After our super late night in Bollyhell, we still had class in the morning. I had been looking forward to this teacher teach since we got her. We had been introduced to him in orientation and he seemed like a guy with personality that would translate well on top of the box. Welp, that wasn’t exactly what happened. At this class I was in the 2nd row and at the start of the class found him a bit boring, a lot dry, and just wanted to leave the hot room but actually his class was just what I needed after a very very long night.

He didn’t try to be fancy with the dialogue or distract us with stories. He said the dialogue (almost) word for word and guided us through the class by giving us back the energy we were giving him. The class was dragging and it was obvious every time I looked around and saw folks sitting on the floor or lying down on their mats – we were hurting, we were tired and the energy was low. At that point the only thing the teacher can do is say the dialogue and we have to listen and go along with it. And for the most part we did – he also provided some good tips for certain postures:

touching your chin to your shoulder at the beginning of standing bow so that we you charge forward your neck is already in line with the rest of your body (I’ll post a pic of this one) and lifting from the hip and not necessarily the knee for Toe Stand.

By the end of the class I was completely energized and ready to take on the day. It wasn’t the class I had expected but it was exactly the class I needed to wake myself up and help me remember why I’m here. I believe in this yoga and whilst (I have a lot of English friends / colleagues and this word is officially in my vocabulary) I don’t like every part of this training (read: bollywood movies) I am having a lot of fun and I’m testing myself and my strength more than I ever thought I could…and that’s a good thing. A very very good thing.

So let’s get rocking and rolling!

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Doom…

We had to watch another Bollyhell movie this week and it was called D(h)oom 2…which means that there is a first one and when I went to google a third one came up as well. Luckily, we only had to watch the 2nd one. Thank god for small favors….

This movie was supposed to show us discrimination but all I saw was 5 ridiculous good looking Indian people fall in love and fight between Mumbai and Brazil. One of the stars is Miss Universe and she’s marrying Bikram’s Indian partner. Bikram hasn’t yet explained the movie to us. One of the Indian ladies at the training said that Bikram was showing us “the best of the best” which is concerning to me…cause I could maybe enjoy the movies knowing they were supposed to be silly and bad but apparently…these are actually good movies. I can only imagine that B or C list movies. shudder. Here are a few shots from the movie:

The cast!

dhoom1

The Good Cop

dhoom2

The CI

dhoom3

Falling in love in the rain – Bad Guy & the CI

dhoom4

Profile of the bad guy

dhoom5

On top of a train in Namibia

dhoom6

“Are you like checking me out?” – That’s an actual movie line!

dhoom8

The Good Female Cop – I think this is Miss Universe.

dhoom9

Happily Ever After

dhoom10

The photos are out of order but probably make more sense this way…BTW this movie had an intermission because it’s that long. We started the movie around 12:30 and didn’t get to leave the lecture room until 3:30. We had sign in / class at 8/830. IE 5 hours after the movie finished we had to be on our mats and ready to go!

Week 2 Recap!

Week 2 is complete and we have 7 weeks and 77  classes to go before our 9 weeks and 63 days in paradise are complete! Let’s talk about what we went through in Week 2.

We finally finished half moon pose this week. All 333 of us delivered the posture (right side) in front of Bikram and the rest of our fellow trainees. I love everyone in the training program but I’m so glad that it is finally finished. The good news is after listening to it 332 times I’ve pretty much got it down packed so that’s a plus. We finished on Wednesday afternoon I believe (I might have dosed off a bit…might).

We finished 11 classes this week bringing the grand total to 21 classes so far out of 98. The make up classes started this week as well. If you miss a sign in for class or lecture you have to attend a make up class (even if you actually took the class but just happened to miss the sign in!). My roommate had to take the first make up on Saturday and she said it was pretty good. Her body was more warmed up so she was able to go into the postures deeper than the first class. And because there weren’t 333 people in the class just about 26 or 27 the teachers were able to give corrections to the students so maybe the make up classes aren’t so bad…still doesn’t mean I plan on being at any of them. One guy has make up classes booked until Week 6 – can you believe that? Crazy!

The make up class is right after the Saturday morning class so students get an hour break and have to do it all over again!

