Do not try, just do.

December 2, 2009

After teacher training, this should be a piece of cake.

Friends, I am back to boldly proclaim that I am doing a 101 day Bikram Yoga Challenge beginning January 1, 2010.  It’s simple, 101 classes in 101 days.  You know the drill.  Funny enough, I did 102 classes in my nine weeks (63 days) at teacher training.  This should feel like a vacation, right?

I’m gearing up for 2010.  It’s going to be the best year EVER.  I’ve been setting goals, making plans, and this challenge just makes it even sweeter.  Or is it sweatier?

Here is the blog that inspired me.

I’ve got 30 days to prepare for it.  The challenge begins January 1st and ends April 11th 2010. Who’s with me?

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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.

Leave your shoes at the door..

September 26, 2008

Briefly.
It’s an instruction we give everyone who comes to the studio, right?  Leave your shoes outside the room.  Respect the space.  It’s a common sign of respect all over the world.  Shoes are filthy things that we wear to protect our feet.  Taking them off is a sign of respect

But for me, as Bikram taught last night, this simple request is also a great metaphor for how I should approach this Training, and my practice.  Leave your shoes at the door.  Leave everything you know, everything you believe, everything you thought you had learned at the door.  Take off those filthy shoes, that old knowledge, that stale faith, and just leave it at the door.  Come into the hot room with a clean slate, a fresh mind, and a willing heart.  The hot room is a metaphor for the entire training, and the postures are a metaphor for the process we go through here as we purify, purge, and process all the junk we’ve been carrying around all of our lives.

I woke up this morning, NO – I went to bed last night, completely discouraged, exhausted, ready to get the hell outta here.  Late nights, early mornings, endless lectures, movies, YOGA, heat, sweat, eating, showering, laundry….  It adds up fast.  Add to that the anxiety and homesickness, and well, you get the picture.

But what Bikram was saying, I believe, laaaate last night in lecture was that this whole thing is about me letting go and just doing it.  Shut up Karen.  Remember?  In the last blog?  Remember the conversation I had in Ulysses’ class?  Yeah.  Shut up brain.  Breathe, take off your filthy shoes and get on the mat.

Expectations are my enemy right now.  Because no matter how hard I try to prepare, whatever expectations I have set up for myself end up making me miserable.  The only way I can be free is to open my mind and let go.  So this morning, I woke up, had myself a good cry on my terrace watching the sun rise and just let go.  It doesn’t matter.  But once I let it go, I could move on.  I got up, washed my laundry out, changed, and walked down into the dungeon hot room.  It doesn’t matter.  All we have to do is leave our shoes at the door.
Namaste.

Edit:  After some careful introspection, and some input from my readers, I have decided to no longer refer to the yoga room as the dungeon.  I think you know why 😉

Week one redux.

September 20, 2008

Wow, it’s really over.  Week one is really over.  It’s hard to believe that, but also SUCH a great feeling.

So I’ve been trying to just be really present and honest and open the past week.  I’m not overdoing it with blogging or journaling.  I love sharing with you all, I really do.  And I’ve been doing the best I can to give you the big details.  But, honestly, I kind of like keeping this experience a little bit to myself.  I have so many different emotions moment to moment.  It’s impossible to keep up with all of them.  It’s really true that you are up one minute and down the next here.  It changes so fast and sometimes you have no idea where it comes from.  Like a ship in the night. But I’ll try to sum up the past week for you guys, my faithful readers.

First of all, WOW, this entire facility is incredible.  The hotel staff are amazingly friendly, it’s so clean, so beautiful, and it’s such a comfort when you literally crawl out of the hot cave and see them around smiling at you.  The sweet lady that cleans my room everyday always lines up my shoes and puts my slippers tucked under my bedskirt.  She also lines up the limes on my dresser.  Little things, people.  It doesn’t take much.  The food is great, and I’m NOT sick of it yet.  Pretty good variety doesn’t hurt.  I got a good look at the spa today and later I’m going to get a pedicure.  Yeah, my feet have been through a lot this week and this is one luxury I am affording myself.  Also, how awesome is it that we have laundry service?  It’s pretty cheap too, and SO nice not to have to wash out all those Shakti shorts and bras.  Little things, little things.

