Week 9: It’s not the end…it’s a new beginning.

It’s taken me a while to write this post simply because I can’t believe that 9 weeks have flown by so incredibly quickly and also because I was traveling through southeast Asia after an intensive 9 weeks of training.

The 9th week is a complete blur sorta like everything after the 5th week. Once you hit the halfway point of training time really does just fly by…training can be quite repetitive – two classes / day, posture clinic or lecture, beach or pool after morning class, lunch and dinner, sleep (a bit) and repeat. The 9th week was no different we had a total of 10 classes remaining 5 with the boss himself and 5 with visiting senior teachers.

This week is really just to say goodbye to all your friends because graduation is so quick (kinda) that if you blink your eyes you’ve missed the entire moment and everyone has already started to disperse! Folks have flights to catch and they need to leave the yoga bubble quicker than you liked.

During this week we have get to have a bit more free time – the staff is more relaxed they also can see the finish line as well as the students. Bikram signs books or dialogues during this week. Usually midweek on the Wednesday or Thursday depending if he has finished his posture clinic. There was a bit of confusion with signing the books this year a few folks were going to have him sign their mats or dialogues books and not his book “books”. Welp, the boss didn’t like that and an announcement was made that he would only sign his books and then after (if there was time he would sign dialogue books!). I didn’t have any books of the bosses so I thought I would be out of luck – I tried to run to the Bikram store to get a book but they were all sold out and only the CD’s remained. I went back to the lecture hall and one of my dear friends gave me one of her books so that Bikram could sign it and I could have my picture with the boss. I was so surprised and told my friend that I would pay her either in baht or cash but she declined and said that she wanted to give it to me as a gift. I was incredibly touched – there are good people in this world. I’m still amazed by her willingness to gift me this book. It’s the orange book Bikram Yoga THe Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment. Thank you Noor!

Raj taught the morning class and as usual it was incredibly beautiful. Her voice was made for yoga and sleeping. After her class she played a song and most people got emotional but soon folks were up dancing and cheering and hugging each other. One class to go!

The last class with Bikram was a lot of fun. Everyone wears black and brings coke with them to class. The boss loves Coke (and burgers!)  so at party time (which is the first water break in class after eagle pose) everyone lifts up their coke and cheers the boss. It was an awesome moment – we also cheers each other. At the end of the class music broke out and everyone erupted into loud cheers! It was done – the moment was finished. We had completed 97 classes (some more – due to makeup classes) in just 9 short weeks and we were all Bikram Yoga teachers! We had reached the finish line.

We had lecture that evening with Bikram and we ended with a beautiful meditation.

Saturday was graduation and honestly it was a blur. Raj and Laju (Bikram’s daughter spoke), the staff received a standing ovation, Bikram gave a brief lecture and then our certificates were passed out and we all became official yoga teachers. After graduation a few of us went down to the beach to light lanterns and make wishes and then we had a massive feast on the lawn to celebrate the end.

I left the party early said goodbye to my friends – I needed to pack and get ready for Vietnam but honestly I’m just not good at goodbyes.

I don’t really know how to define this experience – Lynn Whitlow said try not to define it or understand it for sometime so I’m going to heed her advice and not write an all over training recap until I’ve been teaching for 6 months and I’ve returned to training myself as a teacher. But I will say this I’m so glad for the opportunity of this training, I’m thankful for my home studio, for finding this beautiful yoga in NYC, and for finally knowing how to be present in my life.

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Guest Blog: Beverages of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training

Beverages of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Thailand

1. Coconuts: 60 Baht. Also a snack. Apparently natures perfect drink full of electrolytes and goodness—naturally I HATE THEM. Possibly palatable if put one of my favorite drinks in them. **BT NOTE: Platoo and Coconut Seafood have coconuts for 40 baht (which is 1.22; 30 baht to USD)

2. Manoa Soda: Transalation: F&%KING DELICIOUS. I could down one in 3.5 seconds. Upon my return back home I planning on throwing out all of my yoga mats and yoga clothes and filling my suitcase full of these. 30 Baht*
**BT NOTE: This stuff is so so so good!

3. Soda Water: I don’t get it. Someone please help me with this. Maybe it’s the cute packaging? 40 Baht.*
BT NOTE: Me either – also it was hilarious as ppl would knock them over in lecture and it sounded like a beer bottle – to which Bikram would say – who knocked over their beer? He also once took a girls soda water and drank it.then decided he liked it and sent his staff to buy all of them (which they did!)

4. Lime Juice: Neat. Also a favorite among pirates to ward off scurvy. Mix it with sugar and salt and it’s the perfect post-Bikram beverage. Free

5. Caffeine: In any form, but the form fastest absorbed by the bloodstream. Most yogis are complete zombies with out a constant stream. Downside: too much can lead to with-drawls and contribute to erratic mood swings often experienced at TT.
Forms:
• Buffet Drip Coffee
• Coke
• Tea
• Birdie (Equivalent of the Starbuck Doubleshot. Half Sugar, Half High Octane Gasoline)

Also to note: Espresso beverages were included in the buffet the first half of TT, but now only for a rather large charge of 150 Baht. Either the hotel got cheap or they wanted to stop contributing to our mood swings. I put my money on the former.

6. Bikram Brand Water: tastes good. Comes in 3 liter bottles. Downside: Flimsy bottles that make an awful lot of noise during posture clinic and yoga class. During class Bikram noted that he never heard a water bottle make such a noise. Also overfilled and sealed with plastic wrap thus impossible to open so naturally water goes everywhere when opened. 20 Baht

Also to note: Bikram sells more water annually (dunno exactly how) than anyone in the world so naturally the Nestle corporation offered him $5,000,000/ day to put his name on their water bottles. He declined the offer.