This week we also started practicing in our assigned rows. Basically everyone has a group (I’m group 15; my roommate is group 11) and then within the group we’re broken down into letters (I don’t really know why; I’m letter P) so th P’s and O’s practice on one line together, and the A’s and B’s on another line and so forth. I started practicing in row 8 on Monday. You have to practice both classes in your Row (morning and evening) and then the next day you move down a line. On Wednesday I was in the first row which meant I got to see myself and really concentrate in focus one point in the mirror on my lovely self. I don’t always love practicing in the front but at training I really enjoy it because I can really see myself and I find that I’m not as easily distracted when I can look in the mirror. Anyway, I found myself in the first row on Wednesday for morning and evening class. The evening class with Bikram is still clocking in around 2.5 hours each night!

Wednesday night we watched another Bollyhell movie (more on that later) and Thursday we watched clips about Bikram. He showed us his guru and his guru’s son doing some crazy stunts. In one video his guru’s son laid down and let a tank drive over his body (assisted by plywood and some pillows). We also some guy move his organs around and another who did stuff with his legs that made me very uncomfortable…I can’t even describe it but I’ll try. He put his right leg over his shoulder and then sat down and put his left leg over his left shoulder and then made his feet touch. It wasy cray cray – apparently he didn’t have a scapla (i’m spellin this wrong..) but basically he didn’t have shoulder muscles or something. It was strange.

Then we saw clips of Bikram talking on 60 minutes and a bunch of other shows about his yoga and how it has helped everyone from common people to Shirley MacLaine. She’s one of Bikram’s pupils. We’ve heard a lot about Shirley MacLaine since we’ve gotten here. Anyway the clip from 60 minutes was interesting because it talked more about Bikram’s copyright on the yoga moves. Everyone has an opinion on his copyrighting Yoga postures. The thing is he hasn’t copyrighted yoga postures – he’s copyrighted the specific order that he has put his 26 postures for his classes.

It’s always the same 26 postures with two breathing exercises for a Bikram Yoga class – always. He researched the medical benefits behind putting certain postures in this particular order similar to how a musical artist might put a melody / notes in a particular order and they can copyright that…Bikram is the maestro of yoga! According to Wikipedia the copyright was struck down in December 2012 – claiming that Bikram doesn’t have the right of copyright protection. So I’m not sure about the copyright…I believe he’s still fighting it.

During lecture one night a fellow trainee told me about evolation llc which is a competitor of Bikram Yoga. They basically do the same 26 postures but only one (1) time. We do each posture twice! And the evolation classes are just 60 minutes vs the 90 minutes. Interesting…

My last class with Bikram this past Thursday was extremely difficult. It was very very hard – I’ve never struggled so hard in a class as I did this past Thursday. The room was really hot and humid, tons of people were sick (there’s a bug floating around), and the dialogue just wasn’t there. We really had free reign to practice in the class without much dialogue because we mostly know it but I found this extremely difficult and it was very hard to focus. When I looked around the room I noticed that most people were sitting and everyone seemed to be struggling a bit. The one good part of class – we all finished so the 2nd good part of class was that Bikram serenaded us with Que Sera Sera which the whole class eventually sung. I didn’t sing it because I don’t know the words and I was too busy trying not to hyperventilate and stop breathing so yeah.

The other classes this week were fine and lecture wasn’t too bad – Bikram had a few pearls of wisdom to share with us on humanity and spirituality and everything is yoga.

Bikram left on Friday afternoon to head back to the states and Japan for business. So we won’t see him again until the 14th! But I’ll still be posting gems by Bikram for Week 2 with a few students included (people say the funniest things).

A few other things happened this week – the staff has threatened to take away our phones until graduation if we’re caught using them in lecture or the yoga room or any clinics. Someone was charging their phone in the lecture room and it was taken away – she wasn’t even using it just charging it and it was gone. Not sure if she got it back or not. But if anyone tries to take my phone away…well lets hope we don’t have to cross that bridge. I use my phone for everything texting, calling home, email, instagram, watching the goodwife, etc! I would be so upset – I hardly take it to lecture and when I do take it it’s just to check the time. My friend said it reminded her a bit of rehab…

