Bikram Yoga TT: The End Is The Beginning

2015/10/04 Posted by MsAJL

The Yogis have landed in Thailand! Fall teacher training is starting just as I wrap up this series of correspondences from my training this past Spring. I’d hoped to reunite with several of my bubble buddies at this session, participate in the posture clinics, and dive back into doubles… but our plans fell through with the last minute change from Atlantic City. It was a disappointing turn of events for us, but eventually, in the future, the goal is to get back to the bubble…

WEEK NINE: The End Is The Beginning

Hi! Just about to crack onto our last week and I can’t even believe we’re here already. Now that posture clinics are over, we’ve taken a bit of time off and are now reviewing our dialogue and learning the breathing exercises on our own. It’s absolutely astounding to realize how much we’ve actually retained! Although we’re pretty sick of hearing “trust the process” turns out it does totally work.
Last week was pretty tumultuous for me… I joined the Demo Team for graduation day and the extra rehearsals really killed a few of us. I dropped down to my lowest weight in pretty well my whole adult life… but they gave us a couple of days off from rehearsal and I’ve recuperated over the weekend. I also had some big moments of inspiration through Friday & Saturday – we had a couple of great classes and finished off Friday night with an awesome meditation.
I’m actually starting to get a bit excited about teaching. Nervous as hell though! We’ve just confirmed the rest of our trip – we’ll be back on Wed 24 June for sure now. We couldn’t extend our trip because I got into a pole competition at the end of August, so I’ll have to start training. But please let us know if you’re ready to lock in a teaching schedule. I was wondering if you don’t mind though – can we hold off on me teaching express classes for a while? I think I’d like to get used the flow of the regular class first. What are your thoughts?

Bikram just did his posture clinic and cranked my leg up into splits for my standing bow! [I wish I had a photo, but they were strictly forbidden ;)]

Hey, check this out…

It’s pretty sweet! A total surprise :D

Week ∞: Back Home & Beyond

Humph… A bit poopy. I miss everyone from training already! Plus, we’re staying at Steve’s parents because our house is still rented for the next few weeks… There’s no wifi, so I either have to tether to Steve’s phone or plug my shitty pc into their modem… and they frequently babysit Steve’s nieces, who are always snotting and coughing… so I’m whiney and Steve’s moody… But I’m excited to teach my first yoga class this weekend and about five more this week, so we’re shopping for a car for me :)

Schedule’s all good for me. I’m nervous, but excited… and also already missing TT somewhat… but time to move on with it! See you soon :(

That was supposed to be a happy face, haha! :)

I’ve taught 4 classes so far – 1st 2 at one studio with very strong students; and last 2 at another studio with lots of beginners. My 1st class, I felt like a sorceress! They did exactly what I said and all together! All 22 of them!! It was pretty amazing. The next day I had only 6 students, which was a bit weird because they were pretty spread out along the sides and back of the room. But still, a lot of regulars with strong practice. Then I taught at the other studio and I guess because it was my third class in a row and a different studio with beginners, I wasn’t as focused – I kept getting distracted and tongue tied. Today I had my first 2 brand new students, which was really cool because it made saying every word of dialogue feel justified and I tried to speak clearer and slower for them, which I think is what I should be doing anyway… sometimes I talk reallyyyyyy fast.

Bow pose: eventually, in the future, when you kick hard enough, your both legs will be locked and you’ll look like a perfect upside down… bow… ok, just change.

Hey, I wrote this email ages ago, but for some reason I’m only sending it now…

[Bro] just pointed out that I haven’t properly emailed you guys since like week 8 of teacher training, so here’s a really long email to sum it all up…

It turns out that meeting I had with the staff was because I was winning an award. I won the award for Best Dialogue! The awards they gave out at graduation were for the “Flower Petal Blooming” which is a line from the dialogue, it’s for the student who improved the most throughout training; “English Bulldog Determination” and “Bengal Tiger Strength” awards (those are also quotes from the dialogue); the Anatomy award for the one who scored the highest on our anatomy tests; the Best Dialogue award; the Best Yogi (male & female) for the best yoga postures; and our Valedictorian was my friend, Dustin, who I told you about before. I filmed his speech and put it on Youtube – you should watch this part where he talks briefly about his accident and recovery:

It made Bikram cry.

