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.

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To tell you the truth…

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.

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.

‘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

Eighteen

August 25, 2008

I have eighteen days left here before I leave for Training.  18.  Not so many days now.  I’m doing OK.  I have good days and bad days.  My practice has settled back into a normal (more sane) pattern.  I’m appreciating my days off quite a bit as I know they are limited, and in a few weeks will be nearly nonesistent.  But there I am again, I cannot live in the future.  I only have right now.

My dialogue is going well.  I’m nearly finished wth Triangle.  My goal all along has been to have the entire Standing Series memorized before I leave.  It looks like this will be easily done.  Finding time to study is challenging with the kids, and normal life, and praciticing.  But I have been working out some new ways of studying and as long as I give it a little time each day, it’s going along just fine.

I think I’m ready.  I believe I am.  I’ll begin the process of packing soon.  I have a little more on my list to do and get before I fly away, but the major preparations are behind me.  Now it’s the details, the small items.  I also will soon begin the process of saying goodbyes, having lunches one more time with friends, and preparing my sweet family for my absence.  It’s almost surreal how this has all unfolded for me.  Just six short weeks ago, I sat with Jen and Arnie and made up my mind over a Greek salad that I could do this.  That dinner feels like it happened decades ago.  I don’t even feel like the same person.  The transformation has already begun.

It’s happening, so fast.  I want to remember it.  Even days like this, sitting on my couch with my dialgoue beside me.  I hear the dishwasher running and the kids playing upstairs.  I am still here, but already there.  I want to remember how this felt so that when I come back, or even halfway through Training, I can still feel this feeling.  I want to remember it.  Even if it’s just a little.

Eighteen days will turn into sixteen, then ten, then five, then I’ll be gone.  I’ll be in Acapulco.  I’ll be in the huge yoga room with Bikram teaching me.  I’ll be listening and learning and missing and hoping and thinking.

I just want to remember, because yesterday and tomorrow can never feel like today.

Namaste.

I’m having a hard day. I have an edge that won’t ease.

Class this morning was equally wonderful and torturous for me. I had a great class last night where I worked really hard. Apparently all that hard work only served to make me extra sore. I told Sheila after class this morning that I didn’t “pull” at all during class. My spine was tight and sore again. All over again. Sore. I’m sick of it.

I’m also carrying the shared grief of a friend’s loss. It’s tough for me to express how I feel when I hear a dear friend is losing their mother. So suddenly life is taken. So sad, even from a distance.

I don’t mean to sound grumpy. But the truth is that I feel down and this is my place to talk about this crazy journey I am on, so there it is. I’m saddened, sore, and edgy. That’s the Karen you get today. I’ve been working on more planning for Teacher Training. I’m not sure I’m in the best place to do it, but it has to get done. It’s getting so close now that I am starting to really see it. In six weeks I’ll be in Acapulco, and no longer sitting here in the comfort of my home. Time is passing faster and faster. I’m starting to realize things like the fact that I will miss Eli’s birthday, Simon’s birthday, and my wedding anniversary while I am gone. Nine weeks is both forever and not time at all.

So that’s me. Sorry for the disjointed post. I’m in a weird place.

If you are so inclined, say a prayer for the Simon family. They could use it.

Namaste

Day 57: Unsettled

July 27, 2008

I’m sitting here at 11:30 pm totally unable to sleep. I didn’t intend to get up and write. But here I am. And maybe the blogging will help my mind to slow down and rest.

Today was great. I took regular class at 9:30 then took Advanced at noon. I feel great. My body is really showing up for me and I can’t believe I’ve come this far already. 68 Classes! Wow.

But as I get closer and closer to Training, I am finding it very hard to settle my mind. Especially during class. I am constantly thinking. Constantly thinking about Dialog, constantly thinking about Training, constantly thinking about being away, traveling, what I need to pack, managing my life away from my family for nine weeks. It’s maddening. Some days are harder than others. Some days it consumes my thoughts and my energy. A week or so ago I had a very hard night, where I felt the weight of all of it hit me at once. I’m a strong person, I’m determined, I’m stubborn, I know I can do this. But, man, it can eat my lunch from time to time.

Even tonight, I was laying in bed, with a particularly tricky chunk of Dialog running through my mind. I knew I wasn’t getting it, I knew something was missing. So my brain ran over and over it. Then I started thinking of how I have less than seven weeks to go, and well, it didn’t help the relaxing part. So maybe I should just vent it all out and be real and transparent and vulnerable here for all of you. Maybe that will somehow purge this vicious anxiety for me.

Going away is huge for me. I’ve never spent more than three days apart from my children, ever. I’ve never been apart from Dave since we’ve been married for more than five or six days. Nine weeks is a little bit longer than that. And I guess really, it’s not about the time. It’s not even really the distance. The thing that sets my mind reeling is the unknown. I know I am ready for this, I know I can do it. I know that. I know I can do the yoga, learn the Dialog, I know I can face my demons, but what else is there? The unknowns of Training are the scary part for me. I like to plan, to make lists, to keep things orderly. I like to know when, where, why, who, and how. Yes, I’m a control freak. I readily admit it. It’s part of what I believe makes me who I am. But it also challenges me. Because flying away to Acapulco for nine weeks with a slew of unknowns ahead doesn’t exactly lend itself to a controlling personality.

I can’t control what will happen while I am gone. I can’t control how people will respond to my absence. I can’t control the grief I will have over missing my family. I can’t control how my life will be managed by others for that time. I can’t control the if’s and when’s of being in class twice a day for nine weeks. I can’t control the uncontrollable.

What I can do is believe. I can believe in my support system. I can believe in the path I am on and the direction I am going. I can believe in my own abilities, the strength I have, and my own determination. I can trust that the preparations I responsibly make for my family will work themselves out over time. I can trust Dave. I can believe that things happen, in season, at the right time, when we are seeking them. I can believe in the yoga. I can believe in the process. I can trust myself, and never give up. I can do all of those things.

Tonight, I got up and came downstairs frustrated with my body. I wanted to control it, make it sleep so I can make it get up and make it go back to my mat. I wanted that control. But Michael reminded me, “Your body doesn’t want to sleep, so listen to it.” He’s right, and I have. But the root of the issue is that more than just listening, I need to let go; let things be unsettled and messy from time to time. Let it go, Ren. Get on the plane, go to Mexico, do the Training. Let things be as they will be.

Namaste