“you know Elizabeth Taylor? she loves me.”

It has taken me so long to write about week 8, because week 8 was the week of some serious sleep deprivation!!!! We watched the favorite Mahabarata Tuesday night.  If you haven’t learned by now, this is what Bikram likes for us to watch so we can understand why Indian culture is the way it is, and the origin of the different limbs of yoga.  Sounds cool, but it is so boring! Bikram even jokes with us sometimes and says if we make him mad, he will make us watch Mahbarabata until the sun comes up! Then everyone starts groaning in agony.  There was his one horse scene one time and it was the same shots played over and over with very annoying horse noise.  Then there was another scene of a woman drowning her babies, one after the next.  They were all the same baby, same shot, just put on repeat! Oh boy.  So – we were up that night watching that.  Then, Friday night we started  Bollywood movie at midnight – yes MIDNIGHT!!! We don’t go to bed any earlier than midnight around here, and we were already sleep deprived from our late night Mahabarata night earlier in the week, and then we had this! Everyone was dragging in Saturday morning class with Rajashree to say the least.  She asked us what was wrong with us, if our back hurt.  I was thinking to myself ‘NO! your husband kept us up all week!!’  Someone told me at the beginning of training that sleep deprivation makes the yoga better because you don’t think you just do.  We all know that the mind is a “bad neighborhood, and to get out of there” because a lot of the times what we can or cannot do isn’t determined by strength but by our mental capacity. 

Every time I take Emmys class I feel like my practice grows by the miles.  My favorite thing is she tells us to BANG our foreheads on our knees in the sit up.  She says “BANG BANG shake your brain up.” LOL

Today was my favorite class with Emmy EVER, and tonight was my favorite class with Bikram EVER.  Everyone even stood up after khaplabati breathing to give Emmy a standing ovation. 

Over the past 10 days we have had lectures from the Bikram Balance creator (speaking about importance of electrolytes), a quantum physicist, doctors, yoga therapists, how to open your own studio, and in depth discussion from Rajashree and Bikram on the 26th postures.  We also watched the advanced class done by Bikram and Emmy along with about 20 other students.  When I get back home and settled, I promise to write a more thoughtful conclusion to teacher training!  I will leave you with my favorite Bikramisms of the week:

“what the shit is that?” [usually referring to someone doing a posture incorrectly]

 “you have a junk body and screw loose brain.”

 “so simple, easy way, the most idiot person can understand.”

 “you have to practice yoga everyday, just like you flush the toilet every day – or else the shit will stink really bad.”

“you have no idea.”

“what time is it? I can’t see, too many diamonds.”

“if you like it, give me credit.  If you don’t like it, blame my guru.”

“in my class, no mercy. Eat shit and die.”

AND on that note – Change 🙂

last 2 classes of BYTT tomorrow!!!!

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Hilary and I went for Korean BBQ this past weekend. It seems to be the theme of the weekend – EATING!

message in a bottle.

This past week consisted of 5 trips to the Jacuzzi (so nice for sore muscles) with a visit to Starbucks, about 25 hours of posture clinic, 2 classes with Bikram, 2 trips to Manhattan Beach, 1 Bollywood movie, and 1 night of watching clips of Bikram from the 70s and 80s. Saturday was also our 75th class here! I felt very under-stimulated this week.  We finished delivering postures last week (week 6), so this week we just strung at least 3 postures together and delivered them.  It gave us an opportunity to practice teaching; however, I got very bored, very fast.  Supposedly we never finish delivering dialogue this early, but whatever, we did.  I feel like I need to be studying something of substance – like countercurrent multiplication in the kidney or the proteins involved in translation of a gene.  I feel more natural doing that, rather than sitting all day listening to dialogue or listening to some of these lectures we have had.  I like figuring out how things work and how to solve problems.  Like, when I visit with patients with the orthopedist I shadow, I like looking at their MRIs and helping figure out what the issue is.  I feel like I have no memory here, and I feel like I can’t even form real sentences. The dialogue has taken over my speaking and my thought process– I say things like “I need to look way way way way back in my email to find that letter” or “go all the way down, all the way down to the lobby”.  My friend Hilary bought cookies today, and they were called “way more chocolate chip cookies” and I thought they were called way, way, way, way more… I guess if you know the dialogue you know what I’m talking about.   If I have learned anything about myself from this process, it’s that I really want to go to medical school.  Likewise, I have said that after coming back from India and Ethiopia, so now is the time to make that happen.

also – If I hear one more person say to “trust the process”, I might just go cookoo for coco puffs for real.  I kept joking in lecture/posture clinic that I felt like going outside and sending up a flare, or yelling “EARTHHHHHQUAKEEE”.  Also The Police song, “I’ll send an SOS to the world, I hope that someone gets my, message in a bottle” was a recurrent theme song in my head all week.  Another theme song I’ll add to the mix was sung and created by Hilary and it goes to the tune of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”, except her cover was “It’s beginning to look a lot like PRISON, everrryyy where we go.” …… these are the best days of our lives, this is what I just keep telling myself.

Did I say already how sore, crunchy, achy, etc I am?  My husband suffers from knee pain from old injuries, I now know what it’s like to have aching knees all the time… hmmm.  I’m sore in body parts I didn’t even know I had.