*Prices based on rip-off convenient store on campus. BT NOTE: it really is a rip off – the prices are outrageous but desperate yogi’s drop mad baht in the store.

About the Author: Fem has been practicing Bikram Yoga for 6 years. She is still uncertain why she is at training or what is going on. Her favorite posture is Sasangasana.

Photos:
Bikram Water
Bikram Water

Guest Blogger
Guest Blogger

Lemon Soda
Lemon Soda

Soda Water
Soda Water

Coconut Water
coconut (1)

Fem & I during signing day with Bikram!
coconut (2)

Week 8: I see the finish line

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

Photos:
Banana Fritter Dessert at the Beach – Coconut Seafood (Sunday Dinner)
Banana Fritters

Banana Pancake Dessert – Coconut Seafood (Sunday Dinner)
Banana Pancake

Hanging with girls at the Beach
Beach Day

Fish with Garlic and Peppers – Coconut Seafood (Sunday Dinner)
Fish w Garlic and Peppers

Fish with Three Sauces – Coconut Seafood (Sunday Dinner)
Fish with Three Sauces

Mango Sticky Rice (Sunday morning)
Mango Sticky Rice

Chicken on a stick at the market
market

Enjoying the best coconut shake (Coconut Seafood – Sunday dinner)
Me & Coconut

Mussels with cheese – amazing Coconut Seafood Sunday
Mussels with Cheese

The Girls and I after dinner on Saturday
Saturday diinner

Ship Wreck
ship wreck

Group Selfie at the Shipwreck
shipwreck group

Amazing Fried Tiger Prawns! – Saturday Dinner & Sunday Lunch
Tiger Prawns

Tom Yam Soup – Coconut Seafood Sunday Dinner
Tom Yam

Coconut Soup – Saturday Dinner Platoo
Coconut Soup

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!
Fresh Seafood

Pad Thai – Saturday dinner! So good
Pad Thai

Week 7 Recap: Projection

The 7th weeks is over! 75 classes behind me and 21 classes to go. At this point I’ve started the reverse countdown in my head. After the end of our class on our week 6 I was sharing this with friends that I was practicing near and one of the teachers told me not to count down. He was during recertification in the 3rd row and I was in the first row. I forgot to mention that during week 6 we had teachers for recertification – they had to do three classes (on 2 Friday and  1 Saturday). Two classes were with Raj (she’s so sweet) and one with Bikram. Let’s just say he put on a show and the class was almost three hours. I brought in my 64 & 40 oz hydroflask plus three 1500 ML of water. Each hydroflask was filled with water – the class was long and hot and long.

I can’t even lie the week is an absolute blur – still taking 11 classes a week. During the morning class we  have mostly traveling teachers and Bikram teaches us during the evening class which is still averaging about two hours a class. He left on Friday to go to Japan for their recertification (Teachers must be recertified every 3 years).And because Bikram left on Friday we had a lovely evening teacher from Chicago that taught our Halloween classes which we were allowed to dress up for and dress up we did. There was a girl in a full on batman costume, a few zombies, Miss Piggy, a thai boxer (my friend!), tons of kittens, and of course a die hard Ohio State Fan (me!!!). The class was a lot of fun but most ppl took off their costumes after the breathing exercise but Batman and Miss Piggy made it all the way to the end of class!

Classes continue to be hard – I don’t think I did both sets of triangle at all this week and I’ve gotten into the habit of dropping my arms in between the right and left set which is bad. But I’ve acknowledged it and I’m making an effort to keep my arms up. One of the things I love about this yoga is how incredibly humbling it is – you can have a rockstar class and a gut wrencher in the same or even within the same class. But the thing that I love is that no matter what it’s is always just the same 26 postures with two breathing exercises no matter the day or wherever I might be in the world. The only thing that continues to change in my practice is me – I’m changing physically, mentally, emotionally, etc and I will continue to change throughout my practice. I’ve got to keep this in mind for teaching as well because students will go through this too: strong classes, weak classes, in between classes but the important message to share with them is that they’ve got to be kind to themselves during the great classes and the bad classes and always always come back to the mat. It really is the best thing you can do for yourself – taking 90 minutes for this beautiful moving meditation.

Posture Clinic
Posture clinic is continuing to roll. I knew that once we hit the floor series (where the real yoga begins!) that it would go by quickly but I’m surprised to be delivering sometimes three – four postures in a day. Postures in the floor series are a lot shorter than the standing series and have a savasana (dead body pose with stillness) in between each set; this part of the classes really allows you to work your spine, organs, ligaments, joints, etc more deeply as you’ve spent about 50 minutes warming them up in the standing series. This is where I learned to really value the setup of each posture – reading the dialogue for the floor series it’s very detailed and I never realized how important it was to keep my heels touching in cobra or to have my elbows touching in locust. What do they say about the details? I forget right now but you know what I mean. We’ve only got a few more postures to deliver before we’ll start stringing them all together as a group.

