November 28, 2008
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.
October 28, 2008
I had a little fun with this earlier on Twitter so I thought I’d put it up on the blog.
I often wake up in the morning with just words running through my head. So here’s a collection of some that I often hear and say early in the morning and all day long.
Alarm.. wake up, where am I?? Oh yes, Acapulco. get up get up get up.. Salt, laundry, breakfast. water. must wake up. Sun isn’t up, it’s cool and dry. laundry, laundry laundry… step outside and smell the air. hear the noise, see the sun, mountians. the sky.
Eat, computer, email, missing.. I want to go home, I want to be here. Where am I again? What week is it? Must eat, must drink. Need calories and electrolytes. Must drink.. must.. Shorts, top, mat, water. ICE.. Dialogue. study, study.. sign in. Class time. friends, kisses. Buenos dias. hello family, we’re all here together. smiles, joking.
Sweat, breathe, stretch, reach. repeat. second set. breathe, breathe, fans. a million locusts. 309 bodes, and the teachers. towels, mats, water bottles. giant jugs of comfort dot the floor. grey carpet, mirrors, pillar. white tiles, flourescent lights. mic, box, teacher. stand up please, let’s go.. breathe. again..
Now push, lock, kick, turn, stretch. Lock the KNEE! YOU! stomach in! skin, eyes, bodies. moving, breathing. breathe.. breathe.. go, PUSH PUSH PUSH… Turn, go, lock it. Now balance, balance. spine up, arms straight. elbows in. more in, now kick back. harder. Make it hurt. BREATHE. sweat. water, pouring. sweat sweat sweat…. Heat.
Break, lunch, dialogue. food. eat more, again. iced tea, limes. dry clothes, more smiles, more hugs. more joking and laughing. Posture clinic, elevators, more talking, study, tension, excitement.
Class again, more ice. new set of clothes. more sweat. do it again. come on, do it. Let it go. Be here. GO LOCK PUSH PUSH PUSH!!!!!!!! Touch it, touch it. Now balance. Don’t lose the grip.
Sweating, again. Hot.
Dinner, break. more dialogue. water water water… connect with loved ones. read the emails.
soak the laundry, make the dinner, breathe. breathe. breathe… be here… it’s going so fast.
Dark, night time. More dialogue. the day is almost over. Deliver it. say it. smile. be a teacher.
elevator again, more smiles. Buenas Noches, ciao. Kisses. goodnight friends. another round of water. a snack,.. ipod. goodnight, no studying. only sleeping. drifting off, family.. more missing. sleep.
October 21, 2008
Raj read this poem yesterday morning after class. It’s beautiful and inspiring. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did. The piece is by a poet named Oriah. Find her site and more of her writing here.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
October 20, 2008
Wow, well I am really over halfway done with Training. But I didn’t have time to really write much this week, so I’m catching up now. Thanks to all of you who have stopped by to see the pictures. I wish I could have gotten them up sooner. But they’re up now, and as you can see, this place is pretty amazing.
So, thoughts on Teacher Training from the midpoint… Wow, what a ride. I say it over and over and over and over, but wow.. what a ride. If I think back to the day I left Houston to come here I can hardly believe all that I’ve been through. Getting here was such a big deal, and then the hurricane hit. It was a whirlwind for about two weeks. Training started and the madness ensued.
I remember a lot of it. I remember Orientation, meeting the staff, the welcome dinner. I remember that FIRST CLASS. I remember meeting Bikram. It all feels like a year ago. But really, it’s only been five weeks, so much time and yet so little. I remember how anxiously we all navigated around one another for the first week or so. I remember the rough transition into the heat of the yoga room, the adjustment to the humidity, and finidng ways to cope with the class. I remember thinking I was starting over like a brand new baby with my practice. I remember feeling like I was going to die, wanting to die, and hoping I would die so they would have to carry me out. But I also remember feeling better and laughing at Bikram’s hilarious commentery in class. I remember when my body said, “thank you” and worked harder for me. I remember the glee of making it through without sitting out a single posture for the first time. I remember thinking I’ve never worked harder in my life for anything. I remember thinking I’d make it afterall, then the next day not being so sure. I remember crying through more classes than I can count. I remember all the compassionate arm squeezes, handfulls of ice, and “are you ok’s??” I remember giving up on trying to figure out why I was crying, and feeling so free. I remember the first Posture Clinic with Boss. I remember nailing my dialogue one day, then struggling the next. I remember ANATOMY with NO BOOKS!! I remember my first LATE night with a Bollywood movie. I remember wanting to scream I was so tired, but having nowhere to go. I remember the ache that finally subsided from missing my kids and my husband so much. I remember the day I accepted that I was supposed to be here.