Anyways, it’s almost time to go home! Never been so excited.  I’m literally counting down the days by number of sleeps in my night-sweat-infested Radisson bed, number of doubles, number of classes, number of times I have to shop at Trader Joes, number of times I will order Thai, and number of late nights we *might* have.  If you haven’t gotten the jist of it by now, we have NO IDEA what our schedule will be like.  For example, there have been quite a few Friday nights were we had the night off, so we assumed this would be true for this past Friday.  Instead, they announced after the 5pm yoga class (that is when we find out what we are doing next), that we needed to be in our posture clinic by 9.  Then, after 2 hours there at 11, they told us to go to the big lecture room because we were starting a movie at 11:30.  SO, this has been good for me (I guess?), because I figured out I am probably a Type A personality.  I love schedule, I keep one on my phone, in a planner, and on my gmail account.  I am constantly planning when I’m going to the hospital, when I’m going to the clinic, when I’m going to work at the store, when I’m going to yoga, etc.  but, you can’t have a schedule here!  Whatever! I go for the flow for the most part. Whenever we have late nights (like – they announce we have lecture or a movie at 11pm) I run up to my room, grab my seat cusion and usually the following items: kombucha, a thermos to get hot water for tea, candy, something to crunch on like chips, crackers, or popcorn, water in my hydroflask, a scarf, a sweatshirt, and I just picked up some leg warmers this weekend to add to my “survival kit” as Hilary and I call it.  If you fall asleep, don’t worry – staff will wake you up with a water gun.

We had a Halloween party this week – me and Hilary were bicycles.  Last week in one of Bikrams lecture he was talking about looking like a human vs. acting like a human and he asked us a silly question “do you look like bicycle? Do you look like tree? Do you look like toothpaste? Do you look like snake?” so we decided to “look like bicycle”.  It was funny to see what people dressed up as.  I even saw someone go as a Japanese Ham Sandwich, which is what I was last year! BTW – there’s a Japanese girl in my group, and I asked her what a Japanese Ham Sandwich is, so now I know! Speaking of JHS, how come I never figured out to put my forehead to my shins?! I guess I wasn’t ready to hear that part of the dialogue? It gives the best stretch in my lower back and now padahastasana is one of my favorite postures!

My favorite teachers this week were John Salvatore from Los Vegas (originally from NYC) and Tereza from Prague.  Tereza was the leader in one of our posture clinics, and it was my favorite PC all week – don’t worry, it won the competition by a land slide.  I learned so much from her about teaching.  She told us teaching is a JOB not a HOBBY so don’t criticize or laugh at your students.  John was hilarious.  He brought so much energy and enthusiasm.  I have really been struggling with the morning classes here, which is a surprise, because I prefer a morning practice at home.  However, when he taught a morning class I was pushing myself and I felt good.  Between the night sweats, late nights, 2 classes a day, and eating little, I wake up in the morning feeling very low-energy and not well rested.  It takes a strong and good teacher to really get me going in the morning.  I would go to Los Vegas just for his class!  I am excited to travel around whenever I’m on vacation or just traveling to different places to take classes with the handful of teachers that I’ve really enjoyed here (mostly  the ones from NYC) and from other teacher trainees!!!!  I’ve already had 2 people who live outside NC that told me they plan to travel to the triad some time early next year and they want to know how they can find out when I’m teaching.  I will for sure go up to the DC area to take class with my friend Hanna who will be teaching at my Aunt’s studio and to take class with Hilary who will be teaching in the DC area as well.

One thing I want to add in here that Bikram says – the flies always go back to the shit.  What he means is that we are a slave to our bad habits.  Whether it be a bad habit we picked up in our postures or a bad habit lifestyle etc.  I’ve learned here to let go of some of my bad habits in my practice.  This week we had a lecture (and class) from Jim Kallet, as he comes to TT every week.  He told us that in our postures (and in life, really) we can acknowledge that something is painful, but we don’t have to react to it.  Like “oh $h!t my butt cheek is going to fall off in standing head to knee I must evacuate this posture immediately.” WRONG Christina. He also made a point for us to focus on the action we are doing, not the sensation we are creating (which I believe can also be applied to life situations).  So basically, we should learn to let go of bad habits that don’t serve us and not think too deeply about uncomfortable situations….something to think about. I mean, I gotta force myself to think about something around here.  Like I said earlier, I need some mental stimulation.  Not mental masturbation like Bikram says….aka – thinking that does nothing.

Hilary and I ventured to Manhattan beach yesterday and then today her and I went along with Stephanie back to Manhattan beach.  It was cooler yesterday but it was nice and toasty today.  Thankful for getting some sunshine, vitamin D, and working those melanocytes in my skin!  We visited a shop we always visit – the owner knows us and is so sweet.  Hilary often teaches her new yoga postures, and today she handed us a big grocery bag full of oranges from her orange tree.  We also devoured some pancakes and eggs at a place where the wait was 45 minutes – well worth it.  Despite not being extremely fond of LA, I really have enjoyed going to Manhattan Beach, and love the cute downtown feel, the bagel shops, the boutiques, the restaurants, and the humble and homey feeling it has.