Lecture
We had another guest lecture join us this week on the topic of the art of talking and communication. A lot of folks (myself included) were told that we need to work on our projection i.e. talking from the diaphragm vs the throat. We thought this lecture was going to be more about projection but it was still very useful. Dr. Sujit Sanyal shared with us some do’s and don’t’s for public speaking (when to use your hands – which I use alot, don’t let your body language talk for you, etc, etc). Even though it wasn’t the topic I was expecting this was probably one of the best guest lecturers we’ve had – He was very engaging, walked all around the lecture room and really connected with the students. Everyone that I talked to said this hands down their favorite guest lecture – I just wish I could have stayed awake for most of it. I was dogged tired after a late night of bollywood but I did hear the most important parts big thanks to a special english bloke for waking me up a couple of times as I rested my eyes. The other reason he was good is that he let a few secrets slip here and there – for example he let us know that he was lecturing Thursday and Friday afternoon which meant we would only have posture clinic in the evening. Evening posture clinic is about 2 hours vs 4.5 hours in the afternoon. You can get through a lot of postures in 4.5 hours (trust me!) so people were relieved that they didn’t have to prepare that much for posture clinic! He also let it slip that Bikram was in Phuket on Thursday and so he wouldn’t be teaching the evening class!! Three cheers for Dr. Sanyal! The staff tried to cover by saying that Bikram was on the compound but he wasn’t and we had a guest teacher from Oxford that evening. Woot!

Staff Stories
After the Halloween class we had lecture with the staff. We have 6 full time staffers that help out during the nine weeks of training. They are all senior teachers and take on different roles during training: Nurse, Posture Clinic Lead, Head of Teacher Training, Sign In Leader, Assistant Posture Clinic (2). They got on stage and each shared their story of how they’ve come to the yoga (or how their continuing to come to the yoga) and what it means to them in their lives right now. It was insightful to see what the yoga means to the staff. I knew they loved it because they all participate on a volunteer basis (I believe their room & board and food are covered).

Weekend
After the Saturday class I passed out for about three hours, watched movie after movie on StarMovies and vegged in my room with a little room service action. Honestly, I would have liked to go down to the beach, hang with friends and study but I needed a day for a little R&R. That Saturday was glorious as I chomped on the best burger ever (for Thailand!) and caught up on some Aussie soaps in the evening. I was a bit more active on Sunday hung on the beach and finally went to check out the mexica restaurant in Khao Lak. It was so good! Okay, maybe it wasn’t that good but it was a little taste of home that I needed and it hit my mexican craving. I got chicken fajitas and a cheese quesadilla (spelling?). No margarita or sangria – we’re not allowed to drink during training! And to be honest after the spring/ summer I had in the city I needed the 9 weeks to really detox so I fully complied with drinking restrictions. I was grateful for them. There was also no avocado at the mexican restaurant –  shame they can’t be grown in Thailand. We had dinner at this Thai pancake cart and thank you sweet baby jesus we stumbled upon it because it was amazing and yes I ordered and ate two greasy thai pancakes. I’m doing yoga twice a day don’t judge me! xx

Photos:

Halloween Group Shot!
group shot

Kitten and a Thai Boxer!!
kitten and thai boxer

Yum! Me and my thai Pancake(s!)
me and thai pancake

Mexican Food (yes please!!)
mexican

Nachos!
nachos

Lady who made the Thai Pancakes! Bless her because there were five of us and we each ordered two some three! Again, yoga twice a day so no judgement!
thai pancake

Me and the Japanese zombies!!!
zombie

 

 

Quotes!

Here are some funny quotes from the past weeks:

“Keep your issues in your tissues” – BY Staff

“Don’t put your sweaty mat in the swimming pool” – BY Staff
“Inappropriate means inappropriate. Use your brain miss.” – BY Staff – this one needs some context. We have a group FB page and a few folks were writing some crazy stuff on the page that is monitored. This was the second time the staff had requested that we don’t write inappropriate stuff and someone asked “What is inappropriate?”

“Backward bending. Change” – Trainee (this is from posture clinic)

“How many questions on the anatomy test?” – Trainee
“You’ll find out on Monday” – Staff response

“When is our break?” – Trainee

“Please don’t take aspirin before class”  – Staf

“I’ve done so many eagle poses today my reproductive system is on!” – Trainee, this posture helps open up your reproductive system so she has a point!

“Do you understand what debris is?” – Teacher

“I can hold any posture for her.” – Trainee, referring to hold any posture during Raj’s class

“You don’t have to use toothpaste until you graduate” – Staff

“I created yogi nuclear bomb” – Bikram

“I clean you up like a laundry man. I put the bleach on you like the jail man.” – Bikram

“I lost my hair in SF instead of my heart. I used to look like Steve McQueen.” – Bikram

“Nixon was the greatest president.” – Bikram

“Why you not born as a cockroach?” – Bikram

“Where is my half of the coke?” – Bikram

“Can the computer write poetry?” – Lecturer
“Not yet!” – Trainee

“Is Lord Krishna a real person?” – Trainee

“Why are you saying yes?” – Trainee, context: it was super late and Bikram had asked if we wanted to watch a movie one trainee kept saying yes and another looked at her and said “Why are you saying yes?”

“I already explained to you the philosopical meaning of butter.” – Lecturer

“I have a question about Indian Marriage…” “Next…”

I’m going to end the quotes with them gem from the boss:

“What is the ultimate destination of your life? YOUR LIFE” – Bikram

Week 6 Recap: Happy Diwali

65 classes in just six shorts weeks! I can’t believe it! This week we celebrated Diwali a traditional Indian festival of lights!

I was a bit sore this week – everything hurt. Even my fingers but I got an amazing thai massage and I’m feeling a little bit better but walking up steps is still a struggle! The boss says that pain is weakness leaving the body which is true.

