I knew I wanted to be a teacher probably about a month after I began consistently practicing. I bought a 10 class card about a year and half ago, then did a 60 day challenge. I was hooked. This yoga never gets easy, but it is always worth it. I know this was my time to go to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training when I graduated with my masters, didn’t have plans to attend medical school in the fall, and was kind of like OKAY now what?! When I was in Ethiopia last year, I volunteered at a shelter for girls who were victims of human trafficking. Their parents (truly, unknowingly), sold them into the sex industry. They thought they were paying their way to go to the city to get a good job – they thought it was a better life for them. Once they get to Addis Ababa, the capital, they are sent to prostitution houses. If authorities bust these houses or the girls run away, the police will take them to the Organization for Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Integration of Female Street Children. I spent 5 weeks with about 40 of these girls. They didn’t understand English very well, and I understood Amharic VERY little. My goal was to teach them English and Math, but it was so much more than that. We played games, we sang, I brought my iPod and we danced (American & Ethiopian style!), I taught them how to find a 4 leaf clover, they taught me how to knit, and I taught them yoga. They said yoga???? They had NO idea what yoga was. NO IDEA!! I couldn’t believe it! Especially after working with kids in India for 2 summers, everyone there knows what yoga is. I mean, the kids go to yoga like every day after school. So I taught them the standing series of Bikram yoga. It’s Africa, so it was relatively hot, so I thought why not! Every day when I would walk through the gates the girls would come running up to me, kiss me, hold my hand, and look at me and say yoga?! Most of the time I would answer with “bwala” which means later, we had to study first. But they would keep asking me! I didn’t need a dialogue, because they didn’t understand English, but they were so grateful to follow along my postures. It was priceless to share this with them.
I will try to keep up this blog while I’m there to share with family, friends, and fellow yogis.
So for friends & family that don’t know about BYTT:
Bikram Yoga Teacher Training consists of nine weeks of yoga, yoga, yoga. I mean – sounds perfect to me. Trainees take 99 Bikram Yoga classes (in the heat, obviously) in 63 days. Monday thru Friday, trainees practice in the morning, have a lunch break, go to posture clinic for 3-4 hours, practice again in the afternoon, have a dinner break, then go back to lecture from 9-whenever. On Saturday, practice is only in the morning. And Sunday? That’s a day of rest. Oh goodie. Lectures and posture clinics are on the 26 asanas (postures) and anatomy & physiology (my fav!). After successful completion of all 99 classes and tests, I will graduate on November 17 and be certified to teach Bikram Yoga at any certified Bikram Yoga Studio in the world! Yes I said world. Oh the opportunities to travel!
Did I mention The Dialogue? Bikram yoga teachers don’t do the postures during the 90 minute practice. Instead, they lead the class via dialogue written by Bikram himself. It is suggested that trainees memorize as much of the dialogue as possible before TT starts. I have memorized through the balancing series, so I’m making progress! I use my sister as a prop so I can see if my dialogue makes sense. Normally I say things like “step your right foot 6 inches to the right TEELS INVISIBLE ‘PACHINE’ YOUR HOES.” Oh boy this is going to be an adventure.
I have to say, I’m sad about missing my husband of soon-to-be 3 months, my fur child (opps, I mean children), the NC state fair (and the new fair food this fall is a FRIED pickle sandwich with salami ohhhmyygaaa), Halloween (my favvv!), and just all-around NC fall fun like 13 days of Halloween on ABC family, pumpkin candles, baking, leaves changing (are there trees in LA?!) and EATING NORMAL FOOD!!! How do people like me who like to eat rigatoni with meat sauce, steaks with goat cheese, giant salads, spaghetti pie, etc do during BYTT? Keep in mind – the only thing we registered for for our wedding was KITCHEN STUFF! I have access to a mini fridge in my hotel room, and I have to provide my own food for the duration of training. Yay for raw food for 9 weeks! And probably lots and lots of dark chocolate. I’m okay with that part.
I bought my first “teacher” top to wear during posture clinics at BYTT & to wear when I TEACH when I get back. It’s purple with polka dots. I could get used to this awesome-ness. And, I am so happy to be able to share the best gift you can give yourself & those around you!