Saturday, 27 June 2009

Week 9...The Final Mountain

Graduation Day has arrived! Can you believe?

Final class with Bikram last night was incredible. There were about 400 of us, including friends and family. I was crying all the way through Kapalbhati Breating - I was okay until that point. Then the relief and sense of achievement hit me. I cannot believe that I have survived 99 classes (one was a makeup class) and 5096 asanas over 9 weeks. For once in my life I was actually proud of myself instead of wanting other people to be proud of me. OK, time to change the subject before another tear falls and I have to blow my nose.

Whoever said Week 9 was ‘party week’ LIED! It has been the most exhausting of all. We were kept up til early morning every night. I think Tuesday was the worst...5:30am. On Thursday night Bikram did his final lecture and showed us an incredible breathing exercise. We all did it for about 10 minutes. I had to stop at one point because I got a headache. Bikram said afterwards that it was because I have problems with my brain!!

Without actually being here, I don’t think you’ll ever understand how incredible this experience is. All I can say now is that I feel whole. The most important thing I’ve come to realise is that you have to look after yourself first. If you take care of you first (with yoga practise, being good to yourself all the time, taking care of your needs, respecting your body), then you can look after others much more efficiently and not feel any sense of resentment. Ultimately, helping each other is what we’re here for (karma) and what makes us happy. Does that make sense? I hope so. It applies to all aspects of life – work, relationships, friends, family.

It’s been a strange week too. The news that Michael Jackson died really shocked me. I’ve been so detached from the outside world for 2 months – I haven’t watched TV or read newspapers so I don’t know what’s been happening. Bikram was a friend of Michael’s. He talked to us about their relationship. Bikram also knew Elvis Presley (yes, I know this all sounds pretty crazy!). Two weeks before Elvis died, Bikram spent a day with him trying to convince him to take his class but he turned it down. Bikram Yoga did help Charlie Sheen with his problems though – he spoke openly about it on TV interview that we saw a few weeks back. Staying with showbiz, Freda Payne came to visit us yesterday. She praised Bikram and then sang for us!!! Please take a look at the video on this blog. She was amazing (excuse my singing at the start).

The week ended with a talent show on Friday night. We had pizza and cookies and sat there for 3 hours whilst watching our piers entertain us. They were all so fabulous...singing, belly dancing, poetry, sketches, Bollywood dancing – it was incredible. I am so lucky to be part of the Bikram family! Just got to teach my first class now to complete the first circle.

Right, I’m off for a pedicure – then to decide what to wear!

The Spring 09 TT Song...rehearsal


video


The Simon and Hannah show. Week 9 did send us slightly crazy!

Band of Gold, Freda Payne


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Freda sang this on American Idol a few weeks ago. She was fab - it was so nice to hear music again.

Week 9 pics

Me and the Boss (at 2:30am)

Massage!


Awkward Pose competition

Bikram and Craig Villani

Room Service for me and Rachel

Blue Day

Advanced Class...these guys are incredible

I love this posture

Juan and Bikram

The Swastika Pose. You close all the openings to keep all the energy inside...ha!

The advanced version of Head to Knee. You use your thigh strength to hold your leg up.

Me and Al from Florida

Liz giving Dom his thankyou present (Bikram is perched on the orange seat above)

Juan - who has amazing practise
Liz, trying to touch her head to feet

The boy yogi's of TT Spring '09

Rach, my practise buddy and fab teacher

Our T Shirts!

Emmy, Craig and Rajashree

Final Class - I paid homage to Bikram!

Me and Perfect Upside Down L Like Linda

Vivinenne, Simon and Moi

My yoga body...bigger all over - put on weight whilst here but it's mainly muscle

Caroline, Cathy, Adam, Simon and Me
Mark - who's on Staff. We used to live down the road from eachother in Southend! Small world.

Ballet vs Yoga

Liz

Bollywood!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Week 8 pics

Just kidding!

Kelsey doing the Final Spinal!

