but we are still anxiously awaiting our permit from the Fire Dept. I hear rumors that "tomorrow is the day we start again," but either way I'm fine. I actually love practicing at the Hermosa Beach studio, which is only a 10 minute drive from the hotel. So far, I've taken 3 classes there this week to compensate for what I'm not getting in training. Psychologically, when you are going on your own free will and don't have to sign in, somehow the Yoga feels more enjoyable; even when you sit out half the class and realize your practice isn't as strong as it used to be. 

Big props to the staff at Hermosa and the Owners, who 1) don't charge any of the teacher trainees to practice and 2) accomodate the unexpected, over-crowding with a smile. I highly recommend this charming studio to anyone looking for a strong, hot class in Cali.

As for the lectures, I have also independently decided who I want to fully absorb and who I want to skim. Since John Burras' lecture last week, we have had Raj Choudhury (Bikram's wife), Brian Tracy Ph.D (Head of Health & Exercise Physiology Dept. at Colorado State University), and Dr. Mani Bhaumik, (Nobel Prize winner / Lifetime Achievement Award winner / co-inventor of the world's first excimer laser).  

In my humble opinion, these lectures post-Burras have been very "textbook." Raj is engaging as a speaker but her content is too scripted. Dr. Brian Tracy spoke about how muscles allow us to do yoga poses, but his presentation was too cerebral for his audience. Just like teaching a Bikram class, you need to understand what your students are going through to teach effectively - KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! 

As for Dr. Bhaumik, Bikram built him up in his intro to be the smartest man on the planet, and that very well may be the case. Unfortunately, you would never know that from the way he speaks. With his heavy Indian accent and delivery, it was hard to appreciate the importance of "The Source," which was his topic. Given the importance of this subject, I would have liked to hear it revealed from Bikram or Burras. Even Dr. P would have been more vibrant. 

What I did take away from Dr. Bhaumik last night is that yoga was invented for us to connect in our minds to The Source (defined here:  

Our brain cannot perceive The Source because it moves so fast, but it is everywhere and in everyone. The Source makes its own energy and gives us our consciousness. I am channeling The Source right now to write this blog. How will you tap into your own Source today?

Mama, Give Me the Heat!

Our week has been turned upside down and inside out with the surprise holiday party on Monday and the broken heating system in our yoga room. As if that wasn't enough, one yogi decided to take it upon himself to inform the Fire Department that we do not have an exit plan to get out of the room, in case of emergency. Bikram had this student escorted out of the hotel last night, the minute he caught wind of the situation. So this rogue yogi, Harold, endured 7 hard weeks at training, only to now never graduate and probably get hit with a slew of legal bills. I seriously can't think of anything worse. Being given the gift to teach should never be taken for granted. We all need to refocus ourselves on those people and things we hold dear. Be present for the ones who count, but most importantly, be present for yourself.

Bikram said last night, "Literate enemy much better than illiterate friend," in relation to Harold's decision. I thought that pretty much said it all. While Harold was trying to "protect" us all in this instance, he hurt us all. Each and every one of us, but not as badly as he hurt himself. Having said all that, we still have not been made aware of an exit plan and I would sure love to have one now that I think about it.

I've been exposed to so many exciting philosophies on balance, union, yoga, aging, health and everything in between. To write about all of it in this blog would be a full time job, and I left that back in New York. So I want to leave you with some more tools from John Burras that I found helpful and meaningful...


1 - POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Attitude is #1 factor in healthy aging.

2 - ABILITY TO ADAPT TO CHANGE - If you're stuck, you're holding onto something that doesn't belong, which in turn causes resistance and ultimately stress in the body.

3 - ENJOY WHERE YOU ARE - This is essentially what the yoga mat teaches you; to appreciate your defined space. When you can stay somewhere without looking at the clock, you have found peace.

4 - CONTINUE TO DESIRE - Improve, keep adding things to your bucket list. When you stop wanting, you start dying.


6 - RELEASE OLD WOUNDS - Physical or emotional forgiveness. Forgive yourself.

7 - EXPANSIVE MOVEMENT - i.e. Practice yoga; it enables us to go in a different direction with our lives.

8 - BODYWORK - Routine acupuncture and massage.

9 - TAKE BREAKS - enough said

10 - EAT CLOSE TO NATURE - Eat as many organic foods and as little processed foods as possible.

11 - CLEANSE YOUR BODY - You change the filters in your car, so why not your own body? (sweating in hot room, colonic, etc.)

12 - SUPPLEMENTS (as needed)

Monday, May 28, 2012

On Memorial Day, An Analogy of War

Is Health and Fitness one and the same? In today's society, there is very little health actually found in "health clubs" because these two words are mean entirely different things. Just to make this point as clear as possible, people who work out less sometimes live longer.

Let me go back in time to explain this phenomenon deeper...Hundreds of years ago, man made a shift from hunter of the household, to warrior of the household. When men began "hunting" other men, that's when war was created. This shift from hunter to warrior required body building and physical training. Back in the day, you'd work out for your "war body" or to excel in "sport killing."

Today, the symbolism in most of the sports we partake in is evolved from war. For example, "the war room," is where players get drafted. If a pitcher has a really good arm, we say he has a "gun." If a quarterback throws a "bomb," we say he's got a "cannon." The language of war is the same as sport these days and the examples go on and on if you think about them. As a culture, we are still trying to use our bodies to conquer. Violence is on the rise. Graphically violent movies flood the minds and eyes of today's youth and adults. It's everywhere, if you pay attention you can't miss it.

There are two concepts of fitness that most of us adhere to: 1) Harden the body. 2) Aerobically condition the heart. Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the inventor of the Aerobics concept (and book) in 1968, took the world in one direction with his views on preventative medicine and how to lead a healthy life through fitness and regular aerobic workouts. Today, at age 81, he says he was wrong. You can read more about the latest findings in this article:

So essentially, our economy is based on a lie. Imagine the economic impact if you took away gyms, Nike apparel and everything that is connected to playing sports and attending sporting events in our world? We are too far gone my friends. We've turned our hearts into weapons of war. Fit, healthy people are having more and more unexplainable heart attacks and heart conditions out of no where.

The lesson today is you don't have to train your heart to be healthy. The "Fitness" concept has only been around for 50 years. Yoga has been around for thousands of years. Everything "Health" related in the media, print, etc. is based on "hardening the body." I'm not here to take that chiseled look away from you. Vanity still reigns strongest over all else, especially in California. So meet me half way and do yoga to balance out all the damage you do to yourself in "Fitness and in Health."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Science & Technology are Killing Us

Did you know that a cell phone heats up to 7 degrees when pushed up against the head to talk? It's essentially like a microwave heating the brain, hence the up-tick in brain cancer. Our hyper-stimulation is the result of constantly being on alert for text messages emails and phone calls, making us a gossip-oriented culture. 