Lecture

We started the week with a special guest lecture Dr. Brian L. Trachy from Colorado – He spoke on neuromuscular Physiology. He’s part of the department of Health & Exercise Science Human Performance Research & Clinical Lab at one of of the major universities in Colorado. Dr. Tracy Dr. Tracy has done research on Bikram Yoga in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. Along with his colleagues they completed a study of people taking 24 classes in eight weeks or 3 classes per week for the next eight weeks. The first study found that BY improved knee extensor control for th least steady of young adults. Here are the key main points:

1. Short Term – BY can improve measures of neuromuscular control and physical fitness

2. BY is likely a promising way to improve neuromuscular function

The study composed of 19 experienced practioners (19-40 years old). During the study the team measured metabolic, cardiovascular, and thermal measurements. Here’s what he found for the following:

The HR is the highest from Awkward (2nd posture) to Dead Body (Savasana – a resting pose) about 160 bpm. The core temp of the body rises up to dead body pose and then stays the same. BY is very hot and the heat affects the HR response – we learned that the HR dramatically increases when working out in the heat and that the blood pressure goes down.

The most interesting thing from the lecture was the fact that we’re not burning as many calories as we thought…if you google calories burned during Bikram Yoga you’ll find numbers such as 1000 calories per class or 800 calories. But in reality in Dr. Tracy’s study he found that the average calories lost in session is the following:

Men: 500
Women: 330

These numbers are quite different than I think most of us expected but I don’t do practice this yoga for the calorie loss. I practice this yoga because it keeps me grounded and has really allowed me to fall (even!) more in love with myself. This is a yoga practice that I love and the fact that I can burn 330 calories is just a bonus…throughout my 90 minute class I’m working every part of my system inside out!

Classes & Posture Clinic

We had more classes with both Bikram and Rajashree and a few other senior teachers that have joined us at training. And posture clinic continued with the rest of the standing series and a bit of the floor series. My group was a bit fast and we had all finished wind removing pose by Friday evening. We were ready to go with the spine strengthening series (Cobra, Locust, Full Locust, Bow) but we were shut down as our group was too far ahead of some of the other groups. We got to string together a few postures and then as a group we went back from the beginning with mostly everyone during one part of a posture!

Diwali

This was the highlight of the week! October 21st was Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. And we got to celebrate it in beautiful Thailand with a pizza party (yay!) fireworks (yay! yay!) and a dancing party (yay! yay! yay!). We had class that morning with one of the senior teachers from Australia (great class! tons of energy!) There was a little confusion as we thought we only had one class that day and not two – this got people amped up! my neighbor and i were fist pipping. Only one class and a pizza party! woohoo (remember I’m very sore and even my fingers hurt!) but that wasn’t to be the case we had two classes! After class we had to quickly get ready and then head to the lawn to celebrate the festival of lights. The pizza in Thailand is surprisingly good…at times it can be hit or miss but for the most part when craving pizza it hits the spot. We were served Margherita pizza, vegetable pizza, spicy indian curry pizza, mushroom pizza, etc. I had one of each – they were delicious but Margherita was my favorite. So good! We also were served ice cream – chocolate, vanilla, coconut, strawberry, and mint chocolate chip! I went for a cone with coconut and strawberry! Yum!

We were worried about a Thai rain storm crashing our party so we had the fireworks before eating. They were spectacular. I hadn’t seen fireworks in ages (there was an issues with fireworks in NYC this past fourth of July!). I’ll post photos!

Everyone was just chatting and taking photos and it was the first time in six weeks that we really got a chance to just relax and hang out with each other outside of the posture clinic, lectures, the hot room or studying. We just got to be! Following the party, Bikram lead us back to the lecture hall for the DANCE PARTY!!! The Disco was located next to the lecture room and DJ’d by one of the senior staffers! I didn’t dance that long – the music was mostly techno / electronic which isn’t quite my scene but I did have a good time. I left the party around 11pm – which seems unreal. Back in the city I would just be getting ready to go out and now I leave parties at 11pm!

The week finished off with an amazing class lead by Rajashree! She left us after class but she’ll be back before we graduate! I can’t wait to have her generous and compassionate spirit back in Thailand!

I spent the weekend at the Khao Lak Market which was amazing! Tons of vendor shops of clothes, knick knacks, food, etc to explore with both locals and tourist haggling / bartering over items.

Group Black Photo during the Dance Party

: black photo

Dance Club
dance club

Studying Wind Removing Pose
studying wind removing

Week 5 Recap: Forever Young

It’s taken me awhile to write this recap – it’s been hectic and busy since the end of the 4th week. I can’t believe the 7th week is almost finished (in real time).

Week 5 started off with some bad news I learned that a sorority sister from my Greek days at The Ohio State University had unexpectedly died with her mom while walking on Sunday evening. It’s a tragic accident and the death hit me hard. Harder that I ever would have expected…she’s my age. How is it possible that at 29 she’s gone?

Monday morning we had another beautiful class with Raj. She’s an amazing teacher and her is like velvet – honestly it is. It’s so beautiful and she’s so connected with the words and your body – it’s impossible to not hold a posture for her. She makes you a better student with her energy and love that shares in the hot room. After the class we had our first lecture with Raj where she focused on Spirituality, Yoga, and Science and our final anatomy test! The key from her lecture was “Science is explaining the yoga. Yoga is the science of belief.” It may sound a little crunchy but it’s so true – we’re always looking to science for everything but really the yoga is a part of that process. I know many folks that needed knee, back, and a whole host of other surgeries but they started practicing Bikram Yoga and with time they no longer needed surgery. We had a woman at our studio that was diabetic and started taking class – after a consist practice she went back to her doctor and her sugar levels had dropped significantly to the point where she no longer needed insulin. Was it the yoga or did she change her diet? It was the yoga. Yoga has the power to heal you when science can’t!

