Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weeks Seven and Eight: Three Days Left!?

Wow.  At the start of training they told us that time would fly by, but with 95 classes staring us in the face that just seemed absurd...but now here I am already deep into Week Nine, with a mere four classes to go! 

So in one of those weird sort of karmic coincidences, turns out my buddy Kelly from my group (GROUP 8 IS GREAT!), happens to be from the same tiny Arizona town, Waddell, that my aunt and uncle live in...
Kelly and me at Group 8 Dinner!

So on my way to Vegas to meet up with Carolyn and the girls for my very first Vegas trip (stay tuned for stories of how Danielle drinks one cocktail after nine weeks of yoga & no drinking and passes out at 10pm at a penny slot) I'll stop in Waddell, visit the fam, and teach my first class at Kelly's studio in Avondale!  SO SOON!  At 12pm on Wednesday, June pretty please send as many positive thoughts towards Arizona as you POSSIBLY can.

The Habit...Giving In 'n Out a Run for Its Money

So Week Seven (well, Week Seven and a few hours on Monday Week Eight) we made it through all 26 postures in Posture Clinics!  Towards the end it felt like the last week of high school, where everyone was getting rowdy and a little silly and having trouble keeping quiet even when exasperatingly shushed.  Also our studying was not necessarily as effective as it had once been, so we ended up saying stuff like:

"Grab your big feet" - Yukari

"Suck your thumb" - Becky

(for Head to Knee with Stretching, a seated posture): "This is Head to Knee with Standing" - Michelle

"Ready or not, here I come, you can't hide. Gonna find you...and make you do rabbit." - Mike
Studying outside the laundromat for the last time!

But Martine showed us ALL how it's done with an epic display of dialogue mastery.  Michon (our Posture Clinic leader Friday night and a star staffer) started throwing postures at her one after the other, and she kept up with word perfect dialogue like I have NEVER seen.  Incredible!

Another funny coincidence... remember Byron from Bikram Yoga Chelsea?  With whom I had the following interaction upon arrival in NYC back in September?:

Byron the Yoga Teacher: Bikram Yoga Chelsea, can you hold please? He tells someone where the locker rooms and towels are.  The studio clearly exists.  How can I help you?

Me Dragging Suitcase: The sign says you’re on the 3rd floor, but I can’t find it?
BYT: No, we’re on the 4th floor.
BYT (five minutes later): Bikram Yoga Chelsea, how can I help you?
MDS: I can’t find you on the 4th floor?  You’re at 150, right?
BYT: No, we’re at 250.  On the 4th floor.
BYT (five minutes later): YES?
MDS:  Um, this is an apartment building.  And the guy living on the fourth floor is very nice, but not running a yoga studio out of his apartment.
BYT:  We’re at 250 West 30th, not 250 West 26th, sweetheart.

Guess who ran my very last Posture Clinic?  You got it!

A friendly face - Oscar from Mission Yoga, here for recertification!

On Friday of Week Seven, we were joined by no less than 120 visiting teachers, the vast majority of whom who were completing their re-certification.  Every three years, Bikram teachers must "come back to the source" - go through the same huge classes, long lectures, and late night movies, but only over two days instead of nine weeks.  That Friday class was BRUTAL.  Like, very first class brutal.  Like, lying on the floor in a sea of my own sweat unable to breathe brutal.  When you add 120 bodies to the hot yoga room and put a bad mood Bikram up on the podium for a 2 1/2 hour class?  That shit is TOUGH.

But it was followed not by another four hour lecture but instead by...A pizza dance party!  280 pizzas were ordered and eaten by ravenous yogis, many bottles of sugary sodas were drunk, and Michon put on the tunes for everyone to dance the night away - even Bikram himself, who, as you can see, is sporting quite the sportcoat!  It's amazing what some pizza and dancing can do to pick you right back up!