For those of you waiting for pictures, they’re coming.  Not today though.  Soon.  I’ve been a little stingy with pictures because it’s so time consuming to upload.  But they’re coming.  Be patient.

Anyway, the place is amazing and the pool is the most amazing heaven when your sore aching body wants to cool off.  Still no beach.  Later.

We have been hustling through Half Moon dialogue all week.  Still a lot of peole left to give theirs.  I’m not sure what they’ll do this week with it, but it will all get done.  Basically everyone here says their first posture dialogue in front of Bikram.  It’s just how it’s done.  With 310 people, you do the math, it’s SO time consuming.  But it’s fine, and listening to it is a great way to be sure you know it well.  So here it’s basically class, eat, lecture, class, eat, lecture.  Rinse and repeat.  I totally already feel the “Groundhog Day” thing.  I’m in a pattern I like and it’s good.  The weekend is a nice respite.

So, how’s the yoga?  Wow.  That’s almost all I can say (almost).  I heard someone tell me coming to Teacher Training is like starting ALL over again with this yoga.  They’re not kidding.  I’ve had 10 classes already!  I can’t even believe that!!  TEN in six days.  Wow.  Every class has been so different and I’d be lying if I told you I could remember them all and how I felt.  I can’t.  But I do feel overall it’s getting easier to go down into the room and face myself.  You have no idea what a mental hospital that room is.  Wow, when you practice in a regular studio, I think you feel it a little bit.  But being here, in the HUUUUGE room (you saw it!) it is so different.  I’ve had every emotion possible.  Today was my strongest class so far.  I stayed up for the whole class, did every set of every posture, worked hard, and only drank water during the water breaks.  Now for those of you not steeped in this yoga, that’s a good thing.  Right now, everything is about my brain.  I’ve had a little physical discomfort this week.  But overall, I have to get my brain to shut up.  My mind is constantly chattering.  Here’s a little conversation I had in a class taught the other day by Ulysses who owns the Mexico CIty studio:

I can’t do this.  Why am I here?  Why is everyone so damn happy??
Shut up Karen.
No, this is too hot.  Too humid, too hard.  I want out.
Shut up Karen.
If I die right here they’ll have to shut the whole show down to drag me out.
Shut up, it’s not that bad.
Why are my arms shaking?  Why do I feel cold?  Why is my skin clammy?
Just breathe.
Who in GOD’S green earth thought I’d be able to survive this?
Breathe, breathe, breathe.
Ok, breathe.  OK.  I’m OK.  I’m OK.  Oh look, Spine Twist, class is almost over.

I then spent about 20 minutes on my mat weeping like a little baby after they turned the lights off.  You have no idea.  These conversations go on daily.  Oy.

So, the room.  HOLY SHIT it’s big.  Something crazy like 15 or so mat rows.  It holds over 500 sweaty bodies and is apparently the biggest Bikram Torture Chamber on this planet.  Hallelujah, and I get to live in it for the next 8 weeks.  EIGHT!  Can you believe it?  ONLY EIGHT MORE!!  The first night, when Bikram taught the first class, I could have passed out with disorientation.  So many people, so huge, so humid, so hot…  Save me.  But now, a week in, it doesn’t feel as big.  I feel like I’ve gotten my bearings with that hot cave.  The room, the hot cave, the torture chamber, the dungeon.  You pick a name, vote, I’ll stick with it.  I have a feeling when I go home, I’m going to feel like our beautiful orange room is so small.  The energy flows and sometimes it’s like fresh air and sometimes it’s like a tidal wave of hell.  You never know.  I try to just be open to whatever is coming, but you can almost feel it before the teacher even gets up on the box.  I’m only responsible for my energy.  What a relief.  I treasure the feeling though, I treasure the sound of 400 some bodies taking that first breath in Pranayama.  Like one million locusts (according to Boss).  It’s incredible.  Oh and nothing sounds sweeter than the click of the lights going off after the final breathing.  Click, click, click click click….  Hallelujah, I’m still alive and the class is done.  At least for a few hours.

So far I’ve only had to watch ONE Balliwood movie.  I have a feeling more are on the way.  Oh yes, laaate nights with Boss are ahead.  Can’t wait for that.  Oh and in case you’re confused Boss is Bikram.  Bikram is Boss.  You are Boss, I am Boss.  You get it?  Yeah?  OK good.

