After that lovely little prologue let's start at the beginning shall we? Day One we had the pleasure of meeting Bikram's wife Rajashree. She is one of the loveliest women I have ever met. She gave us a welcome speech and it was full of wonderful information. She is so knowledgeable and I am really looking forward to learning from her. She said "Yoga is not only about the practice, it is about beyond that. This 26 and 2 is the key to help us understand the 'beyond that.'" I am so excited for this, I know it is a process and one that I am looking forward to. I began yoga for the physical aspect but now I am learning that it really is about so much more than that.
We then met Bikram which was fantastic of course. If you have never met him he really is impossible to describe. He is full of hilarity but so full of knowledge. One of the most important things he said for me is something that I wish everyone in the world would have the chance to learn. We will learn "how to be a real human being here. We are not black, white, yellow, pink. We are not American, Indian, European, Asian. We are not Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist. We are human beings."
Our first yoga class was with Bikram Monday night. Wow. What an experience. I actually had a really strong class and was feeling powerful and inspired. The first thing I noticed is how different it is to practice in there compared with my studio at home. The air is so different which affects my breathing I think. It's not better or worse, just different. A lot of people had a really tough time first class which is totally understandable. New city, new country, new continent, new time zone, new room, new emotions, new everything. It is all part of the process. Bikram's first class with us was definitely not the standard 90 minutes, but rather just over 2 hours long. If someone needs a correction he holds us in the posture until that person does it properly. He kept us in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee for so long because Miss. Pink wouldn't open her legs 36 inches. Yikes.
We had class with Rajashree Tuesday morning and what a difference between her and Bikram! She is so wonderful and I think I would probably do anything she told me to do. She just exudes this wonderful energy and power that it is hard not to be inspired. She is really about the mind/body connection in yoga. She said she used to ask at the end of each class who was having a birthday that day and then everyone would wish that person a happy birthday. She doesn't do that much anymore because we all have a new birth-day after class. We are all born again. Thank you for that Rajashree.
Posture clinics began Tuesday with everyone having to go up on stage one at a time and deliver the half-moon dialogue in front of Bikram and the 400+ teacher trainees and staff. It is really interesting to see everyone one at at time, learn who they are and where the are from and hear their delivery of the dialogue. Everyone is just so unique! Pretty much everyone that has gone so far has been great. We got through 105 people on the first day which is incredible and Bikram is really impressed with us. He told us later in the week that we are the best group he has ever had at Teacher Training. So fortunate to be a part of it! I delivered my dialogue Thursday after many failed attempts to get in line to do it earlier. So many people rush up to volunteer you practically have to throw punches and elbows to get a spot. Very un-yogi-like. It was interesting because right before Kimiko and I went (we went up one after the other) Bikram had just sung a song in Japanese to a woman from Japan. She did a hilarious delivery of the dialogue which apparently inspired Bikram to serenade her in front of us all. He loves to sing and this was certainly not the first time we heard him. He is actually pretty good so it's not the worst thing he could subject us to. It was so exciting and so nerve-racking to get up there with a microphone and have everyone stare at you. I did my dialogue and Bikram was silent afterwards. He is never silent so this left me anxious and confused. I smiled at him expectantly (actually I think it was more like a grimace) and waited. He then turned around to everyone and said "Well, what should I tell her?" Everyone was shouting out "It was good" etc. He said "No. Not just good. The best. Wow. The dialogue. Wow." Or something like that. I had so much adrenaline running through my veins I can't remember exactly. Amazing. I am so happy with that response! Couldn't be happier really! I impressed myself, however I will remain humble because there is much more dialogue to go.
We had class with Emmy Cleaves Thursday morning. She is something like 85 years old. No one really knows exactly. She is Bikram's longest time teacher and she is in such great shape I can't believe she is that old. She is very intense and very strict. She teaches from that back of the room so the podium is empty and it is like there is just this great cosmic voice filling the room telling us what to do. And telling us that we have a lot of work to do. She said in Rabbit pose that she usually tells us to think of cracking a walnut between our head and our knees but looking at all of us she thinks that just thinking of squishing a grape would be more appropriate. Haha, oh Emmy. Thank you for ridding all of us of our egos. We do have a lot of work to do and a long way to go. Despite Emmy's apparent disgust with us, later that day for our evening yoga class Bikram said that he can see that we have improved so much already in just four days. I think he was impressed with us and you could just feel the energy vibrating in the room. Amazing what 400+ people moving together can do.
Alright I'll try to keep the rest of this brief and then reward your hard work reading with some photos for your entertainment. We had a few visiting teachers this week as well. We had Ulises from Mexico City, Jim from Washington D.C., and Lisa from Las Vegas. They are all so different. I liked Jim a lot and I loved Lisa. She taught a very true to Bikram yoga class. True to the dialogue and the 90 minutes. I learned a lot from her in that short time. She talked a lot about energy and how we share energy with each other during class. That is why our palms always face up during Savasana. Our energy flows from one palm to the next; it enters the left palm and exits the right from person to person. This is parallel to the sun rising in the left and setting in the right. Really cool stuff. She also did an 8 minute final Savasana with us where we all recited a few mantras. I have never done any chanting or mantras in yoga before and I always thought that it totally wasn't my style and just wasn't for me. She may have changed my mind, or at least opened it. They all have such meaning behind them and they really are for a purpose. The first mantra we did was to the Goddess Kali who is the destroyer of ego. Next we did a mantra to Ganesh who is the remover of obstacles. I don't remember the other two so these two must have had the most meaning for me that day. Lisa the teacher also had a beautiful voice so listening to her doing the mantras was wonderful. I think this is something I would like to research in the future.
Ok some rapid fire quotes and tid-bits for you:
- Kimiko and I have met some lovely girls from Bikram Yoga Richmond! Hi girls! So glad to meet you! Also we have met some other wonderful people from all over.
- Boss said that he was recently in Seattle doing a speech and someone asked him what he thought about the legalization of marijuana. He said his response was "Eat shit and die" because what else do you say to that? Oh that had me lol-ing all over the place.
- We watched our first Bollywood movie. It was called "Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai" or "Say... You Love Me." If you want some entertainment, laughs, and an attractive man, please You-Tube some of the singing and dancing scenes. You won't be disappointed.
- The nurse Susan, who is on staff for this week is awesome. She is so hilarious I can't even describe it to you. She has given us a few talks about nutrition, hydration and electrolytes and she is knowledgeable but also just so funny. I hope all the nurses are equally as fabulous.
- We were graced with the presence of a very famous Indian music composer/singer named Babpi or something... My spelling and understanding of Indian names is suspect. He is also indescribable. I wish I had a photo of him because you won't believe me if I tell you what he looks like. He sang for us and I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to laugh or not so I tried to control myself. It was difficult.
- Bikram has a new music video coming out and we got to see it. There are no words. I laughed the whole time. Gut-busting, tears in your eyes laughter. I hope it comes up on You-tube becauase one viewing was not enough.
As promised, some photos from the week:
|In line at registration. Yea BKTT Fall 2011!!|
|Our car for 24 hours. Loved driving it and loved driving in LA!|
|Eagle Pose in the lobby|
|The hot room!|
|Myself and Kimiko before class!|