The last couple weeks of training were pretty tough for me. To practice for the Demonstration Team, we’d stay after the morning class and rehearse for about another hour and for the first couple of days, we had to do our postures full out so they could decide who to put in the front row. I don’t think I accounted for the extra energy output and was definitely not eating enough. I was force feeding myself as it is because I just didn’t feel like eating much, but I also wasn’t being as diligent about my salt intake. We had been advised to bring pink Himalayan salt and have a pinch in our water each class, which I’d been doing up until then. I was skeptical at first, but in the end, I have never been so hyper aware of my salt intake and electrolyte balance as I was throughout training – pinch of salt, magnesium supplement, and a banana everyday. On the days that I didn’t, I felt like dying.

Realistically, we were sweating out sometimes up to 2L in one class, so it’s no wonder we had to do things out of the ordinary to adjust and I now understand why sugary, salty “sports drinks” are a thing – just not for the casual exerciser. You could tell by the sheer weight of our towels at the end of class just how much fluid we were losing. We were also forewarned that our weight would fluctuate – with the males tending to lose weight and the females tending to gain weight. Steve & I occasionally kept track with the scale in our room and both only really fluctuated about 2kgs throughout training… but sometimes that was 2kgs difference before and after a single class.

Twice in the 8th week, I had to leave the hot room during class… which used to feel like a humiliating admission of weakness, but when you’ve gotta puke, you’ve gotta puke… or poop. I had to speak to the nurse because I was getting pins & needles – not just in the hands & feet, arms & legs (which is not uncommon)… but I started getting pins & needles in the face and that was super unsettling. It had happened to me earlier in the training as well and I’m pretty sure it was because I’d had too much salt that day; this time though, I thought it was because of not enough salt. It’s funny how the opposite extremes can result in the same symptom… but both times, I was pretty sure I knew the solution on my own and I was just chatting to our nurse for reassurance – the majority of her job seemed to be reassurance because more often than not, a lot of our suffering was in our own heads. She’d had a lot of these conversations in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th weeks while people were trying to figure out what their bodies needed in order to manage – my suffering just settled in a little late. It reminded me of working on the Disney cruise ship though – it wasn’t until the 7th month of my contract that I started getting seasick, but really I was just sick of the ship. In reality, the 2nd time I left the hot room to puke, I didn’t really physically need to puke – I just needed a reason to leave the room.

When I realized that my suffering was pretty much mental – I was ok. I was lucky to have good people around to lift my spirits and force me to eat. The guy I was helping with dialogue, Big Mike, gave me a blender to make watermelon shakes and regular reminders that no one likes skinny bitches – and that really helped up my caloric intake! But it was also around this point that Steve & I had started to spend more time apart. Our schedules fell out of sync because I was practicing for the Demo Team and helping Big Mike learn dialogue; and I’m pretty sure Steve was dying to get the eff out of there, whereas I was having preemptive nostalgia about all these people from all over the world, whom we might never see again. But all throughout training, everyone kept telling us how lucky we were to have each other at training – and we definitely were. There were days when I literally had to lean on Steve to walk out of the yoga room. And after some of the roommate horror stories we’d heard, we were also lucky to to know how to manage each other in those heightened moments when we felt like dying… but there were definitely times when I’m certain that Steve wanted to strangle me to death… and dump my body in an obscure Thai back alley…

But we made it out alive… and still married!

If you’ve got 16 minutes 15 seconds to kill, here’s the video of the Demo Team doing all the Bikram postures:

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