Hi guys! This week has been mad, here is a look at our schedule:
6am - Wake up and eat smoothie - bananas, milk, mexican vanilla protein powder
6:15 - 8am - try to go back to sleep. Woken up by roomate around 7am
8:30am - Morning class with alternating teacher
10:30am - finish class, lie on ground outside, go for swim, shower, go eat at buffet
12:30pm - lecture
4pm - get changed for evening class
5pm - evening class with bikram
7pm - class finished, lie on ground inside, shower, eat
9pm - lecture
1am - go back to room and sleep
This morning we woke up at 7am because on Saturdays the classes start at 8am as opposed to 8:30. I was so tired but I'm really getting used to that feeling so I basically stumbled out of bed and got ready for class. The tiredness here is so awful, sometimes I go to bed with my yoga stuff on just so it's less effort in the morning, and a lot of time I fall asleep on my yoga mat while waiting for class to begin. We got there really early this morning and people still had not filled up the lines so we got a great place!
Last week I thought it was best to go right at the back, that way if you need to lie down you can, and also you're further away from the eye of bikram. However, we soon learned that there are hot air vents running across the middle of the room. After the class gets underway, it heats up so much more from the body heat that the vents are just moving air and they actually feel a little cool, it really makes a huge difference. When you are in the back you get no ventilation at all and it can feel like you are just lying there trying to gasp for air.
Every week I need to dig deep and find another reason to stay. This week I have decided that I am here because I love yoga so much and it has enabled me to do so many things, including stay fit and have confidence. There are some times at home when I can't make it to the classes or I really struggle through class but ultimately I am grateful that there is something in my life that I can do for 2hrs every day or so and know that the rest of my day will be positively impacted by it. The pressure here is so intense that you need to constantly evaluate what you are doing here, a few people have quit already, fortunately I have been able to dig deeper and deeper into that question and always come up with a satisfactory answer so it means I am doing the right thing!
Tuesday: The morning class was pretty intense, we had Emmy again and she was leading us through all the postures in a very technical manner, ensuring that every muscle was aligned and that our bodies were doing the things they should be. We were a couple of postures away from ending the floor series and time was running over a little bit and by around 10am an older European gentleman named Stan started having some random outbursts regarding the time. People were generally upset at his lack of respect for the silence of the room and a few told him to be quiet, shutup etc. Suddenly he jumped up, grabbed his matt off the ground and started yelling 'class is finished! It's 90min class and it is done,! It's 10, no more class, you say 90 minutes...' etc, all while heading towards the back of the classroom and the exit doors.
Class can run over, and we have had up to 2/5hr classes so it was really disturbing and bewildering to a lot of people, who I'm sure have had similar thoughts but it's just not something you yell out when a teacher is leading you through the postures. The back of the yoga room is reserved for the the teachers who are helping out with the training. They do class along with us but stay back there to act as a buffer for people who try to leave the room and also to keep a general eye on us just in case anyone is injured or something happens. As Stan neared the back of the room, Dale, the head teacher, jumped up and tried to calm him down and steer him to the side of the door. Stan wasn't about to be placated and he violently pushed Dale out of the way while yelling 'fuck you! No - I am leaving and class is over!' He was yelling it over and over again at Dale and by then a bunch of the guys from the class had to jump up and surround him in case a fight broke out.
Eventually Stan made it out the door, followed by several of the teachers and that was that. The guys went back to their mats, Emmy told us to chill out and ignore what had just happened and class was completed about 15min later. Her only comment regarding the whole matter was 'now there is a man that really needs some yoga'. That didn't stop the gossip though and at lunch everyone was speculating about what had happened.
We went for our usual anatomy lecture and then we had the evening class with Bikram at 5pm. At the beginning of the class he explained to us that he had spent an hour reasoning with Stan but the guy had decided to leave. Bikram said he talked to him for a while and told him that the classes sometimes run over because the teachers are trying to help out the students and they would probably get shorter as the training wore on. Stand couldn't accept this and Bikram obviously thought something was weird because it was midway through the second week when he had the outburst, he should have been yelling in any of the numerous classes we had the first week when Bikram took over 2hrs while we were trapped in the room. After talking to him for a while he eventually found out that Stan was sexist and had a problem with Emmy breaking the rules and taking him over the 90min, with Bikram he was fine but he admitted he could not take orders from a woman. Pretty crazy stuff, and even Bikram said Stan would have benefited the most from staying and working out his issues in a non-judgemental environment but either way he is gone and is only one of the probably 6 or 7 who have already peaced out!
Emmy talked a bit before class about the guy having had a harder life than most of us who were younger hence he needed to work through more things so all was forgiven on her side. Bikram gave us a pep talk after class along the lines of how we should have been training like the green berets before we came and what did we think we were here for, to eat cheesecake??? Pretty inspirational hehehe!
The other crazy thing that happened was that once class got underway we were in the middle of the standing series doing Triangle pose, I had my left foot on my matt, my right foot firmly planted on my neighbors and was in the pose when suddenly I started swaying and my right foot was slipping out from under me. I thought 'the jerk next to me is pulling the matt over!' but it turned out to another earthquake! Between the Stan incident and Bikram yelling 'earthquake, earthquake!' in the middle of class, it was a pretty eventful day. It was not over yet either, as Bikram kept us up until 1am watching a movie about a king who ruled by being honest and strong. The movie was great but the staying up late was not and I wasn't happy getting up at 6am the next morning.