According to John Burras, communication between individuals is actually decreasing with all of the technology available, making basic conversation and live interactions, especially among the younger generations who are now given cell phones at age 10, harder and harder. If the average teenager sends around 3,500 text messages per month, (most of which say "hey dude" or "what's up?") is technology really working?

In the yoga room, there is no technology allowed for a reason. Primarily because it is the last sacred space in our daily lives. It's the one place we can focus on ourselves, uninterrupted for 90 minutes (at least). Even on the golf course, which is suppose to be a no-phone zone, I can remember my blackberry sitting gracefully on the golf cart's shelf.

The non-organic food supply in this country is losing all of its nutritional value. The added chemicals actually deplete all of the minerals that once sustained us. Not only that, the soil that food grows in is also effected by foreign pesticides, making it essential for us to buy everything organic if we want to make sure there is nutritional value in what we eat. 

The using headphones as often as possible or though the the blue tooth system in your car. Even having the phone in your lap is problematic because you don't want to heat your genitals for the same reason. 

Make smarter, non-processed choices for your diet and be sure to know where your fruits and veggies originate from. I know personally that's not always easy and time / money are factors, but it's critical to a healthy life. Out in California, I have rediscovered the wonders of Whole Foods. Almost everything sold there is organic and you can tell based on how much you spend. 

Consider growing food in your own garden. My mother is an avid gardener and I have tasted the difference between the food she grows and the crap sold in grocery stores. There is no comparison, so think twice before you break out the processed potato chips and grill those hotdogs, made from God knows what, on Memorial Day. For the first time, maybe ever, I will not be celebrating the Memorial Day holiday. It is not recognized in the Bikram Yoga bubble. We are on India time here, so the rest of Burras' teachings will follow tomorrow as usual. 

Good night and God speed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Week #6 Memorable Teachers

Monday am, Ashley
Monday pm, Bikram
Tuesday am, Jena Blackwood (New York)
Tuesday pm, Ida Ripley (BC, Canada)
Wednesday am, Tricia (owner, Bikram Yoga Lower East Side, NYC)
Wednesday pm, Bikram
Thursday am, Emmy
Friday am, Sharon (headquarters)
Friday pm, Balwan (headquarters) - brought the house down with his sweetness and positive energy
Saturday am, Karen (West Palm Beach, owner)

Peel Away the Layers

Continuing on with the teachings of John Burras, I want to stress the importance of the relationship between your Bones (living tissue) and Fascia (connected tissue). Bones are rebuilt and continue to grow every day, even if you have Osteoporosis; a condition my grandmother suffered from towards the end of her life. I now understand this degenerative condition in a whole different light. Healthy Fascia is critically correlated to healthy bones. AGE DOESN'T MATTER. You can regenerate bone growth as long as Fascia is in tact.

Bones are a store-house of calcium. When the body thinks it needs calcium somewhere else, it takes it from the bones. Hence, we should really think about why/where that calcium is going and what the body is "thinking" when it depletes it from our bones. Aging doesn't cause stiffness, stiffness causes aging. Theoretically, my grandma would have benefited tremendously from yoga and it makes me sad to know this in hind sight.

Also important in Burras' opinion - a healthy foot is a flat foot because it creates stability. FEET ARE THE GROUND FLOOR! An arched foot is a tight foot; a foot under stress. So, for all you flat-footed people out there, you can now sleep a little better at night knowing that the stigma has been wrong all these years.

Now that we understand a little about the foundation of our bodies, it's time to get to the core of who we really are. Think of yourself as the trunk of a tree. If you cut the trunk, you'll see the rings inside of it, rounding all the way through to the core. These rings can represent wounds, injuries (emotional & physical) that have yet to be processed and are now lying dormant inside of us. We need to peel away these layers to go beneath the surface to achieve actual healing. The deeper you go, the more chaotic it becomes, so we (as humans) tend to bury ourselves in armor.

Yoga is the peeling away of these layers and armor; an emotional, healing journey. Yoga is one of the many tools we can use to nourish our Fascia, but keep in mind, it's not the only tool. How we see the world, is how we create the world in our minds. Science is only one window of perception. There is life beyond science. That's what Burras is preaching in a nutshell. 

If you are willing to step out from under the "science umbrella," then it's time to understand CHAKRAS; which were best explained to me as an energy system, comprised of a series of rotating colored spheres in the body (i.e. spiritual organs). There are seven primary Chakras that rotate clockwise and they unite the three primary columns of energy moving up and down the spine. This effect is sometimes referred to as "serpent energy" because it twists up the body like snakes.

Hormones and nerves are effected by Chakras. When we make decisions in our lives, we open/close the Chakra valves to decide how to feel. These seven Chakras govern every aspect of our being; from stability & sexuality to immune system & communication. They work in conjunction with our existing organs (which are surrounded by Fascia). In theory then, the healthier we are, the more spiritual we can become. We can achieve a higher level of thinking by lining up our chakras, but it takes a ton of work. And I've only just begun....

Burn After Reading...

The information I've been given over the past two days has brought the entire Teacher Training "process" together for me, and I still have another 3 weeks left. Today, the lights went on.

What I'm about to share with you may shock you, piss you off, make you sad or some other emotional reaction to that effect. This is not always well received information. In the Bikram hemisphere, however, it makes all the sense in the world.

#1 Tightening your stomach protects your lower back.
#2 If you have no pain, that means you're healed.
#3 Surgery is the only option.
#4 Spinal manipulation alone will help a back problem.
#5 Back pain is associated with the muscles in your back.
#6 Fitness will heal back pain.
#7 Back braces cure back pain.
#8 Scoliosis is hereditary.

All of the above are wrong. John Burras went out of his way to demonstrate why with very compelling examples for each myth. The bottom line is that there is a new model that is going to rock the health care and fitness industries to its core. This powerful shift in thinking is brewing slowly and steadily on the sidelines. But anyone who follows the economies of explosion behind the emergence of the $27 Billion dollar industry in this country - yoga - knows that this shift will be more than a fad. Think along the lines of Facebook's valuation x 10 (that's my personal opinion). 

The problem in this country is that there is no importance placed on Fascia (described in my last blog) in Western medical culture. There is so much more to understand, when it comes to the body, than the story we were told, the hand we were dealt in Kindergarden. The scientific explanation of what is healthy is no longer, the ONLY explanation.

I don't want to throw too much at you, because this is heavy stuff. Today I learned that everything I think I thought I knew about health and fitness just went out the window. Different ball game, wow!

