Saturday, May 22, 2010

WEEK 5: "Stayin' Alive"

"Jesus Christ!!!  That's what Jesus said!  'Get me out of here before I lose my virginity!'  THIRD SET!" - Bikram teaching balancing stick on Monday

End of week FIVE... WOW!!  

We are now past the halfway point of training, and I am definitely NOT ready for it to be over!  I feel like it's going to slip away so quickly now.  It's crazy.  However, I AM starting to look forward to life post-training, because I just checked my studio's teaching schedule for June and I am teaching 7 classes in my first week out of training, starting with the Monday 7am right after I get back!  And let me tell you, that really lit a fire under my ass.  As soon as I read that schedule, I thought, "WHOA, time to learn pranayama!"  (That's the opening breathing exercise that we don't quite get to go over in training.)  So I was wandering around Walmart all afternoon today going "Inhale, head down... Exhale, head up..."  Part of me is still totally amazed that I'm actually going to just walk into a studio in 30 days, stand in front of the room, and teach a whole fricking class... and get PAID for it!  What alternate universe is THIS?!

Anyway: Week 5.  I have no idea how to describe this one.  It was all over the map.  Had some miserable classes, some euphoric classes, fantastic posture clinic, sleep and uninspired posture clinic, brilliant lectures, another long night of Mahabharat, and a LOT of HOT classes.  Not insane Acapulco hot, but pretty hot.  Classes are definitely getting tougher.  "Week five: it's not week four anymore."  That was my little slogan.  I had a really obnoxious head cold for half of the week, which didn't help matters.  Tons of people here were getting congested.  I blame the gross air in the hotel.  If I could change just ONE thing about teacher training... I would like to have a room with a window that can OPEN!  None of the windows in the hotel open.  I miss fresh air.  The only way to open a window in this place is with a BRICK.  (I've entertained a couple of fantasies about doing that.)  Tough times.  I am adapting, though.  The new strategy is to spend as little time in the room as possible - many things like studying, writing, eating sandwiches, etc. can be done outdoors by the pool or by the lecture tent.

Yoga Update

Let's see... Bikram taught Monday and Tuesday nights and really laid down the law, as you can see from the quote above.  Those were good classes, in a brutal kind of way.  We DID do three sets of balancing stick on Monday night.  When he asked us, "Should I give you a fourth set?" I honestly had no opinion, which was interesting.  If he'd told us to do it, I would have done it, and I wouldn't have been upset.  If he'd given us eight sets, I would have done eight sets.  And this is my LEAST favorite posture.  I don't LIKE doing it, by any means.  It's just that I was fully prepared to do whatever was asked of me, no matter how uncomfortable.  That's pretty much how I've felt about this whole process: I just relax, breathe, go wherever I'm told to go, and do whatever I'm told to do.  It makes life SO simple.  Lots of people struggle when they start trying to take control or anticipate what will happen next.  (Will we have posture clinic?  What time are we going to sleep?  Who's teaching tonight?  How long is CPR?  Etc etc)  They stress themselves out that way.  I wish everyone could understand: just stay in the moment and do whatever you need to do, in THAT moment.  Then there is no struggle.

ANYWAY.  That was kind of a tangent.  I was talking about yoga classes, right?!  So after Bikram left town, we had a great rotation of visiting teachers on the podium.  Current champ Brandy and former champ Sarah both kicked our asses with great command and style.  Diane taught on Thursday night and it was probably the best class of my LIFE.  (She kicked our asses, too.)  At the end of class, she told us, "This moment is the peak experience of your life," and I believed her with all my heart, for more reasons than I can explain.  Incidentally, I am pretty impressed with Diane's level of celebrity here.  I mean, I knew that everyone falls in love with her at teacher training... but geez, when people spotted her heading up to the teacher's the podium on Thursday night, everyone started screaming like they were at a Beatles concert!  So THAT'S what they mean by "yoga rock star."  I always thought that expression was an exaggeration?  Apparently not.  Way to go, Diane!

Here's the best way I can describe my experience of the classes this week: on many nights, the hardest part of the class was lifting up my wet towel at the end and throwing it on top of the wet towel pile, because at that point I felt like I had used up EVERY piece of strength in my body.  And hey, wet towels are pretty heavy once you sweat half your own body weight into them!

Posture Clinic Update

Standing series = DONE!!  Unbelievable.  The highlight of the week was definitely triangle pose.  Triangle pose is the "peak" of the standing series, which comes right around the midpoint of the yoga class.  We did posture clinic for triangle on Wednesday, which was the precise midway point of teacher training, so I thought THAT was cool.  We had a GREAT team of teachers working with us that day (including Johnny Sal, AGAIN, because we are super lucky like that).  That meant that posture clinic was high energy and fun.  I rocked out my dialogue with no problems, got great feedback, did some fun vocal exercises with it, and basically just had a terrific time.  The words of the day were "love" and "fabulous," because that's what happens when a fabulous and loving gay theatre guy from NYC runs your posture clinic. <3

"I am a registered CPR!  Can I help you??"

Shout-out to the CPR staff: we had a mandatory CPR course this week, and I thought it was really well done and worthwhile.  I was completely clueless when it comes to first aid, so most of the information was news to me.  I no longer feel like I would be completely useless in an emergency!  Go, me!  We went over basic CPR and choking, we practiced saving each other from choking (which was a totally entertaining Friday night activity), and we went over the different medical situations that might arise in our classes.  "You WILL have a student faint in class at some point in your career" - good to know.  (It's not because of the heat - it's just what happens when people aren't taking care of themselves and come to yoga without eating, without hydrating, without sleeping, etc.)  We also learned that the correct tempo for CPR compressions is the same as the tempo of the BeeGees song "Stayin' Alive."  "Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive..."

Ok, that is more than enough blogging for today.  I need to go find some Thai food and study pranayama!!  By the way, since when do I have NINETY followers?!  Jesus.  Hello, new people!!  I hope you all are educated and entertained... If not, well then, as Bikram would say, "Eat shit and die!  Excuse me for living!"  I've got more important things to worry about... ;-)

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