Wednesday: Hell day. I have been having stomach problems this week which have resulted in getting dehydrated. I was really struggling through the earthquake class on Tuesday night, no energy and muscles shaking when I was trying to do the postures. Wednesday I could not do anything in the morning class, I lay on my matt for about 1/2 the class hoping that somehow my strength would return by the evening class. After class I had to lay on the floor of my hotel room with a towel on my forehead, my head was just pounding and suddenly I realized - duh I am dehydrated! It's so hard because even though I have gotten the hang of drinking 5L, I really needed electrolytes and all the water and sweating was just washing out the nutrients my body needed. I started drinking pedialyte but the evening class was still no good, I lay on my back for most of it while Bikram yelled so it wasn't the best scene.
After drinking more pedialyte and feeling much better I just have to say: it's amazing what water can do. I haven't drank any caffeine the entire time here and we're averaging 6hrs of sleep a night, working out 4 hours a day and attending lectures and seminars, doing public speaking and the rest of it. Water and deep breathing is having a direct correlation on my energy levels here, even more than food or sleep and it is really showing my how important it is to your body. You know they say that you get hunger pains when you don't drink enough water, along with headaches, loss of concentration and muscle fatigue? All completely true and I am amazed by how powerful water is and the influence it has on our body. As an aside, I also have a completely new appreciation for ice. I don't normally need my drinks that cold but let me tell you, whoever invented ice is a miracle worker. I was dying, on my back in Monday's class when a girl offered me her water bottle which contained ice. I took a drink and immediately the icy cold goodness washed down my throat into my chest and down my stomach, I feel a path of coolness going through my body and I instantly calmed down. Amazing. I have bought a huge orange cooler water bottle from walmart that I wouldn't be caught dead with at home but will happy tote around here just because I can fit a bunch of ice in it!
Wednesday was another late night lecture from Bikram, all about what is yoga and how it came to be, very mystical and interesting. It wasn't a good day for me though because I was feeling really crap about not taking care of myself and not having enough energy for class. Seeing everyone else doing the postures while I was forced to lay on the ground sucked and I had to take a step back and reevaluate my practice. Yes I know how to do the postures mostly correctly, thanks to the wonderful teachers in Richmond. Yet like I told my friends before I left, I am not a yoga teacher yet. IE I don't have the hardcore body that they all dance around the room with and so I really need to push it and just start building and toning those muscles. It's gonna be a tough job but I will do it and we'll see where it gets me in a few weeks.
The up side is that I have really been working on controlling my breathing while I've had to lie for a bunch of postures in class. When you lie in savasana your mind instantly starts thinking of a million other things you would rather be doing than yoga and then your thoughts turn to panic and how much your body is hurting, how weird it feels and then you are just in a vicious cycle of internally complaining to yourself while simultaneously wanting to run for the door. The hardest pose is to hold still. I had a new mantra that seemed to work and it was have patience. They told us that before and it really made sense and worked for me, calmed me down and allowed things to happen in my body the way they should.
Thursday: A much better day. We had some really inspirational speakers which had an effect on the positive energy of my evening class. I was also feeling much better from the pedialyte. I also think I'm a bit of a weekend person and was feeling really positive at the prospect of week 2 almost being finished. We had another late night lecture but I'm starting to get used to a lack of sleep. I'm telling you all you need is a positive attitude, lots of hydration and correct breathing and you can feel awesome through anything.
Friday: Another good day, I was finally able to do both classes to my edge. We had more anatomy and lectures from Emmy on muscle and joint alignment in the poses, as well as a posture clinic where she showed us the correct way to do poses we were having problems with. I went up for half moon and she said mine was fine, I will be able to push down further as the weeks progress. After I went up on stage quite a few people told me good job, which was so nice! We were actually done at 11pm as Bikram has left town for a few days, which was a blessing and I got to go to sleep at the civilized hour of midnight!
Saturday: A great class, I am starting to master my mind and breathing and just committed to killing the class. I felt like I was asleep in half the postures but did every single one with tons of energy and actually smiled in most of them. Saturday morning class is even earlier than the morning classes in the week and could be seen as a hell class but today it was great, I was able to monitor my progress in all the poses and I was feeling flexible so I stretched all the tight parts of my body out, enjoying every second of it. They say that soon we will be in heaven in each pose, rather than dying and straining our muscles and when they say these things you don't believe them but I finally realized that once my body becomes a bit stronger the real yoga will begin.
We had a nice long lunch with a good group, went to walmart then studied for our anatomy test on Monday. ALL my friends went to a fab Mexican restaurant in town tonight but I am feeling a sore throat and cold coming on. I know I will not shut up if I got out for dinner and I can't afford to get sick or lose my voice since posture clinic really starts this week. It's late but I'm gonna chill and probably watch a movie. My knees, shoulder, back and neck muscles hurt and I am feeling really spaced out from meditating and taking in so much info over the week. People last weekend were experiencing the same spacey feeling, someone likened it to feeling high and someone else pointed out the Sanskrit word of cannabis means 'bliss' hehehe!
I miss you guys lots but I'm really getting immersed here so I'm finding it hard to write every day. If we got more sleep I would be fine but I might have to switch the updates to the weekend! We are also not supposed to be doing blogs since they don't want info about the course to get misappropriated in the public domain. I completely agree and respect their view but also I want to connect with you guys so I'll keep writing more about my personal journey than the course itself and also I don't have much negative to say about things here. It's the biggest challenge I've taken on and inconceivably hard at times but I am having the best time and loving (mostly!) every second of it.