Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brilliant Emmy

I was in LA yesterday morning taking my roommate to the airport, so we stopped at Headquarters to take the 10am class, and we were lucky enough to have the brilliant Emmy Cleaves as the instructor.

I'll bet that most of you guys have heard of Emmy, so I'll spare you the long ramblings.  (But definitely look her up if you don't know who she is!  A good article is here.)  She is Bikram's principal teacher, she was one of his first students back when he first came to LA, she is 80+ and cool as hell.  She leads the advanced classes in LA, so I've done quite a few of those with her, but I'd never actually taken her beginner's class.  So this was a real treat for me.

I just have to say... I was blown away.  I am in total awe of her knowledge and skill.  She knows all the postures inside and out, just as well as Bikram does, but she also explains everything explicitly and simply in way that Bikram almost never does.  It was the first time - ever - that I have listened to a teacher deviating from the dialogue (she doesn't use the dialogue at all) and thought, "wow, that actually IS a much better way to explain this posture!"  She included a lot of nuance, while keeping the physical instructions crystal clear and making the more subtle points of the postures seem transparent.  I want to go back and take her class again and again and study all of it.

I wish I'd had a tape recorder or something, because I was half asleep that morning and struggling so hard to stay alert and attentive, especially once we hit the floor!  But something kind of awesome happened in the floor series.  Emmy had my friend Beth hop up on the podium to demo the sit-ups, because she said that we were all doing them terrible.  Which was actually true - mine were half-assed at best.  But after she reamed us out for our sloppy sit-ups, I started really attacking mine with my eyes wide open, and oh.  Wow!  They freaking WORK!  I've heard so many times, "the sit-ups are designed to give you energy," but I'd never experienced it so intensely.  I literally got a big burst of energy EVERY time I did a sit-up after that, so that between fixed firm and spine twist I went from nearly dead asleep to wide awake.  It was the craziest thing!  Lesson of the day: never underestimate a good strong Bikram sit-up.  I tried doing them the same way again today, and they worked again!  

In conclusion... Emmy is brilliant, and I'm wondering if I can find some sort of water-resistant notebook so that I can take notes at advanced seminar with her and Bikram in two weeks.

And totally off topic: I hadn't looked at my calendar in days and was convinced that seminar was three weeks away.  Turns out it is only TWO weeks away.  I had no idea it was already mid-June.  I am somewhat alarmed by this.  Gotta get my practice nice and solid, and quick!!  It crumbled a bit this week, but I know it'll bounce back...


The Missus said...

The Legend of Emmy is one of the reasons I am looking forward to Teacher Training.


Forgot to tell you... The two studio directors from here in Toronto will be at the Advanced Seminar too. Dana and Damien. They are awesome, and you can read about them here:

lifelonglearner19 said...

This sounds like an amazing experience - I wish I could be there!! Now that I'm getting deeper into my practice, it's much more of a challenge with every class. I do see huge changes in certain postures, which is exciting, and am able to keep composure, but I wish I could understand a bit more of the detail of what I'm experiencing and what my body is going through. (CA may be in my maybe someday I'll hear for myself!)

Regardless - we keep going...
-LB :-)

thedancingj said...

Missus - Yesssss, you will love her. She will kill you, but you will love it.

re: Adv - Cool! They look awesome! I will keep my eye out for them. Looks like you landed at a great studio. And OH - is there a girl named Teshia floating around up there teaching Bikram?? She was teaching in my area and we were buddies and then she suddenly moved back to Canada, and I think she is in Toronto... if you see her you have to tell her you know me and I say hi!

LB - Isn't that COOL how the practice gets HARDER as you get better at it?? There is so much to it... I feel like I've still barely scratched the surface myself. It's all connected. ALL of it. And a lot of it will present itself to you over time... so yep, we just keep on keeping on. :)

The Missus said...

Teisha = Really pretty skinny gazelle-like girl... With light eyes and long brownish hair???

Because yes, she is teaching at the Bloor studio... On Friday afternoons. She said she just go tback to Toronto after having hung out in Cali with some surfers. Sound like her?

thedancingj said...

Yep, that is her! No question! She is great. Very pretty practice, prettier than mine, I think. ;-) Tell her that I miss her and I said hi!!!

The Missus said...

Will do!

She is a sweetie. Very good teacher too.

Ellen in Hawaii said...

So jealous. But in a good way. I'm *really* looking forward to being able to drive up from San Diego myself to take classes at Headquarters next year. ;))