Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Week Three: in which I am SO THIRSTY (but life is good!)

Week 2 may have crawled by at a snail's pace, but Week 3 went by FAST!  I think this was mostly due to all the changes - we broke into smaller groups of about 20 each (yeah Group 8!!) and spent a few hours each day with one of the other groups and several visiting teachers, who listened to us deliver dialogue and gave feedback.

Posture Clinics alternated with Anatomy lectures by the incomparable Dr. Jim Preddy (Dr. P).  Bikram was out of town so most nights we were in bed by midnight (shocking!), and his wife Rajashree taught almost every day.  Lots of changes - lots of strong classes - lots of studying - it's been a good week!  Here's a few highlights/lowlights/points of interest:

Anatomy is Cool
All you really need to know about Anatomy lectures is that Dr. Preddy is sheer brilliance.  He is funny, clever, endearing, and makes anatomy not only understandable, but FASCINATING!  He paces around like a stand up comedian, interspersing his lectures with anecdotes and jokes still relevant to the material.  For example: "Passing out is God's way of making you lie down."  The reason dogs seem to possess so many more human-like emotions? They have eyebrows, so their nonverbal communication is ten times that of cats (cats are still better...just sayin'.  You don't see a cat having to be taken outside to poop three times a day.)

At one point mid-week, a lot of people started asking him very specific questions about the effect of eleven classes a week on their body (i.e. "is it bad that my knee is swollen?" "why can't I turn my neck?" "what should I do about my back?") to which he would often respond, pointing to himself, "Anatomy.  That is a yoga question.  (pointing to himself) ANATOMY." 

But finally, after one too many "why does it hurt because -", he told us something about teacher training that I think we can all relate to: "Look, this is hard stuff.   You have to force your body to do this against it's will.  It's unnatural, it's not normal...but it works. "

I want Dr. P. to be my uncle or something so I can be around him all the time.

Water is My Favorite Thing 
Week 3 is when hydration, always important in Bikram Yoga, started to occupy a higher percentage of my waking moments.  As you know if you've been reading my blog, I'm not a dainty, dewy yogi in class - I'm more like this guy.   So it makes sense that if I'm doing way more sweaty yoga than usual, in a hotter than usual room, I'd need to bump up the water & electrolytes.

But last week I was thirsty ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME.  I've figured out that I drink around 6 - 8 liters of water a day, which seems like plenty, but I still spend the first ten minutes after every class standing in front of the bathroom sink just outside the yoga room, filling my water bottle and chugging it down and filling it again and chugging it down again and - I mean, I can't even wait ten minutes to get back to my room & my water filter?  Oof.  

I also started giving in with startling frequency to the delirious joy that is an ice-cold Gatorade post-class.  Joy joy joy joy for a thirsty lady.  Then I started bringing Gatorade INTO class and whoa...suddenly I was able to power through the end of class and still put some strength into the last two poses instead of hanging out giving a little tug on my feet like a lazy bum.  

The cons to bringing Gatorade AND a liter of water into class? I have a sloshy bellyful of water by the end of class, which can kind of get in the way...and (as I learned from Dr. P, of course) all that sugar can switch on my digestive system and make me suddenly, ravenously hungry.  

Also on Thursday my tummy got confused and upset (water! Gatorade! hungry! what's going on!? screw this!) and I had to run out of the room.  My ego was all tied into the fact that I'd never left the room, so I was disappointed in myself for caving less than a third of the way through...but (say it with me!) it is what it is.  So I definitely don't recommend a liter of water and Gatorade every class for most Bikramites, but for me and my training, right now it's what I need (although next week I'll experiment with watering it down...because Danielle NEVER leaves the room).

Posture Clinics! 
It's been a lot of fun to get to know new people in the smaller groups and get feedback from a variety of Bikram teachers and studio owners.  Of course, the leaders of my third posture clinic were...Steve23 and Juicy! It was such a delight to see them, and they made everyone in my group smile, laugh, and learn something - I felt the sense of affection and pride that I guess sports fans have for their home team members (I can't think of the right analogy...you know, that sort of aren't they awesome? You love them, don't you?  They're my studio owners! feeling).  In any case, it was great.

They told me to stop rocking back and forth on my heels - my "homework" (every posture clinic you get homework) was to plant my feet.  It seems that planting my feet moved the nervous energy up - the next time, I was told to loosen up my shoulders since they were too stiff, and to use my hands (by this lovely woman who has two kids!  Can you believe it!?  And this is her husband.  Those kids must be bendy.)  I'm just glad that my feedback so far is about my posture and delivery rather than my words - overall I'm doing well.

Rah Rah Rajashree! 
I wanted to talk a bit about Rajashree - the perfect good cop to Bikram's bad cop, yet still tough as nails, prowling around like a cat on the podium, bending down to give corrections to people around her in her graceful, ageless way - but I seem to have wasted all my blogging time and space going on and on about Gatorade.

So I will leave you with a Last but not Least...at the start of a lecture on pain Emmy, the incredible 86 year old teacher I mentioned last week, was wondering aloud about the setup of her podium and the fact that everyone couldn't see her demonstrations, but quickly threw up her hands and moved on, saying "It is what it is, I guess."  A Paul Crik reference? I think yes.

P.S. Do I really laugh like this guy?


  1. Yay Danielle! You are doing so awesome!! I look forward to your weeky posts. The anatomy class sounds so informative and funny. Also, when I do teacher training, I am going to do it as far away from Bikram the man as possible (I need my sleep waaaay too much!)

  2. no I don't think you laugh like that... in any case I miss hearing your laugh.
    And I'm thirsty now!
    glad it's going well this week
    Love ya!

  3. Yum, Gatorade!!! Oh man I know how good that can taste after a particularly beefy workout. I'm so impressed by you, Danielle! You're absolutely killing it. So what if you left the room ONCE?! You've done more yoga in the past 3 weeks that I have in my LIFE. You're my hero. Oh and I miss you.

  4. Hey Danielle, Glad that you're doing this pre-babies because with all that fluid you'd be leaving the room more than once! You must be sweating buckets too. Very cool. Interesting Youtube links on the national yoga competition. I had no idea! But the poor guys that have to wear the micro-Speedo bathing suits! YOWZY! Sounds like you're having a blast!