Lynne Whitlow

Me, Linda and Anna

Rachel (from Newcastle!) doing her final posture

There's a lot of these guys around here

Me on the podium

Me with the boys...there are lots of girls here too

I was genuinely asleep, cheers Adam!

Simon had a cunning plan to make it look like he was awake. This has to be the funniest episode of the week. I literally wet myself during the lecture.

Week 8

I really wish I could say I’m feeling great after the penultimate week of training but I don’t. I’m weak and tired. However, I know it’s a phase and it’ll pass. I’m getting my hair done later so that should perk me up. I have to be grateful that we didn’t have to do a back to back class like I predicted last week. I think that would have killed me off!

Friday night ended with a talk from our lovely staff teachers - they got up on stage and told us about their first experience of teaching. It was so nice to hear from them all. Manali (Bikram’s niece) did the training last year in Acopulco. It makes me realise that becoming a teacher is a hard, challenging process for anyone – even Bikram’s family. The only way to become a teacher is to go through the 9 weeks of teacher training. There are no short cuts and it’s only now that I understand why. I have learned SO much over the past 2 months – about yoga, the postures, the reasons it works and also about myself as a person. I’ve had to adjust to so much and go beyond my boundaries. I’m quite a particular person and like things a certain way. Being here, sharing a room with someone, being told what to do and having to eat and drink to survive has really challenged me. However getting to the end of week 8 has made it all worth it. I know next week will be fun and I can see the finish line.

This week has been exhausting. My practise has been pretty weak. I’ve cried quite a bit but I’ve also laughed so much. Being in the yoga bubble is the most surreal experience – what am I mean’t to do with myself when I graduate? I literally have been doing the same thing every single day. I am excited though.

I have a book full of notes from this week. Had a fab lecture from senior teacher Lynn Whitlow on Friday afternoon. She’s a tough cookie and in the first few weeks I couldn’t really warm to her but now I actually think she’s great and pretty inspirational. She owned 4 Bikram studios in San Franscisco which were extremely successful. Her lecture was about the practicalities of being a teacher – the way we should dress, prepare for class and treat our students. I loved the pieces of advice she gave us.

One of the things Lynn addressed was the ‘heat’ issue of the yoga room. She believes that the room should be 105 degrees farenheit and 40 % humidity. Anything hotter is unnecessary – Bikram Yoga is not about who can survive the hottest room. The heat is there so that the body can access the energy and fat stores in the body and use them to re-energise you. If the room is so hot that everyone is sitting out postures then people are losing the benefit of being there. I think there’s a misconceived idea that Bikram Yoga is only for hardcore gym bunnies. Actually, it’s the safest place for anyone to work out as there’s virtually no chance of you injuring yourself because you’re in a warm room.

Things from Week 8;

Best day: Thursday. Finishing posture clinic after 6 weeks of study and then having a hot tub party.

Latest night: Wednesday – got to bed at 4:30am after watching another 4 episodes of the Mahabharat.

Realisation of the week: During a sit up, you don’t actually put your palms together when you put your arms over your head and cross your thumbs. You keep the palms flat (basically making a ‘Wackaday sign’).

I cried...about 10 times – mostly in Savasana.

Can’t wait...to come home.

Can’t believe...I’ve been here for 2 whole months.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Week 7

The week has flown by but it’s also been hard. I think it’s the routine that’s getting to me more than anything. I am still so excited about all the learning and my new found friends but eating the same breakfast and washing the same old yoga clothes is starting to take its toll!

Friday was pretty special. We had a lecture from an incredible lady called Anne Marie Bennstrom – who invented the ‘aerobics’ class and founded Sanctuary health spas. She’s 81 years old and looks about 50. She wasn’t there to talk about exercise and beauty, more about her experiences living on her own in the jungle when she was younger (nearly dying of starvation, being bitten by a scorpion and almost being raped by men with machetes). Her main point was that she survived all the struggles she had to face. She believes that as long as we live alongside nature and recognise ourselves as a product of nature we will have a blissful life. She talked a little bit about food and told us to stop counting calories – she said the definition of ‘Calorie’ was the amount of energy it takes to heat 1 gram of water to 1 degree, which has no relation to food. According to Anne, anything that grows in nature that tastes good, looks good and smells good, we should eat. I still think a little chocolate can be added to the mix though!