We also had to get the visa arrangements figured out. Most of us are on 60 days visas to Thailand – it was impossible to get a 90 day tourist visa. Like most of my fellow trainees I have to apply for a 30 day visa extension because our program is 63 days and the visa is 60 days..so I would be overextending my stay in Thailand. We had to fill out all this crazy paperwork cause the immigration officer was coming on Friday to check our VISA’s and then on Monday the VISA guy was coming to issue new visa’s or something so that we’re not fined 500 baht / day we overstay. A few folks got transit visa’s – which are visa’s that you receive on arrival in Thailand for 30 days. Those Visa’s can’t be extended so a few folks have to get on a bus and cross the border and come back in so that they can stay for the program…but one girl found some guy who can extend the visa for them for 1,900 baht (which is the cost of my visa extension) but then they would still have to pay 500 baht for overextending. This bit was quite comical in the lecture room as a trainees from San Fransciso and another trainee got into it about the transit visa and that you couldn’t extend it. There was a lot “Actually…you can” and “Actually you can’t…” back in forth moments…it was sorta like watching tennis. Back and Forth. Back and Forth. I’m not sure what the final consensus was for the Transit Visa’s but it was funny to watch.

Next week is Week 3 and we’ll start Anatomy and Posture Clinic – woohoo!! Should be interesting!

Breaking Bad.

The awesome thing about BYTT is that you learn a lot about yourself and the bad habits that you’ve built in your practice. These habits can be as simple as walking off your mat (even just to the left side or forward) to grab your water bottle or squatting down between a posture to drinking water before the start of the spine strengthening series or drinking water before the sit up in the floor series or drinking water in between sets of postures. Here are my bad habits:

In Half Moon pose (we make a cresent shape with our on the right and left side) I always have to scratch my nose before moving to the left side of the posture. Without fail I feel a tickle on my nose just right above the right nostril and boom I have to scratch it. I can’t wait until the posture is complete it must be scratched right then and now.

Another bad habit I have is drinking too much water – actually a better way to put it is relying on water to calm my breathing instead of just trusting my breath to calm me down. This is a huge issue – I drink water at Party Time (after the warm up postures of halfmoon, awkward, and eagle) which is a designated water break (it’s in the dialogue) so students are allowed to have water at this point in class (about 25 minutes). After that I try to hold off until Triangle pose (which is the marriage between the lungs and the heart) but without fail I drink water at the posture before Triangle, Separate Head to Knee, which is an inversion posture and where having water is not recommended because your head is below your heart and basically it feels a bit like your drowning. I thought I had kicked this habit at my home studio but at training I find myself gulping down water before this posture which makes it harder to really go into it because I’ve usually got a combination of water / snot following out of my nose. It’s a real sexy look…let me tell you.

I also find that I’m drinking a lot of water at Savasana (aka dead body pose)…and then after wind removing pose (yup…it’s just what you think it is) I drink water as we move into the spine strengthening series which is on our stomach for about 10 minutes and 4 postures (each posture twice). Drinking water before this is quite uncomfortable because you’re lying on your stomach that you’ve just filled with water…it sorta hurts and I find that I can’t go into the postures the way that I would like.

I also drink water before half tortoise (which is similar to child’s pose) and it’s a posture created to re-energize you so I really shouldn’t need water at that point in the class…

And then I gulp it down before spine twisting (only one set because you’ve only got ONE spine!) as well…which is quite ridiculous because at this point class is basically over. And there’s no real need for the water. Honestly, there just isn’t.

So yeah…I’m drinking too much water during class. The other day I drank 64 oz of water during one 90 minute class…that’s a lot of water to drink during one class. A lot of water and earlier in the day for the morning class I ran out of water. I had only carried my 40 oz hydroflask (which is a godsend) and ran out of water. I had to ration it during the floor series – small small sips. I’ve never left the hot room so fast after the last posture because I immediately needed to get water or ice or a combination of both.

Another bad habit I have is before toe stand I very subtly step my right foot forward on the mat and push my hips towards the mirror…sorta like a sashaying motion. Every single time without fail I do it – every single time. I don’t even know what I get out of it at least with the water I’m getting a sense of hydration but with this move I’m just wasting energy on this silly little move instead of saving that energy to get into the posture.

As we start week three I’m vowing to really work on my habits – the first habit I want to break is all the water. I’m going to re-train myself to drink water three (3) times during class at the following points in class:

– right after eagle pose which is the end of the warm up series and PARTY TIME (seriously it’s like a party for your mouth)

– right before Triangle pose (marriage of the heart and lungs)

– Right before fixed firm pose (which is when we’re no longer on our stomachs for the rest of class)

These are the three places where I should be able to comfortably drink water…I know that it’ll be tough especially since I’ve been doing them the past two weeks.

I tried to kick the habit of drinking water before the spine strengthening series this week but Thursday’s class was hot hot hot and long long long and the water was just needed (not really but mind said it was) so I gulped a big fat ugly gulp where some of the water went down my chest. But it’s a new week and I’ve got a new resolve or so I hope!

