Sunday, May 2, 2010

TT WEEK TWO - "Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be..."

"There's nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It's easy
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love, love is all you need..."
- The Beatles!!

Okay, let me start this story from the end.  Last night, a group of us trainees went into Vegas and saw the Cirque du Soleil show "Love," which is set entirely to music by the Beatles.  I've seen a lot of cool dance and theatre productions in my life, but this was the MOST amazing thing I have EVER seen.  EVER.  The first ten minutes ALONE were worth the entire price of admission.  I've just never seen anything like it.  These guys did the most amazing, nail-biting, gravity-defying tricks I've ever seen, and they combined it with great music, awesome storytelling, and some really beautiful dancing.  To my fellow trainees, or anyone else who happens to be in Vegas, you should NOT miss this show.  We got our tickets at the discount booth at the Fashion Show Mall on the end of the strip (which is walking distance from the hotel and opens at 10am every day.)  They sell you vouchers there, and then you take the vouchers to the box office to exchange them for tickets.  We went to the Mirage box office at about 2pm, and we were able to pick out 4th row seats, right by the stage.  There were 9 of us and we had the entire row to ourselves.  (The theatre is circular, with seats on all sides, so there really are NO bad seats in the house, but these seats were simply amazing.)  Hooray!  Suddenly, I like Vegas!!  There are 4 other Cirque shows in town, and I definitely want to see "Mystique" before the end of training.

So that was my Saturday, and it was a fantastic way to spend a day outside the yoga bubble!!  

Now, back to the teacher training... I can't believe the second week is already finished.  We're all kind of stunned by the way time moves around here.  The weeks are so packed, but when they end, you sit there saying, "Holy crap, where did that week go?!?"  I really don't want this to end!!

The Yoga Classes

We had a lot of time with Bikram and Rajashree this week, which was great.  Raj taught three of the morning classes.  Bikram was supposed to teach four of the evening classes, but two of them were cancelled because of 85+ mph WINDS that made it too risky to practice in the tent!  Sheesh!  What a bummer.  On Tuesday night when we missed class, I got a big mac and cheese dinner and then took a nap.  On Wednesday, I got a ride with one of the local girls and took class at the Summerlin studio, which I LOVED.  This is the trouble with practicing in a TENT - we are at the mercy of the elements!  Lots of cold morning classes this week.  But it looks like Vegas will be heating up next week, so we will be cooking pretty soon.  I'm not worried!  The classes that we DID have with Bikram and Raj were a little bit cold, but fantastic.  Bikram said that our Thursday night class was our best one yet.  He has been SO fun and positive with us so far.  (The claws have only come out once or twice.)  It feels good when he is proud of us!

We had a couple of guest teachers on Friday: Jennifer W. from Texas and John Salvatore from New York/Vegas.  Jennifer recognized me from Facebook - HAH!! (You know you spend too much time on Facebook WHEN...) - and she taught a sweet and straightforward Friday night class, just what the doctor ordered.  Johnny Sal had us on Friday morning after a very late night of movie watching - more on that in a sec - and he taught an incredible fast-paced class, one of the best ones we've had yet.  He used TONS of dialogue, verbatim, but at the same time he had the MOST personality, energy, and humor that we've seen (besides Bikram).  By the way, his personality is that of an incredibly gay man from New York City.  He's in Vegas performing in the show Jersey Boys right now.  We ADORED him!  Then yesterday morning, one of our staff members (Michon) taught, and it was nice to see him on the podium and find out what his class is like!  (It is excellent.)


We had some fantastic lectures from Bikram and Rajashree this week.  I took 9 pages of notes at Bikram's Monday night lecture, which was the beginning of the curriculum.  I am not going to recap any of that - you have to come to teacher training and learn it for yourself!  The topic was "what is yoga?", and I'm sure that the TT graduates all remember the answer to that one.  ("So far, 1 hour and 40 minutes, I made one point!")  Rajashree lectured on the following day, and she added her own perspective and followed up on a lot of Bikram's points, which was really cool.  We had a couple of really solid lectures from each of them.  Also, Monday night marked the introduction of...

The Mahabharat!!!  (and other films)

Oh my god, I was so psyched to see Mahabharat, just because I have heard SO many (horror!) stories of it from the Palm Springs training, where they were up until 6am watching Mahabharat episodes.  For those of you not in the know, the Mahabharat is an ENORMOUSLY long Indian epic about the history and mythology of India.  You may have heard of the Baghavad Gita, which is sort of a Hindi equivalent to the Bible?  The Gita is ONE small chapter out of the Mahabharat.  