I need to break this info up into the weekend, so bare with me. My fuel tank is on empty and I need sleep, so we'll see y'all tomorrow! I now talk like Gerry, the "father" of my Group (#11). He's a retired truck driver, father of 3 girls and a husband of 40 years from Tennessee who takes care of us as if we were his kids. Gerry is not on Facebook, nor is he tech saavy, so hopefully someone from the Group can tell him "he's amazing" for me?

Friday, May 25, 2012

East vs. West

Today was a glorious improvement from yesterday. You can never have a bad day when it starts off with Emmy's class. She's 87 by the way, older than I previously mentioned. According to Jon Burras' lecture ( today on FASCIA and all of it's unspoken benefits, age doesn't matter. With yoga, you can actually get better as you age, provided that you have healthy Fascia.

What is Fascia? Besides being critically correlated to healthy bones, Fascia is a kind of connected tissue that can stretch the muscles. It's essentially a container for the body and it's what keeps us upright. But it's important to understand that Fascia can't move by itself; it must be pulled.

Old Theory #1 (Western): Your body is built like a column / a building and your bones hold you up.

New Theory (Model of Eastern medicine): Our body is built like a cable system. It's the balancing of your muscles and Fascia that creates stability and a pain free life. Tension pulling on bones creates lift and your bones are in essence floating in a sea of Fascia.

Old Theory #2 & #3 (Western): Hardness = health. Old people shrink/harden.

Before this New Model can work for you, you have to believe what Burras is saying. I 100% agree with him, mainly because he put his money where his mouth is and showed us visually how all of this occurs. His real life examples, encompass 20+ years of the most relative experience I've been exposed to thus far in the six weeks that I've been here. The proof really is in the pudding. 

Burras gave us many more highlights to prove this super important change of thinking, here are a few that I found meaningful: 

*When people don't hydrate their bodies, the Fascia hardens, creating (energy) blockages and stiffness.
*Yoga is not about shedding weight and losing inches, it's a complete paradigm shift.
*Connected tissue, like Fascia, has the ability to change shape. Practicing yoga will warm and liquify the Fascia, by design, enabling us to stretch it.
*A "yoga body" isn't as chiseled looking as a "fitness body," but it's a healthier body.

To be continued.....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yoga vs. Traditional Sports

Today was by far, the toughest and longest day I've had in a while. Tricia, owner of the Lower East Side studio, was teaching one of the best classes this morning when along along came a feeling I haven't felt in months - water belly (i.e. yoga nausea). We were at Camel and I went totally "man-down." After trying for several postures to get over it, I left the room for the first time in 60 classes (the total amount I've practiced since arriving 6 weeks ago). I didn't want to go, but I had to throw up everything that didn't belong in my body. As I ran towards the door, I realized I might not make it and I basically didn't. But thank God for the mini-trash can that looks so out of place by the big, ominous entry doors. I always wondered why they had that there, and now I know.

I was followed out of the room by one of "Bikram's Helpers," Kiera. She kept her distance and let me die in peace on the hotel carpet, but I knew she was there...just in case. I did make it back in to finish the class with all that remained of my dignity. Throughout the day, everyone in fabulous GROUP 11, asked me how I was feeling. All 400+ people saw me run out today and every single one of them cared. This is in essence why I love the yoga so much.

As for Bikram's class later that night, he couldn't break my stride with his usual antics. I had already been shattered earlier, so class #2 felt like a huge improvement. I even powered through his lecture and another ridiculous Bollywood movie that I didn't bother to jot down the name of because let's be honest people, I will never watch it again!

It's 3am here and I want to leave you with a little piece of Bikram's lecture to consider. This is his opinion based on his life experiences. The examples of athletes spanning from Kareem Abdul Jabbar to John Mcenroe, that Bikram has healed is astounding. He mainly gets called upon by world famous athletes who want to play a few more years beyond their "expiration dates" or they want one last opinion before they go under the knife. 

Please don't shoot the messenger if you disagree with the below:

  • 93% of sports destroy our bodies because we push ourselves against nature.
  • Sports, and everything you associate with watching and participating in them, is a business. More specifically, it's "Temporary Cheap Entertainment" that ultimately takes a lot of your money.
  • Sports remove you from time that should be spent taking care of family and loved ones.
  • Sports are good for kids because it's teaches them discipline, but that's it.
So how does Bikram Yoga offset the negative effects of exercise? Each posture feeds only one organ at a time with precision, plain and simple. In yoga, everything is balanced on both sides of the body and throughout all muscle groups. In every sport, your muscle use, concentration and subsequent injuries are limited to specific parts/areas of the body. For example, quarterbacks get constant scapula injuries from all the throwing.

The bottom line from tonight's lecture is "yoga maintains youth." Oh and Gary, Bikram says that ice hockey is the absolute worst sport you can do for your body. Sorry bro...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The 10th Row

For seven consecutive days, during morning and evening classes, I practiced at the back of the house, on the last Teacher Trainee row - Row 10. I chose this spot during the three Teacher Recertification classes, when there was an additional 126 bodies in the room practicing with Bikram. I opted for the leg room since you're guaranteed to have no one directly behind you on this row, which is always a good thing when there's 600 people doing hot yoga in the same space. I randomly got pushed back to 10 with my group assignments for the following two days after recertification.

Learning to become teachers has taught us how to come into any situation prepared. Being prepared can be as simple as speaking up when someone puts their mat in a place that will make you uncomfortable (and drive you absolutely bonkers) in your own practice.

Being prepared can also be for the obvious things, knowing your dialogue and knowing what's required of you as a teacher, student, mentor and friend. 

For the more spiritually inclined individuals, being prepared can simply mean recognizing you already have all of the tools inside of you that you will ever need.

So how did being prepared bring me to the 10th row? I know myself and more importantly, I know what I don't want. I used to get super annoyed when I couldn't see myself in the front mirror while practicing back home. If someone blocked my view at the last second before class started, I would freak. 

Now, I've come to appreciate the last row for all it's space and distance from the podium (when you want it). Yes, 95% of the time, you can't see yourself, but that tiny sliver of you that emerges, every now and then, gives you all the inspiration that you need and then some.

Find your 10th Row today. It's the spot you would least likely stand in, the person you are afraid to be, the task you can put off until tomorrow, the challenge looming in the distance, the safety net you swore you'd never cut ties with. Your 10th Row is a little piece of heaven once you get there. I guarantee it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yoga Suicide

Bikram's latest term, used tonight in class - YOGA SUICIDE - is actually quite hard to do and you really have to have a lazy attitude to accomplish it. 

Bikram's reference was in respect to skipping steps in the poses (i.e., mental masturbation, another one of his favorite terms). For example, if you don't lock the knee in Standing Head to Knee pose, before kicking the leg forward, the posture is a complete waste of time. The minute you break the form, the posture ends and all the medical benefits are lost.