One thing that stuck out again for me was how emotion has such a huge impact on our body and mind. The best example Anne gave was that when you look at a deer, they are all the same Рno matter how old or young - they all are beautiful, perfect creatures. With the human body Рwe all start off looking the same (as babies) but as we grow, we are all so different and almost never perfect (in proportion, spine, knees, feet etc). This is due to the crystallisation of emotion within certain points of our body. This may sound like a clich̩ but Bikram Yoga helps to rebalance the emotions and the physical body.

Oh my God, there’s so much I want to write down but unless you were at the lecture, I think it would just sound baffling.

Rajashree (Bikram’s wife) spent lots of time with us this week – going through the benefits of each posture one by one. It was so interesting and will really help when I’m teaching. I think it’s important for students to know why they are doing each posture and what it is particularly beneficial for. Next week, Bikram will go through the exact way to do each posture. We’ve also been told week 8 will be hard (and week 9 will be party week). I’m predicting we’ll have to do a back to back class at some point next week, that’s what happened in Acapulco training last fall during week 8.

Looking forward to the weekend. Me and the girls are going to the mall to do some clothes shopping. I have literally been wearing the same clothes for months. Also going out for dinner to my favourite restaurant here - it’s called Babe’s but isn’t a strip joint (think pig instead). I am going to have a huge chunk of barbeque chicken. It’s crazy how excited I get over the most normal activities. I will never take my free time for granted again. I have to do lots of dialogue study too - learning Half Tortoise up to Spine Strengthening for next week.

Here’s my highlights;

Best meal: Smoked salmon omelette with a toasted bagel for lunch. I’ve not had eggs for weeks and not eaten toasted bread since before training. The ketchup finished it off nicely. Felt so good the whole day after. Dr T is right – eggs are a super food.

I’m wondering...what to wear for graduation?!

I miss...a washing machine and holding hands.

My practise...is getting stronger and more focused. My shoulders feel looser and my Standing Bow is so much better. However my left hamstring is still a bugger.

Best class: Friday night with Georgia from New York. She was one of Bikram’s first students (from 1971). She said that the one thing she’ll always remember Bikram telling her is that the way to be happy yourself is to make other people happy. I like that.

I love...every single person on the training, especially my group. We laugh so much during posture clinic about the most stupid things and are so supportive of each other. I know everyone is going to be an incredible teacher.

Quote of the week : Nelson Mandella (read by Rajashree)
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Namaste x

The Happy Birthday Triangle

video

Ever tried singing happy birthday whilst doing Triangle? Here's how!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Week 7 pictures

Saturday night jam round the pool.

Me (trying not to show my triangle)

The official Group 12 photo...yes, I have a towel round my head.

Little Jon's practise is coming on nicely

Georgia from NYC

The lovely Anne Marie Bennstrom (aged 81)

Dominic and his shiny shorts

Bendy Hillary

Lecture on yoga benefits

Miss Kelsey

Posture clinic or Post coital?

Me, beautiful Vivienne and her yoga husband Simon

We're not looking bad considering it's week 7

Dr Choudary (no relation to Bikram) - during gynaecology lecture. Yes, he is pointing to the Vagina.

Visiting teachers...including Paul Gerrard (white tank) who trained with Rachel is fall '06 and was recommended for training by Libby. He sends his love.

Liz, Lulu and moi. We're all off to San Diego in a couple of weeks to teach our first class...and celebrate Independence Day.

How to do the perfect Triangle

Week 7 back bend
Bow
Our goal!
No lying down in posture clinic!!