Sunday, March 27, 2011

Giving Up to Live It Up: 22 Days to Training!


First and foremost, I have a confession to make...I'm not going to finish the 30-Day Challenge.  I finally came to that realization when I was building a calendar on Monday of the seven doubles I would need to do over the next nine days, which isn't the worst thing in the world, as long as I can avoid back-to-back classes....but then my Board Meeting at Brava Theater (speaking of which, check out Oldest Profession if you haven't already, Paula Vogel & 3 aging "ladies of the night"? Song & dance? 80s era politics? Sign me up!) went WAY long, I missed another class, and it became eight doubles in nine days...and that same day one of my new FFBYTT facebook friends, Noemi, and I had been emailing back and forth about her brief potential stay in SF following training and she wrote "Don't worry about the challenge, it's maybe too much on your plate at the'll have plenty of opportunities after TT to complete challenges..."  And you know what...she is exactly right.  It's not giving's postponing!  Right!?  

Long story short, I shall follow the advice of a Mission yogi who shall remain nameless..."why are you doing a challenge? you'll have plenty of time to do yoga!  You should be LIVING it UP, man!"

Speaking of post-training plans, my lovely roommates began their search this week for a replacement me (don't they know I'm irreplaceable?).  With one of their interviewees, as often happens here in San Francisco, the conversation turned to yoga.  Roommate Jack has been taking the occasional "hippie dippie" yoga class at his climbing gym, where they lie in savansana and listen to poetry.  The interviewee said his yoga of choice was a little more active, but not "hate myself yoga..." (Jack: amused silence).  Interviewee: " Bikram."  

Me (that evening): psh.  It's not hate yourself yoga.  He's probably never even taken a Bikram class.
Jack: I don't know, I wouldn't want to get yelled at in yoga.
Me: You don't get yelled in yoga.
Jack: "Ms. Teacher Training, get your hands together!  Ms. Teacher Training!"
Me: That's not yelling.  That's...a strongly worded correction.
Jack:  ...

And then my little sister spent some time googling Bikram today and asked me "did you know he calls it "Bikram's Torture Chamber?" (A: yes, it says that above the door of my very own studio) and "he seems like kind of an asshole." (A: yes, maybe...)  To sum up, I've been very aware recently that as a future Bikram yogi, I have to do a lot more defending of my chosen discipline, because it flies in the face of everything Americans believe yoga, and by association, yoga gurus should be - which is much closer to Jack's hippie dippie yoga than a class in which you're urged to "push and push and PUSH and PUSH!" And while I can offer reasons and rationale and excuses till I'm blue in the face, at the end of the day I just really like Bikram yoga.  And no amount of "Did you read that article in Details magazine??" is going to change that.

Speaking of "Ms. Teacher Training," that was a choice correction from Jena Blackwood, a guest teacher from NYC who taught at my studio last week.  Several folks at the studio asked with breathless enthusiasm whether I would take Jena's class - so I figured I should make a point to fit it in.  I'd been feeling under the weather, but the more you do Bikram yoga, the more you feel like it can cure anything (tuberculosis? go to yoga!), so even though Jena had a reputation for being tough, I figured I would sneak in the back and keep my coughing self anonymous.  No such luck: Tracy introduced me as "this is Danielle, who's going to teacher training!" as soon as I walked in the door, and Steve23 grabbed my towel and mat from me and said "I'll set you up in the front with the teachers!"

But Jena was really just that awesome! (plus she calls her yoga page "super fun," which automatically endears her to me)  She was the sort of teacher who, while being strict and aggressive, is still warm and encouraging.  True, she admonished me for not keeping my hands together in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose, but 22 days away from training, I really ought to keep 'em together. One of my favorite moments from her packed class (and I wish I could remember this verbatim) was when she told one student "Don't look at me, look in the mirror - you need to believe in yourself.  And if you don't believe in yourself yet, I do, and I'll hold that for you until you're ready."  Good stuff!

Meanwhile, dialogue practice is still plugging along.  Juicy provided me a with a revelation last week - I'm too much in my own head, focused on getting the words perfect instead of thinking of the actual bodies/movement.  For example, to remember this one bit of Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose - "Chin up, Look forward, Roll Forward, Keep Pulling" I think "clerk" (CLRK).  Which leads to me saying "Knees Locked" instead of "Keep Pulling" TWICE, even though it's way wrong, even after Juicy corrected me on it.  I'm working now on practicing DOING the poses while I say them.  This is fascinating stuff, people!

I'll end on a bit of trivia - did you know that each of the names in the Bikram dialogue - "T as in Tom, not a broken umbrella," for example, or "Perfect upside down L like Linda" - refer to actual, real life people?  Tom is Tommy from the Smothers Brothers!  How random is that?

1 comment:

  1. i love this post because i too struggle with letting go of goal and expectations i've put on myself for yoga. but it's JUST YOGA. we are going to be living/breathing/sleeping/eating it for 9 weeks. now is the time to have fun, enjoy friends and family, and stop obsessing. good for you for being smart enough and strong enough to recognize that! on that note, i think i'll go eat some chocolate. ;) xo!