I have seen some students committing Yoga Suicide lately as well. Today in Posture Clinic, one woman was asked why she loves Bikram. Her response: "Because it numbs my brain." Ummm, probably don't want to say that to Bikram's head "mistress," Kat (who is notorious for reporting back to him on everything). And you really shouldn't say that after you bomb the delivery of a pose and act like you don't care. Just something to keep in mind for all future Teacher Trainees reading this.

Sadly, there is someone in my own group who has lost a bit of her dialogue mojo, like I did on Friday. She is pristine, and I'm not naming names but it really is suicide when you don't own your greatness, in the yoga room and in life. When you give up, your dreams, you die. It's that simple. 

And so to end on a less morbid note, I am delivering the hell out of my poses. I am back! The bitch is back! All of the feedback I've been receiving is gelling together nicely. I LOVE THE PROCESS! I'm also a huge fan of Tricia ("Trish"), owner of Bikram Yoga Lower East Side, who gave me a wonderful critique today on my Locust pose and her business card. For those of you NYC peeps who are bored with your home studios, check out Lower East:

What's your goal for today? Mine is to lose the self-defeatist attitude that creeps around in many forms. Be aware of what's lurking in your own shadows. Get the monkey off your back and out of your head. And lastly, watch your back when coming up from under the counters in the posture clinic rooms. I whacked my lower back today so hard that I bruised my spine and am now injured; ironically, not from doing yoga, but for being less than totally aware of my surroundings - do not rush the process!

Monday, May 21, 2012

"After This, Everything Will Seem Easy..."

Four Seasons Beach Club, Santa Barbara
The subject line of this post is what Bikram said as he was teaching Friday night in his "torture chamber." In a lot of ways he is very right. The simple pleasures I take for granted in every day, non-yoga-bubble life, are sorely missed. Doing 2 classes a day is not normal, but the routine of it is also what keeps me going. Once it's gone, it's over; same with the pace of learning the dialogue. Once we stop cramming, will we retain?

This is Type A Yoga at it's finest. The schedule we are tied to leaves us slaves to our own mind clutter. Whoever can sort through that fast enough in 9 weeks wins a teaching certificate. With the license to teach comes a whole new set of challenges; beginning with maintenance of the dialogue. 

I am still struggling to regain my dialogue mojo. But thanks to the help of my "yoga family," and some much needed down time in Santa Barbara (which is absolutely heaven on Earth), I feel ready enough to start my Monday. Slowly, slowly...I highly recommend taking 24 hours of freedom from this scene or whatever environment you are typically in on a weekly basis. New color brings new light.
Solar Eclipse June 20, 2012
Lindsey, Stefano & Me

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week #5 Memorable Teachers

Monday am, Lisa (Austin,TX) owner - gives great posture clinic feedback.
Tuesday am, Raj
Wednesday am, Raj
Wednesday pm, Bikram
Thursday am, Emmy
Friday am, Jim Kallet (San Diego, CA) - looking forward to practicing in his studio next Sunday.
Friday pm, Bikram
Saturday am, Raj

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sometimes I Rhyme Slow Sometimes I Rhyme Quick

The theme of Week #5's posture clinics is SLOW DOWN. That was the best advice I was given so far. Part of the reason is, I am not comfortable with the words yet. Will I ever be? Apparently so, if we keep this up when we get home. Learning the dialogue is a never-ending journey in and of itself. The training wheels we have on now, will come off in 4 weeks and then we'll really see who's left standing. 

I have moments of pure frustration, when I get cocky and think I know a pose so tonight. I completely bombed my Cobra. It was a low moment and I had to ask myself - do you really want to teach? The answer is obviously, yes, but there are turning points in this training that just shake you to the core; that bring everything to the surface, good and bad.  I knew that pose so well. Rehearsed it to the "T" as in Tom (not a broken umbrella!) 

So what's my issue? I have not been learning the "structure" of the poses. In my never-ending quest for perfection, I have been gunning for verbatim dialogue rather than truly understanding the sequence of events in each pose. Knowing what happens when and what body parts are used at a certain time is key because if you miss a word or a line, you can still keep going. I have gone completely "Rain Man" over the dialogue, making tons of links (some extremely useful) that all rely on word/letter/number associations from line to line. But forget one line, and it's over!

So with that new tool in my proverbial tool belt of pose learning skills, I will resume a new form of studying in exactly 24 hours, upon returning from my visit with Lindsey, Jim and baby Stefano in Santa Barbara. It's time for some much needed R & R. Looking forward to the change of scenery...and to not having 2.5 hour classes with Bikram. He sucked us all dry tonight - killer - but I still love him.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Boss is Back

There's nothing like a two-hour class with Bikram, after 2 weeks without him, to remind us of "how bad our postures suck," but how much our bodies have improved. It was extreme torture. But I did it. Bikram corrected me for the 2nd time during Training on my Triangle Pose. Tonight he called me out in the room of 500 to do the pose all by myself. I stayed calm. He was forgiving. My pose needs a lot of work, but it was empowering for him to see me working my ass off.

The other highlight of the day was my successful delivery of Tree Pose. I have to give credit where credit is due here....I have the BEST posture clinic group ever: 
There's Gerry, the 61-year old retired truck driver from Tennessee. 
Melissa, the bomb-shell blonde from Canada who gives me the confidence to own my words. 
Dayna from Australia who's always filled with positiveness and good energy. 
Gavin from LA, who's only 23 but is in total command of himself as a person (and he has a rocking bod according to our Teacher tonight). 
Heatherly, my girl from Long Island, who knows the dialogue verbatim. She knew it cold before she got to LA and so gives all of her free time to help the rest of us learn it from scratch. She is a truly inspiring woman. 
Sharon, my Israeli sister who I will most likely open a yoga studio in Haifa with some day. 
Jesse, the NBA player who stands tall at 6'6" and is on the path to finding his voice and hopefully offering private Bikram classes to NBA players like Amare Stoudemire, who clearly has some issues to sort through on the yoga mat. 
Angela, who spent the first two weeks of posture clinic delivering the poses from outside of the room, has finally found her voice. 
Christine, who is evolving as a teacher with so much heart, in front of our eyes. 
Kevin Lee from Hong Kong / British Columbia currently, who is responsible for organizing this group photo:
Group 11 bottom row left to right: Melissa M, Ruth, Carla, Heatherly, Dayna, Robert Luce, Xavier, Me.
top row left to right: Gavin Lucas, Christine Lewis, Angela, Sharon, Faith, Aafke, Katie, Anthony, Tim, Gerry (gray hair), Kevin Lee, Jesse

Robert Luce is a trial attorney and delivers every posture like he's telling a bed time story. 
Ruth is from Nevada and she always takes care of those around her (thank you for the snacks!!)
Afca is from Holland and has the most amazing smile, but she wasn't able to hold the smile and say the dialogue simultaneously until tonight! 
Tim from the UK - you're perfect. 
Carla from Mexico City is pure sunshine with an unbelievable practice and voice. 
Xavier is the guy who finally got the monkey off his back. 
Anthony was completely arrogant and condescending when I first met him. Someway, somehow and with the help of Heatherly, his dialogue is dramatically improving and his entire aura is evolved. I now enjoy his company.
Faith from NYC is showing us her inner Chelsea Handler.

