I wrote this post for a site that I have been contributing to called YogaBudo.  Please wander over there and see some of the other things I have been writing.

I took (yoga) class this afternoon at 12.  It was a great class, with one of my very favorite teachers.  I wasn’t sure how it would go seeing as how I’ve been fairly exhausted lately.  But Tuesdays are my day off and I was determined to get on the mat.  I slept better last night than I have in weeks and woke feeling more rested than I have in a very long time.  So, the noon class seemed like the best choice for me.  I was rested, dressed and ready.

I got to the studio, got my mat, water, towels and went in the room.

Hello heat, hello dizzy!!  Why am I so dizzy?  Only breathing?  Ha!  Wow, Roy looks so tan.  I need to go to Spain.  No NO NO Focus!!!  Half Moon, ahhhhhh.  I am the queen of the backbend.  I can do any backbend any time I want.  Oh wait, not the forward bend.  OUCH OUCH OUCH!!  Hamstrings, I hate you.  Warm up, Balance.  Kick out, hold it.  Lock the knee.  Why did I wear these shorts?  No no NO FOCUS!!!!  Touch it, touch it!!  Touch the forehead, now the top of the head.  Man, I used to not be able to do this.  I am super yogini.  I am the awesomest.  I love you Triangle, I hate you Triangle.. Toe stand.  Snap, crackle, pop. Right knee not cooperating.  Forget it.  Just do the posture, no don’t do the posture, where is my balance?  Change, sweat, water, breathe.  Mmmmm, water. Floor…

Spine, so stiff.  Not the queen of the backbend anymore.  Stupid Cobra pose.  More heat.  Why is it so hot?  Sweat sweat sweat.  Bow pose.  Balance on the hipbones?  Is she serious?  I wonder when LOST comes on again.  Oh look, water break.  Mmmmm  water.  oh.. maybe not.  No water, nasuea.  Ugh, I know better.  Almost there, can do it.  CAN DO IT.  I would marry you all over again, Camel.  I am super yogini..  WILL NOT skip Rabbit.  WILL NOT.  Ouch, neck is stiff.  Shoulders, so stiff.  Must do the posture.  Did it get hotter? Oh wait, I feel cool air.  Stretch, twist..  Breathe.  Water..  Done.

Focus, I ain’t got it.

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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.

Ritual and the unexpected.

October 1, 2008

Boss came back last night!  And oh how fun it was to see him again.

I have this little ritual in the morning.  I wake up around 5:45 or 6, go straight to the fridge and get my sea salt, take it, have a glass of water, wash out my laundry from the night before, hang it up, eat some breakfast, then I grab my laptop and head out in the hallway (where I am now) to check things online.  I do this in pretty much the same order every morning.  Sometimes I sleep a little late, if I’m very tired or if we’ve been up late the night before.  Sometimes I skip the laundry, but overall it’s the same.  Sameness, ritual, it keeps me slightly more sane.

I’ve been falling into a groove here in Acapulco.  I feel some days a bit like a gerbil in a maze, chasing the cracker.  Other days this groove feels safe and familiar.  Either way, this groove has become so familiar to me that I think I could almost do it without even being awake.  Almost.  But the one element of this pattern and ritual that I never can foresee is the yoga class.  Sure, I arrive to the room the same time each day.  I have my water, my mat, my ipod.  I grab my towels, walk down the same side of the steps, sign in, put my things away and set up.  I usually sit in the lobby and chat or listen to music, and get ready for my class.  But even in all of this pattern, with its sameness and its rhythm, the unknown still lies in those 90 or so minutes of class.  No matter how much the same I do things, the classes never are.

I’ve said before that I don’t think one can ever truly prepare for an experience like this.  You can’t really know what it will be like to be here until you are here.  This is all for a good reason.  I expressed to a friend last night that I feel like I’ve started over in my practice.  Sure I have in my body and in the muscle fibers all of the memory of the asanas.  Sure I have the built up strength of years of repeating this yoga over and over.  But the intensity of this Training, and the profundity of what it’s doing to my body make me feel like a brand new yogini.

Jim said last night in lecture, The only bad class you have is the one you don’t do.  But I am a labeler.  I can’t help it.  I say constantly, yeah that was a good/bad class.  Some days I say, yeah that was a great class or yeah that was a terrible class.  Why?  I guess in my flesh I want to quantify and qualify my experiences.  I long to grade myself and measure what I’m doing on some invisible scale.  It doesn’t even matter.  Whatever system I am using is flawed anyway.