Things I missed a lot this week: my husband, family, and friends, my fur children (Chloe and Leila, I heard Chloe got fluffier), Bojangles, the “toaster” (heater) at Bikram Yoga Durham, my moms rigatoni with meat sauce, the freedom of driving my car, my bed, eating popsicles every day, reading on my kindle, blow drying my hair (which I don’t do that often at home!), and running at the art museum.

Things I will not miss: walking to Trader Joes with a bookbag, night sweats, always carrying water, hot tea, and kombucha with me, washing my yoga clothes in the bathtub with vinegar and soap, eating in my bed, being terrified of being woken up at 2am by a squirt gun or someone poking me, wearing the same dirty clothes over and over again, smelling the hot room, some of the peoples drama here, hearing monkey/bird/tiger/any zoo animal noises in the hot room or lecture room when people get excited, signing in to everything (class/lecture/posture clinic), and trying to figure out if I want to eat a banana with peanut butter or crackers for lunch.

One of our lecturers had this quote on one of his powerpoints, and I really love it so I’m sharing with all of you:

“when I practice, I am a philosopher. When I teach, I am a scientist. When I demonstrate, I am an artist” -BKS Iyengar

In the words of my dear friend, OY VEY NAMASTE.

Christina

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Me and HIlary at the Halloween Party as bicycles….. LOL

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my dear teacher friend Cheryl gave me a calendar and a pack of stickers before I left. She said some days it’s all you can do to put a sticker on your calendar and said, I just did that 90 min class – yeah! It was a nice reminder to look back at Oct and see all that I accomplished! 50 classes and 23 doubles!

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sunset at Manhattan Beach over the Pacific.

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delicious lemonade with Stephanie!

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casually just walking down Sepulveda Blvd (which I still can’t pronounce) to get groceries…

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my mom sent me the best package! it had all my favorite goodies like fruit wraps, fruit slices, choc covered espresso beans, etc. these nuts are the best! neomonde is where it’s at.

fruitta de mar.

“A Rolls Royce factory only makes Rolls Royce.  It doesn’t make a Volkswagen   Nothing is wrong with Volkswagen  but we only make Rolls Royce here.” –Bikram

Glad he always makes car analogies, but this car is running out of gas!  California sunshine is nice, but I am missing my favorite season at home.  Eating Reese’s Puff cereal for dinner in my bed is great, but I miss a nice chicken parmesan with farfalle at the dinner table.  Needless to say, hotel life and the monotony of yoga bubble life is really starting to bust my chops!  But, I had a good weekend so week 7 is off to a good start!

Let’s discuss posture clinics – we finished!!! I delivered NINE postures this week (locust, full locust, bow, fixed firm, half tortoise, camel, rabbit, head to knee with stretching, and spine twist).  One teacher commented that he could tell I love to teach – said he could hear me smiling even when he wasn’t looking at my face. Thank you, Luke from Auckland, for reminding me why I’m here and that I can’t wait to go home and teach.  Another teacher from Paris told me that I have the full package – the dialogue down and a big smile.  This week in posture clinic, I realized that teaching really does make me happy.  No matter how tired, hungry, sore, or just overall BLAH I felt, I love to teach this yoga.  One teacher mentioned, that “you have no idea how teaching this yoga will shift what you expect from the world.” 

Also – did you know that in Scotland they call a fart a “pump”?  I learned that during posture clinic this week.

Of course we did the 11 yoga classes this week.  I’m definitely feeling sore and “crunchy” – we like to say “first your legs hurting, then your hips hurting, then lower spine hurting, then whole spine is hurting. Eventually you are hurting 360 degree angle, inside out, bones to skin, coccyx to the toes, coccyx to the forehead – everything is hurting!”  I can’t wait to get home and be able to take regular Epsom salt baths.  An Epsom salt bath in the hotel bathtub does not suite me right now. However, have I said how much I love my nailbed? I use it a couple times a day; it’s priceless to me at this point!  We had a teacher, Trish, from NYC.  She was amazing.  I’m really finding the teachers that stand out here to me the most are those who are full of energy.  As I said, I’ve become sore and stiff so if the teacher is super energetic then yes, I will kick out for the minute (or however long they decide it to be) in standing head to knee, or I will lock my knee with my forehead touching in separate leg stretching.  You don’t realize how important the energy of a teacher is until you are physically worn down and still having to continue on with 2 classes a day!  However, Trish was fierce and felt like she was THROWING energy to me in line 4!  We also had Nacho, from Miami, and he was so gentle and kind but killed me!  Another teacher I loved, Sachie, is Japanese and she now teaches at HQ.  When she first introduced herself she laughingly told us she can’t pronounce “r” and “th” but that she was going to give it her best!  She spoke to all the students who are ESL (note – they go back to their home and learn the dialogue in their OWN language, while they are required to learn the dialogue in English here, and most don’t speak English).  She said it doesn’t matter if you can’t speak English, just teach from your heart and everything will be okay.  I loved her class because it felt like she was right there with 441 (Yeah, I think we lost another one??!) taking class with us. 

I feel like I incorporate things I learn from Emmy is every single class.  Little details such as touching your forehead to the shins in padahastasana gives your butt/low back a good stretch and pushing your toes into the floor in toe stand.  Emmy is so matter of fact, it cracks me up.  This week she told us that a lot of us have big issues like fat thighs and inflexible hips and she can hardly stand it. LOL.

