Eleven days ago I completed Teacher Training.  I completed the last classes, my last few lectures, and walked across the stage to accept my certificate from Boss.  Only eleven days ago.  It’s amazing to me how long ago that seems.

When I wrote the last blog, I was sad about seeing Training end.  I remember writing it, the morning of the last Friday.  I was sitting on the floor in the hallway, as I often did.  I had my breakfast beside me, I felt the cool wind of the morning, and was contemplating what to wear to class that day.  I remember that last day.  I remember Rajashree’s morning class, so full of energy.  I remember the afternoon lecture.  I remember Bikram’s final class and the sheer electricity in the hot room that night.  I remember standing with my Posture Clinic group and goofing off.  I remember laughing, crying, and not quite believing it was really over.  I remember when Bikram ended the class and we all screamed and clapped.  We jumped up and down and hugged one another.  I remember people dancing and cheering.  We did it.  And really, it was over.  That night we had the talent show.  It was exhilarating and exhausting to think of what was ahead.  I remember not wanting to go to bed that night, so afraid I’d wake up and it would be over.  But no matter, I did wake up, and it was over.  The next morning felt strange with no yoga class and I started packing up to go home.  I went to the pool one last time to sit with my friends.  I ate lunch in the sun and thought about graduation.  That night, we all walked across the stage and took that little piece of paper from Bikram.  It is that piece of paper, coupled with our nine week journey, that would enable us to be Teachers.  Nobody in that room had ever looked or felt better than we did at that moment.  We shined as brightly as a million stars.  We did it.  Really, we did it.  Graduation gave way to the goodbye dinner.  I sat one last time with my beautiful friends, and we all felt a little solemn under the warm evening.  As time waned, we started hugging, and crying, and realizing we were parting ways.  I remember getting up to leave, and staying another hour just to not have to let go so soon.  But when my final goodbyes were done, I walked back to my room feeling spent.  I was so ready to go and yet didn’t want the night to end.

I flew out on Sunday, late in the morning.  My flight was short, and deposited me back into a cold city.  I got off the plane and wondered instantly where I was.  I saw my precious babies and my husband for the first time in two months.  It was amazing to see their faces, and feel their embrace.  I felt like a stranger a little bit.  But it wasn’t long before I was mommy again and even now, those 9 weeks seem to have slipped by so quickly.

So, now, I sit here only eleven days past graduation.  I have taught four classes at my studio.  My tan is fading, all of my suitcases have long been emptied, and I’ve adjusted to the cool weather.  I am fully re-initiated into my life here in Texas.  It feels strange when I think about it.  Some days I struggle to understand what just happened.  I no longer spend Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the sun by the pool.  I have a stove, and my own washing machine again.  Nobody makes my bed while I am in class every morning, and I no longer sleep alone.  I don’t have to sign in four times a day, wait in line for lunch, ask for things in Spanish, or give my room number every time I want something.  I don’t have to go to yoga if I don’t feel like it, although I do – unless I am scheduled to teach.  I can drive to the store, instead of take a van, and nobody keeps me up until 2 am anymore.  Teacher Training is over, and I really really really miss it.

There are things I do not miss.  Of course, I love the freedom of being done with Training.  I love having my precous husband and kids back, and having a car, and being able to sleep late.  I love my home studio, my friends, and my really comfortable bed.  I love being home, and I love being a teacher.  But I think I will always miss that hot room, the sun, and Mexico.  It will never be the same, we can never go back, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.  I’m right where I’m meant to be, a little homesick for Training.  I miss Bikram, just like he said.  Amazing.

But no matter, I am here now, and I am a Teacher.  If there is anything that seals the Training experience, it’s teaching.  Teaching is the perfect completion of the circle (thanks Craig), and it’s like the icing on the cake for me.  After all that hard work, putting on that headset mic and walking into that hot room feels like the best reward.  Hello, my name is Karen, I’m going to be your teacher today.  Please come standing in the middle of your mats and towels, toes on the line… The circle is complete.

But the journey goes on, and I have much to learn.  I have so much more of myself to find.  I have so far to go in my practice and I’m excited to see how it will continue to change.  Even as I am growing, my life on the mat will continue to grow and evolve.  One of the best things about this yoga is that there is no end.  There’s no destination point.  It just goes on and on, if we let it.  I am excited to see what is ahead.  I know there are many ups and downs waiting for me, but the yoga is constant.  Even when every class is different, the yoga is the same.  26 and 2.