So my goal is to just let the yoga be.  Let the ritual be what it will be, and let go.  90 percent is showing up, that’s what the teacher’s say.  And for the most part, that choice has already been made for me.  I show up without even trying most days.  It just happens.  So, the rest is easy right?  Well, not always.  But you know what I mean.

My practice became a ritual for me.  I built it into the fiber of my day, like washing my clothes or eating a meal.  But once I’m on the mat, all bets are off.  Those 90 minutes are unique each and every time.  And that’s how it should be.

Namaste

I’m here, doing this Training. So far, I’m enjoying it. Well, you know, mostly enjoying it. It’s got it’s ups and downs (have I said that before??). But there are things that I may never understand about being here. And it’s probably for the best. Maybe in six or ten or twelve months it will add up and make sense. Maybe not. Who knows?

This experience is so unique. I’m almost three weeks in, more or less, and I can’t even really explain it to anyone. I have come to the conclusion that it’s just something to let go. Explaining this journey to anyone who either has never walked it or never will is, well, a little maddening. I don’t mind answering questions, of course. I love to talk. I love to share, obviously, and writing is one of my outlets. But for me, I have started to become more reclusive in the things I’m sharing. I’ve given more vague answers than specific ones and I do it on purpose. I get the same questions over and over. What’s it like? How are the classes? What are you learning? How do you feel? My answers are generally the same. It’s challenging, but amazing. The classes are tough, but good. I am learning more than I can ever share here, and I feel awesome. But what people really want to know is far deeper than than. They want to know if I’m going crazy with homesickness, if the classes are killing me, and if my body is really holding up in this extreme situation. They want to know what I’m being indoctrinated with, and how different I will be when I come back to them in 7 weeks. I know, I know you all so well.

But the truth is, I may never even understand it all. I am trying. But it’s a little like being told a parable that you hold tightly to for years and years. Then, suddenly, one day that story becomes applicable. Light is shone on the truth of it, and you suddenly understand. I think a lot of yoga is like that. We are given nuggets of wisdom, truth, stories, parables, thoughts, ideas. If we are wise, and are paying attention, we store those things away for later use. That’s what this Training is. We are storing up truth, ideas, knowledge, and information that will enable us to go out and teach this yoga to others. I (we) don’t always celebrate this, of course. Why on earth is Boss keeping us up until 2 am watching a movie we don’t get? Why are we sitting here listening to lectures hour after hour? Why? Because we may never understand them. BUT, then again, one day we may. And I think just the glimpse of hope that one day we may is reason enough to listen.

Last night in Jim’s class I became incredibly angry. WHY is he holding this set of Cobra for so long? I am so FUCKING HOT, let me out!!!! I want to lay my head down. Ugh, doesn’t he get that? I can’t stand it when teachers hold us in this posture for so LONG. Oh and why is the heat so oppressive tonight? WHY? I hate this. Well, obviously I don’t hate it. Obviously I love it, or I wouldn’t be here, right? YES! Of course I love it. I came out of that cobra weeping, sobbing, and cursing the hot, soaked mat I was laying on. But five minutes later, as I did floor bow, I understood that long cobra. My warm spine bent easily and effortlessly. I held that posture with gratitude.  Later Jim went on to tell us a story about loyalty, and how it’s one of the hightest Spiritual attributes you can have.  Loyalty, huh?  You mean, like loyalty to this yoga?  Yeah, see?  I get that.

There’s a lot I may never understand here.  But what I know for sure is that it doesn’t matter.  I do the best I can, give what I have to give, and commit to learning it.  I may never understand even a fraction of what I am taught during this Training.  But it’s all stored inside of me, like precious jewels that I may one day need to pull out to save my life.  And for that, I am truly thankful.

Namaste.

‘Nuff said Mr Tu.  I promise I’ll stop pushing into my hands in Cobra.  And I’ll save you the very lame excuse I had made for myself after doing it in class today.  Doesn’t matter anyway, right?  Right.  Onwards.

Oh HI everyone *waves*!!!  How are you all?  Me?  I’m good, thanks.  Yes, yes, ONE MORE WEEK!!  It’s coming, fast.  I’m so ready to go!!  Of course, I still need to pack.  But hey, I have a while, right?  Right.

