Well this is week 4 and it has been TOUGH, the hardest week yet, that is for sure. And I thought week 3 was bad! I knew it would be a conglomeration of the previous 3 weeks; tough classes, struggling with the dialogue in the daytime and then staying up late with Bikram. What I didn't expect were the emotions! Emmy told us this program is designed to put just enough pressure on us so that we will release all of our old and negative emotions and she is right.
You don't go through this training without peeling off the layers of your personality like and onion until more than 300 people get to see the true you - vulnerable, nervous, sad, scared, childlike and beautiful. The weird thing is that I have been getting really good feedback on my dialogue, but every time I go up there I get so nervous and want to cry, thoughts are rushing through my head and I don't know if I will be able to perform. It's like I am back to being a little shy kid and have to relearn how to speak and stand up for myself - it is something you have to do and it's really tough, the fact that you can't get away with not doing it is even harder.
I have noticed at the end of class this week that when I lie in class in savasana you have to let your thoughts flow through your head and simply observe them. A lot of the time I hear 'yeah yeah yeah, this is awesome, it is so good, I am having so much fun, what a blast, pineapples! Woohoo I'm in Mexico etc' but sometimes weird thoughts cross your mind and it makes me wonder how I can get by in life with those thoughts stuck in there! Things like, reliving past mistakes, blaming myself for something that went wrong that was outside of my control, or just generally taking an incorrect negative view of a situation that happened previously. I was not aware I was carrying these thoughts in my head and like I said, it makes you wonder how you can function and concentrate in a day-to-day situation, with those kind of things going on in the background!
Luckily yoga is so amazing for becoming aware of those things are once you are aware of your weaknesses, they are yours and you have control of them. I have been carrying around a lot of guilt over leaving my job in the UK but have been able to come to new insights about why it positively was the right thing to do and as a result I am not carrying around that negative energy and I am feeling a lot lighter.
Today at breakfast I had another one of those moments. I was sitting at a beautiful table near the window in the restaurant called Veranda, having a nice breakfast and staring out at the beach and surf, talking to my roommate when I suddenly went quiet for a bit. I felt kind of down and I didn't know why but when Malvika asked me what was wrong I started crying!!! I was thinking about the dialogue and I realized I had a voice in my head saying 'you're not good enough' and it just made me so upset that I would say that to myself!!! I think it's something a lot of us do and learn to do when we are really young. I realized it's something I need to fight against and change my thought pattern to 'you can do it!!!!' (I can hear the Happy Gilmore guy saying it). It's hard since it's a thought pattern but if I am learning one thing it is that most things in life are hard and you just have to do them!
Speaking of hard work, that has definitely been the theme for this week. I started out on Monday feeling great but as is the case, I use all my energy up on Monday classes and just struggle to make it though the rest of the week. It's almost impossible to stockpile energy here by sleeping and resting up on the weekend, you are usually just able to replenish yourself from the energy you have put into the last week, you are THAT drained by the time you get to the end of class on Saturday morning. On Monday Bikram was back with us, he was really sick last week so we didn't have him teach class all week. Everyone greeted him enthusiastically with a round of applause as he strode into the room and he seemed happy to get down to business, telling us he heard no one had thrown up in class last week. His next sentence was 'we'll see how you do with me'.
He started the class and almost immediately people were dropping, people were running to the back to puke, and people were going outside because they couldn't stay in the room. It was bloody hot! He was getting extremely agitated, yelling that if we could not get through the postures and complete class with a smile on our face, none of us were going to graduate! I was scared to death and managed to perform most of the postures, but I was going slightly mental and by the time we finished the strenuous standing series and were on the floor in savasana, weird thoughts were going through my head. I was thinking 'I don't need to go anywhere, the cool outdoors in inside me, everything is inside me, everything I need is in here' in order to try to control my internal breathing, I alternated those thoughts with 'Vancouver is raining right now, I am so happy to be in burning heat, omg I am getting a nice tan, I'm on the beach, it's not hot it here, it's raining in Vancouver' in order to try to cool down my skin and body, which was on fire.
Truly nutty stuff but I was fighting the urge to throw my mat and towel at Bikram's podium and actually run through the glass at the back of the room to get outside where it was cooler. Finally camel pose came, where you have to lean right back and put your hands on your heels for a deep backbend. I remember thinking I had no idea how I was going to do this one because my energy and willpower had completely been exhausted. Suddenly Bikram yelled 'Stop, stop, everyone sit down on your mats.' It was a welcome break but what came next was not, he started ranting about how awful we were, 1/3 were puking in the back, 1/3 were outside and the other 1/3 were dying in our postures, he didn't care if we went back to our rooms, why were we even here???
Then he told us we made him not want to teach anymore, which is a lot coming from a yogi who's life has been dedicated by his guru to have to teach the world yoga... then he suddenly threw down his microphone and stormed out!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were stunned and some people tried to call him back, some tried down the camel pose but to no avail, he was gone and we were in a lot of trouble. They turned out the lights and we were forced to leave and get ready for lecture at 9pm.
When the time came for us to attend lecture, we sat like little mice in the hall, waiting for the wrath of Bikram! Luckily, he came in with a smile on his face. He always tells us that if there is a problem in life, we need to check with ourselves first to see if we are creating it and he had done the same thing. During the break he checked with the senior teachers, past graduates and the engineers who built the yoga room at the hotel and found that the conditions we were in were actually unbearable. The humidity had gotten higher since the spring teacher training because it is now rainy season and also there was not enough fresh air so we were all breathing carbon dioxide. He said he did not blame us and has gotten the man who built the room on the next plane to Acapulco to fix the room for us asap. It was a very noble move on his behalf and I won't forget that part of his character.
I also know that we were to blame a little bit. After a week of no Bikram I know I had slacked off a bit in my practice so I realized that he was going to a great length for us to fix the room, and we better go to a great length for him to work our asses off going forward. I think he kept us up until around 2am that night, he was talking and talking and talking and showing us movies. Everyone was falling asleep in the movies which made him even more mad. At around 1am he yelled at everyone to sit up in our seats with our spines straight and everyone who was on the floor in the back was getting woken up by the teachers. Finally at 2am when the last movie was over he turned around and asked 'did you enjoy your sleep?? I have been doing this for 50 years, not sleeping, you have no idea.' He sounded so mad and also sad, it just made me feel upset, like he had no faith in us at all.
The next morning our teacher for the class gave us a lecture about always trying hard but putting 110% in when Bikram was teaching. He also said that none of the senior teachers had ever seen Bikram storm out of a class and it was not just a show. That is a bit embarrassing! Either way, the message was that we need to pull up our socks.
That day I had Esther in my posture clinic! I was really nervous to do my dialogue in front of her so my first few words came out a bit jumbled but then I pulled off the rest of the pose and got good feedback! It is sooooooooo nice having her here, I am so honored to be learning from her and also just knowing she is there and seeing her smiling face reinforces that there is someone here pulling for me!
The rest of the week was a blur of late nights, 5 hrs of sleep, long hot yoga classes and long Bikram lectures. Suffice to say I could not move all day Saturday but I continue to get good feedback on my dialogues and also on Friday we got the night off! Bikram made us a deal that if no one sat down, puked or ran out of the room all class we wouldn't have lecture, and we did it! I think everyone was so scared that they would be the one to disappoint 300 people, but just pulling through and actually getting some much needed time to rest really gave us a morale boost and as I start this week things just keep getting better (more on that soon).