I’ve made lots of friends and as I said before my roommate is SO great.  I have a buddy, Renee, a fellow Texan, who’s been my main buddy here.  She practices in Austin and she’s one hot chica.  If you’re lucky I’ll post a picture of her for you to see.

I’m going to go nap before my pedicure and then go to the pool.  Weep for me, right?

Thank you all SO much for your comments and emails and all.  You are my breath of fresh air.  I love you all.  Namaste!

This will likely be pretty brief. I’m very tired and want to curl up on my bed and study.

So, wow, so much to write and impossible to fit it all in. Yesterday we started with orientation, followed by a welcome dinner. It was all very nice. We met the staff, got signed in, given the down low on rules and shuffled off to bed. This morning was a late morning with more orientation, and then we met Bikram. He talked to us for about an hour. So much about Bikram, far more than I can say here. I am sure as the weeks go on, I will have a lot to say. He’s immediately engaging, outrageous, and hilarious. We then had lunch, another session of more orientation and then a break to prepare for class.

Oy..

They’ve been telling us, “take it easy honey.” The first week is NOT about killing yourself or proving yourself to anyone. The first week is about not passing out and acclimating to the overwhelming humidity, the room, the heat, and the new environment. That said, I can see now why they warn us so much. It’s hard to not push and not want to go for it. But I did take it easy tonight and I’m glad. By about Standing Bow my body had taken over that decision and I was taking small breaks. I had some shaky legs, some nausea, and LOTS of dizziness. Nothing that forced me to leave my mat or anything like that, but not very fun either. The Standing Series was much harder for me than the Floor Series. I got very discouraged and thought many many times to myself, “I can’t do this! Why am I here?? What was I thinking??” By Savasana (midpoint rest) I was crying. I wanted to run, I wanted to scream, I wanted OUT OF THE FUCKING ROOM!!! But I didn’t go, I stayed, and I was glad for it. The room is so big, and so overwhelming. Just staring at the ceiling tiles can make you feel like you are going to fall over. I didn’t, but I felt like I might. Ahhh my FIRST breakdown, YAYYYY it’s OVER! But somewhere around Locust I was fine, happy, laughing at the Boss man, doing both sets. I finished class fine, and was smiling by the end. I even had water left in my bottle.

I’m going to be fine. I am.

I stayed in the room. Right? Goal number one. I stayed in the room.

Anyway, I’ve been a little up and a little down today.  Raj said last night everyone experiences the breakdown, everyone will have this happen.  Some will have it now, some will have it in the middle, some will have it later.  Some will have it the whole time.  I miss my family.  I miss them so much, and have no idea how they’re doing with this horrible situation in Houston.  I can’t get to them, I can’t.  It’s maddening.

But, I am here.  I am here and the only way I can bere here is to just be here.  They’ve been telling us to just be here.  Be here now.  I’m trying.

Tomorrow morning starts with another class with Bikram.  I’m looking forward to having a real day here with two full classes and posture clinic.  I am itching to give my dialogue for Half Moon.  Get it over with!!!

I will write again as I can.  Love to you all.

Here’s a quick look at the room tonight just before class.

T minus 2 Hours.

September 14, 2008

In about two hours, this whole thing gets rolling. Wow, can’t believe it.. Still.

The hotel is amazing, as you can see from the videos. It’s the biggest resort property I’ve ever seen. Sprawling for I have no idea how far. I’ve completely moved into my room, been to the store for food, and been to the pool twice. Today I had my first taste of the buffet, not bad. I’ve met fellow trainees every time I go out of my room or anywhere. We’re multiplying all over the hotel. Pretty neat, and you can usually spot them (or us) a mile away. The hotel is at capacity, as it’s a holiday this weekend, and VERY busy. The pools have been packed, and the beach is a mess of cabanas. I haven’t gone down to the ocean yet. Maybe tomorrow. I’m not really into the beach, but I’m sure over the next 9 weeks, I’ll get down there. No rush, right??