The film version is basically an Indian TV serial, which was wildly popular in India when it was aired.  It consists of 92 episodes, each 45 minutes long.  Bikram, of course, has all of them (though we won't see them all.)  Bikram himself is a GREAT storyteller, so one of the best parts of Mahabharat is hearing HIS rendition of the story before watching the episode.  Anyway, there are two things that make Mahabharat hilarious: the production values and the subtitles.  Both are spectacularly bad.  The special effects are like something out of a very early Atari video game, and visually, the quality is somewhere in between Monty Python and Troll 2.  I love it.  My favorite part is how they shamelessly recycle the same footage over and over within the same 10 or 15 minute span to make a scene longer.  Like when Lady Ganga is walking down to the water holding her 8 babies, one by one, they basically shot the scene twice and then used the same clips over and over.  (She alternated between holding the Cabbage Patch doll with the full head of hair and the one with a weird Mohawk.)  I also LOVE it when they "go hunting," because you'll see a shot of the guy leaving the palace, and then they show some shots of lions and deer that are BLATANTLY in a COMPLETELY different location at a completely different time of day.  It's probably stock footage from some kind of nature show.  This is just beyond great.

We got through the first disc of Mahabharat (6 episodes) on Monday and Tuesday, and then we had Bollywood movies (one optional, two required) on Wednesday and Thursday.  When Bikram's in town, we stay up LATE.  (Like 4am late.)  I have totally surrendered to the ridiculousness of the Bollywood song and dance, and now I am enjoying the heck out of them.  A bunch of us are dying to learn some of those Indian dance moves and throw a big Bollywood dance party.  I actually stayed until 4am on Wednesday to watch the OPTIONAL Bollywood movie, and I was wide awake for all of Joddha Akbar on Thursday (midnight - 4am), which I think was the best movie we've seen yet.  The sleep dep (short for sleep deprivation) gets a little trippy, but it's all good.  I'm proud that I haven't slept through anything yet.  Teacher training will only happen once, so I want to be alert for all of it!

Posture Clinics Begin!

We finished all the half moon recitations on Wednesday afternoon!!  This called for a pizza party, so they threw one for us on Wednesday night.  We listened to the Bikram Lounge CD (epic), some talented people did an improvisational dance performance, we stuffed our faces, and a good time was had by all.  Thank you, staff!!

Then on Friday, we finally broke into our posture clinic groups and got down to business.  There are 16 posture clinic groups, with just over 20 people in each group.  I am in group 11.  Every time we do posture clinics from now on, we will be separated into 8 rooms (2 groups in each room, different combinations every time).  Every room has a panel of teachers and staff, and our task is to go up on stage and deliver the dialogue in front of those people and get feedback.  We started with backbending/hands-to-feet pose, and by the end of the day, everyone in our room had delivered that pose, so we moved on to the next pose, which is "awkward pose."  (Hehe.)  Four people in our room were able to deliver awkward, and I was the last one to go.  I did all three parts of the pose.  (We had the option to do all three parts at once or just the first page.)  Yippee!!  It feels good, and incredibly WEIRD, to be checking postures off the list.  I'm done with four pages of dialogue now!  

Also, I love my posture clinic group.  It's so much fun seeing all the different personalities up there, and we've definitely got some rockstars.  And we had some feedback from Dom and Johnny Sal, both of whom were encouraging, constructive, and hilarious.  One of my favorite moments was when my friend Chris blanked out and forgot the middle of the backbending dialogue.  Dom very drily told him, "I'd love to take your class, but you left out most of the backbending dialogue." Chris was like, "Oh, what did I leave out?" and Dom told him "The backbend."  Everyone was dying laughing (including Chris.)  These moments alone are worth the price of admission.

My feedback has been basically good, and it's been along the lines of "WOW, you know the dialogue."  Hehe.  I haven't really had trouble with nerves, and I definitely haven't had trouble getting the words out.  So far, I have gotten all the postures verbatim.  They told me to beware of overconfidence - don't worry!  I am still studying all the time!!  I love studying.  DORK.  As soon as I finish writing this, I'm going to go review up through standing bow with some friends, and then work on nailing down fixed firm and half tortoise a little better.  (Damn that half tortoise!)  Johnny Sal said that I was very much myself when I was saying the dialogue for awkward, which I really appreciated, especially coming from him.  (Thanks!!)

Okay, that's enough of that.  These updates may get shorter.  I thought that THIS one was going to be short, but as soon as I start writing, it seems that I just keep going until I stop.  Hah.  All good.  I still LOVE teacher training, beyond words, and I'm really excited for next week.  Bikram and Raj will be away, but we will have EMMY here to kick our asses, we will start our anatomy course, and we will get a chance to burn through some more posture clinics.  And hopefully we will SWEAT!

I'm not replying, but I'm still reading all your comments, so keep leaving them for me.  I love them.  :)

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