One of the reason it’s so important to break these habits over the next 7 weeks is because I’ll eventually be a teacher and teachers also practice with their students (not while teaching the class) but I’ll still be taking classes with students that I’ve taught and I can’t tell them when to drink water yet I drink water every chance I get in class. I have to learn to practice with integrity so that I can teach my students with integrity and help them practice with integrity as well.

Fingers crossed and lots of luck!

This is photo of all 333 us doing full locust pose in the hot room – this is part of the spine strengthening series – Imagine doing this posture on a full stomach of water! yikes!

332

BollyHell

Morning! Last night I experienced a new form of torture…a bollywood movie at Teacher Training. I love a good musical and cheesy storyline. Really I do but what we endured last night was unjust. Please keep in mind that we have incredibly long days and nights at TT…and I just wanted to sleep. Also, my roommates husband called at the crack of dawn on Sunday (the only day we have to sleep in) so I’ve been a bit out of sorts (more on that later….)

After dinner yesterday we have evening lecture where I thought we would continue with the dialogue, everyone (all 333 of us!) have to say Half Moon Pose in front of the boss. Nope, not yesterday evening – instead we watched Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai which is a 2000 Bollywood Romantic movie. The movie stars Hrithik Roshan and Ameesha Patel, it was written and directed by Rakesh Roshan, whom is apparently a friend of Bikram and writes over 100 movies a year. I didn’t know that. Bikram asked us “Who writes the most movies a year?” Naturally, I said Spielberg, silly me!

Of course, it’s one of Bikram’s student and friend 🙂

Anyway…the movie has a hero (Rhoit,in a double role) and a heroine (Sonia). Basically he’s poor, she’s rich, and her dad doesn’t want them to be together. I told you it was pretty cheesy. But wait in a Bollywood movie there’s more than just one storyline – there are about 10.

Besides the obvious romantic plot, the heronine’s dad is also dealing in drugs and is some type of Indian gangster, the hero and heroine also get shipwrecked on an island (i MIGHT have fallen asleep during this part…so I don’t know what exactly happened)where they fall in love (and there’s a corny musical number – one of many!), then the Rhoit decides to become a pop star (cause that’s his dream) and before his first big concert he witnesses the murder of the commissioner and is murdered himself because well why not kill the hero of the film? Obviously, the Sonia was devastated by the loss of her love and was in a grieving period. Her dad (ever the loving father) sent her to New Zealand where she stayed with her uncle and cousin for a bit…and met Raj (who looks JUST LIKE an orange RHOIT and was played by the same guy. I had to ask someone sitting next to me if that was the same person because I might have went to the bathroom to sit on the toilet lid and sleep a bit. Remember I said I might have done that…not that I did do it.

Anyway, Sonia is really confused because she likes Raj but he reminds her of her past and she can’t let herself love him. Raj falls for Sonia and pursues her to no avail – eventually he agrees to escort her back to India. They arrive in Bombay (which I thought was now New Delhi but that’s neither here nor there…i think i got that right) where the man who murdered Rhoit (Rhoit had a cycling accident and feel off his bike on a bridge where he drowned…Rhoit couldn’t swim) spots Raj and immediately begins shooting him because there wasn’t enough going on already. A crazy high speed chase ensues…and Raj is wondering why he’s being targeted by the police since he’s never been to India before (hmmm…I’m wondering the same thing Raj!). Raj meets Amit (Rhoit’s little brother) who explains what Rhoit saw the night of his “accident” (aka murder off the bridge).

So Raj, Sonia and friends decide that they will try and trick the police going after them by having Raj pretend to be Rhoit (sigh!) and put on the concert that Rhoit couldn’t do because he was at the bottom of a river. Raj has a great voice and seems to know all the lines to Rhoit’s music even though he’s never seen before. Great hip action and dance moves by the way…

Finally, it’s the action scene and Raj has a crazy fight with three of the cops that have been trying to kill him (thinking he’s Rhoit). He kills them and then Sonia’s dad comes into the scene where Sonia runs to him because that’s her father and she loves him. Amit (Rhoit’s brother) points out that the guy dead on the ground called Sirjee (who is the head of the whole operation) so Raj picks up the phone and dials the last number called…and guess who’s phone starts to ring???!