And now here I am, about to being week six, a new person. This is not the body that flew to Mexico so many weeks ago. It’s not the same brain or the same heart. I have a long way to go, and a lot more to do. But being here, at the crossroads, just over the mountaintop – is really, really, really awesome.
If I look back at those goals that I set for myself the first night in Acapulco, I can honestly say I’ve really accomplished most of them. I’ve given my full effort to this experience. And, I’ve NEVER left my mat. All of those little victories are adding up to what I hope will be the start of my new life teaching. But, I’ve still four weeks ahead.
So, in celebration of this landmark, I’ve decided to write a Thankful list. I used to do these a lot on my other blog. I think it’s only fitting, seeing as how I have so much to be thankful for. So here goes.
Things I am thankful for today:
I am thankful that I am here.
I am thankful for this yoga.
I am thankful for my husband and family.
I am thankful for so many people who believe in me.
I am thankful for my studio at home.
I am thankful that Training is halfway finished.
I am thankful for my amazing friends.
I am thankful for my roommate.
I am thankful for the staff here.
I am thankful for this beautiful place that I get to call home.
I am thankful to be able to be included in this amazing group of people.
I am thankful that I *can* do this.
I am thankful for my body.
I am thankful for water, salt, and sleep.
I am thankful for my ipod.
I am thankful for all the shorts I brought with me.
I am thankful for my water bottles and my insulated bottle sleeves.
I am thankful for my watch.
I am thankful for caffeine, crackers, and chewing gum.
I am thankful for blogging, and having the internet.
I am thankful for my Posture Clinic group.
I am thankful that the weekend is always coming.
I am thankful for the pool.
I am thankful that I can buy a new yoga mat because I killed the first one.
I am thankful that I don’t have to wash my own towels.
I am thankful for my maid, the lunch buffet, and the ICE MACHINE!!!
I am thankful for candy. Yes, really. Candy, especially caramels.
I am thankful for the van that carries me to the grocery store every Saturday.
I am thankful for my small, laminated, dialogue that has been through so much.
I am thankful for my alarm clock.
I am thankful for my bed.
I am thankful that I get Sunday off.
and yes.. I am thankful for Bikram.
I could probably go on and on. But I think that should do it for now.
This week should be interesting. We are supposed to have some great lectures this week with Rajashree. I am looking forward to seeing her happy smiling face again! As always, more YOGA, and more POSTURE CLINIC!!! My dialogue is going really well and I only have TWO more postures to learn. WOW. I worked really hard this weekend to get through a bunch. It is nice to know I am almost done.
As always, my love to you all. Here’s to four more weeks!
October 19, 2008
OK so I owe you guys a TON of pictures. Here we go. In no real particular order. Enjoy!! *if you click them, they get bigger..*
My very first class, and YES it was THAT hot..
The first night we watched a movie with Boss. YES, I am wearing a scarf and sweater.. I also had a blanket. YES, I fell asleep. It was realllly late.
Half Moon Posture clinic. I was in line waiting to go.
The Spa.. So wonderful.
Renee, Jane, and I at the spa.
Fun in the van on the way to Walmart.
Shakti Laundry. It happens.
In the lecture hall.
I don’t know why I have this random picture of Andrés. But hey, here you go. I think we were all trying to stay awake in lecture.
Hotel beauty.. Yeah, it’s paradise.
Mafrita!!! My amazing roomie. We discovered we were wearing EXACTLY the same thing to bed one night. Aye…. yes, we are odd.
Back when I used to take ice into class. I don’t anymore.. Too much work!
Meah catches a nap in Posture Clinic.
GROUP 16!!!!! Clearly the COOLEST kids in the whole place..
Going out with the girls. Jane, Me, Briah (Bree-Uh)
Our outing to Aca.. Renee, me, Briah.
Todd’s amazing artwork/dialogue.
Adorable Robert from Holland, teaching Toe Stand with this WHOLE BODY.
My drawer full of yoga duds..
Returned to my room after Boss’s lecture to find a cake from Dave on our Anniversary. I ate the WHOLE thing at 12:30 in the morning. SO GOOOOOD!!!!
Posture Clinic.. all day, every day..
Aye CARUMBA!! Mauricio, my boyfriend.. (eh, no.. not really).. But hey, he DOES smell pretty good 😉 Please note the tiger shorts. MUCHO CALIENTE!!!
