Here is a dispatch from the wonderful world of Bikram yoga dialogue studying...
First of all, I am a geek. Big time. I love studying the dialogue, especially with other people. My Monday routine right now goes like this: 9am class in LA, then spend about an hour helping Balwan with his dialogue (who is improving SO much! I am so proud!), then 12:15 advanced class, and then an hour or two working on MY dialogue. I've also been learning floor series postures from audio in the car. I learned all of spine twist on Sunday night between Santa Barbara and LA. (I am working backwards now, for some reason. This is basically because I don't feel like studying wind removing pose, so I decided to attack from the other direction.)
But anyway, this past Monday afternoon I met up with a teacher and another spring trainee to go over half moon after advanced class. Being the super-patient and mature person that I am, I'm kind of thinking, "UUGGH I don't need to work on half moon, I know this one in my SLEEP!" (I can, literally, say it in my sleep. I learned this posture on the sly a couple years ago, when I was alone in the Boston Chinatown studio doing some late night work-study vacuuming. Vacuum in one hand, studio dialogue in the other hand. Already knew I was gonna need it some day.) So I have no trouble with the actual words to half moon, and I'd rather be practicing something tricky like spine twisting posture or the second side of triangle. (Quick, right arm stretch up, you're going to touch the ceiling pretty soon!!) However... half moon pose is the one posture that everyone gets to say in front of Bikram and all the other trainees, during the first week (and a half) of training. (Yes, this is a process that takes a long time.) So if you're going to perfect ONE page of dialogue before training, this is the page to work on.
And guess what! I learned a whole bunch! I learned that, for now at least, I should stand with my feet apart instead of fidgeting all the heck over the place. (I get over-excited.) It's ok if I talk with my hands (hooray!), but I shouldn't clasp them behind my back like I am reciting the daily specials back at Houston's (because it makes me look like I am a bored waitress reciting the daily specials and trying not to talk with her hands at work).
AND... here's my favorite one... I learned that I should try to BREATHE. What a radical concept! You mean I DON'T have to say every paragraph in just one breath?! Again, I think I get sort of overexcited, like, "Ooh, look at me, I totally know this one, let me tell you all of it all at once!" Whoops! No good. (I'm sure those of you who have met me in person have no trouble picturing how this could happen.)
When I delivered the posture a second time, I focused about 90% of my mental energy on breathing between lines and pausing between paragraphs. When I got to the last line, I realized, "Whoops, I forgot all about inflection! I didn't think about dynamics at all!" But then my teacher said, "That was much better, J! You used a lot more inflection and dynamics!" Huh. Whaddaya know. Remember to breathe, and the rest just follows. (Does this remind us of anything else? Like this advice that *I* wrote less than a week ago for yoga practice!? Too funny.)
I shared this new insight with the owner of my local studio yesterday morning, and she said, "Oh, yeah, that's a good one. Just wait 'til you learn to breathe through your NOSE while teaching." Hah! What a concept. I am not that advanced yet. I feel like I am breathing through my mouth like a fish in between lines - it's the only way I can remember to do it! Clearly, I have plenty of things to practice. But I had the opportunity to go through all of my dialogue (and then some) with a couple of other teachers after class yesterday, and I think that the breathing made a big difference! This teaching stuff is feeling better every day.
39 days til teacher training! (Holy shit.)
P.S. New header text... you guys like?! (Or notice?)