That’s right. It’s Sonia’s dad. He’s part of this whole ordeal and actually ordered that Rhoit be killed since he could identify the police that killed the commissioner. Dad is arrested (and we presume he goes to trial and then prison)

Rhoit and Sonia get married and live happily ever after. In New Zealand.

The movie was almost 4 hours long. 4 hours. 4 hours. After a long day and two classes I thought I was dying. Longest 4 hours of my life.

I don’t understand why everyone was cheering throughout the movie (as in the fellow teachers) people were clapping along, laughing loudly, etc. I was just trying to keep my eyes open (my iced coffee didn’t work!). The movie would have been enjoyable had it been about 90 minutes but 4 hours later and 10 subplots later I was just like WTF.

This movie which translates to Say…You Love Me was apparently a blockbuster and had the highest earning of any Bollywood film in 2000. It was a huge hit and received positive reviews and 102 awards. Maybe I need to watch it again…or not. Also, the movie made the folks playing Sonia and Rhoit into major Bollywood stars…I’m not going to lie Rhoit is very cute and has beautiful eyes.

Sonia, Rhoit / Raj, and Tony (the sidekick – he didn’t do much)

bollyhell

So I knew going into training that Bikram likes to show lots of movies because there’s a moral behind them and he wants to share that with everyone going through the process. Well today we learned the moral of the story basically it’s if you do bad things, you’ll get caught and have to do the punishment.

He sorta explained it this afternoon that we have to decide from the get go that we want to be good people and do good with our lives. And if we even think of lying then we’ve already committed a crime to ourselves by not trusting and having faith in ourselves to do the right thing. The father wanted to be rich and provide for his family but he didn’t do it right and now he’s in jail. Maybe I should allow myself to be a bit more open to the bollywood films – they’re just so long and I’m just so so so tired. They wake you up if you sleep during any of the lectures.

So yeah, that happened.

Finished class 14 today 🙂

Rumor has it that tonight we’re watching Mamma Mia (another musical) I love a good musical and I’ve seen Mamma Mia..so this might not be too bad.

Gems By Bikram – Week One!

Bikram is a character. He’s a man with a lot of personality and he’s a man without a filter sorta like myself. I don’t have the best filter and basically if I’m thinking it it is coming out of my mouth…I am working on it though. Bikram, however, is not. This is weekly post where I’ll be sharing Bikram gems from each week. So here is week one:

“I used to eat 60 raw eggs, 40-50 bananas, 3 kg of lamb”
“Vegetarian my ass” – he’s a big meat eater…like huge huge meat eater!
“Go eat shit and die” – He really said this. That happened in week one.
“Models have chronic constipation”
“simply you are idiot”
“President Nixon gave me my green card into America as a “thank you” for fixing his leg.”
“You have nothing to lose because you never had anything in the first place”
“Go get me two coconuts, I can’t concentrate.” – he was deadly serious about getting a fresh coconut. He also shared that he used to “smash coconuts on his head to open them”
“Torture chambe is worst than Germany”
“Sitting there & doing mental masturbation is not going to help you” referring to someone that wasn’t going into the posture but just standing there
“I was the #1 guru of the whole mafia in Italy” Good to know…
“I raised Madonna & Johnny Depp”
“I saved Robert Downy Jr.”
“I created Hollywood”
“You know how long it took me to get married?…7 minutes”
“Nobody is going to respect you in this world. This world is shit.”
I’m from India, we can piss anywhere. I can shit in somebody’s driveway.”
“Madonna – she’s my student from 15 years old…fat, chubby girl”
“Doesn’t she look like a scoop of ice cream? Be careful, people are going to come & lick you up”
“Manali! You know those orange things? I like them. Go buy all of them, now! We are hungry” He was referencing orange wafers – I had already picked up the strawberry wafers.

strawberry wafers

“YOU HAVE NOOO IDEA”
“In America hair is a very big thing. If you have big boobs, big ass, big hair, you go to heaven” Good to know Boss cause I have the boobs and the hair (until I chopped it!)…so I’m ready to hit the skies 🙂
“We don’t need your fucking clap”

**Bikram gave a girl 5000 baht (about $160 bucks) for being 18 years old…and she killed her delivery of Half Moon Pose! It was very good.

Bikram has a custom made $750K Chanel watch.
Bentley wants to buy his name and put it on a car…
He also claimed that he created Michael Jackson…that’s right the one and the only Michael Jackson.

Here’s my photo after jumping in the pool (I rinsed) after class #11 today.

me after class (1)

Enjoy! Off to class 12 🙂 86 to go!

