Saturday, November 27, 2010

It Had to Happen

I spent the morning before my first class alternately crying and doing farm chores. Crying because I wanted to feel more confident about my dialogue before teaching my first class, but knew I hadn't practised enough [and doing farm chores because those danged beasts will keep eating and crapping.] Of course, no surprise, the more spazzed I became, the fewer lines I could recall. Finally it was time to get the lycra on, get in the car, and drive to the studio. I was greeted very warmly by studio staff, and the wonderful Owl was there to give me a few tips on microphone use, etc. What I liked was that no one was making a big deal of it being my first class, but rather treating it like an everyday occurrence. Yeah, here's your mike, there's the podium, see yez in 90. Oh, and don't fuck with the thermostat.
The ever-kind Peter also came to my first class -- since he was my first Bikram teacher a year ago, I was really touched to see him in the studio. Owl continued her wonderfulness by practising directly in front of the podium so I could look to her for cues if I got stuck. And yes, I did get stuck a handful of times in that first class, but I watched Owl quite carefully and, while I may not have been reciting verbatim dialogue, I had enough of it to get students in and out of postures. Got one posture out of order, but the experienced students piped up (bless 'em), and I nearly forgot Wind-Removing Pose, but again with the pipe-ups from the very patient class. At the end of the class I had only gone four minutes over time. To Owl, Peter, and every one of the students there: my most heartfelt thanks.
My second class was early this morning, 7:00 a.m., about 16 or so hours after my first class. It was a delight, although I have to lock down the text a bit more: my Locust postures were really only "dialoguey." Still: no one died. I had another dozen or so very kind, smiling students, and I relaxed enough to remember more lines. I still don't think of myself as a yoga teacher the way I think of the others at the studio as teachers, BUT: I've got Class #3 tomorrow night, and will start my day by taking my first class from Bettina, She Who Kept Me Mostly Sane during Training.
Full circle: yoga-loving student to teacher trainee to teacher of other students. I wrote down, during one of Himself's lectures, a line he frequently recites: "There is no yoga "do." There is only yoga "try," because you are constantly learning." The yoga counterpart to Yoda. And so I'll keep trying and learning. Thanks again, everyone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Worth a try

I dropped into the Bikram studio in Santa Cruz. Lovely town, lovely, spacious studio, but no Shawn (Born Happy the Evaluator) to be seen. Waah. So I bought a T-shirt to console myself. Funny that I didn't get a Bikram San Diego T-shirt, but a "Hell Cajon" studio shirt instead. Anyway: Star-breakfasted in Santa Cruz, and am currently Star-lunching in Willows, CA -- the same place I Star-lunched on the way down, back on September 17th.
Bored yet? The reason I am writing at present is that THE MIGHTY BETTINA is halfway through teaching her first class at home in Victoria. Rock that Half Moose, Bettina! I so wish I were there. Soon, I tells ya, soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Random thoughts in Santa Cruz

"Buy new cooler:" the Bengali pronunciation of "binocular."
I nearly broke myself trying not to cry when goodbying Bettina, Jana and the mad Greek roomie, Jayna. Of course, I'm seeing Bettina in a few days, but the goodbye was to the whole experience.
Took the 101 north this time to get a little ocean beauty in my databanks. My spirit needed the serenity. First it had to deal with the terror of the monsoon-strength rain and surprise hydroplaning north of San Diego, and the "Uh-oh, missed the turnoff" moment in Los Angeles. But I found the damn road again, and soon the urban sprawl gave way to unbelievable coastal beauty.
Am I saving time, staying in Santa Cruz? Nope: this was an impulse route change. I really wanted to see one of my favourite cities again. Arrived just at sunset, so tomorrow I'll take a quick drive downtown before resuming the northward journey.
Drove approximately 8 hours, shorter than my usual day's drives, but I remembered that I was going on practically no sleep, not the best setup for an interstate drive anywhere, but particular not California. Oh, I do love this state.
The beginning of post-training perspective: realizing that the heartsoreness of the last two weeks was trying to tell me something. That another change is on the way, and it's not going to be easy. There's a goddamned bulletin. Relax, Laur, I'm not moving to Tegucigalpa or Ouagadougou. What it is, is basic Lord Jim: actions have consequences, toots. [Good thing I read that Golden Classic comic book way back when . . . saved myself some time in university.]
Possible plan: drop in at Santa Cruz's Bikram studio to say hello to Shawn, aka "Born Happy" from our posture clinics. Such a nice man.