During her lecture Raj said Find Your Weakness and Make It Your Strength” – I love this! And it’s something that I’m trying to actively work on. My biggest weakness is that I hate being vulnerable – I struggle with letting people in (like really in!) so I decided that I’m going to make being vulnerable a strength. And when you really think about it – it is a strength to have the courage to let someone know everything about you and trust that person to not hurt you. This can apply to family, friends, significant others, etc – it’s an area in my life that I think has been holding me back for quite sometime and I’m officially embracing being vulnerable. Right here! Right Now!

Posture Clinic continued this week with balancing stick, separate leg stretching, and Triangle. Balancing Stick is the last posture in the balancing series and it’s intense – it’s a 10 second posture that requires you to use your every muscle in your system rushing the blood from one side of your body to another. It’s basically creating a mini heart attack so that you don’t have one in my real life. You’ve got to use 100% of your strength. I had a difficult time delivering this posture as I had just found out about the death of my friend and only had about 45 minutes to process it before signing in for posture clinic and needing to deliver/demonstrate. I wasn’t in the best mindset but I went up there and delivered the posture – basically I just spit the words out. I got them in and I got them out. There was no energy – I’ll be completely honest about that. But I did it. The lead for our posture clinic wanted me to do it again but I didn’t have the energy to do it – she made me stay after to “talk” to her but honestly she just talked at me. I’ve never met someone lacking such compassion as her – it’s a real shame because I really liked her at first and I think she’s a great person but I’ve lost respect for her. And I believe quite a few people have as well due to their own experiences with her…

Luckily, my group was amazing in my time of need and really supported me. I’m very lucky to have such a great group of people to rally around me when I’m struggling to process something. I didn’t share what had made me upset but the fact that my group came to my aid when I have having a hard time was very touching. Remember I had just met most of these folks during Week 3 when we started posture clinic so it had only been about 2 weeks that I had really known them – this is such a great community of support. And it’s not just at the teacher training – it’s worldwide.

I finally broke down and cried during class on Tuesday morning – I had been waiting for the emotions to come out; about everything – the death of Jessica and a whole host of things that have put me on this amazing journey. This experience has really allowed me to be really open and honest about valuing my life and my place in the world.

Bikram returned on Tuesday! There was tons of rumors going around about the boss being back and he was going to make us watch a movie and do this and do that….no one ever really knows what’s happening at training so the rumor mill can get quite crazy. He taught the evening class and per usual is was a long class (most of his classes are in the 2+ hour range; Bikram Yoga is a 90 minute class) but we got through it and he was very happy with our progress. Collectively as a group we’re looking strong and my struggle postures are beginning to really improve. That night Bikram lectured picking up right where he left off on the topic of discrimination which is where he had left us two weeks ago – He shared stories about his best friends – one a black man from the south; the another a Muslim. He kept focusing on why shouldn’t he be friends with them because they have different religions or skin tones? Nah. We’re all humans. This is a point that Bikram keeps making the importance of realizing that we’re all human – and in being human we have humanity and spirituality which allow us a deeper connection with each other if we let it.

As the week progressed with had more posture clinic with fabulous visiting teachers from all over the world – my group got a teacher from the UK, Atlanta, Bali, Brasil, and Europe. The postures that we delivered I had learned in Anatomy the week prior so I was feeling confident in delivering them but it was difficult cause my nerves can get the better of me. I get nervous going up in front of the group (15 & another) to deliver the dialogue to my “students”. I’m not quite “seeing” the bodies or the lines yet – I’m just saying the dialogue. Most of the feedback I received was positive but I need to work on intonation with my voice and having more energy when delivering the dialogue to connect my students with the words.

Raj had another lecture this week and she started her own posture clinic where she really broke down the medical benefits of each posture. Which glands are being use in which postures…we had already learned most of the glands in anatomy so it was nice to get a better idea of how the posture really works the system inside out. Students were brought on stage to demonstrate postures that they had questions about alignment or anything in particular to them. She also showed us how to correct students and help them in postures in they aren’t able to go deep due to back or knee issues or other issues that they may have when they walk in the door for their first or 50th class.

We also had a lecture on opening a studio and what are some of the requirements to open a Bikram Yoga Studio.

Bikram had a special lecturer for us that lectured on India and Yoga. He is the leader of one of India’s leading political parties.  He got a standing ovation for his lecture which was very interesting and brought up a lot of questions about disassociation, detachment and expectations.

As we moved to the end of the week, I went to down to the beach to say goodbye to my friend. She loved the beach and I thought it would be fitting to say goodbye at a place she would have loved. I played Jay-Z’s Young Forever which was her motto – she always wished Happy Birthday by simply saying “Forever Young”.

Week 4 – The Mrs. has arrived

Week Four ended with a bang – Mrs. Rajashree Choudhary arrived on Friday evening along with her daughter and taught our Saturday morning class. It was amazing but before I start telling you about the class of the week let’s start at the beginning.