The Weekend!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here a few from the weekend – I’ll write more about the weekend but I did want to share a couple of great photos!

Shot of the beach at Khao Lak a step from the resort!
beach shot

Dragon Fruit – to me it taste a bit like a kiwi! I’m not a big fan but lots of people really like it.
Dragon Fruit

Went to the grocery store – shot of the register. More to share about grocery shopping in Thailand.
grocery price

Headstand on the beach by Kat! She’s from Berlin.
kat headstand

Love at the Spa – I got an aromatherapy massage at the spa on Sunday. It wasn’t that great – I’ll stick to the ones at the beach which are half the price!
love at the spa

Massages on the beach – I had a thai massage on Saturday which was 400 baht which is about $4 USD
massage on the beach

Drinking coconut juice on the beach – very very refreshing. I’ll never be able to have Zico again!
me and coconut

A snap of me enjoying the beach
me at the beach

Another photo on the beach relaxing on Saturday
me smiling

More shots of the massage places on the beach. There are tons of massages places lined up on the beach – they aren’t affiliated with the hotel but are very good!
more massage on the beach

On Sunday I studied with a few friends – I’ve got most of awkward pose memorized! yay me!
studying

Sunset over the beach!
sun over the beach

First Thai meal on the beach – Thai Basil Shrimp – it was delicious! and very spicy!
thai basil fried shrimp

Week One Is OVER!

Week One.

