Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving dinner

We had an amazing four hour dinner... with unofficial talent show. Everyone was amazing. I got a haircut from my neighbor across the hall - a great stylist. Fabulous!!!

I started to really comprehend the enormity of going home next Saturday. I have gotten used to being away from my loved ones and am thrilled at the prospect of going back to them. Him.

End of week 8... Thanksgiving

Well... I have had a tough couple of weeks really... I haven't written much because I have felt strongly that I have nothing positive to say and I didn't want to be negative. Week six, seven, and the first few days of week 8 were a real grind. I did not feel the end was in sight, nor was it until now. The schedule was long, hectic, unforgiving, and the classes just pile up. The sheer amount of yoga in the hot room is pretty unimagineable. Many times I had the thought "don't look down... I'm doing this. I'm really doing this." I read many accounts of training and I knew exactly what I was getting into but I had no conception of how it would feel and how tough I would become in this process.

The last few weekends have been studying studying and more studying... getting four or five postures memorized a weekend, which leaves little time for resting and relaxation, which is really what we need. My body is hamburger. I was feeling very strong (with the requisite days of weakness and inability to do much physically that comes with the strong days) and making progress in my practice then in about the middle of week seven my foot pain came roaring back and I had to sit an entire standing series, in abject fear that this would sideline me for good. I have tried to explore the idea of being curious about the sensation while trusting that the yoga would continue to heal me. Thankfully I am feeling much better and had a twinge free (muscle spasm free) class this morning. Posture clinics have been quite challenging, I sang like an opera singer in one. They had no idea but singing in front of people is definitely a stress button to push in me... more stressful than the posture clinic in fact. It's funny how they find your exact buttons to push to get you out of your comfort zone here.

Yesterday we delivered our last posture "final spinal" in the lecture tent on stage. Our group was lucky enough to end there, where we can stomp and cheer and hoot and holler. The week had really been dragging for me and I was feeling extremely negative, withdrawing, not wanting to be around people, not wanting to practice... just a large dose of don't wanna taking over. But that posture clinic really perked me up, then we had a class taught by bikram last night and a great lecture by Lynn Whitlow that really did bring so much of training together for us. This morning instead of the back to back we were all expecting we got one class (a great class) and were given the day off except for a great turkey dinner given by Bikram for us all. Wow did I need some time off.

I feel extremely thankful for my health, my practice, my family, Jonas, the kitties, my roommate, this experience, all the things and people who encouraged me to come, this country, everything. This morning I worked so hard in class. I gave it my everything. I'm proud of the minute differences I can see and feel in my practice. I miss everyone. I can't wait to come home. It's official, one week from Saturday I'm on a plane. I cannot wait.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wednesday week 7

I could hardly write last weekend... Week six was so hard for me. I had two very weak classes and I was worried that since I didn't set myself the goal that week to do every posture that I was just a slacker innately and that I had to set hard and rigid goals for myself in order to practice well. Not the case, it was a visit from mother nature that caused the weakness and so I was back to full strength by the week's end. In fact on Saturday I practiced right in front of the podium with Rajashree teaching - and completed a no-water class. In order to do that I was peeing like crazy every ten minutes before-hand but it was an amazing experience. I felt great and totally focused.

Week six had a nice 3 am night followed by a 5am night. That just kills me. I don't want to say too much about it because I don't want to be negative.

Today I had a great great morning class. I went farther in many poses than I have in the whole training, incorporating and consolidating my gains. It was a morning class to boot - wherein you often are less flexible. So we're really on the downslope here - just like 18 days left total, 8 days to Thanksgiving (theyr'e giving us a nice banquet dinner) and then nine days after that till I get to go home. I cannot wait to go home and see Jonas.

We're on half-tortoise in posture clinics and there's talk of finishing all 26 postures by the end of the week. I am not sure that's going to happen but I'd love it if it did (even though I haven't much looked at the last three postures) because that would be a huge load off our minds and allow us to enjoy the weekend. WE have our cpr certification this weekend and my posture clinic group is going out to dinner together Saturday night.

I still have $200 of my $600 food card to use in the hotel which is much better than most people - I have been very careful about budgeting that money. I have lots of "room food" in the room - ramen, instant mashed postatoes, canned veggies, crap like that. I'm pretty done with food you can cook with hot water. I'm going to try to make it to the end without going shopping. I will run out of bananas for smoothies in the morning but I will only have two full weeks left when that happens and so I'm not so worried about pumping nutrients in. I have made it this far and know that minus a few fresh things I'll still be able to make it to the end. Good news is I've been so careful with my money that I will have enough cash for new glasses when I get home. I've needed them for about three years so I'm quite excited about new glasses for the new me.

half moon really getting some good gains in lateral flexion
awkward - doesn't suck nearly as bad any more
eagle almost tucking my foot behind the calf
head to knee not much new - can touch head to knee sometiems, balance still crappy
standing bow can't wait to see what it's like at home
balancing stick stronger, longer
sep leg stretching - i can really feel my spine stretching
head to knee sep leg - better stronger longer more stamina
tree toe - some improvement not much
floor series...
bow I felt awesome today - my foot pain went to my kneewhich killed this pose then today it went back to the foot and this pose ROCKED again!
everything else is pretty much the same, rabbit my um, chest, doesn't suffocate me anymore must have lost some inches there
camel I almost saw my toes today
sep leg stretching I really touched elbows to calves first time and stretching I touched both thumbs to my forehead thsi am.