Pack your suitcases each other

Packing. The Mazdad isn't going to know what hit it.
So that's it, then. Graduated yesterday, and enjoyed a classic Himself moment: as I posed for my picture with Himself, I said, "I'm never going to forget you." Himself: "I know!" Graduation took place on the rainiest day in nine weeks, and yes, I enjoyed seeing everyone in real clothing, posing for pictures with friends, introducing new lifetime friends to family members.
Didn't sleep much at all. Fretting about the drive (terrible weather up north, and who didn't get the snow tires put on in mid-September? Who couldn't think nine weeks ahead? -- right, me). Fretting about not remembering the dialogue for the 26 'n' 2.
Packing and crying, of course, at the end of an unequalled experience. It had to end in order to qualify for an experience, I realize. Ow. Heart hurt. Must return to packing.
See you all. And thanks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

These people, I tell you . . .

Everywhere you look in Yogaterra, people are excited. About today being the last day of class and lectures. About tomorrow being graduation, the day that would never come. About going home. About teaching Class Number One OH MY GOD. Everywhere you look there are cameras and hugs and camaraderie.
This time next Friday I'll be digesting myself as the minutes tick away to 3:45 p.m., my first class. By then the magnificent Bettina will already have taught two. Note to self: now would be a good time to rehearse them thar postures.
Yesterday we had the legendary Emmy Cleaves back to teach us class, and she came by and adjusted my stance in Triangle Posture, pushing my hip down a half-inch, that made a huge difference, especially in muscle contraction. I don't think, ultimately, that I lost any weight during training, because I've been building muscle fibres by the cartload. I'll always be a cement-bodied sweaty head, but by god a *toned* cement body after all these classes.
Last night one of the Fab Five, Chrissy, came by and surprised me with a thank-you gift ["The Daily Intellectual Devotional," a hardcover book that is heroin to know-it-alls] and a card. Thanks for driving her and the other Fabs to the laundromat, grocery store, etc. Chrissy, let me say it here: the thanks are all mine for you and the others being such good friends. I was overcome with surprise and touched by Chrissy's thoughtful generosity, and after we'd chatted for awhile, she took herself off to get ready for evening lecture, and I sat down and had a good, short wail. I've turned into quite the emotional diva as Teacher Training ends, I tell you. I can just see it now, I'll walk into the studio next Friday, climb onto the podium, and announce "My name is Jane, and I am your yoga-waaaaaaaa. . ." And all this time people have assumed my yoga towels were drenched with sweat. Nope: tears.
But since they've screwed up my billing a second time, I won't shed a drop for the hotel accounting staff, I tell you now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


My one rule about asking questions in Himself's posture clinics is this: is it relevant to teacher trainees? If yes, continue. So I asked whether new students could part their legs at the beginning of Full Locust, and then bring them together. Before he answered, Himself identified me as "the one who is always seeming to fall asleep in my lectures, even though I know she is listening, and look, now I know you have eyes, okay, go ahead." The answer? "No. Make them do it right." I checked my headbob-jaggy lecture notes for Locust, and I had written down that in the double leg-lift, students *could* start with legs apart, as long as they immediately closed them after lifting. Did I ask for an explanation of the discrepancy? Did I, hell. I was happy to escape with being called "Boss" instead of "Sweetheart." Again: I am absolutely unable to figure that man out at all. It's quite a delightful sensation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Look Back, Pt. 1

My study group, or Group Four, as we affectionately called ourselves, was made up of 21 people from all backgrounds and abilities. Since I wrote earlier about one member of the group who met with Karma in the form of a Boston teacher, it is only fair to tell the rest of the story. After the Boston instructor commanded this woman, D., to learn the dialogue kinesthetically, i.e., while performing the posture, or even while walking, DAMN if she didn't do just that. Her next presentation was a vast improvement, even though she tripped up near the end. A couple more clinics, and she delivered one of the most difficult dialogues (Triangle) nearly word-perfectly. I don't know about the rest of the group, but I was absolutely gobsmacked at the change. From then, D. went on to deliver each posture's dialogue with a minimum of stress, almost matter-of-factly. I think a certain Boston teacher deserves a standing ovation. As does D.
The other marked evolution in our group was U., who was an ESL student, and was so concerned about getting the dialogue right that she had effectively paralysed herself. It was quite hard to watch her struggle, and sometimes break down crying, when she'd mix up some words. She was taken aside by the estimable Lynn W., a senior teacher and staff member, and I never learned what happened during these dialogue coaching sessions, but U. came back transformed. By the end of posture clinics she was laughing, in tune with the students, and even offering corrections to inattentive demonstrators (uh, sorry about that one, U. I was distracted by a chandelier).
I will always be in awe of certain trainees with exceptional dialogue presentations (hello, Fed, Chelsea, Brian, Heather, and Chrissy) -- yet in some way it is almost more awesome to witness these transformations. I wouldn't have believed them possible, that's for sure.