I woke up very tired on Monday after a rainy weekend of studying, sleeping, and not doing much. I stayed up pretty late on Sunday chatting with friends on the other side of the world and watching The Good Wife. I know it’s crazy but I really miss TV alot. Like a lot a lot. I’ve been downloading (and buying!) my shows on Amazon Prime – I’m caught up on How To Get Away With Murder (so good…), The Good Wife (ahhhmazing) and The Mindy Project (Danny Castellano strip tease to American Woman is giving me life life life!). Anyway, I stayed up way to late watching tv so was quite sluggish on Monday morning when I walked into the hot room. They changed our line assignment in the 4th week so I’m know practicing with the G’s. I’m a P (as in my line assignment group – my last name still is a T). It’s always interesting when you start practicing with a new group of people because you get into a bit of a rhythm with your old group and you’ve got to step out of your comfort zone and find new friends. Luckily, this past week I’ve mostly practiced near a new friend (I’ve forgotten where she’s from) but she’ll be moving to Australia in December like me so that’s a win win because I’ll have another buddy in Sydney! Anyway, class on Monday was a bit hard but I was able to pull through and get through all of my postures. No matter how tired I am mentally, physically or emotionally, I must admit that my practice is getting stronger and stronger and stronger.

We had our first anatomy test that afternoon and I’m pretty sure I aced it. That baby was a piece of cake (standing bow pulling pose!) because the doctor basically gave us all the answers in his model questions! Which was helpful because when I wasn’t paying attention in class I was studying the dialogue so I was grateful for the answers and the refresher he gave at the end of week 3.

We had more anatomy this week covering the digestive, endocrine, and urinary systems. Our final is on Monday October 13th.

Classes for the rest of the week in the evening were a little tough – we got hit with a crazy storm that made Thailand more humid than ever (didn’t even realize that was possible!). Our nurse taught class on Tuesday in the evening and it was absolutely miserable. Bless her because her energy was up and she was working very hard with us but the room was hot and unbearable and we were dropping like flies. Many of the folks that I had been admiring were sitting out of the postures – it was one of the toughest non Bikram taught classes (as in Bikram is the teacher – remember he’s a real person; Bikram DOESN’T mean HOT) that we’ve had. But we got through it with the help of a each other energy and support. They’ve stopped letting people leave the room unless you’re going to throw up so when people would leave their mats they would just be told to sit near the door until they could go back to their practice. Yes, people did leave the room in the first two weeks…because we’re adjusting to the heat, climate, humidity, food, etc but for the most part we’re staying in the room and on our mats! My goal is to never miss sign in and never leave the room!

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only hard class of the week. We had another crazy one on Wednesday – if I could describe that class in one word I would use CONTEMPT. It was just pure pure misery and the energy was down in the room – it was a long class almost two hours and the heat was on full blast and it wasn’t a class I enjoyed. I knew it was going to be a long one when Half Moon (posture #2) was a least 15 minutes…usually in the room I like to sit on the far left (stage right) near the mirrors so I can check myself out (surprise! surprise!) from the side and make sure my alignment is correct. I started the week in the back rows so I’m not able to see myself in the front mirrors (really you can only see yourself in the front mirror if you’re in the first three lines). But I didn’t get to the room in time and the the left side was full like full full – mats on top of mats full which meant I was stuck in the middle of the room but I wasn’t alone a new friend from Norway was the row behind me and we agreed to stay near each other and practice together. I don’t know how but somehow we got through the class together and did EVERY single posture! I didn’t cheat on my water intake either! You know, as I’m writing about it and remembering it the class doesn’t seem as if it was that hard – I think while I was in it it seemed hard but after revisiting it I can acknowledge that it was a tough class but I finished it and I felt stronger than ever. So I guess the teacher knew what he was doing because I feel stronger and I don’t dislike him…so good job! I was in between two lovely women during this class one from the states and one from Italy who helped me go higher than I’ve ever gone in full locust – she just wouldn’t let me put my arms down higher than my head! So I’m a bit sore from that posture but it’s a good sore.

Since the class was tough and people were dropping like flies they decided to let students out – a lot of people left or had to be helped out but the majority of folks stayed on their mat or came back in to finish the class. We start 330 strong and we always hope to finish 330 strong!

Posture Clinics continued this week – we did standing head to knee, standing bow pulling pose, and balancing stick (I haven’t delivered balancing stick yet). Posture clinics are getting better and I feel that the tips folks are receiving are being put to use. For example, I’m trying to speak more from my diaphragm so that my voice projects – it’s better for my throat and will help me from going hoarse when I’m teaching. And one of the girls in my group who comes across as quite timid has really stepped up her game always volunteering to go first and she’s been putting her hands on her hips (a tip she received) so she comes across as more forceful and confident when she delivers. I’m proud of everyone in my group. We’re doing amazing and for the most part we’re scrambling over each other to deliver the dialogue while the other group that we’re with (we go in groups of two; i.e group 15 and 14 or group 15 and 3) are sometimes a bit laid back. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to go but someone from my group has jumped up faster than me and I have to wait another two rounds!

On Friday night Raj arrived and she taught the most beautiful class on Saturday morning. We only have one class on Saturday morning and it’s a free for all, meaning you can sit wherever you want in the front the back the middle we don’t have to be in our assigned rows. The back row is the first to fill up on Saturday’s – it’s quite funny. Raj taught our class and she has such a gentle and loving spirit. I felt so strong in her class – she was so gentle with us and caring (she opened the doors!!) and she gave really good corrections to everyone. There is just something about her presence – she’s calm but still so incredibly strong. At the end of her class she read this beautiful poem that I want to leave you with on this Thursday evening.