We say this little phrase a lot in the Bikram world, Eventually or in the future. It’s kind of a little funny part of Bikram’s “language.” I have adopted it so much, and it means a lot to me.  Eventually, or in the future, I used to think about being a Bikram Yoga Teacher.  Now I am.  Everything in its time.

Namaste.

Before it’s over…

November 14, 2008

Today is the last day of Teacher Training.  Today will be our last two classes, our last lecture, the talent show, and tomorrow we will graduate.  I have no doubt that we will all feel a mix of excitement, sadness, and uncertainty.  I know that I already do.

Bikram gave his last lecture last night.  He talked about breath, and the importance of doing what we are about to do as teachers.  It was a little sobering to hear him talk.  But it was also amazing to see how far we have come.  And even as we all know that this is only the beginning for us as teachers, this particular part of our journey is nearly over.

Rajashree will teach this morning and Bikram will give the last class this afternoon.  Two classes seems like a drop in the bucket now, compared to the other ninety-something we have already done.  We are a smooth machine, working together almost seamlessly in the yoga room.  We move and breathe together like a silent symphony.  It’s beautiful, really.  I imagine what it’s going to feel like to go home to my studio and practice again with a smaller group of people.  I never would have thought that I would miss having all of those bodies around me, mat to mat, nearly on top of each other.  But I will.  I will miss the buzz of the breathing, the energy that rises in the room as we all commit to 90 minutes together.  I will miss those familiar faces, backs, arms, and legs around me.  I will miss the endless ceiling,  the one that made me so disoriented the first day.  I will miss the big box, and the amazing trail of teachers who have stood on it to teach.  I will miss the milling about before class, the hugs, laughing, the plastic covered couches, and my beautiful friends.

I will miss the yoga room.

But I will go home Monday, and go back to my little corner of paradise to teach.  I will have my own world again, with my family, friends, and studio.  I will have Jen and Arnie and BYTW once again and I can’t wait.  All I can hope is that when I need what I have here, I will find it inside.  I believe that I will take all of this with me, and it will become part of who I am as a teacher.

I can’t wait!

So, today, I will go again to the yoga room.  I’ll take off my shoes, put my bag in my cubby and set up for class.  I’ll say good morning and hello to my friends, sign in, and chat before class begins.  I will spend a few more hours in our beloved hot room.  I will try to remember what it felt like that first class.  I will again be grateful for the incredible journey that I’ve been so fortunate to be on, and I am sure it will humble me.  This is only the end if I let it be.  Today, and tomorrow as we graduate is only the beginning.

Hello, my name is Karen and I am a Bikram Yoga teacher.

Namaste.

In sight.

November 10, 2008

I don’t want to write about this.  Part of me feels like writing about the end being in sight makes it come faster.  Even though I know it doesn’t, it feels that way.  To be honest, I have been avoiding this kind of post because it’s just so emotional.  But hey, I’m at Teacher Training, and the whole thing is emotional.  So here goes.

I graduate in less than a week.  8 days from this moment I will be holding my precious babies and kissing my husband.  Acapulco will no longer be my home, I will have said goodbye, given kisses, cried, packed, tossed out my yoga mat, and taken the short flight home.  Wow.  Where did it go?

Every single person who I talked to about coming here said the same thing, “you’re going to miss it when you are done.  You’re not going to want it to end.”  I used to think they were crazy, especially in the beginning.  The homesickness used to smother me and I used to get so anxious to see the days pass.  But here tonight, sitting in my hallway, listening to the sounds of the lobby, feeling the breeze…  I’m not so anxious.  Sure, I’m ready to be with my family again.  No doubt about it.  I miss them desperately.  I miss my home, my life, my studio.  I can not wait to be home.  But then again..  I can.

It’s the great paradox of this amazing adventure.  We have struggled so much, cried so much, stayed up so late, studied, worked..  OH how we have sweat, and pushed ourselves.  So, why after all of that am I not ready to let go?  It’s simple, I have a family here.  I have a home here.  Yes, it’s weird, living in a hotel.  It’s nice and weird and funny all at the same time.  I love Mexico, I love this place.  And *gasp* I love the yoga here.  It will never be the same.