I am missing a few names from the photo, but it's only because I don't know them well enough yet to have an option on how to describe them, but I will know everyone by the end of Training, for sure. I spend day-in and day-out with this team of warriors. So, a toast to my Group 11 Peeps who have reminded me why there is no "I" in Team.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Raj & Bikram

This morning's class was lead by Raj (Bikram's wife) who made her first. long awaited appearance on the podium. She was calm, cool and classy. Basically, the exact opposite of Bikram. I worked hard for her; we all did.

I performed Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee pose as the clock was striking 4pm. It was awesome to be the last one to go and get it done so I can move on to Tree. I have not been able to look at dialogue since 4pm. I just needed to shut my brain down for a few. 

Thankfully, my newbie, Motie, retuned this evening for his 2nd class in a week. He continues to amaze us as he faces new challenges with patience and precision. I'm glad he didn't have Bikram teaching tonight. That is a big pill for any beginner to swallow. We did have Bikram's niece teaching. She was pretty zen.

Before I started nodding off in evening lecture with Bikram, who just returned from his latest speaking junket raring to go, I jotted down a few key points that were not a reiteration of what he's already told us. Bikram loves to hear himself speak. He actually fell off the stage tonight, while demonstrating how he would look if his leg had actually been amputated. If I wasn't so exhausted, I would have laughed a lot harder at that...

Bikram's Top 5

Men Never Change [Man = Dog + Pig + Goat)

You Have to Hit Rock Bottom to Find the Best in You

Mental Stress & Strain = pain in the body

Half a billion scripts of Prozac are prescribed every 24 hours 

Most people call to one form of God or another to prove their spiritualism through practicing religion. For this reason, Bikram has never worshiped or prayed to any God, or set foot in a temple.

ON that note, I"m signing off for sleep. Still no Tree, but will hit it first thing in the morning when I am at my strongest.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Decide to be Perfect or Great

Ok, the blog is officially reopened after this evening's delivery of Triangle Pose - the hardest, longest, most oddly worded pose in the Bikram dialogue. I feel like I just gave birth to a little yogi, and in a lot of ways, I basically did. After acing my Anatomy final and delivering these two monster poses (I did Standing Separate Leg Stretching earlier today) I can honestly say, I have nothing left in me except for the inspiration I learned today from my teachers and fellow yogis.

It's not about delivering the dialogue perfectly verbatim - no one can. It's about being fabulous all over, inside out from the long bones to the tight skin with our smiling, grateful it's almost over, happy faces.  Precision is more important than perfection. The precision is what will make our students trust us and ultimately fall in love with us. 

Nicole from Arizona (awesome) had me give Standing Separate Leg Stretching as a gangster, to get me out of my little "must-be-perfect" box....and I owned it! I encourage everyone to get out of their routine element and try becoming an actor or actress. Become someone new. Become someone great. 

Learn to say the dialogue as easily as you sing Happy Birthday.  Sounds simple and easy, right? But it's hard and I love it! Incorporating the different techniques from those around me (you know who you are) makes this series more like a team sport, since we all feed off of each other's energy to deliver poses accurately and get through the night in one piece. But we also feed off the love, the sharing, the freshly brewed pots of coffee, the belly laughs and ice machine bitching sessions. No water coolers here people, we are in the land of ice and water bottles. I cannot make my water cold enough, and I'm obsessed with fresh squeezed lemons; can't drink the water without them lately. When life gives you lemons, you better make a damn good lemonade in Training and in life!

Stay tuned for Bikram's return tomorrow....and there are rumors of Raj floating around as well.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Week #4 Memorable Teachers

With so many different people teaching us, and so much to remember on a day-to-day basis, it's hard to remember all instructors' names, so here are the most memorable ones from this week:

Monday - Karen Buckner (Owner Bikram Yoga Dallas, TX)
Tuesday pm (Motie's first class) - Mike (Chicago, IL)
Wednesday pm - Jim Ambrogi (Owner Bikram Yoga Alexandria, VA); Jim is responsible for helping bring Bikram to the military. Please read his background:
Thursday am - Emmy
Thursday pm - Jim Kallett
Friday - David Buckner (Karen's husband, Bikram Yoga Dallas, TX)
Saturday - Jack (Dog Grunts, Australia)

For all the Mothers...

As I watched Gavin deliver Balancing Stick last night, flawlessly and with pride in front of his mother (who happened to be teaching our posture clinic), I got to thinking about Mother's....and the gifts they pass down to us. To give your child yoga is the ultimate treasure, but it's not so black and white. Mother's give us our tools in so many ways, so let's recognize them for their diversity and their devotion:

Loryn Halper - My fearless sister, gave birth to a beautiful little man yesterday. His name is Alexander Francis and I cannot wait to meet him! Loryn - you are recognized for bringing new life into this world. I know you will give your son good Karma forever, because we all receive it from you on a regular basis.

Elizabeth Libner - There are no words. You are a force. Thank you for helping me lay my own groundwork. It is because of what you taught me, that happiness now grows in my own garden.

Julie Libner - My sister who always reminds me how important it is to laugh. She's the most calm mother of 4 amazing young men. Julie always beats to her own drum.

Susan Scupin - My Aunt who has a heart of gold; whose presence reminds me of why my father was so close to her. You always make a beautiful home around you, no matter where in the world you are and how close/far your family is. 

Dahlia Cohen - Idan's mother and martyr of her family. She single-handledly raised three amazing men and holds her family together tight, like glue. She is the toughest mother I know. 

Anita Bandy - Power Attorney, Mommy of 2 and Big Sister to me for life. Anita always had it all figured out...from day #1!! Nothing has changed in that regard. Anita is one of the most intelligent and resourceful mothers in my pack. 

Joan Levitt - One of the classiest mom's I know! I am in awe of her business savvy, strength and love of family. She is the proudest mother of 2 in the whole world, and I understand why. Just when I think Joan has gotten to the top of her game (in life), she one-ups herself with her perpetual grace and home grown values.

