Losing it.

January 4, 2009

Well, it happened to me.  The New Teacher lost her Voice.

It happened about two weeks ago.  I really really really lost it right before Christmas.  I had not been feeling my best over the weekend, fighting off a nasty something or other, and a sore throat.  Well, I woke up at that particularly lovely hour of 4 am to greet my amazing 5:30 yogis and was SO hoarse.  My throat was sore, but I taught, then went back to teach 9:30.  Somwhere around 40 mnutes into class I didn’t know how on earth I was going to finish.  Thank the Gods above for the microphone.  I surived that one but was whispering as I left the studio.  It’s been nearly two weeks and though my voice is back, mostly, I still can’t sing..  at all.  And yes, I can usually sing.

Anyway.

I lost my voice.  I have gotten the lecture, so please..  I know.  I KNOW how to use my voice.  I’ve had plenty of voice lessons.  Diaphragm, I know, I know.  Really, I think I lost my voice because of whatever something or other I had.  Either way, it was gone.  And if there’s anything you can NOT do without a voice, it’s teach Bikram Yoga.

This too shall pass.

So, I’m fine, and I only missed two of my classes thanks to the Holiday time.  By the way, my Holiday was great and I hope yours was too.

So I think I’ve lost count of how many weeks I’ve been back from Teacher Training.  I’ve also lost count of how many classes I have taught.  Teaching is going so well.  I really love it, like, a lot.  I love love love love it.  Of course, it does not hurt that I have the best studio to teach in with the best fellow teachers and bosses (shameless plug)..   In all seriousness, I feel great about teaching.  I feel so supported at BYTW and feel like I’m learning as I teach, and that’s the point, right?

Every day is different when you teach.  Much like when you practice, you can never really tell how the class will go.  I’ve had some rough classes.  My worst on record, I believe, was a Friday 5:30 am’er where I was so sick by the middle of class I barely made it home.  That was no fun, but a learning experience.  I’m learning more than ever to take care of myself and respect my physical limits.  And yes, I do have some.  Teaching can be exhausting,  It’s hard to find the balance between teaching class and finding time to take class.  I’m still working it out, but mostly I get in the room as much as I can and not worry about the rest.  Some days, like today, after teaching a double back to back class, I just do not have it in me to take a class (let alone an Advanced Class).  So it is what it is.  I get plenty of yoga, and plenty of heat.  I still crave more yoga, as I always have.  Maybe that will never end.  But one day at at time, I make my way.

It’s a New Year, and I’m still a New Teacher.  I feel great, but still learning, and that’s why I’m here.

Namaste.

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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.

Midpoint ponderings.

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!

Namaste.

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.

Day 51: Introspection

July 21, 2008

I had a nice calm class this morning. Nice and hot, perfect. Sheila taught, she’s amazing.

A friend asked me today if I’ve been taking care of myself since I’ve been pounding out all this yoga. I told him I have been taking good care and that not only did I feel amazing, but I felt the best I’ve felt in ages. Also, that I was the healthiest I’ve ever been. This is so true. I’ve been through so many changes the past few months and weeks sometimes it’s hard to nail them all down. But the overall picture of what’s going on with me physically, emotionally, and mentally is unbelievable.

When I look back at all that I’ve done and all the changes I’ve made I am forced to give pause to believing that this is all me. I am not alone in this endeavor. Nor am I alone in facing the challenges that lie ahead for me in Training. Another dear sweet friend Chan said that there will surely come a day when all those hands supporting me now will be carrying me. And that it will be in those times that I feel the most love and support.

But even with all the support; even with the hands carrying me through this process, the Challenge, Training, even just the day to day; I am reminded of another friend who says to me regularly that ultimately I alone must still do the work. Only I can do it. Those hands, those friends, my family, all beautiful and wonderful. All are vital and supportive and amazing. But at the end of the day, it’s me and the mat. I have to go through this to get to the other side.

I don’t know for sure what will happen in the next few weeks as I get ready for Training. I don’t know what it will feel like to flesh out the rest of these last weeks at home. I don’t know what it will feel like to finish my 90 days. The only thing I know is that each day I wake up I am grateful, humbled, and amazed. This is the person I’ve always wanted to be. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Namaste.