It’s been interesting for me lately on the mat.  I’ve had some really strong classes and some less-than-impressive ones too.  Today’s class was sublime torture of the highest form.  I loved it and hated it all at the same time.  Truly, truly a love/hate thing for me.  I was inches away from the two people I was sandwiched between this morning.  The room was PACKED.  I could literally feel the heat radiating off of my two mat buddies.

But the heat didn’t get me too badly today.  I was feeling pretty strong for most of class but had some surprisingly strong emotions. I thought I was doing OK until I laid down for Savasana and then the tears just poured out of my eyes.  Tu was talking about fears, and the floor being a safe place and I couldn’t keep it in.  I have no idea where it came from or what brought it up, but there it was.  The tears came and went until I was standing in the shower after class when I finally recovered.  I’ve cried plenty of time in class. Plenty.  It never bothers me, and often feels good to get it done.  Get it out, move on.  Today was like that.  Just letting whatever “it” was go.  Buhbye anxiety.  But usually I see it coming.  Not today.  Today it got me out of nowhere.

I’m getting a little sentimental about the next week.  Tomorrow will be my last Saturday class at BYTW for two months.  Next week will be many “lasts” as I get ready to go off to Mexico.  Sunday will be my last Advanced for a while…  You get the idea.  It’s bittersweet, really.  This is my home.  I will miss my hot little orange room.

I’ve had SO many dreams about Teacher Training.  Lately I’ve been having tons of dreams about the hot room in Acapulco.  I’ve been dreaming about class, what it will be like to practice in a literal sea of bodies.  It’s not anxiety as much as just energy.  I want to get in there, feel it, get myself in the room.  Make my peace with the size of it.  I know I will, and I’ll spend far more time in there than I probably will ever want to, but still I think about it.  I think about all the things I’m working through here, all the challenges I have now, and how those things will show up on my mat in Mexico.  Even the little things like cheating myself in a posture because I’m tired, falling out early, resting weight in my arms.  That ain’t gonna fly at Training.

But I let it all go.  No matter what I say or do now, no matter the ways I try to prepare or the dreams I have, it will be what it will be.  I’m wide open and ready.

Namaste

Day 69: So close!!!

August 8, 2008

Every time I take a class, I check off a class on my challenge sheet. It’s still hanging on the board there with the others that have long been abandoned. Mine has now been turned over and a new list is running down the back of all my extra classes. I am SO close. 11 more classes to go. Tonight I am posing the challenge to myself to finish this in the next five days. Can Ren do 11 classes in five days?? If I double every day between now and Wednesday, including Advanced on Sunday I can. I’ve always wanted to finish this Challenge this way. Hard to believe it’s finally here. I can do it. I know it.

I had a great class with Nada this afternoon – her last at BYTW (for now). I am very very sad to see her go. I have learned a lot from her and she’s so encouraging. One day, I’ll go to Sonoma and teach for her. This is the great circle of life. After class I went to Lululemon for a fun event. I got to hang out with my yoga friends and we were all dry and dressed in street clothes!! Miracle!!!

Anyway, tomorrow starts my Double Marathon. If you are so inclined, say a little prayer for my spine. I’ve never done more than three days of consecutive double classes. This will be a first for me. Good preparation for Training, though.

‘Nite

Well kiddies, I went back for a double tonight. It was a great great class. I struggled in Triangle a little, with my feet literally slipping out from under me. coughthecarpetwaswetfrombeingcleanedcough… Uhhh.. Not that it should matter. But they were really.. slipping… out from under me.

SO! Onwards and upwards!

Hi, my name is Karen, and I sweat like a MAN! And no, not just any man, a SWEATY MAN! Thanks, yes, I’ll stay away now. Woweeee did I sweat tonight. I don’t usually like to wax philosophical about sweat but OMGHOLYMOLY did it pour off of me tonight. See and here’s the thing, I actually like it. Yes, yes.. I do. I LIKE it. I like the way it feels to flush my body hardcore and when it’s over I feel brand new, my skin literally glowing. So I’ve had TWO very very sweaty classes today and I’m just way too happy about the amount of sweating I did, apparently.

Forgive me, I’m a little loopy. It’s late, I need to eat, and oh yeah I just might be high on yoga. Might be. Stay tuned.

Oh and the backbend. Well… I have to say, not as awesome as earlier today. But I did feel I could breathe deeper and stay longer. So, there’s progress.

I will see you party people tomorrow.

Namaste 😉