I am missing a ton of women on this list, and for that I apologize. Be your own mother today, but don't forget to tell your own how special she is. Thank her for the silent, unspoken gifts she gave you that you can't buy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tonight's Top 10 List

A few more pearls of wisdom from today's encounters:

"Today, I remarried yoga." Rachel Foley

From Lisa's Lecture:

  • When we lie, steal, act greedy, etc. we are living in our ego.
  • The reason you don't put your feet or backside towards the teacher in a Bikram studio is - respect. For the same reason, we don't go to the bathroom (walking out with backs towards the teacher).
  • Yoga is the neutralization of the waves of feeling. The stilling of the waves, of likes and dislikes, makes us feel happy and complete. Different Paths (8-Folds from previous blog) must be understood to still the waves.
  • Agitation is one of the lowest forms of consciousness.
  • Maintain an attitude of physical relaxation.
I'm suppose to be practicing non-attachment, non-reaction and non-judgement. It's way harder than I ever imagined it would be. Especially when you hit the pace of week #4 and realize you've become attached to your yoga family and its respective rituals.

On a separate topic, our anatomy instructor - Dr. P - completely missed his calling...he should be doing stand-up comedy full time, or at least moonlighting. 

Your homework for this weekend (we are constantly being given "homework" during posture clinics) is to identify your own calling and reconnect with the people and things you love the most. Reach your own state of happiness.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chitta-Vritti Nirodh

"Yoga is the neutralization of the waves of emotion we face."

I'll be honest, it's getting harder and harder to find these free minutes to write. Part of me wants to put up a post that says "BLOG CLOSED UNTIL AFTER TRIANGLE POSE." But I won't because I need you for inspiration just as much as you need me. In other words, a perfect marriage.

Today Lisa went over the 8th Fold Path with us, which breaks down yoga as a system of process. Back in the day, yoga postures were originally developed by Yogi's so they could open their bodies, allowing them more flexibility to sit for longer periods of time in meditation. 
And so the story goes...there are 8 "Limbs" of Yoga:
1) YAMA = restraints/dont's
  • non violence 
  • non lying
  • non stealing
  • non sensuality
  • non attachment

2) NIYAMA = Do's
  • Cleanliness/Purity
  • Contentment
  • Austerity/Endurance
  • Self Study / Introspection
  • Dedication

3) ASANA = Hatha Yoga; the physical exercises we associate with yoga, create a physical calmness so we can ultimately perform Karma Yoga.

4) PRANAYAMA = the breathing exercises that produce inner calm.

5) PRATYAHARA = non attachment thru stillness; withdrawing from senses, ending the chatter in your brain.

6) DHARANA = practice of fixed inner awareness; increases the value of your postures 100 times over when you incorporate Calm into your routine.

7) DHYANA = concentration; devotion to a higher power (i.e. God); same as "Law of Attraction"

8) SAMADHI = the dissolution of ego consciousness, which leads to bliss. When you're in a state of happiness, all daily movements become yoga.

To be continued.....
BTW, I delivered Balancing Stick on point today. The pace is killer right now, but we're all just riding the wave and seeking sanity where we can, mainly in ourselves. Thanks for sticking by me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Newbie

Last night at 5pm PST, I welcomed my first outside guest into the Bikram Yoga Training Lair (aka, the ballroom). It was his first Bikram class ever and he chose to kick off his yoga career in front of ~450 student, teacher and staff practitioners. 

Mike from the Chicago studio taught a true beginners class that adhered well to the dialogue and made my friend feel like a more than welcome member of the team, the MVP. Motie not only stayed in the room and tried every posture, he practiced without his, once-chronic, lower back pain, something that 6- months prior, would have prohibited him from any yoga and non-essential movement. Motie's lower back condition ultimately required surgery which gave him a lot of instant relief and simultaneously provided new set of challenges. 

We have been begging Motie to try Bikram, ever since he recovered from surgery. But he had to come when he was ready. The harmony in all of this is that everyone goes at their own pace in Bikram, irregardless of whether they are a teacher, a student or a first-timer.

I cannot tell you how good it made me feel to watch my friend get applauded for his endurance by over 400 yogis. God, I wish I had had that kind of welcome! Back in the day, I took my first true Bikram class in Boca Raton, FL with Alexa. She dragged me in and I absolutely hated it. I tried to convert each of the 26 poses into their Vinyasa counterparts. I worked myself into a tizzy. I hated the sit-up, the constant turning around, the heat - everything sucked! 

Everything hurt in yoga, until it didn't. Everything pissed me off, until I calmed down. There became too many parallels to count, between what was taking place in the Bikram studio, to what was happening in my every day life. And then it dawned on me, over time, that Bikram was just life playing out in the simplest of forms.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Balancing Stick, Tuladandasana

I gotta be honest, Anatomy is not the most exciting topic to blog on. But I did manage an excellent grade on my first quiz. That's right, I'm full force back-in-academia mode. And on that topic, this is where I am in learning the dialogue - Balancing Stick posture, one of the most fascinating because of its 3rd and 4th lines: 
"You have to make up your mind to use your 100% strength in half a second.
If you're late, it's over."

Couple points on these pearls; notice that it says to use "your strength" - not someone else's.
"Make up your mind," rather than make another promise you most likely won't keep. Be decisive. 
Life is constantly moving at warp speed, so don't be late for it, but pause to appreciate the beauty in it. Things change like that...

This is my interpretation. I am devoted to delivering this one in posture clinic to the max capacity, paying it the respect it deserves.

How far will you go in half a second today?

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Seventh Day, Rest

I'm starting to understand why God took the Seventh Day off. When you're non-stop during the week, which includes Saturday in our little yoga world, Sunday, has to be about self and reflection. Today was that kind of day for me. But before there was me, myself and I, there was Rachael Foley and I working out by the pool this morning. Rachael is my neighbor and one of the most incredible women I've met thus far in Bikramville. On top of being a mother of three, having multiple successful businesses and a healthy marriage, she's an amazing personal trainer. I enjoyed our "non-yoga" interval session so much. Sorry Sean, I am officially cheating on you with a hot Floridian!

