On to Week Eight

June 6, 2011 2 comments

Week seven is done and moving intpo week eight! Two more weeks left and I will be on a plane to Vermont.

This week started out great as I was well prepared for presentations. Nick, Glenn, and I spent the weekend studying together all around the LAX area. We memorized three of the scripts so we were several days ahead. My presentations went well and I had some great feedback along with the feeling of really teaching, rather than just reciting a script (more like a dialogue, which is what Bikram calls the script).

The yoga twice a day hasn’t ever really been a problem, though I have had some pains, and some successes. The pain has been mostly in my left shoulder and neck, from a snowboarding accident I had months ago. I have finally noticed much less pain this week during and after the yoga. I also have noticed I can stretch much further in a side and back bending posture. I can really feel the stretch on my sides, an area I don’t think I ever really stretched in the past; one of many ignored areas of my body!

At the end of the week over 130 teachers came to re-certify, so the yoga room was extra hot. Normally the temperature is around 105F, with some humidity. On Friday it was well over 105 and many people had to leave the room. I walked out with stomach aches, but was able to get right back in during the next posture. I finished very strong and realized I probably was a little water-logged.

The end of the week was filled with dancing, great food, and some sight seeing. On Friday night there was a pizza party and disco with Bikram. I will say, the man has some moves! On Saturday we went to Little Tokyo, Hollywood, Malibu, and a party in Santa Monica. Los Angeles really has some fabulous diversity and great beaches. We also viewed a sea lion up close eating the carcus of a sting ray some fishermen threw back in, quite fascinating.

These next weeks will be more lectures, review, and probably some swimming pool time!

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Categories: Week Eight

End of Week 6

May 30, 2011 2 comments

Well, it is 11:30PM on a Sunday, and for the first time I feel like I have time to sit down and type something up. With all the memorizing, classes, yoga classes, and putting meals together I haven’t spent more than 30 minutes on my computer in the last 2 weeks! I finally feel as if I am in a place where I am comfortable with the memorizing of the scripts (dialogues) we have to present each day. I haven’t worked this hard on memorizing ever in my life, and it has taken a little while to get a good system together.

Basically, the way it works is that we get up around 7 AM, go to hot yoga class for 90 minutes and then have a couple hours to eat and prepare for our next presentation. The presentations are where we recite the script, with energy, in front of 40 others and then get critiqued by visiting volunteer teachers. After 4 hours of us going one by one, we then go to our next yoga class at 5 PM. After the class we have a couple hours to eat and prepare. At 9 PM we start the next class which goes until 11 or 12 depending on how much we need to get done. Normally, I study a little after the class and then get to bed around 1AM. Every day of the week for the last 3 weeks has been pretty much as explained, with some other classes about Anatomy, Pain, Alternative Health, and History of Yoga mixed in. So my roommate and I often look at each other and ask, “haven’t we done this before?”, a lot like Groundhog Day.

The benefits of the training are going beyond my expectations, and some are surprising me. As I mentioned about getting a system together for memorizing. Prior to coming in I really didn’t grasp how difficult the memorizing would be, and kind of shrugged it off. I have never seen myself as someone who was good at memorizing, and assumed I never could be. However, with the right techniques, some strong focus, and the right attitude, I do believe anyone can memorize well. At first I only worked on one script at a time, this weekend we worked on four! Another suprise was the amount of confidence we are all building by presenting to each other. The support of fellow team members is incredible, and the visiting teachers offer an assortment of suggestions, insights, and great role playing opportunities to “come out of your shell”.

Finally, I still cannot get over how great of a community this is. The over 400 teacher trainees are from all over the world, and are really passionate about yoga. Everyone has a great story of how they started, and of someone they have practiced with who has benefited from yoga. My roommate John has practiced over 6 years and credits yoga with his ablity to walk without a cane he now uses to hang laundry. Others credit the yoga for weight loss, helping them during times of recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, and general well being. I am seeing this as a great community to be in touch with for a long, long time.

Three more weeks left, so the time is really short, I plan to really “take it in” and enjoy it while it lasts! Hope all is well in your area of the world!

Mike

Categories: Week Six

Week Four Over

May 15, 2011 2 comments

It is Sunday, end of week four of yoga training and I am finally sitting down with Blackberry forcing myself to write something. Today I am going to study some then off to a Dodgers game with some friend I met here.

The last three weeks have been quite busy and definitely had there upas and downs. Not having to memorize anything for years was one of my first obstacles to overcome.

We have a series of 26 posture scripts to memorize and then present in front of our small group and visiting teachers. It takes me a couple of hours to memorize the script, and then try to get with a group to practice several times. No matter how comfortable I am in practice, getting in front of the group still gets me nervous, but I am improving! We have finished five postures with 21 to go, so there is plenty of time to practice yet.