Woo hoo!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No big post for wk 6 long and hard I'm upset tired and want to go home. Did a water free class and went in front of the podium for the first time Saturday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I finally held all four triangle poses!! Day 36 of training! WOO HOO!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week 5 Stayin' Alive!

Hi everyone!

I'm in a happy place today. More than halfway through training, I'm rested, I went to the spa this morning and memorized a posture while sitting in the jacuzzi and steam room. I spoke with some friends, which is REALLY nice. My roommate and I worked really hard on memorization yesterday and ran our errands right after class so Sunday has arrived and I can truly relax. Praise be!

This week was amazing. We were put through our paces. Along with our standard 11 bikram classes, we had our final anatomy test, then nothing but posture clinic. We went from Standing Bow through the end of the standing series this week. I have not heard of any other training that did this many postures in a single week. The stress levels around training were extraordinary. People were in tears, walking around the hotel bleary-eyed, mumbling things about locking your elbows and touching your forehead to the knee. We have taken over the east wing lobby area - at most times during the week when we're off, there are yogis down there reciting and performing postures. The "civilians" as we call them (normal hotel guests) walk by, drinks in hand, with wide eyes. On occasion some dumbass drunk dude will say something about "can I help?" and laugh with his buddies. We just laugh.

I was in relatively good shape until Thursday night with the postures. I got great feedback this week. I delivered standing separate leg head to knee when I was just tired on Wednesday night. It was the first time I delivered a posture I was kind of unsure of, and certainly I had not delivered a pose when I was feeling totally out of it. It went just fine! I surprised myself and I'm glad I went. When I did tree and toe stand together on Thursday night I finally was told that I'm to move on to starting to think about and deliver corrections to the demonstrators along with the straight dialogue. Woo hoo! Thursday night, after that, we had another day of posture clinics ahead, and I finally got to the point where I did not know the next posture and would have to memorize a page worth of stuff overnight to potentially teach it the next day. (In the end, we did not do the first "floor series" posture the next day so my stress was not warranted.)

I definitely had a moment of looking around and wondering who I was going to study with. I work with my roommate a lot and my neighbors but my neighbors have been doing their own thing recently. And when I study with them sometimes recently I've felt like I was butting in (which is a feeling that I hate.) This is probably all in my head of course. So I stress ate some chips instead of studying, but stopped after about five minutes and started to study on my own and found some folks to work with the next morning. It was a good little emotional rollercoaster ride for me to have that reaction and to pull out of it.

Physically this week - I am extremely proud. I set myself a goal that I would do every posture this week. We do two sets of each posture for the most part, so there were 3-4 times where I took a knee for one set of something. But I DID EVERY POSTURE. I did not let myself "check out" when it got hot and hard and just sit there. Bikram taught a brutal class Wednesday night where he did not allow anyone to sit. "If you sit you disrupt my class. You must leave." I was in the middle towards the back. Bikram CORRECTED THE PERSON NEXT TO ME. She ended up leaving the room after that. It was the first time his eagle eye has been so close to me. It was terrifying and exhiliarating though because I know that he has seen me and recognizes my effort and alignment are 100%. Thursday night Jenna from SF taught. I don't usually post names of people in this blog because I don't want to get into any of that. However Jenna was amazing in posture clinic (tough but accurate and helpful.) And her class was easily my favorite of training. Very tough but calm and focused. Laser beam focus in the room. I loved it.

Friday night there was a camera crew in the room. There were rumors going around that our sleep depended on us staying on our mats in the room (typically many people just can't hack it and leave the room, especially if we're not allowed to sit down and take a knee (by Bikram). He killed us on Wednesday. There was palpable fear in the room. The weather all week was warm so the room was toasty, floor hot all week. So I talked with a buddy of mine who had been struggling all week - we talked about breathing in the warm up poses (especially eagle) and going into the poses carefully and with control so that you go exactly to the right point at the right time. I'm so glad I had that talk with her because I meant to help her get through the class but I helped myself at the same time. I kept track of my breath ALL THE WAY THROUGH CLASS. It's so amazing to breathe "low slow flow" when your heart is pounding. I also said "I love you Anna" throughout the class when things got tough. I have always struggled with saying things like that and meaning it. It may sound hokey or cheesy but I needed to feel that connection with my higher self, like I was there, powerful, and taking care of myself, doing this out of love and not punishment. It often feels like punishment. I was glowing and radiant after class. I worked my ass off but was so very very proud of myself. It was easily my best class. Of course, I still haven't held all four sides of triangle, but I'm getting stronger.

Saturday morning, at the end of it all... I was so tired and my body was revolting against me. My practice was shit. Just shit. But I was so close to making it through every posture that I willed myself on. I willed myself on! Come the floor series I had that horrible feeling where your body is made of lead. I was so close but it was so hard. I ended up in tears, sobbing, doing some semblance of the last few postures. I would not give up. It was not pretty. It was straight up ugly in fact but I did them.

So... that's week five. I did it. I stayed alive. And I'm happy for it.