We had just one class with Bikram this week.  As usual, he gave a lot of corrections so we spent about 2 hours with him.  It is quite a surreal experience to see Bikram sitting on the podium in his orange chair with his legs crossed, screaming to LOCK THE KNEE!, and sipping his hot water with honey.  He also refers to people by what they are wearing or what they look like – Ms. Red and Black, Ms. Pink, Mr. Bushy Bushy Hair, Ms. Booty Booty, Lampost, Chicken Chest, to name a few.  After class, he played the infamous “I’m Feeling Lonely” song.  If you’ve never heard, don’t worry.  I am bringing home a Bikram CD just for all of you to listen to.  My sister says she doesn’t like to ride in the car with me because I’m either listening to Dialogue (learning by osmosis) or Justin Bieber Christmas music.  Well now, I have a 3rd choice!  LOL.  At the end of his class he asked what song we all wanted to listen to.  Everyone started screaming “I FEEL SOOOO LONELY!!!!”  When we finished class he told us that he knows we can do anything we want even when the mind says no but our spirit says yes.  Don’t second guess yourself, and go for it.

The other day after class, one boy asked me if the ceiling is always purple in camel.

When the weekend came, we decided it was a GREAT idea to leave the hotel!  On Saturday my friend Hilary and I ventured to our favorite Manhattan Beach.  It is so cute there!  As soon as we get off the trolley, we go to a great bagel place and I get an egg bagel with veggie cream cheese, lox, capers and tomatoes.  Then we went down to the beach and laid in the sand for about 4 hours!  It was about 90 degrees and so nice to lay down, not study, and read magazines.  The ocean water here is freezing (according to this Carolina Beach girl, and Hilary is originally from Florida , so we didn’t fancy going for a dip.  I ate a chocolate covered frozen banana with rainbow sprinkles all over it.  I hate these at home, but for some reason it was magical here.  We shopped a little at our favorite boutique, and got a really good dinner!  It’s so hard eating here with a) food choices, b) food preparation in a hotel room and c) the wonky TT appetite.

Today (Sunday) – Hilary and I went with our friend Hanna to Santa Monica and Venice Beach.  It was a long day, and overall I think we walked about 7 miles!  We took the bus to Santa Monica pier, and we got a big bowl of fruit – it was delicious!  We walked from Santa Monica to Venice Beach.  Venice Beach reminded me of a cross between San Francisco and Northern India when I was in Himachel Pradesh in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains (Tibet in exile).  Can you use your imagination to paint that picture? Yeah – quite a site.  We enjoyed a very good lunch.  I had a burger with a fried egg.  It was the first time I ate my entire burger at a restaurant.  Normally I get too full, and can’t eat it all! This burger stood no chance.  Afterwards, Hilary and I got strawberries with cream.  More fruit! If there is anything I miss about California, it will be the accessibility of getting fresh fruit everywhere and anywhere.

I’m so glad to keep busy on the weekends with things other than yoga related.  It is so nice to get a break from the hotel & yoga bubble, only to come back and do it all again – 6 days, 11 yoga classes, and anywhere between 6-10 hours of posture clinics/lectures a day.  It still blows my mind that here in LA it is between 80-95 degrees, and at home it is chilly (and preparing for a hurricane!).  I’m enjoying living in a bathing suit on my breaks and weekends, and plan to come home tan while all the leaves will be on the ground!

These are the foods I love at home but don’t want to eat/smell/touch/look at here: PICKLES (yes, i know it’s tragic), dark chocolate with sea salt, celery soda, cheetos, coffee. WEIRD.

“Your body doesn’t matter. Your mind is everything” – Bikram this week

Christina 

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fruit of the sea!

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the Hotel California! maybe i should check out of the yoga bubble, and check in here.

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if you’re weird that’s normal. if you’re normal that’s weird.

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the thought of eating one of these frozen bananas next saturday might get me through week 7.

 

It’s hard to believe that October is almost over!  “If you’re late it’s over!”

The last time I wrote, I was excited because my mom and sister were coming to visit TT. They left LA last night around midnight, and I just spoke with them and they are both back on the east coast!  They did a double Thursday and Friday, and then took the morning class with me on Saturday. That was quite a treat! Even though Because we are assigned lines in the yoga room daily, I was unable to practice next to them, but it was still nice to have them among the nearly 500 people practicing together.

Last Wednesday night we had our latest night to date. At 11:45PM, Bikram told us he was going to turn on a movie.  YIKES!  I went to bed around 4:30am, and was back up at 7 for class with the lovely Emmy.  It was nuts. That late night set us all up for an exhausted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  But, I am glad to say we all got through it.  People were holding each other’s arms up in class, encouraging each other to keep going, and grabbing each other’s water if you saw your neighbor needed some aqua-asana and they were too tired to bend down to get it.  Even when people start bumping heads, everyone seems to pull together and take care of each other.  Like Bikram says, “you don’t have to love someone but you don’t have to hate them.”