I’m not someone who tends to hold onto the past.  I think experiences are for a time, and they serve specific purposes in our lives.  The good and the bad – they all teach us different things.  And I know that this Training, too, in all its up’s and down’s is just the same.  But man, I’m going to miss this place.  And in a way, I feel this isn’t just an experience, it’s more like a new beginning for me.  These friends I have made have all become knit into the fiber of the person I have become during this (almost) nine weeks.  They are my brothers and sisters.  Family.

So with the end in sight, I feel reticent to see the days pass.  I don’t really want to hurry up anymore.  I want one more weekend, one more Saturday night dinner, one more lazy Sunday, one more of everything.  And even though I know that’s not really possible, I want it.  I want to hold onto these people, and take them home with me.  I want them to be next to me when I teach my first class.  I want them to be there when I need someone to get my jokes.  Yet, they won’t be.  And it’s OK.  I can’t have them with me on the plane, laughing and joking and eating candy.  I can’t have their voices around me switching back and forth from Spanish to English so beautifully as we share our lives.  It’s a loss I am already mourning.  They won’t be there to say good morning and share ice before class.  And it’s OK.  They’re my family now, and I believe it’s not over.  I will see them all again.

But this place, this hotel, the yoga room, I will likely never see again.  I won’t have this world again.  The pools, lunch, the lecture hall.  I won’t live in 742 anymore.  And it’s OK.  Things come and go, and I have a home, kids, and a husband that I will have.  And I can’t wait to be with them again.

So this week I begin the process of saying goodbye.  I finish my last week of Teacher Training.  I do my last ten classes, graduate, and go home.  It’s going to be wonderful, and emotional.  I hope to find gratitude in all of it.  I’ve come so far and learned so much.  But more than that, I feel blessed beyond measure.  This has been an unebelievable experience.  And as much as I am sad to see it end, I am even more excited to see what is next.

Really, I haven’t.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind.  I’ve been sinking in here more and more as the time gets shorter til we finish.  So, the blogging has been a little lower on the priority list.  BUT, here I am.  I have a few things to share and even a few pictures.

Today was our LAST Saturday class.  Amazing.  In one week we will graduate, and I will prepare to teach.  I will go home, re-join the world, and be a teacher.  YAYY!!!  So, at Teacher Training, there’s kind of this unwritten rule about Saturdays being “tiger shorts” day.  (This is for you, Daren)  So, today, since it was our last Saturday class, well..  I was obligated.

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That’s Mauricio, me, Renee, and Marcela.  It’s foggy because it’s THAT hot and humid down in the yoga room and the cameras get a little cranky.  I can’t believe I just put a picture of myself wearing those shorts on the internet..

So, anyway..

It’s been a wild ride.  Bikram came back this week and WOW, did we have a crazy one.  We did our first triple on Thursday.  Yes, that’s right, three classes in one day.  Hallelujah for Gatorade.  We also had a few late nights and even had Election night off.

One of the highlights of Teacher Training for me is the friends I have made.  We have a ritual of going out for Saturday night dinner.  Here we are last Saturday.

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This is my family away from home.  I’m going to miss these guys BIG TIME when I leave.  But, it does give me a *really* good excuse to come back to Mexico.  Not that I need one.

We have a lot of guest teachers coming for the last week.  I can’t believe we are already at the last week. I have to remember to hold on tight to these last days.  They’re going to be gone before I know it.

Derek told me I wasn’t allowed to put this on Facebook.  He said NOTHING about putting it on my blog.  Just sayin’…  My mat buddy Derek.  Beside him, Jose from Chile, in Cobra.  Our last Saturday class.

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Derek and I have shared SO many classes.  We laugh, we cry, we curse.  It’s good times.  I’m going to miss him.  Too bad I can’t put him in my pocket and bring him home.  I’d bring Jose home too.  The more the merrier.  My kids would LOVE them.

Last Saturday my amazing Posture Clinic group went out for dinner together.  Here is almost all of the group, before going to dinner.  Please note the cute baby.  He hasn’t learned his dialogue, but his adorable good looks make up for it.

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I’m off for a bit.  I’ll try to write another post this wekend with some really squishy insightful stuff that will make you ponder the depths of human existence.  But for now, I need to get ready for my last Saturday night dinner with my friends.

Ciao!