Sunday, May 9, 2010

WEEK 3: Emmy, Anatomy, and Bodies... Oh My!

Whoa!  Third week over!  How did this happen?!

This week was totally different from the previous two weeks in a couple of ways.  Bikram was out of town for the first time, and Emmy (the most senior and principle teacher of Bikram Yoga) came in from LA for the whole week.  We also started our two-week long anatomy course this week, which met every day for like three hours.  So instead of crazy high-energy evening classes with Bikram every evening followed by circuitous philosophy lectures and 3am Bollywood movies, we had these great physiologically-grounded, tough-grandma-love classes every morning with Emmy, followed by afternoons of solid science-based lectures, some GREAT dialogue-driven classes in the evening by visiting teachers, and then MORE lectures (or postures clinics) finishing at 11pm.  It was like a completely different training!  (Just as good as the first one.)

Anatomy - Introducing Dr. *P.*

Big news: we have a NEW anatomy teacher for this session, and he is AMAZING.  Absolutely 100% fantastic.  His name is Jim Preddy, and the staff has sort of re-christened him as "Dr. P." (the previous anatomy teacher went by Dr. T), but I think "Dr. Jim" fits him best.  Anyway.  This is a guy who has worked as a massage therapist and a cheerleader (which is a story that you HAVE to hear from him in person), and he currently works as an E.R. doctor, but teaching anatomy is his vocation and his passion. He knows his stuff, he knows how to connect it to the YOGA in a totally straightforward and scientific way, and he is a GREAT public speaker.  Like, really great.  He's hilarious, dynamic, clear, and fun to listen to.  This is a quality, university level course.  He actually teachers a version of this same course at some of the local universities over a span of 9 months.  We are getting it in two weeks.  Naturally, we are not expected to know NEARLY as much as the med students who take the long version, but we're still getting lots of information.  This week we did the skeletal system, the muscular system, and a bit of the nervous system.  I am totally geeked out and taking like 15 pages of notes at every lecture.  I need to spend some more quality time with my anatomy coloring book this weekend... I will do that after I call my mom.  (Happy Mother's Day, all moms!!)

Triangle - You're Doing It Wrong!  (Or Not)

In addition to teaching our classes, Emmy gave us a couple of lecture sessions this week.  One was on pain and the body's response to it.  I won't spoil that one for anyone - those who have heard it know that it is quite great.  The other was basically a posture clinic/demo session, where she invited people to come up and get help with their postures.  The main posture was TRIANGLE; everyone who went up on stage had to show her their triangle and get it fixed (if necessary).  Then the student could ask about another posture, if she or he wanted help with something specific.

I love watching her correct everyone; she is really in her element that way.  Pretty quickly, I started anticipating her corrections and figuring out how the different bodies needed to be fixed, so that was a REALLY good exercise for me.  And I picked up a couple new pieces of information that I can apply to my practice.  (I have a whole new wind removing pose now, and um... this is probably TMI, but it seems to have actually had some effect.  Yogis - you know what I mean.)

Bodies Exhibit - Oooh, Look, I Found the Supraspinatous!

The super-cool Bodies Exhibit is in town in Vegas, at the Egyptian themed hotel which is shaped like a pyramid.  (I have to admit, I'm really getting a kick out of Vegas.)  Check out the link if you haven't heard of it before; my description would not do it justice!  Anyway, about 50 of us got discounted group tickets and went to go see it last night.  This was a GREAT choice, because I cannot think of a single better way to review this week's anatomy classes!  I went around with one of my friends, and with the help of the signs and labels, we managed to find and identify pretty much every single muscle and bone that we learned in our classes this week.  It helped a LOT to see them all in 3D, on real bodies.  I finally know where the supraspinatous is - hooray!  And now we are ahead of the game for next week, when we will be working on digestive system, respiratory system, endocrine system, and all that juicy stuff.

Posture Clinic Update

With all those lectures going on, it was a light week for posture clinics.  We only had a few sessions.  I delivered awkward pose on Friday of week two, and then I didn't get to do anything until Friday of THIS week, when I went up for eagle.  (Most groups are few people into eagle now, which is technically the 4th pose.  The pace is gonna pick up a LOT soon, I think.)

I got some really cool and helpful feedback about how to use and direct my energy.  I'm good at being psyched ALL the time - energy is never gonna be a problem for me - so now I'm getting really specific and trying to figure out the right energy, intensity, tone, and pace to use for the different postures (and different students).  I've got my dialogue solidly under control - today I'm going to nail down the next few postures from standing series and then spend some review time on a few of the floor series postures.  (I was kind of "outed" on Friday night as someone who knows the whole dialogue when the posture clinic lead asked me how far I'd studied and I said "spine twist," the last posture.)

I've got a good study buddy for myself (someone who's at a similar level in the memorization) and I've spent a LOT of time helping other people learn their dialogue.  And I am now the official leader of a study group - yippee.  David Buckner and Jakob (the guy who taught Mei in Malaysia) held a nice study session thingie yesterday where they went over study techniques and then broke us into smaller groups.  My group went through eagle, round-robin style, and then at the end they decided that they wanted to ALL say the posture together while *I* demonstrated.  Let me tell you, that was the BEST eagle dialogue I have ever heard.  They REALLY got into it.  We are meeting again this afternoon.  :-)

The Rest is Silence

I'm leaving plenty of stuff out... but that's on purpose.  (HA.)  There's so much about this experience that just doesn't translate, because I have NOTHING to compare it to.  It's not like anything else.  I have plenty of analogies that I can use, but still... if I tell you about it, you have no reference point that lets you understand it.  It's weird.  The people who have done this will know what I mean.  But I love it and I am PSYCHED for Monday, when Bikram returns... along with a couple of other familiar faces, which I can't wait to see... let's go, week 4!

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