We had several classes with Bikram again last week.  The heat was fixed and I was pleased with that. I think sweating helped me get whatever sickness out of my sinuses and today I’m feeling 100% back to normal.  I’m sure a lot of that had to do with escaping the yoga bubble this weekend AND getting lots of food!  one of my favorite things Bikram said this week was “I will never criticize what you don’t have, but I will criticize what you have and don’t know how to use.” While TT isn’t the easiest of programs, I’m doing my best to remain positive and I’m learning how to use what I have (mentally and physically) to get me through the remainder of the weeks.  This reminds me a lot of when I was in Ethiopia – I was hungry because my host family didn’t eat a lot and what they did eat, I wasn’t always interesting in sharing, I was lonely because I missed home and I was in a different environment, and I was around a group of girls who have been through many hardships.  That situation is a lot like TT – I’m hungry because I eat a lot of raw food due to limited cooking capabilities and time, I’m lonely because I miss my husband, family, friends and just normalcy of Carolina living, and I’m around many many people who have endured addictions, abuse, eating disorders, weight gain/weight loss, losing a loved one, etc.  and – everyone in Ethiopia spoke Amharic, and every here speaks, well, DIALOGUE!  I have to keep reminding myself, as I did in Ethiopia, who I am coming home to and why I chose to pay what I paid and come here for 9 weeks.  At the end of the day, I am very excited to get home and share this yoga and facilitate the healing this yoga allows for if you are open to it.

Besides lots of posture clinics last week (we are on cobra/locust today – yay!), we had a very strange lecture from a body worker. Ask me more about it when I get home if you want to learn more.  I did learn, “what we believe is who we are.”  And – that’s all I have to say about that at this point!

Because we had the pleasure of having the night off on Friday, my mom, sister and I ordered Chinese food.  I was asleep by 9!  After class on Saturday, I took them down to Manhattan beach to my favorite bagel shop.  Then, Sabrina wanted to put her toes in the Pacific Ocean since she has never been there before. The consensus was that there  is NOTHING like a Carolina beach – warm water, shells in the sand, and Carolina blue skies.  We went to a delicious cupcake shop and ate the most amazing red velvet cupcake I’ve ever had. It was overcast, so no good for a beach day, so we rented a car and went to Beverly Hills.  We were driving around neighborhoods and enjoying how the houses were decorated for Halloween.  Maybe I’ll go over there to go trick-or-treating! We had a fantastic dinner on Rodeo Drive.  I had a steak with goat cheese and pepper sauce, and olive oil mashed potatoes. It was SO GOOD. I haven’t had a piece of meat like that since I’ve been out here so it was to die for!  On our way back, we stopped at Whole Foods for some gelato.  Of course, I got blackberry sherbet.  We had to get well rested Saturday night because we planned to get up early Sunday to head to the Mohave desert!

My breakfast on the way to the desert consisted of a cannoli from a Mexican bakery my mom insisted on stopping at. I was fine with that! It took us longer to get out there than planned (2.5 hour drive normally), because we made quite a few stops to check some things out on our way.  We saw a stand that said “avocados 7 for 99 cents!” We turned around to find it, but it must have been a mirage because we couldn’t find it! Too good to be true, I guess! we stopped in Palm Springs to take some pictures, then we headed towards Joshua Tree National Forest.  What is a Joshua Tree? I’m still not sure, but it looks like something Dr. Seuss created.  Before we went in to the park, we stopped for burritos. We figured they would be delicious because it is California and everything.  Well, I’m not sure what was in mine but it looked and tasted like it was made several days before hand. We couldn’t stop laughing at them, so my mom put them in the trunk LOL.

Joshua tree national forest, was so different than what I expected! After seeing the Sahara Desert, and taking a cruise on the Nile, my perception of “THE DESERT” is so different than how the desert looks in the Western US!  I started getting really nauseous.  Several factors could have contributed to this: 1) mom doing standing head to knee on a cliff, 2) my burrito, 3) the 5,000 foot altitude, 4) the trees/rocks all looking the same, 5) the way the rocks looked like they were strategically stacked but was actually due to the earthquakes, or 6) that I was doing backbends everywhere we went.  I don’t know, but I sure was dizzy! We went all over the park – probably spent an hour or 2 in there just driving around.  We were so sandy and dusty!  We found this one rock called skull rock, and well it looked like a skull! I couldn’t get out to take a picture with it (I was wearing a skull shirt) because I was so nauseous, but my mom (OF COURSE) stopped and took a picture.  After we left the park, Sabrina said she never wanted to hear the word Joshua Tree again. After all, we had been talking about these Joshua Trees for 2 days.  On our way back, we stopped at Ralphs and got some goodies for the remainder of the week! We hung out for a bit, I did the entire dialogue for Sabrina, and I was SO surprised how much I remembered! Their flight was around midnight, so they left the hotel late at night.

I am all refreshed to take on week 6! It was so fun getting out of the Radisson/yoga bubble, driving in a car (haven’t done that in 5 weeks!), and eating lots of delicious food (and not so delicious, like the burrito).  For the first time in 5 weeks, I ate because I wanted to and enjoyed the taste of my food – not because I needed food for the calories or protein or carbs for my next class.  This week we are supposedly doing 2-3 postures a day.  Bring it on.  I am ready to see my group 16 again after a weekend break of yoga/dialogue.

“heading down south to the land of the pines, I’m thumbing my way into North Caroline” – 27 days! 🙂

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dinner at 208 Rodeo – so delicious

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my cactus from the Mojave Desert

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“no one can wake you up if you are pretending to sleep” – bikram

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let no one steal your peace!!!

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happy to be out of the yoga bubble for a bit, and get some wide open fresh air and sun!!!!!

