Greetings from Vietnam! Better late than never with my week 8 recap and if you know me at all this is sorta like being on time for me – right???!
We’ve finished 87 classes and only have 10 classes to go until we’re certified Bikram Yoga Teachers! Queue the music and get the tequila ready! We finished posture clinic this week which means that myself and my fellow friends have successfully delivered & demonstrated all 26 postures to each other. It took about 5 weeks to deliver the dialogue and it’s sad that we’re finished because that means that soon the yoga bubble will becoming to an end. After we finished posture clinic everyone went to their balcony and started screaming and cheering and going bizark because we’re done! It was a pretty happy sight. The final posture of the series is spine twisting which I happened to learn that very afternoon that I delivered it. I delivered two postures that afternoon separate leg stretching (which I think I humbly think I killed!) and spine twisting. My group was very strong so everyone was volunteering to deliver the last posture which helped me because I hadn’t learned it yet – so I was learning it while folks where delivering it Honestly, it really helps me learning this way cause I get to see the movement and connection with the words. I had fun delivering this posture – there are a lot of rights and lefts involved in spine twisting i.e. face the left side of the room, bend your left knee and bring your right heel to the corner of the left knee – right arm behind you left arm over – you get my point?! So when I was delivering it I got the right and left mixed up a little bit I had said bring your right arm over when really it’s your left arm instead of freaking out I laughed and said bring your other right arm over! I got great feedback from the staff leaders of my posture clinic that I’ll never forget “You’ve got great spirit & you’re already teaching!” meant the world to me that feedback! I was elated!
Following class we had more posture clinic where we got to start stringing postures together. Luckily, my posture clinic group (15 & 16) got Juan and Lynn Whitlow as our staff leaders. Lynn is a big deal like a big big deal. She’s a brillant resource in the Bikram community and she graduated in 1998 with 35 people in her training – at that time they did 3 classes a day and all posture clinics were with Bikram himself (instead of his senior teachers). She actually taught her first class at TT because Raj was sick and Bikram turned to her and said you’re teaching tonight! She’s the Queen of Posture Clinic! Lynn and Juan did the posture clinic a little differently – instead of volunteers they called people up at random to deliver postures that they picked. I got called up and Lynn raved about my studio which was awesome because it really is a great studio! If you’re ever in NYC please check out Bikram Yoga Harlem – I promise you that you’ll absolutely love it! When I was called up I had to deliver 5 counts of Pranayama breathing (say what?) Here’s the deal with Pranayama breathing – it’s the first of the two breathing exercises that we do in Bikram. It helps to open up the lungs and respiratory system and starts the class – I hadn’t even looked at it yet because Bikram does all the breathing exercises in his posture clinic so I figured I still had sometime. WRONG!
I had a plan to just count out the breathing (it’s six counts) but Lynn shut that down which I honestly appreciate because it is a tell tale sign that you’re a new teacher when you just count to 6 20 times (twice – inhale and exhale). So, she asked me what are the important things for this exercise 1. Inhale through the nose 2. Exhale through the mouth 3. Use the throat as a passage way 4. Hands interlocked – always touching the chin – I had to say something while delivering this so I stuck to eyes open, stomach in, push your head back, elbows up. I still can’t believe I got through delivering that. After pranyama I went into half moon, backward bending and pada hastana (hands to feet pose) and then the thirrd one I did was triangle. Which was exciting because Triangle is one of my favorite postures and I could really start to see the lines (triangles!) that the students were creating with their bodies.
Since we’ve finished posture clinic that meanas that Bikram started his posture clinic with us the following afternoon. This is a clear sign that we’re near the finish line. Posture Clinic with Bikram isn’t just about the dialogue it is more about what the students will struggle with in class (new students and old students alike), how to give corrections,, key points and benefits of each posture. He also brings up folks to help them individually on their trouble postures. Only a few people can go up for a posture so it sorta became a crazy rat race – especially with backbending! When we first started PC with the boss I sat up in the front so I could catch every word he was saying but as the week went on (and we watched more bollywood movies!) I grew tired and found myself back in the back row in case I happened to “rest my eyes for a few moments” I didn’t want to get caught 🙂
87 classes all sorta become a blur during training but boss taught all the evening classes this week with the exception of one class which happened to be my favorite. The class was fast, the pace was quick and we had a very entertaining teacher in Juan. Honestly, it was probably the strongest class I’ve had at training. The next morning Lynn taught a great class – I can’t really find words to describe her class – the energy was amazing and her expertise in the postures and insight into teaching were so helpful. She’s commanding yet gentle but you want to work hard for her in the class – she gets you to do it and do it correctly. Lynn shared some tips for our new career:
1. Get a Watch – it’s a required part of the uniform .
2. Yoga gear that we only wear for teaching not also practicing
3. Have at least 4 different outs and make sure they’re always clean (that should be common sense but you know what they say!
4. Grooming before and after class
5. Set up your podium before class (have extra electrolytes for any students that might need them, your water and towel – I’m also going to have a little thing that says right and left since that’ll be opposite my right and left just for the first few classes!)
6. Be the alpha in the room – move one person just a quick shift to let the class know you’re in charge
7. Introduce yourself (but never say this is my first class (or 2nd, 3rd, etc)
8. Put new students behind the old students or in the wings
Unfortunately, we only had Lynn for a few days as she needed to return home – I’m glad I got the chance to meet with her and talk to her about teaching and my home studio. She also gave me some great and contacts for when I reach Australia!
I spent the weekend napping on the beach and having dinner not in the mess hall. The food has gotten progressively worse if that’s even possible (it is!) so I had dinner & lunch on the beach over the weekend. Dinner on Saturday I had the most insane fried tiger prawns with garlic and pepper. It was so good – so good I went back on Sunday and it had it for lunch good. The flavors were unreal and just exploded in your mouth. The place I had dinner and lunch was Platoo – it’s just down the beach next to our hotel. On Sunday I was supposed to go to Sirun Islands with some fiends (there was a big group of us – about 40) but unfortunately the trip was canceled because of the weather – it wasn’t 100% safe to be on the water. Shame because I was very much looking forward to leaving the compound for the day but instead I had mango sticky rice for the first time, walked the beach to the shipwreck, took a nap, watched two movies (When in Rome and The Sapphires – which featured one of my fellow trainees! Go Cleave!) and then had another dinner on the beach. Dinner on Sunday was good but not as good as Saturday! I ordered the blackened fish with garlic & pepper (I’m going through a garlic and pepper phase!)
Only 10 classes to go! xx
Banana Fritter Dessert at the Beach – Coconut Seafood (Sunday Dinner)
Banana Pancake Dessert – Coconut Seafood (Sunday Dinner)
Hanging with girls at the Beach
Fish with Garlic and Peppers – Coconut Seafood (Sunday Dinner)
Fish with Three Sauces – Coconut Seafood (Sunday Dinner)
Mango Sticky Rice (Sunday morning)
Chicken on a stick at the market
Enjoying the best coconut shake (Coconut Seafood – Sunday dinner)
Mussels with cheese – amazing Coconut Seafood Sunday
The Girls and I after dinner on Saturday
Group Selfie at the Shipwreck
Amazing Fried Tiger Prawns! – Saturday Dinner & Sunday Lunch
Tom Yam Soup – Coconut Seafood Sunday Dinner
Coconut Soup – Saturday Dinner Platoo
Fresh Seafood – Saturday Dinner Platoo. Our waitress asked me how many grams I want and I said I don’t know and just brought over fresh shrimp and I picked which one I wanted!
Pad Thai – Saturday dinner! So good