Milling about in the yoga room before class starts.
A room full of tortoises.
I can’t believe I’m this happy before Camel. But yeah, I am. Today, end of week Five. Right before second set of Ustrasana.
My standing bow. Not bad, eh??
Triangle. Also, not bad..
Love your camel.
A little relaxing by the pool.
Spoiling myself just a bit while I study dialogue.
The Pyramid. One of the three buildings in the hotel. My room is in this tower. Home, for now.
October 11, 2008
WOW, week four is over. I am almost halfway! WOW.
I know I haven’t been writing much, or saying much, or *ahem* posting any pictures. Bear with me, it’s all good. I’ve always been really honest here on this blog. So, I am going to talk a little bit about how I’ve been feeling this week with true candor, well.. because I can.
Before I came here, I got SO much advice, information, insight, whatever.. about how this Training was going to be. I read so many blogs, heard so many stories about it. I was SO sure I knew how it was going to be. Well, as per usual it isn’t at all what I expected, or what I was told, really. OK, OK, maybe a little bit like what I expected. But overall, not really.
The truth is.. are you ready???? I am happy here. I know! That’s good huh? I feel so incredibly in my element. I have been a little afraid to say it. I’ve been worrying that if I say that, it will change. But, I don’t want to live in fear that this will or won’t change. I want to share it, so you guys know how I feel. I’m all good. I’m sore, exhausted, cranky, hot (duh), and homesick.. yes, I am. But 85% of the time (or more) I am happy here. I love it here. I love the classes, I love posture clinic, I love my friends. And at the risk of sounding truly annoying, I really really really love the yoga. I better, right? Ha.
The good thing about being happy is that no matter how horrible it gets, and it can get pretty bad at times, home base is good. I feel safe here, I feel healthy, I feel STRONG. My body is a machine. Even though they tell us we’re not supposed to necessarily focus on our practices improving during Training, mine is. I’ve been well and strong since Day One (save that nasty ear thing and a small cold), and have never left my mat. I have really done well with my dialogue and I feel good about going home to teach.
Oh, and I have an awesome roommate. I do. She rocks.
So, in my heightened state of bliss, I fall deeper and deeper in love with the yoga. I am getting it. I understand more every time I go into the room. Of course, I have my days when I want to tear my hair out, or rip off my clothes and run screaming, or just scream. I have those days, trust me. I have days when I sob and cry and miss my kids so badly it aches. I have long nights with movies in Hindi that I neither understand nor care to understand. I have days when those precious 3 or 4 hours of sleep just aren’t enough. Yeah, I have those. But, I signed up for this, on purpose. And no matter what, there’s always a weekend coming. And, the best part? At the end of this nine weeks, I will have a whole new life. I will be a teacher (or a teacher in the making, at least), and I will have my certificate. I’ll have crossed over that invisible chasm and have survived the Torture Chamber. I will be a completely different person.
For all of that, I am thankful and very happy. And, that is the truth.
October 8, 2008
Oh boy. It’s been a while. Truth? I wrote a huge, long “update” this weekend and decided not to publish it. Yeah, I know. It had pictures and everything. But alas, I did not publish it.
I’m doing fine. Many of you, whom I speak with regularly anyway already know most of what’s going on with me. You know my daily ups and downs. For those of you who are outside of that loop, rest assured I am just fine. The pace has picked up considerably in the last week, and blogging has kind of fallen to the side in my priorities.
There really is no way (for me, anyway) to really describve this experience. I’ve tried, many times, and my attempts always seem so feeble. I came to the conclusion last week that overall, this Training is impossible to understand unless you are actually here or have been here before. And yes, even despite my very eloquent writing skills, I feel like writing about it is a little empty. It’s beneficial, for many personal reasons and it certainly keeps all of you connected. But in general, I’m not very good at the chronicaling of this 9 weeks, that I initally set out to do. Which, to be honest, is just fine with me. I haven’t got the time to be that diligent.
So, on a practical note, we’re here in the middle of week four. Posture Clinics are rocking along and as I said before, the pace seems to have picked up quite a bit. I’m not comlaining one bit. As per the usual, the weekends are so restorative for me. This past weekend I got a cold, which I am still nursing. Seems we all have some kind of something we’re dealing with. I’m just glad it’s not in my stomach.
Classes are.. well, fine. Good and bad. You know, the same. Overall, I definitely feel stronger. You just never know going into that room what’s going to happen. The easiest thing to do is to just have no expectations and let it go.
I hope all of you are well. I’ll try to write more later this week. Namaste