The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Sorry! You want me to put the toilet paper where??! Week 3 Recap

Greetings from beautiful Thailand. Another weekend is over which means another week of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training is starting…but first lets recap Week 3 and Week 4.

Week Three started with a bang, posture clinic and anatomy. As you remember the boss left at the end of our second week to handle business across the states, Japan and a few other places. He left us in good hands with the senior teachers, visiting teachers and a great doctor who would be teaching us anatomy. Anatomy is compulsory for graduating from the training.

Everyone was really looking forward to anatomy and learning more about the human body, joints, muscles, etc – myself included. I had heard from other graduates that the anatomy doctor for our course is fantastic and really engaging. This year we had a new doctor since the training was in Thailand. We were lucky enough to secure Dr.Haldar from India. He’s a world renowned orthopedic surgeon who is part of the International Drug Doping Council from Tennis.

Anatomy
We had anatomy during the day 12 – 4pm Monday – Friday learning about the skeletal system and muscle system in the first week. The first day was a bit testy because the doctor wanted to build a foundation for what we were learning (he started by explaining the human body system and a few other things) but those things wouldn’t be on the test and we sorta just wanted to know what would be on the test and how do each of the 26 postures directly relate to the muscles and joints in the body. Well the doctor wasn’t quite there yet but after getting the kinks out the rest of the week flowed quite smoothly.

The doctor did a great job explaining each of the Skeletal, Articular, and Muscular System. We went over the following:
Joints – hinge joint, ball & socket – I probably should have paid more attention when we covered the joints but I have my handy dandy anatomy coloring book that I’ll be referencing well into the future (Thanks boss!!)Bone Structure – we have 206 bones in the human body; some are flat (sternum), sesamoid (patella), long (humerous), irregular (vertebrae), and short (trapezoid).
Vertebrae – Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, Sacral and Cocygeal – This was really interesting because we do a lot of backbending in Bikram so it was interesting to know which part of the back we’re bending when doing backbending vs. camel pose vs. standing bow pulling. Each of those postures focuses on a different part of the back and the bend is a different feeling in each posture. For example, in backbending we bend the lower back, middle back and upper back which would be the Cervical (upper), Thoracic (middle), and Lumbar (lower). This will be helpful when teaching students.
Muscular System – how it works, what it attaches to, what it does – i.e. the principle action of a muscle is to contract. Which muscles we use for which postures, etc etc.

Our first test is on Monday!

Posture Clinic
This is where we get together in groups of about 40 trainees to deliver the dialogue to our senior teachers and demonstrate the posture. PC is nerve wracking even when you’re prepared because you have to deliver the dialogue correctly, show your personality, and have energy. It sounds easier than it really is I swear.  In week 3 we went through the following postures: back bending, hands to feet pose, awkward and eagle.  I had memorized back bending and hands to feet pose before coming to training so I didn’t have to focus on those as much. Awkward on the other hand was quite difficult – the posture has three steps to it and each step is pretty detailed. We had to deliver all three parts of the posture. Eagle was pretty easy to memorize probably because I like that posture and it’s simply all about twisting your body like ropes.

The general feedback that I received was that I need more energy (I know!), my voice needs more infliction and I’ve got to work on my projection. Apparently my voice doesn’t carry very well which I found interesting because I’m pretty sure most of my friends think I talk too loud all the time. But what the one senior teacher meant was that I needed to talk more from my diaphragm and not just use my voice. I’ve been working on contracting my muscles every time that I talk and having more energy when delivering the posture in clinic. I get so nervous up there that I just repeat the dialogue without really looking at my demonstrators (fellow students)…I’m trying to work on this making sure I’m completely connected with the body when delivering each posture.

What else happened in week 3??! Oh yes! We were instructed to start putting the toilet paper in the bin vs the toilet. Apparently in Thailand the septic system isn’t what it is in the US and the hotel staff requested that we put the toilet paper (from 1 and 2) in the bin. We had a pretty in depth conversation about this because people were very confused about why we can’t flush it and what we were supposed to use if we couldn’t use the toilet paper. In Thailand each bathroom stall has a hose with it that you’re supposed to use to rinse yourself (yes this is a real conversation that happened explaining how to use the hose) after going to the bathroom. It was sorta like the Cottonelle commercial – use the toilet paper and the wet wipes for a smooth feeling. The problem with not flushing the toilet paper is that they bins in our room aren’t being cleared each day. The bins are only cleared when the room is cleaned which is twice a week (normally the hotel cleans rooms everyday but since we’re at a discounted rate we’re only cleaned twice a week – we get fresh towels/bottle water daily). It’s pretty gross when you think about it cause the bin is just filled with used toilet paper but the septic system in the hotel is working better so I guess it’s a win for the hotel.

I think you’ll find this funny apparently someone flushed a banana peel down the toilet cause that’s where that goes…

Week Three finished with 32 classes! I feel stronger after each class and I’ve been working on breaking my bad water habits. Unfortunately, I did have a rough class this week (as in week 3) where I drank water as we moved into the spine strengthening series – I just couldn’t resist and needed the water. It tasted very good. Very very good.

The weekend of week 3 was a rainy one so I stayed in with friends and just studied the dialogue. I’ve gotten as far as Triangle Pose (# 9). Still have a lot of ground to cover but the teachers recommended being 3 – 4 postures ahead of where we are in posture clinic so I’m in a good place.