I can’t believe that week one has come to a close. It seems like just yesterday I arrived here at Khao Lak…
This week I took 10 classes. We have a very tight schedule for teacher training – here’s how the schedule works:
Monday – Friday
AM Class Sign In: 8 – 8:25am
AM Class: 8:30 – 10:00 am
Lunch – 10:30 – 12pm
PM Lecture Sign In: 12:00 – 12:25pm
PM Lecture: 12:30 – 4pm
PM Class Sign In: 4:30 – 4:55pm
PM Class: 5:00 – 6:30pm
Bikram usually teaches the evening class which means that class starts around 5 and can go until anytime…our first class was 2.5 hours and most of his classes have been around two hours since our first class on Monday September 15th.
After pm class – we have dinner until 9.
Evening Lecture Sign in 9:00 – 9:25pm
Evening Lecture: 9:30 until boss tells us “goodnight”.
The latest we’ve been up so far is around 1am. So I’m hoping it stays that way – I’ve heard rumors of a really late night (think 4am) filled with bolllywood movies but I’m hoping not. I feel asleep in evening lecture earlier this week for almost an hour but one of the teachers woke me up. I need my sleep so the idea of a 4am night followed by an 8am sign in is terrifying. Thank god for ear plugs and back rows! Oh and being up to sleep in the most uncomfortable chairs ever!
Real quick I wanted to mention that Bikram is an actual person. Bikram doesn’t just mean hot – he’s a real live man. He’s about 68 (I think…) and he created Bikram Yoga (you create it you can put your name on it I guess!). So I’m at a teacher training learning from the man himself (also referred to as the Boss – sorta like Springsten). He teaches the evening classes and lectures (or at least for the first two weeks). I heard that sometimes he has to leave to take care of business and another senior teacher will take over or a doctor will do our lecture for the week or so.
Anyway Bikram created the Bikram Yoga series which is a yoga practice made up of 26 postures (asana’s) and two breathing exercises. The class is always the same and the postures are always in the same order now matter where you take class in your city, state, country or the world. He has the order patented (smart man). There are plenty of imitation studios all over the world…but you can always tell a real Bikram Studio. Also all Bikram classes (besides his own during TT) are always 90 minutes – some studios (mostly illegal ones) do a shorter version of his classes, a 75 minute or 60 minute class which isn’t Bikram Yoga. It’s some other stuff…so just an FYI in case you’ve taken one of those classes. Now that that is out of the way…let’s talk about my first ever double class.
A double is when you take two (2) classes in one day. I’ve never taken a double before in my life ever! But as a part of TT we take two classes a day. So on Tuesday September 16th, I took my first double. I was a little nervous but I made sure to hydrate (this is so important) and take lots of electrolytes (will share my recipe). The class was hard I had worked hard in the morning class and drank too much water during the afternoon lecture so I really struggled during the floor series. Let me quickly explain that:
Bikram Yoga has a standing series and a floor series. The standing series is about 50 minutes and includes postures where you are standing on your mat (makes sense right?) the floor series is where you are lying on the floor (also makes sense). Bikram says that the standing series is the warm up for the floor series which is really focused on the yoga and where your body gets to record the benefits of the class. The standing series mostly consist of balancing on one leg and stretching whilst the floor series focuses on spine strengthening, backward bending and back twisting. We also do every posture twice – the standing postures generally last from 60 seconds – 30 seconds while the floor series is around 20 seconds per posture with a 20 second savasana. Any questions – please leave it in the comments below and I’ll try to answer!
Back to the double class so during the floor series specifically the spine part of the series I’m mostly on my stomach and my stomach was full of water which made it really hard to do each posture. I found myself incredibly full and very uncomfortable not by the heat or the fact that my neighbor was sweating on me but more because I couldn’t catch my breath and felt nauseous. I had to sit out most of the postures including camel (backward bending) and rabbit (forward bending) which are great postures for opening you up and lengthening your spine. Luckily, I was able to get it together by separate leg stretching so I could complete the class with everyone.
That’s my happy dance posture – I know once I’ve made it to that posture that I can complete the class. For my happy dance lying on my mat I do a little shoulder wiggle with a thumbs up to remind myself that I’ve completed the class!
After that first double on Tuesday I made an effort to not drink as much water (apparently 64 oz was a little too much) during pm lecture. Instead I adjusted to 40 oz of water which is just right cause my doubles W – F were a lot better. A lot better.
So good in fact that on Thursday I sat in the front row with some new friends and did class up there. We sit in rows in Bikram Yoga. Most studios have three rows:
1st row is for the really great student who have a proficient grasp on all the postures – and can usually complete the full expression of the posture
2nd row is for students that are good and know the postures but might not be in the full expression of the posture
3rd row is the new students and novices that are new to the studio or practice; sometimes you find students that are good in the back as well if they feel they are struggling or having a hard time.
Anyway, students in rows 2 and 3 can generally use the 1 row as a frame of reference when they don’t understand what the teacher is saying – as Bikram teachers don’t demonstrate the postures – we just speak the dialogue and the students follow our words vs our actions.
I tend to practice in the 2nd and 3rd row at my home studio – though when I found out I was going to teacher training I stepped up my game and made my way to the 1st row more often than not! It’s nice in the front row you can always see yourself in the mirror and really concentrate and focus on yourself and your practice but it can be a lot of pressure. The first row really sets the tone and example for the rest of the class so if you get that real estate you need to be ready to work work work!
Good thing I was ready to work on Thursday – there was great energy in the row and while I was working hard I never felt overwhelmed or out of control while up there. I really focused on staying on mat, completing the postures correctly step by step, and not fidgeting (which is something I’m really hoping to work on during TT).
Friday I practiced a bit in the back because I got to the room a little late and there wasn’t room up front plus I didn’t feel at my best and as Sharon said during her class on Thursday don’t practice in the front if you don’t feel you can give 100%. Sound advice Sharon!
We had Friday evening off which was a huge surprise! I was in bed by 9:30pm on Friday…and the sleep was blissful.
We had class # 10 on Saturday morning and Manali (Bikram’s niece – it’s a family affair as his brother is also here!) taught the class. She has an amazing dialogue and great energy. After class it was the “WEEKEND” we didn’t have another class until Monday morning at 8am! Woohoo!
Also, there were no punishment classes this week. If you miss sign in(for classes or lecture), you have to take a makeup class on Saturday or Sunday also known as a punishment class. I’m am trying my hardest to not find out what the punishment class entails. I’m hoping to be on time (yes me, and yes really) to every class / lecture!
Woohoo, 10 classes down and 88 to go!
Week Two starts tomorrow!

Training Begins!

We finally arrived on Sunday to the resort – We’re staying at the beautiful Sentido Graceland Khao Lak. Let’s just say this place is lush, posh, and very green. It’s gorgeous in the rain. Sunday we had orientation, registration and dinner. We just settled in cause the real fun was to start on Monday with our first lecture and class!

Our first lecture was Monday morning and while I can’t remember everything that he talked about but I know that it was interesting and I’m going to learn a lot from him! And that’s all that matters…

After lecture was finished around 4pm. We had our first class at 5pm with Bikram himself. Talk about being excited! It was very intense. We have to sign in before everything that we do (lecture, class, posture clinic, etc). If you don’t sign in then you have to take a make up class.

