Monday, March 22, 2010


Posture clinic yesterday with Diane Ducharme, one of my favorite Bikram teachers, one of the most gifted Bikram teachers around. I actually went down to Bikram Yoga Merrimack Valley Saturday afternoon and Teri put me up for the night so I didn't have to drive 3 hours for an 8am Sunday class before posture clinic.

I am so sore and tired... but am itching to get back into the studio today! I have pages of notes, and did a better standing bow and floor bow than I've ever done with some coaching. I almost locked my knee in standing bow!

The biggest event of the weekend was definitely my realization about my current dialogue environment and real dialogue studios. I mean, there is no dialogue in my bikram community. No one teaches it except new teachers. OK, that's the reality of things.

Hearing dialogue taught well both by Teri and esPECIALLY by Diane... holy cow. I am quite torn at the moment. I want to be able to use the dialogue as a tool the way Diane does. Working the room in posture clinic she fixed people's postures one by one by talking them through the dialogue line at a time. It was amazing. Powerful. Inspiring. All the answers were IN THERE.

To be frank, when I got to bow pose in training, I thought the dialogue was a piece of crap. All it says is kick this way kick that way etc kick kick kick it just didn't seem to DO anything. Well... hearing Diane correct people using the dialogue instructions in order was mind-blowing. My own bow changed completely. I realize that all the extra stuff that people say is trying to get you to do all the stuff that the dialogue says.

It's really difficult. Is the reason people don't teach dialogue because they don't know how it is when it's taught well? Is it a resistance to regulations? A desire for freedom? I don't know. What I do know is that I am a good teacher. I think a good teacher makes dialogue come alive. I'm going to continue to work on becoming a strong dialogue teacher. My environment makes it so that I will probably always have a plethora of "extra" in my brain. Extra instructions, ideas, corrections, philosophy, personal practice stuff.

One thing I know is that I will never be a dialogue nazi or bash people who do not teach dialogue. There is quite a sycophantic bent to the Bikram community and that's not at all who I am, and frankly, I don't like the insular community when it gets snitty, self-righteous, and catty. I love it when it is inviting and close knit. I guess the two go hand in hand. I am welcoming and open to learning, from dialogue and non-dialogue teachers and studios. (I certainly did not have a catty experience this weekend at all - but I've seen it and remember it from training and from other trainees who report back about their experiences in other places in the country.)

There's such a difference from reciting the dialogue, even with feeling and emphasis, as opposed to teaching with it, taking everyone through it step by step and grabbing those who don't do a step and helping them get there or work on it. Without A, no B, right? It makes the class harder. I worked harder in Diane's class than I had since training. The class was harder. Not just from carpet (my triangle is so much weaker on carpet) but also because the dialogue tells you to touch your face in padahastasana, damn it, not to try. Not that you'll get there over time. The dialogue pulls no punches.

The other thing I want to do today is show up with a tape measure for 4 feet distance between the feet for triangle. People refuse to step it out and thus they don't get down in triangle in my studio. Unfortunately, all this means I'm going to be teaching a significantly harder class than most of the teachers at my studio. I know it's the right thing to do. I already have a reputation for being a "hot" teacher. I like that. I know I'm going to be tougher now too. It's for their own good. I don't want to blog about too much "internal" stuff about my studio but I had to get this all off my chest.

I'm hoping after a few more weeks of dialogue focus that I will have the missing bits in there in order to take a trip down to BYMV and teach.

To work on:
sep leg stretching - have the pieces but it doesn't flow out straight each time
triangle - always to work on this pose.
sep head to knee - have it but unsure of the order (it's not hammered into my brain)
locust full locust bow (especially bow) want to be able to do it verbatim. I have locust and full locust pretty well though. Bow... I never really saw the point of the dialogue till this weekend.
well... I'll have to say the whole floor series needs work. Except Cobra - I have that one down cold.

Man. :) that's a lot to do!


Lady J said...

I'm curious what you mean by the dialogue in your current studio and others. Is your studio not strict on following the dialogue?

thedancingj said...

Wooohoo! Very cool, lady. Sounds like a good day. You will be a great influence in your region! Just bring all that good stuff in for them. Hopefully people will follow you when they see how well this way WORKS. That's how this wacky dialogue stuff spreads - all it takes is one person doing it really WELL, and then maybe everyone else can get interested in it. :)

ariella said...

J - my region does not put an emphasis on dialogue. Let's put it that way. It's not just my studio, it's a few. New teachers stick with it, and if you want to teach dialogue, no one will complain. However, more senior teachers don't all use it verbatim and there are a few who don't like it. I don't want to get into specifics because I don't really want to be airing laundry, you know? It happens... some areas are strict and some are not as.

j - I do feel that teaching it well will invite more interest. I"m going to post about that shortly cause i taught an amazing dialogue class yesterday and everyone LOVED IT.

thedancingj said...

EX-ACTLY. :-D Rock on!!!

Incidentally, was studying bow pose last night and thought of you. Subtle, that one. Gently both legs kick UP... LOOK up and kick up... kick your legs BACK... oooh. ;-)

ariella said...

Yeah Diane had us keep the chin on the floor during the first kick up. It totally changes the weight bearing in the posture, getting you up off the lower body faster, Then look up...

thedancingj said...

Yessss. It is so sequential. Head up too fast and you get stuck back on your hips. It's very cool. The whole thing is like that.... then you roll forward, and THEN head back MORE... it's hard to describe, but that is EXACTLY what I do in that posture these days, after spending forEVER trying to figure it out! It's all on the page!!