BYTT is hotter than the Mojave Desert.

kicking and stretching is equal and simultaneous: 50/50

We’re at the halfway point!!! I’m so excited. I feel like i’m at the full expression of Standing Bow. Kicking and stretching HAVE to be equal and simultaneous or else you’ll fall out. I don’t think I’ve fallen out yet, so I must be doing something right.  Kicking and stretching my body, mind, and spirit every day.

My mom and sister are coming today – they arrive at 11pm west coast time. I will most likely be in either posture clinic or lecture when they arrive. Wahhh can’t wait for them to get here.  They will be taking class Thursday and Friday morning and evening, and then the morning class on Saturday. I can’t wait for them to take class with Emmy and Bikram! They are in for a treat! Then, we should find some donuts because I’ve been craving them. 

I’m actually happy to say Bikram has been back teaching this week! I’ve missed his classes. He pushes us really hard, but he is humorous (or I think so at least), and I love learning from him.  We continue to have lots of visiting teachers from all over teach and help us in posture clinic. We are whirling through the dialogue – already on floor series! I’m happy to learn that we will be done with posture clinics by the end of this month. While I learned the majority of the dialogue beforehand, sitting on the floor in posture clinics for about 6 hours a day is not so pleasant! However, it is so encouraging and uplifting to see some of my group members really get a grasp on their dialogue and delivery. I love it!

I don’t know what has happened to week 5, but I am all of a sudden starting to feel really sore. I haven’t felt sore until now. I’m not sure if it’s because the heat/humidity has been not what it usually it is (it has felt colder in class) and that’s why, or maybeeee because we are, I don’t know, on class #46 in 4.5 weeks?! LOL. I did, for the first time EVER, wrap my foot in Eagle Pose!! I could only wrap it on one side, but it’s the small yoga victories that count. I will never, ever forget when I went to a seminar with Lynn Witlow in Richmond, VA and she told us it took her FIFTEEN years to wrap her foot in Eagle. Wow. That makes me feel better when I look around me at TT and see that most everyone can wrap their foot (even men!).  but, maybe my hips and knees are starting to open up to the point where I can get that dang foot around my calf muscle.  Wanna know something else I’ve been doing? Locking my knee! I figured out how to really lock my knee just right before I came to TT, but since at TT my hamstrings have gotten really stiff. Almost like I am losing flexibility in them – which I hear is common for people at TT because of the amount of practice we are doing and because our strength is increasing. So because of my tight hamstrings, it FORCES me to lock my knee.  Why? Because when you contract your thigh muscle (quads) it automatically relaxes your hamstrings.  Even our anatomy teacher says so! So now I really believe it, lol.  So while my quads are getting stronger, I am using that as an advantage to relax my hamstrings so they can stretch, all the while LOCKING MY KNEE!  I don’t think that without this process of BYTT that I could truly understanding locking the knee.  Okay enough about that.

I heard that people pee on their yoga mats in the room? What the hell. People are seriously so strange. If there’s anything I learn from this it is that people are strange. People are also being told not to wash their yucky yoga clothes in the pool? Really? Use your brain.  The hotel has asked us not to practice dialogue in the main lobby of the hotel. Probably because we all look really strange shouting out commands like “MORE UP, GO UP, MAKE SURE YOUR BACK HURTS!”… I mean really, that sounds kind of weird. Also, I find it very strange that in Bikram we say “kill yourself” in a posture. Students respond, yeah okay I will do that. For non-bikram yogis it doesn’t mean to literally kill yourself, but to just struggle so hard and use all your strength. But still, kind of weird. One teacher last week said “backbends are great because no matter how hard you try to kill yourself in them, you never can – you just live longer”. While I’m like oh yeah that’s awesome!!!! Later I’m like, wait we are so WEIRD! But I love it.

Well, I think I will go get a coffee before I meet some people to study some more. We all work around tea, coffee, little food, little sleep, lots of study, lots of love, and lots of yoga.

 

Xo Christina

use what you have to get what you want

week 4 is almost to an end! time is flying by. before i know it i will be standing on the podium! i am so excited to teach this yoga. 

i can’t get over the energy in the yoga room. i was told that my personal stamina would not be compatible with 9 weeks of doubles, but i am rocking it out over here in LA. physically, i feel so strong. i have noticed i have lost some flexibility, specifically in my hamstrings, but my strength has improved tremendously.  when i don’t feel like doing camel, i look at the 10 foot radius around me, which contains about 25 yogis lol, and i do camel. the energy, encouragement, and compassion is amazing! i’ve said before, but the double yoga classes daily is really the gold of this training – it’s what i look for because i know for at least 3 hours a day, i get to turn my mind off (or try to at least!).  

i’ve enjoyed all the visiting teachers we’ve had. i learn something new in everyone’s class, and afterwards all the teachers share with us how nervous they were to teach on the GIANT podium in the room.  this is settling to all of us trainees, because standing up in posture clinics delivering dialogue is SCARY!  it’s getting more and more comfortable, but can still be nerve racking.  speaking of posture clinics – we’ve spent so much time in PC this week! i am probably delivering standing separate leg stretching pose tonight, so you can see we have gotten far! 

i feel so lucky we got taught by two yoga champions this week – Ida and Joseph. [click the link to learn more about Joseph and how and why he came to yoga! – it will inspire you!]  they were amazing instructors, along with all our other visiting teachers! joseph’s class was phenomenal! SO much energy and you could literally feel him smiling through his dialogue. if you ever have the opportunity to take a class with him i highly suggest it! he even hand delivered a card to me from my mom and sister when he was in Raleigh, NC last weekend.  He was in our posture clinic yesterday and was so insightful, encouraging, and helpful. 