A few photos from Week 3:

Anatomy Book; Anatomy Notes; practicing awkward; practicing back bend; ready for posture clinic; maybe Kelsey isn’t ready!; week 3 class count 🙂

anatomy book anatomy study guide practicing awkward practicing back bending pre posture clinic sigh week 3

Where are the spring rolls?

Everyone has asked about the food during training. We’re very lucky this training because food is included in our tuition. This doesn’t often happen because Bikram Yoga Teacher Training usually takes place in LA at the LAX Radisson(Thank you god for small favors and training being in Thailand!). So because training is in Thailand this year and the Sentido Graceland Khao Lak resort is pretty remote we get our food included. So no illegal hot pots in the room for making rice and pasta or eating sandwiches breakfast, lunch and dinner. We’re been fed by 5 star chefs (well…)

Mostly, we’ve been eating a lot of curry in what I will no refer to as the mess hall cause that’s basically what it is for training. It’s the main dining room at the Sentido Graceland Khao Lak and it’s buffet style. In the morning we have bacon, pork sausage (that looks suspect), chicken sausage (see the previous aside) and pork ham (because that needed to be clarified apparently). We have an omelette station that’s pretty good – you can usually find me eating omelettes bacon, crossiants and pain au chocolat. During this first meal which is after our 8am class so it’s generally around 11 – 12:15ish they also serve lunch. Bikram refers to it as “brunch”. For lunch, they’ll serve a pasta of sorts (one time it was pasta with leftover bacon and an olive oil sauce), a few different curries, roasted potatoes, a mixed vegetable in an oyster sauce. We also have access to a fancy coffee bar to get a much needed double espresso, or cappucino, or just a plain americano if that’s your style.

Dinner is pretty much leftover lunch – those mixed vegetables in oyster sauce have now been put in a red sauce and the label has been changed to vegetable rattioulle (spelling). If we’re lucky they’ll be serving some type of red meat (we’ve have beef three times – last night there was even steak!). We generally always have a chicken of some kind or the other. Chicken cashew or chicken curry or chicken in soya sauce. Last night we had a chicken in a red wine sauce – honestly it wasn’t too bad.

Listen, the food isn’t bad and I’m not complaining but I would do anything for a simple piece of grilled chicken or roasted vegetables (that aren’t in a sauce or curry) just plain vegetables.

The one thing that I am loving is the spring rolls which we haven’t had in awhile. Last night there was a spring roll sighting (and yes I took 4 and yes I would have taken more had there not been an actual tourist behind me) I love spring rolls and the spring rolls are delicious. They are so good…so so so good. The first week we had them at every meal and I was basically living off of them but now they are a rarity.

They’ve served us french fries twice in a row – there was a mad dash for the french fries everyone kept asking “Where did you get the fries?” with this crazed look on their face. I was one of those people – let’s just say that there was a line for the french area and everyone was in the line to devour french fries! If only they had bbq sauce but we can’t have everything.

A few people are struggling with the food due to dietary restrictions. When we first found out that food was included I think a few people thought that their dietary restrictions wouldn’t be a problem. But wrong. We’re being served by the hotel and Bikram doesn’t have much to do with the actual food (besides saying more and more meat!). So if you’re vegan, gluten free, or some other restriction it is very tough to eat. Very very tough. I know a few vegetarians that are eating bacon because they need the protein to get through two classes a day and I know others that are just eating a lot of plain rice and when there are veggies in soya sauce they are very very happy!

Some folks have gotten sick from the food either at the hotel mess hall or the italian restaurant (which is part of the hotel) near the beach or from the food at the beach. I’ve been lucky because I haven’t gotten sick…but I’ve also been taking a probiotic for intestinal health and my doctor did give me a few prescriptions for upset stomach. I’ll probably need those meds in Vietnam!

Corn Flakes with a lot of sugar – I justify the sugar because I’m losing a lot of glucose with two classes a day. Please note I would still use this much sugar on Frosted Flakes!

corn flakes

Quick snap of the drink station – we only get free juice, coffee, milk, etc during “brunch”. The juices are usually orange (which I’m calling more of an orange drink than juice!), pineapple drink, grape, and the best one is the punch drink but we don’t have that all the time! There is also fresh milk and soy milk but you have to ask for that from the back.

drink station

We get tons of fresh fruit in Thailand – I’m eating 2 – 3 plates of watermelon a day! It’s so good. On the other side of the fruit station is the salad bar which was lacking today (10/9/14). There wasn’t a lot of greens to make my faux cobb salad!

fruit station

This was my dinner last night (10/8/14) – we had somes greens! Hurray! I had spring rolls, morning glory and pad thai!

greens

Here is a shot of Janis – we celebrated her 66th birthday at the Italian restaurant near the beach. The flies were all over me that night but the food was good! And the pizza was delicious! Happy Birthday Janis!!

janis birthday pizza

Here’s a shot of the “mess hall”

mess hall

Here’s the class of “orange juice” See why I call it orange drink?? I drink about two a day because I like it and I’m a sugar addict.
OJ

Here’s a shot of my mushroom truffle oil risotto from the birthday celebration – it was delicious! Who knew Thai’s can make great italian food??!
risotto

This is the salad I had for “brunch” this morning – it was a faux cobb. There’s always plenty of bacon in the morning so I took a few slices chopped them up and threw them on greens with watermelon, cheese, carrots, and my own speciality dressing – I use balsamic and red wine vinegar, olive oil, and “french dressing”. The french dressing is basically a garlic ranch sauce…but hey I’m not complaining!
salad