So class with Bikram that first day was very hot and humid. I’m used to humid classes at Bikram Yoga Harlem especially in the summer months. It just gets super hot in the summer and you can’t control it. But this was a different level of humid – I swear. The humidity must have been 96%. I was sweating before the class even started. Just sitting on my towel and mat.

Bikram was feeling very nice because he opened the doors after the warm up postures (first three postures of the series – half moon, awkward, and eagle pose!) Thank Heaven he opened the doors because I thought I was going to die. I didn’t die and I learned to push through…but some folks we’re dropping like flies. Oh class was also 2.5 hours – Bikram Yoga is usually a 90 minute series but when the boss wants to keep you for 2.5 hours – you stay, listen, adjust, and do it because he’s the boss! All in all it was a great class and I’m very excited for the next nine weeks!

We’re allowed to sit through postures (not all of them) but if you need a break take it. The boss himself even said take it easy this first week as we’re adjusting and I’m trying to take it easy. Making sure I’m perfectly hydrated – lots of electrolytes, antioxidants, magnesium, green leafy vegetables, and meat for protein. My body needs it to survive the next nine weeks.

We can’t take photos in the room so I don’t have any…but that was the first class and I’ve got 98 to go (in real time it’s 93). We’re taking two classes a day M-F, One on Saturday and Sunday is our day of rest!

Off to lunch! Hoping to deliver part of the dialogue today – fingers crossed and wish me luck!

xx

HIGH.

Today I delivered half moon pose (right side) to Bikram himself and my fellow trainees! I have such an incredible adrenaline rush right now – I’m so excited and just have an overall high. I’ve been practicing half moon pose for snowflake since I first got my dialogue back in July and to have finally delivered it I just feel a sense of relief. I can start studying the rest of the dialogue.

I was talking to my friend Sam about it and she had a lot of questions so I thought I would explain a bit more about Bikram Yoga and how things work in our classes. As a certified Bikram Yoga Teacher I’ll be leading the class for 90 minutes strictly with words – as a teacher I won’t demonstrate postures for the class. Students will listen to my “dialogue” and follow suit – if someone is using the wrong arm or grip or whatnot I will of course correct them and might even show how to do it but for the most part i’ll be atop the podium speaking.

When we first get our dialogue which is around 45 pages (that’s a lot of talking for 90 minutes!) we’re directed to start with Half Moon pose which is part of the warm up series for the class. The warm up consist of three postures – half moon pose, awkward pose, and eagle pose. As a teacher trainee I have to deliver half moon pose to Bikram himself. They say that just in delivering this pose he can tell what kind of teacher you’ll be. Today I had the chance to deliver the pose to him.

I had been trying since Wednesday afternoon (maybe – the days are sorta blurry) lecture to deliver it but kept sitting in the wrong row and the sign up list never made it to me. Today (Thursday) I finally made it to the right row but missed the sign up by two chairs so after dinner I hustled over to the lecture room to make sure I was in the right row (third row) to get the sign up and I did.

I was one of the last students to deliver the posture this evening a little after midnight and it was a success. It’s nerve wracking getting up in front of the boss and saying his own dialogue back to him. I was worried he would say something about my hair (he’s not a fan of short hair :/ ) but luckily I my hair was under his radar as I delivered the posture very well.

HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES OF FEEDBACK OTHER TRAINEES RECEIVED TODAY:

“NEXT” which is a great sign – it basically means you’ve got this down and there is nothing else for him to say
“SPICE” which means that you need to add a little spice and flavor to the delivery
“too sweet” which means you’re too nice and you need more power
“You need a speech therapist” which basically means you need to open your mouth fully and say the dialogue so this is for folks with a soft or thin voice or deposition

He said it was good but he also pointed out that I need to work on putting more meaning behind the words. I think as I continue through this posture I’ll be able to really put the meaning behind the words and not just be so focused on saying the words correctly in the right order (trust me it is a lot to memorize).

Ahhhh, I just feel so good. I have no idea how I’ll get any sleep tonight.

In other news, it was the first sunny day since we’ve been in Khao Lak! Just a gorgeous day with no rain at all – a few folks went swimming after the morning class but I was rushing to get ready eat lunch and make it to the right row!

Only three more classes this week – two classes on Friday (8:30am & 5pm) and one on Saturday (8am? – I should find this out so I don’t miss sign in!).

I can’t believe how quickly the week is going…before I know it training will be over and i’ll be teaching my own classes down under!