Saturday morning class was tough too - those 120 people were still there, sucking up all our oxygen and heating up our room and generally making life miserable -and it didn't help that Jim too decided to teach for almost 2 1/2 hours.  
Urth Cafe in Beverly Hills...just as good as rumored.

Luckily I powered through, and then got to spend the weekend relaxing, catching up with friends in SF, seeing the super freakin' awesome new X-men movie, taking photos underwater at the Sheraton pool (why did we sneak into the Sheraton you ask? There's a hot tub!), and joining a group trip to the Yogananda Center. 
Paramahansa Yogananda 
A bit more on that - Paramahansa Yogananda is one of the most well known yogis in the Western world, author of Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of the Self Realization Fellowship, headquartered up in the hills of Pasadena where our carful of yogis accidentally went first (oops!).

There's also a Lake Shrine Temple up in the Pacific Palisades,  an idyllic manmade lake, where a few dozen of our training group had the opportunity to participate in a service (which we missed...see above), and hear from one of the monks about Yogananda's teachings, which are mostly around the oneness of all religions - I liked the metaphor the monk shared of a lamp with many flames, where each flame is a different concept or incarnation of the idea of god, but they're all fed by the same oil.  We also walked around the lake in the sun.  Gorgeous!

Kelly might look a little more badass with Bikram's watch on...
Bikram decided not to travel for the rest of the training so we've had a LOT of late nights, long lectures, and showings of Bollywood movies and the televised Mahabarata (with the best special effects ever created for the small screen).  And without posture clinics we also had a number of guest speakers, from the relevant to the random, from Karen the new nurse (we get a new nurse every week, and this week there's no nurse - what are we DOING to them?), to Dr. Tracy's talk on Yoga, Aging and Neuromuscular Function, to Dr. Choudhury (no relation to Bikram), a renowned gynocologist(? I know, right?), to Rajashree's lecture on yoga therapy.

The Mission Yoga crew!

My favorite quote of Week Seven, courtesy of Rajashree: "I know you are tired, and my voice is very lullaby, and my subject is very boring, and you will fall asleep right away."  Her gentleness is a fascinating contrast to Bikram's brashness, but she can still kick our butts in yoga class...Lisa, one of the senior staff, also sat onstage to tell us every detail about graduation and, I kid you not, read everyone's name out loud to ask them how to pronounce it.  All 430.  That was painful.  And yes, in three days...I'll be a teacher training graduate!

Papaya King in Hollywood!
Sunset over Manhattan Beach

As things start to wrap up, my body is thrilled to by its impending break from twice daily classes and long hours with my butt in a hotel chair, and I'm looking forward to getting my first few classes underway (Wednesday June 22 in Avondale, AZ at 12pm, as I mentioned, and Tuesday, June 28th at 8:15am at Mission Yoga!  Mark your calendars!)...but I'm also not quite ready to leave the yoga bubble and go back to the real world.  Can we give it another week, maybe?

Underwater camera fun!
Looking forward to sharing stories about my last week with you, hopefully it'll be a little more exciting - and I'll be sure to continue updating this blog even after training, and let you know how life as a teacher transpires.  Thanks for reading!


  1. danielle! thanks so much for sharing your journey! i cant believe its already been 9 weeks and im in the real world. im so excited for my turn in the fall.

    wishing you well wishes for your first couple calsses. also, a blog post for future trainee helpful hints would be so super awesome! i love to get everyones hints as a guide for my prep.

    thanks so much for your positive outlook on training.

  2. In the mission yoga photo, you look like a yoga bad-ass!

    I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about your training. I can't wait to take a class from you!

    see you soon,

  3. Hey Danielle, your TT experience sounds a ton more delightful and encouraging than another blog I read. I am planning on going to TT in the fall. Do you think that the money spent on TT is worth it? I feel after reading the other blog that it isn't worth the time, effort, and money. I have a full-time job and am very passionate about Bikram yoga and feel a calling to go to training. I am just a little discourage, nervous, and anxious especially the $$$ part. What your think and what do you suggest? Thanks for your blog and insite. Jill