Bikram Choudrey, the man who started this type of yoga practice was back in town at the end of this week. He came and spoke, ran a class, and showed a movie of an old Indian myth. I think the book might be a lot better than the movie, because there really isn’t much acting going on, and the whole screenplay is lacking in all aspects. But very insightful to learning more about Indian culture and history.
I continue to be impressed with the pople involved in teaching and learning this hot yoga. We had a man from Las Vegas, Joh Satritori(sp?), who has had both hips replaced, is a lead person in Jersey Boys, and is one of the funniest people I have met, teach the other day. He had us all in stiches as we went through the 90 minutes in the heat.

Off to some quick study and then a little baseball, go Dodgers!

Categories: Week Four

Completed First Week

April 24, 2011 2 comments

Its Saturday and I am sitting at a coffee shop in Manhattan Beach on a beautiful spring day in California. We had yoga in the torture chamber this morning at 8:00 AM for 90 minutes which was all that was required for the day! My roommate John and I had a huge breakfast at Denny’s, then went down to the beach to check out all the high end beach houses and watched the suited surfers in the chilly water catching the nice mellow waves drifting in.

In looking back at the last week I have a couple thoughts about the physical and mental growth I have had in this short time. Physically I have found that yoga in the hot room twice a day isn’t as exhausting as I thought it might be. Matter of fact, I find it almost necessary after sitting in a classroom for 4 hour stretches! I find I am already gaining flexibility I thought I would never have. I am closer to touching my toes with locked knees than I ever have been. The issues with the back of my right knee have almost completely disappeared, while my shoulder issue is still a work in process.

As far as the mental part, learning to being patient, and going with the flow. I, and others I have spoken to, have been frustrated with some of the logistics; listening one by one to everyone practice in front of Bikram, unpredictability of the class schedule, and putting together a routine for food and other essentials. As time has gone on I have found I am more and more accepting and I am really enjoying all aspects of the training.

Here are a couple of events this week that were very enjoyable, and that I don’t want to forget. As I mentioned, we are required to coach 3 individuals through a memorized script/dialogue to Bikram Choudrey (the man who designed this whole program). The presentation was to have the demonstrators bend to the right for several seconds and I forgot two lines towards the end. So instead of keeping them in the bending posture for too long by starting over, I said; “and I forgot a couple lines, so please return to the middle”. Bikram chuckled and said “good job”. I think he let me off easy because he had already listened to over 200 people, and the person (Catherine, a professional singer) prior to me had sang an opera song for him!

The other funny funny thing is Bikram’s sense of humor, and his very quick wit. He stated that he has to sleep in order to rest his voice, because when he is awake he is always talking, and I believe him! During yoga one evening I was off to the side of the podium he teaches from and he saw that I needed some correction for the Cobra Pose. He said my shoulders were too far forward and told me to do it again while everyone else (426 people) rested. After I completed the posture to his satisfaction, he said he was being tough on me and everyone because, “you didn’t pay for cheesecake, you paid for nails, so I give you nails”. This and several other comments through class had me laughing throughout the rest of class! At some point I hope to put up some of the other comments of his that have the crowd laughing thoughout the day, he seems to have an endless supply!

Categories: Week One

Delays

April 16, 2011 3 comments

Was all ready to take off; bags packed (and repacked), online checkin, early arrival. Of course; flight out of Philly is late, I won’t make my connecting flight, change to tomorrow.

So another day of waiting, but not so bad knowing I have nothing to worry about but getting on a plane tomorrow at 11AM. Living in a mountainess region has its benefits, and I have learned to go with the flow when it comes to weather.

LA will still be there, and all will work out the way it is supposed to, however that is!

Categories: Uncategorized

Transitions

April 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Only six more days! I haven’t packed, we are trying to sell a car, preparing for Germany in July, and learning the Bikram Dialogue. I know it will all come together, but sometimes it feels pretty overwhelming.

I just finished speaking to a friend in Denver. He moved from Vermont several months ago and is getting pretty settled. I need to remind myself that transitions take time, it will get better, and that challenging oneself is not easy, but worth it.

Categories: Pre Training

Snowboarding

April 10, 2011 Leave a comment

I was feeling so great the other day, telling a friend about how I haven’t noticed the ‘usual’ back pain in the morning for weeks. Since I felt so well, and I have opportunity to get free lessons at Stowe Ski Resort, timing seemed perfect for snowboarding!

I went out on my own for a couple hours before the lesson, and fell a couple times, but was feeling pretty comfortable on the board. My lesson with Dolan was great, and he clued me in to a few of the tricks to riding. I tipped him $10 and decided I was ready for a bigger challenge; Upper Meadows!

Well, as one may guess, Upper Meadows was a little too advanced for my skill level. I made it down OK, but not without a couple hard falls. I caught the edge of the board once and managed to land on my shoulder pretty hard. I continued on for the day, on less technical terrain, learning a good lesson Dolan repeated many times; “the board is least stable going dowhill sideways”.

So, afterwards I could barely move my shoulder at all, and it was very sore to the touch. At yoga the next day I could barely lift my arms over my head, which helped me relate to a fellow practitioner, John, who has serious shoulder issues. Gradually, after several days it has improved, but it is still tender, and a constant reminder to “listen to instructions the first time”!

Categories: Pre Training