The rest of my Sunday consisted of:
Moon over Santa Monica, May 5th 2012

  • A much needed manicure (i.e. Appendicular Maintenance). 
  • Starbucks and I sharing a long Anatomy study session.
  • Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue every chance I get. My favorite part about learning it, is going at my own pace and not feeling attached to anyone else's progress or lack thereof. I am available to help anyone in need but will not judge my practice based on anything other than my own stamina and desire to nail it!
  • Nap and a movie. For the first time in 3 weeks, I didn't feel the need to be out of my hotel room for every second possible. I've logged my beach, pool and restaurant hours for the week. Had the car serviced and a fun night out in Santa Monica to celebrate 2 very important things: Cinqo de Mayo and the SuperMoon of 2012

Cali Nights
Triangle @ Santa Monica Pier (my poor form is excused because of long dress costume)

Maybe it was the building energy leading up to the full moon, that carried us all through another successful week? We are truly a "band of brothers (and sisters) out here. It's amazing to think we're already through a third of Training. The time flies for me here like it never has before. It will be hard to leave these sunsets I've grown so accustomed to, but I've got six more weeks to revel in it. Appreciate the space you are in this week. Every home has its gifts and its challenges. If you take one day off every week to deal with the challenges, they will become less apparent over time.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Week #3 Teachers

Monday am, Stacy Stier (Arlington, Bikram Yoga North Texas) - song writer
Monday pm, Jakob (Grand Central, NYC)
Tuesday am, Emmy
Tuesday pm, Allison (Arlington)
Weds am, Afton (Austin, TX)
Weds pm, Katherine Durham (Austin)
Thursday am, Emmy
Thursday pm, Aiko (Fulton Street NYC & Brooklyn) - Rock Star, best teacher after Emmy.
Friday am, Donna (Huntington Beach, CA)
Friday pm, Monica (Agoura Hills, CA)
Saturday am, Anna Hunter (Orlando)

Finding Your Voice

In the slew of chaos and hunting for answers at Teacher Training, there is one thing that everyone here is searching for. Not just the students, not only the teachers and assistants, but all of us involved in the discovery of self are looking to be heard. 

This hunt spans the masses, from Dr. Peddy - the Anatomy teacher who makes his point and educates us with his stand-up Emergency Room comedy routine (he totally missed his calling btw) - to our Posture Clinic teachers, who try to make their impression by getting us to really listen and put their feedback into practice on our dialogue. Then there's the pissed off roommates (thankfully, I don't have to partake in that drama since I have my own room, but I hear enough to know what's up), who just want what's fair and peaceful in their living space. And of course, there's the students who want to master their dialogue and find their voice in the accuracy and tone of their posture deliveries.

Today I found my voice while delivering Eagle Pose, Garurasana. Susan Antonaccio, an instructor  of mine back home, told me that Eagle was her favorite posture to memorize at Training. When I first started studying it on the plane ride out here, I could not understand why. It seemed the most challenging of anything I had looked at, not to mention, the emotional strain I associated with that trip did not help in easing my anxiety about learning 23 other postures at the time, most of which (I now know) are even more complex.

My three previous posture deliveries before Eagle, all reconfirmed that I did not really want to teach yoga. After all, I'm a business woman at heart and my pauses, jumbling of the words and uncertainty under the pressure of saying the poses in front of a live audience were wearing my nerves thin. But not today. My performance today was a game changer; academy award winning! The Bitch is Back! Let's face it, you need attitude, nerve and balls to get up in front of a group of 40+ and make them do crazy things in the heat. Why else would they listen to you? Trust me, you would not want to take class with a pussycat teacher. It just doesn't work. Command the presence of your students and they will work for you and most importantly, they will work even harder for themselves, inside and outside the yoga studio.

I can relate this topic to so many other experiences I've had so far at Training, some of which you've already read about. In the end, finding your voice simply boils down to finding and owning your Truth and tuning out the unnecessary noise and static around you. The nonsense can be deafening and drown out your own voice, but only if you let it. 

How will you make yourself heard this weekend? 

Friday, May 4, 2012

No Pain No Gain

Today I was given the gift of a full, half-day with Emmy Cleaves - morning class and afternoon lecture. Just when you think you've heard all of her pearls of wisdom in class, she one-ups herself on the lecture podium. Today's topic - what else, but PAIN. I've personally seen and felt a lot of it at Training, not to mention, I've lived with it on some level my entire life. We all have...but since this is not about me, I will share with you what I think YOU will find meaningful from her teachings today:

  • Pain is nature's early warning system. 
  • Pain is vital; without it we destroy our bodies in short order.
  • Pain is an intensely personal phenomenon.
  • There are 50 million chronic pain sufferers in the US today. The cause of chronic pain is seldom structural.
  • Pain in yoga is the sensation of stretching and using body parts that you haven't before.
  • Bad posture alignments / bad yoga habits can pull muscles, so practice with awareness; always listen to the body.
  • Flexibility is not the product of effort; one must develop a good technique.
  • The ability to stretch your muscles depends on your level of relaxation; the greater the tension, the more muscle pain.
  • By calming the mental turmoil, you reduce excess tension.
  • Healing is age related. The younger you are, the faster you heal.
  • Stiffness = Nature's Splint
  • Ice, Ice Baby! Icing slows pain down and limits tissue damage. Heat only after swelling has subsided (moist heat is preferable).
  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
  • Find your own recipe for therapy.
  • Eccentric Contraction = Stretching; Yoga is the only form of exercise that both contracts and stretches the muscles.
  • Do not take pain medication before you practice.
  • Scar tissue has no blood supply and will cause tightness and other issues around your problem area, which you should consider before going under the knife.
  • Discs DO NOT slip! They either rupture or herniate.
  • Your entire body records your emotional thinking. How you internalize stress dictates pain.
  • Emotional tension slows your circulation, causing blood deprivation and oxygen deprivation to the muscles (creating pain). This stagnation causes a chemical build up of waste, which under normal circumstances, should be carried away by blood flow. Bikram Yoga is life changing because it releases this stagnation by sending freshly oxygenated blood throughout the entire body in every class.
  • Only you inhabit your body, so stop living mindlessly - live MINDFULLY!

What will you do to eliminate your pain today? 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's All in the Delivery

Today was by far my most exciting and successful day thus far at training. Morning class was uneventful, which is always a good thing. The only annoying thing about class these days is the room temperature is cold. I was warned by my fellow heat-seakers back home that this would be the case and unfortunately, they were spot on. So as the weeks roll on, my pants get longer and the layers come on, until I get yelled at of course. 

Bikram has left the country for the next two weeks, and while under normal circumstances, when the cat's away the mice will play...that is certainly not the case here. Posture clinic is well underway and has taken over everyone's mood and behavior differently. The stress of having to know each posture inside out, from the bones to the skin makes the delivery of each pose stressful, to say the least. I am choosing not to get consumed in the stress of it all. I jump in my car at least once a day for some sanity and to get out of the "yoga bubble," even if it's just to go to Whole Foods for a green juice. 

Speaking of Whole Foods, does anyone notice that it's absolutely impossible to walk out of there without spending at least $100? I had two bags of groceries and 2.5 gallons of water tonight and it rang up to $140, but it's still cheaper than my Saks runs, so net-net it's all good. Apologies for the digression, but I just had to vet that one out...

