Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I've Been Up To For Seven Weeks...And There's Something About Mary

Whoa...has it really been seven whole weeks since my last post?  Do I really have 35 followers now and get a dozen or so hits a day even though I haven't posted in seven whole weeks!?  You folks are loyal.  

I think it's time to come clean - I may set grandiose goals of blogging weekly and adding posture-specific blog posts, etc, but at the end of the day, I will only ever be a once-a-month blogger who spends her valuable blogging time just rambling on about her life.  Unless, of course, I can find a way to monetize this sucker, given that one of my new year's resolutions is to find a few additional income sources.  Speaking of which, anyone need some grantwriting?  I'm available!

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!  Have you made your New Years Resolutions?  I get really into the resolution thing...I create a long, detailed lists with subcategories and action steps and so forth.  They're fun to read after the fact...for example, in 2010, under subcategory "Get Good at the Things I Want To Be Good At," "practice yoga 2 - 3 times/week" seems laughably easy, whereas "practice jazz piano at least five hours a week" kinda sorta didn't happen...

Sad to say, "Blog Every Week" is not on the 2012 list, although "Don't Be a Hobo or a Hermit" is, including the subheaders "accessorize teaching outfits" and "throw out the really old clothes."  You've been good to me, Adidas stretchy capris that I bought at Ross Dress for Less five years ago, but I think your time is up.

So much has happened in seven weeks, where do I begin!?  Let's do this chronologically...

November 27th: Chris and Fiona Arrive!
Remember this goofball, who was so much a part of my training life that my mom said upon meeting him "I feel like I know you!"?  I never would have guessed, when he moved to Ireland after training, to teach yoga with his lovely Irish girlfriend Fiona, that I would see him again six months later!  But in one of those wonderful quirky yoga community coincidences, turns out one of the two other Bikram Yoga Cleveland teachers, Erica, had a best friend in training named...Fiona!  So when Chris and Fiona were planning their trip to the states, they managed to fit Cleveland and Pittsburgh into their agenda.

Both of them taught a class in Cleveland, and Fiona ever ran an advanced class for us teachers!  That was such a fantastic treat.  We sampled Cleveland's vegetarian offerings (Tommy's has the most amazing vegetarian French Onion Soup, but their Brown Rice & Veggies...not so much) and then they joined me on my weekly trip to Pittsburgh.

Let me tell you, it is SO much fun to hang out full time with hardcore yoga people.  Where we eat carrot sticks and hummus all day and drive fast so we can make it to Pittsburgh in time to take our second class of the day.  In addition to just generally being an awesome person, as it turns out, Fiona is a yoga goddess (see above) so I learned a lot from her and felt like I gained some clarity around the role of yoga in my new life.

We took a trip up the incline to see the Pittsburgh skyline, and wandered around a few of Pittsburgh's better neighborhoods - my home of Squirrel Hill, and the Strip District, where a talkative Turkish fellow convinced us to follow him into the back of the store where he had canaries for sale, and made some apparently hilarious, but kind of unintelligible, jokes.

We took Zeb's class, I taught a class, Fiona taught a class, we had a delicious meal and yoga people time at Kaya, and the next morning, off they went to Richmond, Virginia where they were spending the week with Mary Jarvis.  Fiona told me after their week had ended "you will love Mary, everything will make sense."  Who is this Mary character, you ask?

December 16th: Mary Jarvis arrives in Pittsburgh and Danielle becomes A TOTAL GROUPIE.  OH MY GOD YOU GUYS MARY IS SO AMAZING.  So December 18-19 Mary Jarvis, one of Bikram's most senior teachers, the coach for a number of championship yogis, and a legend in the Bikram community, provided a two-day seminar at Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh (she's good friends with, and former coach to, Zeb).  I'd heard her speak at the Northern CA regional competition last year (whoa, that feels like a decade ago) but had never met or trained with her.  Needless to say, I was excited.

So Friday morning as usual, I taught the 6am.  I then decided to buy a biscotti and a coffee.  The La Prima coffee lady tried to SHAME me when I asked for skim milk with my coffee. "That'll go great with that cookie you're eating," she said. I tried to explain that I like the taste of skim better than cream...but now I better understand the restaurant customers I used to inwardly mock when they ordered diet cokes with their Breakfast Smiles.  Anyhoo...

Please don't eat the sausage at Eat 'n Park...in it's raw form, it's kind of green.

At the last minute Mary decided to teach the 10am - the students were a little surprised when I snuck into the back row with the other teachers and Mary walked in.  Two hours later, I felt stretched, inspired and delighted, and after drinking a big jar of green juice, I spent the next few hours with the other yogis training for competition as Mary taught us new lunges and exercises and told stories.  At 3:30 it was time to open the door for the 4pm class, which I taught, since I'd missed the 10am.

After the class, I helped sign people in for Laena's 6pm, and got into my car.  Geez, I thought.  I just spend twelve hours here doing and teaching yoga on four hours of sleep and all I ate was a biscotti. I should be EXHAUSTED.  And I'm so jazzed I could keep going for hours! 