We’ve had teachers from all over – Utah, Cali, Canada, Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas to name a few. It’s so interesting to see teachers come back and talk so highly of training.  One teacher even described it as, “the worlds best kept secret”. i don’t know if i’d say that quite yet, but i’ve been enjoying the majority of training and have been having lots of fun.  my friend Hilary and I were talking about how people are starting to get really strange around here – people walking around saying dialogue to themselves, people yelling dialogue in the stairwells to listen to the echo, etc.

oh – and the fresh squeezed orange juice in the hotel is THE BEST. i saw emmy drinking some during class yesterday, and i was like if she drinks fresh squeezed orange juice, then i should too. what an inspiration she is! we had a big lecture with her on PAIN, and i loved it. she is so knowledgeable and direct. she tells you like it is. my favorite thing she said regarding what to do about soreness (ya know, that thing that accompanies our body after almost every yoga class): “just learn to deal with it, don’t be a drama queen.” 

Our anatomy teacher, who is hilarious and definitely will keep you entertained on those anatomy lectures until midnight, says that the night sweats i’ve been having is normal! my roommate and i have been laughing about how we wake up at like 2AM in a puddle! the other night i woke up and thought i slept walked to the shower because my head was soaking wet! he said that since we’re in the hot room twice a day and drinking so much water, the only time our bodies can decrease our ADH levels is at night – when we’re not rehydrating like crazy and not sweating everything out in the hot room. i thought there was something wrong with me for a minute there.

i can’t stop eating swiss cake rolls, guacamole, or goat brie. all i know, is when i get home i can’t wait for some steak, mashed potatoes, and a glass of red wine. the indian food truck stood us all up both times this week. that was lame. 

this weekend i’m going to review the dialogue with a friend, and probably go back to manhattan beach. i think i need some retail therapy and food therapy from this yoga bubble! i may try a class at the manhattan beach studio – i’m curious to see what it feels like to practice in a regular studio again! 

ciao.

indian food truck saves my day.

We’re into the thick of week 3, and things are interesting!

I woke up this morning to my 7AM alarm, and I literally saw the movie Groundhog Day flash before my eyes. The first 2 weeks, it was the theme song to Twilight Zone, but today it was Groundhog Day.

We started posture clinics this week, as we finished half moon with Bikram last week.  I never knew how nerve racking posture clinics would be, but I am learning a lot from all different teachers who lead our posture clinics as well as other trainees as we deliver different parts of the dialogue. I am so glad I learned the dialogue before I came, so here I am mainly working on reinforcing the words and delivery with bodies in front of me.  One teacher said that the words are called a DIALOGUE and not a MONOLOGUE! We are communicating this yoga to others through words, not our actions.  A 5 foot 9 teacher who weighs 180 pounds will have a different triangle than a 5 foot 1 102 pound student.  This is why it is so important for teachers and students to use the dialogue, listen, and concentrate to the words to apply to their very own body.  The dialogue is so deep.  Everything you need to know about how to do the postures is exactly written in the dialogue, and it is our job to pass these words to our students.  Our minds, your body.  One of my favorite senior teachers says that the hardest part of Bikram yoga is LISTENING to the dialogue for the whole 90 minutes.  In this yoga we use our bodies as a medium to control our minds.  Purely beautiful and authentic. Love it.

I have stayed at the hotel for the past 3 weeks – only leave to walk a mile to Ralphs, Trader Joes, and a Mexican Restaurant.  I am SO excited for an adventure to Manhattan Beach this weekend – maybe a little shopping, some sun, rest, studying in the sand, and sushi.  I can live with that.  

This week we’ve had a lot of guest teachers from all over, and I’ve enjoyed that so much.  Every teacher has something new to share.  One of the teachers earlier this week starting singing “Sweet Caroline” during locust pose.  When we all put our arms out to the side she started singing “touching me, touching youuuuuuuu”, and when we all lifted up there were 442 of us singing “SWEETTT CAROLINE BUM BUM BUMMMMM” – and I felt so happy!  Every class I go into, I’m a little crunchy and most definitely tired, but everything starts opening up, and I find myself giving 110% in all my classes.  The two classes a day is a GEM.  The lectures and posture clinics, I find, are what makes this process mentally draining.  I know in my 90 minute practice two times a day, I can quite my mind and it is such a sweet relief.  I am so grateful for all the teachers who come to share their knowledge and talent of the dialogue, postures, yoga, life, and friendship with all of us trainees!

PS – a hard boiled egg and the little pickles in a jar for Trader Joes make the best lunch, and the indian food truck that comes after the afternoon class 2 times a week is kind of amazing.