I opted to miss the optional Bollywood movie with Bikram last night, so I could focus on my dialogue studying and to harass Judes, Bikram's personal assistant, some more. I have been trying to arrange for a one-one-on meeting with Bikram to discuss a very exciting idea I have for his franchise. After all, if I could help SLG take its brand to the next level, why not offer up some assistance to my Guru? He's done a lot for me and it's all about paying it forward here. It is my dream to differentiate myself from my band of brother and sister trainees and that's all I will tell you about my plan for now....except that today, I was informed that Bikram has accepted the meeting with me upon his return later in the month.

How did I manage that you ask? After a few days of tip-toing around the purpose of my meeting with Bikram, I got straight to the point last night (over email). Being direct and spelling things out, even if it may sound cocky and annoying at times, definitely has its advantages. It's like I always say, "don't ask, don't get" and the proof is in my pudding today people. I was proud, yet humble, which is sometimes hard to do over over email. My delivery was straight and to the point - 100% body weight on my heals!

This is me walking to my posture clinic, just after found
out I got the meeting with Boss! No fear!!! And lots of
coffee....and yes, those are yoga mats hanging all around.
Lastly, as if today couldn't get any better, I delivered my best post yet - Awkward Pose, Uktasana. While I received more critiques for this posture than the previous ones, that's just the way it goes around here. Expect the unexpected, live in the present moment only, do what your told and deliver the crap out of these postures today, so our students will love us tomorrow. Most importantly, our students will be able to learn to love themselves through us. 

I watched two grown women cry today because of their delivery, or lack thereof. And while I was sad for them, in the end I was happy they got their asses handed to them. If not here, then where? If not now, then when? Seize the day my friends and don't forget to make good on the delivery of your promises to yourselves above all else.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Anatomy 101

Week 3 marked the start of daily, 3.5 hour anatomy lessons, taught by Dr. Jim Peddy. He's an emergency physician at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas and thinks he's God's gift to this planet. I enjoyed his delivery and candidness yesterday, but today I am sad to report that today he stole my peace, temporarily of course. 

As you know, I have a degenerative condition in my cervical spine and it's a minor miracle that I'm even at teacher training in the first place. The good news is, my condition is improving DRAMATICALLY, even without Genius Veronica's weekly acupuncture sessions. This is the power of Bikram Yoga!

After seeing Dr. Peddy (who should really be called "Dr. Petty") give adjustments to students last night, I became intrigued as he seems to have a keen understanding of the spine and how to maneuver just about everyone. I waited 10 minutes to speak to him one-on-one during our break today. He went on and on with this other student about her condition. When it came my turn, he was short with me because he needed to use the restroom, so I walked along side of him in that direction. I briefly explained my condition and politely asked if he would try adjusting me tonight. After all, pain is pain and relief is relief. You learn to take what you can get here at training, especially when it's free and on sight at the hotel. 

To my request, he sternly and sarcastically replied, "Not with your condition!" And with that, he left me standing there without explanation. All I could think was "wow, this guy needs to take a dump and bad!" That was the anger in my head talking. My insecurity over my injury reared its ugly head. He ruined the rest of the lecture for me. I can no longer tolerate the sound of his voice. How dare he be so knowledgeable yet so dismissive? Aren't doctors suppose to have bedside manners?

In truth, no one should be adjusting me. I know this deep down. My condition is too severe and I understand why he would not want the liability on his hands. However, irrespective of his extensive knowledge of the spine, vertebrae, muscles, bones and everything else we've discussed so far, he doesn't have a clue about soul - that intangible, undefinable pearl in all of us. Sadly, a lot of Western doctors operate like this, out of fear of being sued and the cost of malpractice. I don't blame you Dr. Petty, nor will I let your negative energy bring me down. I am strong and I am surviving this with or without your help. All I need is me! And Ish, to go for spontaneous frozen yogurt runs, which somehow make everything seem so much better.

Bikram Yoga is helping me to understand the physical anatomy of a human and how f'ed up we all are on the inside, how we destroy our bodies on a daily basis, etc. But it also is helping me connect with my body and mind on a whole new level. My Group (#11) completed Half Moon tonight in posture clinic and we refused to leave anyone behind. Even though the last two stragglers did not know the dialogue, we wouldn't quit until they finished. We are incomplete without each other. If one falls, we all fall. If one succeeds, we are all heroes. That my friends is the true anatomy of a Yogi.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Party is Officially Over...

....It's hard core, learn-the-dialogue time! What started as a nice, loose, comfortable, easy flexible morning with a high energy, rockin' class (and I mean literally rocking to Steve Miller, Fly Like an Eagle), ended with our first (unexpected) evening posture clinic.

On the bright side, I love that we're onto the next chapter of our learning here. Let's face it, the Bollywood movies were getting kind of old, Bikram has cursed at us enough and if I hear the first part of half moon one more time, there is no telling what I would (or wouldn't) be capable of doing. Yes, I got a little "batty" over the monotony of the first two weeks, but that said, I also fell in love with the structure of our environment, the non-structure of our (beach) weekends and the yogis who surround me daily.

The other unexpectedly cool thing about week #3 is that Mary Dillon is in the HOUSE! I ran into her today in the lobby while buying my morning coffee. To see one of my most favorite teachers from NYC here, someone who was so influential in my reasoning to do training, is the perfect gift. I hope to grab dinner with her one night this week before she leaves. More importantly, I hope Boss Man lets her teach. She is truly a unique individual who shined apart from the other teachers during introductions this morning. Mary - thank you for being a force to reckon with! I live for you!

And lastly, yours truly delivered the 2nd and 3rd parts of Half Moon tonight in posture clinic. And while I still have a long way to go, in terms of perfecting my delivery, I was not nearly as hard on myself tonight as I was two weeks ago in front of Bikram. I still get the heart-racing feeling in my stomach before I go up on stage, but it wasn't nearly as intimidating to perform it in front of 40 people, including a visiting teacher from Ann Arbor (GO BLUE!), Michon (Bikram's TT assistant who I am learning the most from) and a fabulously eclectic mix of fellow yogis. Really good energy tonight guys!! Except for one woman who pulled a Jerry McGuire and totally "FLIPPED OUT." It's all good sister. I plan to offer her my help when I see her in the morning. After all, it's not about me, it's about her and all of us as a group nailing this, right?

I am grateful to have found my calm; to know the first four poses well enough to feel confident on stage right out of the gate. The delivery will come, it always does. Seize the day and seize your study buddies!! I am my own best study buddy for now. 

Thank you for being my faithful audience tonight. I love and miss you all.

ps - I will now begin waking up at 6am PST, to get some early morning dialogue studying in, so feel free to interrupt me after 9am EST.