Anyway, here’s something GREAT!! I have wifi access just outside of my room! Yayy! It doesn’t reach inside, which is probably honestly a good thing. But I do have access and will be able to post and hopefully update (somewhat) regularly. Here’s something else GREAT!! I found a MESS of delicious fresh produce… Ohhhh, and the mangoes.. Ohhh, Ren is a happy girl. My groceries today were mangoes, bananas, peaches, apples, spinach, SPROUTS! (gasp), carrots, avocadoes, and a TON of limes. Limes make me happy, and they make me want to pound the water. Yayy limes. Surprisingly enough, NO lemons anywhere. Someone told me they arrive here in November? Or something. Whatever.

Back on track, sorry. I have plenty of food for the week, and probably for part of next. I’m going to be alright, and I feel good about knowing how to get things prepared for dinner. Wraps, sandwiches, fruit. I’m set. The kitchen stuff I brought along (thanks JEN!!) is a lifesaver. However, I found today I could have obtained almost all of it at Walmart. Oh well, I’m prepared. Oh and my precious stash of Powerbars. Like GOLD.

Where was I? Oh, right. GOOD stuff: my room is luxurious, the hot room is massive, the hotel is immaculate, the Fairmont staff is friendly, and everyone I’ve met here for Training is lovely. The pool is a good place to relax, and even study that Dialogue. I’ve been there a few times and it’s nice. I’m being RELIGIOUS about my sunscreen. The last thing I need is a blasted sunburn right before the week begins. I still have no roommate but I am sure she’ll arrive today. I’m excited to meet her.

So anyway, I’m settling in and finding it easier to breeze around this place. I feel ready to go tomorrow. We (apparently) do not have a yoga class until tomorrow afternoon. Did I mention I WANT TO GO TO CLASS??? Well, I do. I DO. LET’S GO!!!

Soon enough…

For my peeps in The Woodlands and all my lovelies who went through the storm, I love you all. I know you are without power and won’t read this for a few days. I am thinking of you all the time and am happy to know you’re all safe and sound. For my family, I send you hugs and kisses galore. Today is my baby’s birthday. Simon is FIVE!! We celebrated his big day before I left, but I am still thinking about him. (sigh)

After tonight, I will post as time permits. I’m HERE and thankful.

Namaste.

Tres mas dias.

September 11, 2008

I’m leaving in three days. Can’t believe it’s finally here.

I’ve had kind of a slow week so far yoga-wise. I’m not so much pushing myself in class. It’s been a great week otherwise, though, full of all kinds of goodbyes and *lasts* as I bid my cozy life with the Woodlands Yogis goodbye for a while. I’ve also been spending as much time with these guys as humanly possible.

Man, I’m going to miss them.

It feels weird to say that everything is done.  The bags are packed, arrangements made, business sorted out, it’s all done.  I just have to get on the plane.  And hug and kiss my guys goodbye.  That’s the sucky part.

As you can imagine I’m all over the place emotionally.  I’m excited, no doubt.  I’m also dealing with the grief I knew I would of anticipating being separated from my family for so long.  I’m nervous, and anxious about the logistics of travel (damn hurricane!).  I’m also curious about the hotel, my room, the hot room, my roommate, Acapulco, the beach, and the pool(s).  But with all the anxiety, and the glee, and the uncertainty, I remain surprisingly calm.  I feel the quiet peace of knowing that come Saturday I embark on the next journey laid out before me.  I know that no matter how anxious I am, or how much I worry about the things I’ve packed, the nine weeks will be.  I will be, Training will be.  It will all be, and it will all be fine.  The hurricane may disrupt my flights, my plans may be disheveled.  I may get exhausted, and homesick, and cry.  But it will be what it will be.  I will wake up Monday and go to class, and the wheel will start turning.  This is who I am, and who I will be, and who I am supposed to be.  And it’s going to be awesome.

In case I don’t get a chance to blog again before I go, I bid you all a fond goodbye.  Here in my quiet house, with my boys snoozing upstairs and my tea beside me, I relax one more time.  I will take you all along in my heart and your words will encourage me as I work towards one of my life’s biggest goals.  Thank you all SO much for your support and your love.

I will be blogging here as much as I can while I am away.  Please feel free to leave me comments but understand I may not be able to respond to them.  My time online will be limited but your words encourage me, so keep them coming!!!

All of my love to you all and see you in Acapulco.