286 half moons

i fell in love with my practice this week. i’ve never had such strong classes: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. we were told several times, by teachers and staff, to take it easy – but i could not deny the energy of almost 500 yogis in one room, moving, breathing and sweating together. i am so interested to see how my practice evolves over the next 8 weeks as my body becomes more sore, tired, and open.

after everything i heard about TT before coming, you truly don’t get it until you are here, experiencing it 24/7. it is a lot like the twilight zone, feeling nauseous and dizzy all the time, like you’re on a never ending rollercoaster in a different galaxy. i call this yogastoned.

physically i felt very prepared by all the advice from my teachers and mentors. i have taken it all in and begun to shape what is working best for my body. i went through an entire 30 servings of electrolyte supplement in just 5 days! lemon, salt, and sugar water has also been good to me. while hydrating has been sufficient, eating has been a struggle. i’m anticipating that i have prepared better on this weekends shopping trips to make sure my body is nourished like it needs to be for 2 classes a day and little sleep.  i am hungry, my stomach is growling, but i can’t eat. it’s as if i have no appetite. pickles, eggs, ramen, kale, carrots, hummus, rice cakes, peanut butter, and crackers are what has been on the menu!

this experience is mind blowing. to practice yoga with your guru who created this series and created the dialogue is out of this world. to practice yoga with the most senior teachers, who have been learning, living, and experiencing this yoga for decades is priceless. i have learned so much the first week, and can’t wait to see what other knowledge i gain over the next 8 weeks.

i was told 2 things about the temperature of the room: it’s the hottest place on earth, and it is not hot at all. i don’t notice the heat here. i think it is because not one instructor even acknowledges the heat – it’s just there, there’s nothing we do about it, it is there to HELP us, so no need to get dramatic about it! i drink my entire 64 ounce (1.9 liter) hydroflask in the room. we were told by Emmy to come in with a beginners mind, and that how our practice normally is at home, forget about it. drink more water, eat before class, and really pay attention to your body. 

10 things that got me through this week: two hydroflasks, pickle juice, nailbed, strawberry smoothies, ice on my hamstring, putting stickers on my calendar (thanks Cheryl!), my roommate, cheeseburger on friday night, talking to home, finishing all the postures of the dialogue, being positive.

for the first time in my life, in my practice, after 427 yoga classes, and even after going to india and learning about yoga – i am truly beginning to understand what yoga is. i am at the beginning of my understanding.

“anything that takes a long time to achieve, lasts forever” – Bikram

you know all those things you wanted to do? you should do them.

leaving in two days! very excited to begin this experience. even more excited that i have a roommate (from a studio about an hour away) that is just as nervous/anxious as i am. it is a little calming to know what you are feeling is somewhat normal!

i picked up my last of necessities to bring – 5 bars of dark chocolate with sea salt. i figured the cacao would provide energy, and well, dark chocolate is my guilty pleasure – especially when i’m feeling sorry for myself, haha! hopefully there won’t be too much of that.

i am SO grateful for all the support from fellow practioners, instructors, my home studio’s owners, parents, family, husband, and loving friends. it feels like the past 2 weeks have been filled with lots of yoga love, well-wishes, support, advice, “survival tools”, and kind words. all these things have made leaving easy and hard.  hard, because i love home so much. easy, because i know i have great things to come home to!

i plan to teach my first class the first week i get back (week of thanksgiving). i am seriously so excited. i can’t wait to learn so much over the next 9 weeks, and then start sharing all the knowledge learnt, peace, and compassion from there on out!

Imagethe only posture i could manage in my wedding dress! (and i did attempt others)

 

east coast goes to west coast SO soon!

18 days until wheels up!

I’ve compiled a list of tips/advice/words of wisdom for BYTT, and I thought I’d share:

1)      you will never experience anything hotter.

2)      It’s not that hot.

3)      your practice will improve.

4)      your practice will suffer.

5)      Week 5 is “hell week”.

6)      Don’t wear or bring anything green.

7)      Bring an extra shower curtain rod to hang your yoga clothes & yoga mat.

8)      Have your family/friends visit if they are able. Familiar faces and something other than yoga to think about is refreshing.

9)      There are black floaties in the tap water at the hotel – bring a water filter.

10)   Bring a cushion – 4 hours of posture clinic/lecture may hurt your ass-asana.

11)   A 64 oz hydro flask growler is worth a million bucks.

12)   Bring some ice to class with you (in a hydroflask, or it will melt) in case you are having a difficult class.

13)   Nailbed, nailbed, nailbed.

14)   Learn as much dialogue (ideally ALL 26 postures) before you leave.

15)   Have no expectations.

16)   It will be the hardest thing you ever do.

17)   2 microwaves for 400 people does not make sense. Bring a hot plate to make some meals.

18)   Salt and lemon go a long way when you are dehydrated.

19)   Clean your mat with a spray bottle filled with water and tea tree oil.

20)   You will hate it, but you will love it all at the same time.

Other necessities I have decided to pack: my two cupper espresso pot, a journal, obvi my nailbed, all of my hydro flasks, a bathing suit, ultima, and Dr. Ray Long’s book: The Key Muscles of Yoga.

Packing clothes may be a challenge. I hear daily we need 2 yoga outfits for 2 classes, “teaching” outfit for posture clinic, and “comfy” clothes for lecture. Okay, I’ll go shopping – that’s no big deal 😉

I am SO SO SO lucky for all the love and support from my awesome husband, family, friends, and the incredible yoga teachers that continue to surround me & give me lots of yoga love. You guys rock.