 This child really captures my sense of enthusiasm, I think...look at that grin!

And that's how how Saturday went too...yoga yoga yoga yoga all day.  A three hour beginner class (there a girl who inadvertently showed up for her first class on Mary day, and stayed...can you imagine!?  And to answer your question, she did come back!), a four hour-or-so seminar, and then exercises and conversation with Mary until the wee hours of the night.  

When I got out of bed Sunday morning for my drive to Cleveland I could barely move.  When I arrived at the studio after a couple of hours of driving my legs were so stiff I practically fell out of the car.  And that evening after teaching, I did the training exercises on my own...and I've done them nearly every day since.

It's hard to explain unless you're there...and it makes me sound a little like this girl...but with Mary, everything does make sense.  You're reminded why you fell in love with yoga in the first place.  She's funny, quirky, intelligent, brilliant, every superfluous adjective applies.  I know, I know, no one is perfect - for example, like Bikram, she can tell the same story more than once - but a month later I'm still riding on that Mary train.

Sample insights (that you might hear me say in class):
- Don't form emotional opinions about your postures.  If you fall out, say "that's interesting" and get back in.
- We stay in the present moment in yoga so when great moments happen, we're there for it.
- You paid good money to be in a room with a furnace...so why spend your time trying to cool yourself down?

Okay, okay, I know you're getting tired of the Mary gushing, so let's move on...

December 26th: Danielle visits Bikram Yoga Annapolis and her family wreaks havoc.   It took me a while to recover from the no-yoga-endless-eating that was my Thanksgiving holiday, so I was determined to visit a Bikram studio during my two days in Kensington, MD for Christmas with my Dad and his family.  There's a studio a few miles away in Bethesda, but when I went to check their schedule the week before they were CLOSED! (for renovations)

So I decided (and my affable little brother agreed to tag along, since I was giving him a ride to Philadelphia) to drive to Annapolis, a quaint little historic town where Zeb said the studio was fantastic...and it was!  The heat was perfect, the instruction was wonderful, and my body was SO grateful for the stretch after the feast the night before (AND the feast that morning...when Dad offers homemade french toast an hour before class, you can't say no!).

Ben's on the far right. We like interesting family pictures.

When class started, my little (well, eighteen year old, so not so little anymore) brother Ben was hanging out in the lobby waiting for my dad and little little brother Caleb to pick him up.  There are big picture windows from the lobby into the studio, so after Dad arrived I watched in the mirror as he wandered around the lobby, looking at pictures, then peered into the picture window, looked around for me, found me (in Standing Head to Knee), waved urgently to get my attention,  and then gave me a thumbs up.  

High school Danielle would have been mortified - because I wasn't the only one watching these strangers wandering around the lobby and eagerly gesticulating - but grownup Danielle thought it was hilarious.

Of course, then Ben OPENS THE DOOR, props it open with his foot so the cold air can rush in, and interrupts the teacher mid-sentence to say "excuse me...I'm leaving now.  Do you want me to lock the door?" Oh, family.  They mean well :)

This post is getting lengthy (clearly seven weeks is too long a time) so let's wrap it up...

Can you find Danielle in this training photo? Hint: I'm not actually doing the posture

January 2nd: Danielle grabs her hands in Guillotine!  Not exactly earth shattering news, but I'm determined to make this one of my postures for competition.  So picture me in the middle of class, in the posture above, staring at my own butt and grinning like a fool.  Good times.

Coming up on Namaste or Should I Go...

January 8th at 12pm: Free yoga!  The lovely Barbara H., who went to the last training, will be teaching a mock class on Sunday.  If you've been practicing a while (can be self-sufficient and patient in class) and I haven't already talked to you about this, check in with me or just show up - the more, the merrier.  

Let's give Barbara a nice big group of supportive students for her second mock class (the first time was just two teachers...fellow recent grads, can you IMAGINE what that was like?!)  

 At my pre-training sendoff...Esther, Laura, Stephanie, and Sarah, miss you ladies!

January 15th: Bikram Yoga in Chicago, and my reunion with some of my favorite SF ladies, Stephanie and Laura!

January 28th...I will NOT fall out of Standing Head to Knee on stage.  I will NOT.

Till next time, beloved readers...
Love Danielle

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year Danielle!

    Deep thoughts...

    1) Nice. Have you ever considered teaching yoga and blogging about your life? You might be good at it...

    2)"Unless, of course, I can find a way to monetize this sucker..."

    Food for thought:

    Thinking of the fact that I was considering pursuing the training myself, I hope that's meant literally and isn't a peek behind the curtain of how a certain mentality can develop & take hold of yogis/business people without them even realizing...just sayin.

    3) Speaking of food, I've heard that this place...
    ...has the some of the best sandwiches in the country...can you confirm?

    4)I like the resolution-list idea, gonna have to try that.

    5) That's a good one:
    "You paid good money to be in a room with a furnace...so why spend your time trying to cool yourself down?"

    6) I'm on-board with the Mary-praise...

    7) Keep up the solid reporting.

    Peace & karma from SF.