My First Love

Hey everyone! It's been a long time since I've shared here. Much has changed and I have grown-duh.

Teaching has become a beautiful thing for me but some recent speed-bumps have gotten in the way of teaching Bikram Yoga so I am taking a break from it.  I continue to explore my purpose here in this body through yoga. Because it is my purpose.

Since I last wrote, I've completed a couple 30 day challenges. I've  sweat through my first advanced class (ouf). I grabbed my foot and rotated my shoulder in king pigeon pose which was a HUGE opening in body and mind that inspired a month of taking it easy for my aching back. I can hold handstands and am now experimenting with different shapes.

I also still wish that staring at pictures of flexible people would magically make me flexible too. While this may not be the case, I have embraced my strengths and embraced handstands in my home practice. I am currently experimenting with a newly found Ashtanga yoga practice.

I spent a couple of weeks last summer at Ashtanga Yoga research Center in Bali, Indonesia  with Radha and Prem. Here I learned the very basics... and I mean basics of the physical practice. We are talking Sun Salutation A and B (I was a sun salutation and Ashtanga Yoga virgin and as a result went with no expectations and learned so so much). I was also taught to other asanas. Here the postures were taught to me as I was ready to receive them.  I have also recently taken a teachers intensive with Manu Pattabhi Jois  with a blessing to share my knowledge and another Ashtanga intensive with Danny Paradise . This was a bit closer to home in Whistler, Canada. All of this exploration has been in an effort learn more about my first love-my body- and to to challenge myself to find yoga in a different situation.

My home and personal Ashtanga practice however is inconsistent but I am on day 3 of a 30 day personal challenge.  Whether it is for 10 minutes or an hour, every morning, I salute the sun. A great resource and inspsration for me has been Kino MacGregor. I enjoy her primary series DVD, and following her daily yoga- inspiration on instagram. All of these wanderings outside of the Bikram bubble has shown me that we are all talking about the same thing, same goal, yoga is universal in many lineages as long as you aim true, find a good teacher (best of all yourself), and be honest when your flowy yoga class is really just a distraction... or as boss says- just mental masturbation.

It is after all that hot sweltering day when nothing is going right when you can go within and find the peace within yourself. You get to where body and mind are one, you gaze inward to the universe to find space and truth.  Many types of yoga get you there.... .

Thanks for reading.


Chapter 2: Post Training

2.5 months since I graduated from training. 2.5 months since my body was vibrating at 2 classes per day. 2.5 months since I set the goal of minimum 3 classes per week. 2.5 months and I have taught 30 classes. 

Getting up to teach my first class is now a complete blur. HOW DID I GET it all out? Was that really 2.5 months ago? I don't know how to explain it.  Now, 30 classes later- I am starting to learn what it means to teach. I am seeing that when I teach, I bring my students into my own practice while encouraging them in their own. 

I am blessed with two mentors at my studio who have been teaching for 7+ years each. I am also blessed with a Fall 2011 grad to bounce my thoughts off of as we journey together down the teaching path. During each class, I am held accountable for being a teacher, being a person, living up to my full potential. Riding this wave is epic, sure there are low points too. Some classes you think you have nothing left to give. Some classes, teacher and student are fueling mutually until the frequency is high and joyful. I am no master, no way- but I am bright eyed and eager each class to see what the day and unique mix of people will bring. 

30 classes down and I am still nervous each time I walk into that room. Mostly it is nerves that I will let my students down, but that has not happened once. The best advice I have received is this, "give freely of your energy" after training you are so close to the source, you have so much in you, so don't hold back- you won't run out. I enjoy opening the studio, turning on the humidifiers, laying my towel on the podium, vacuuming the room- going through the motions of preparing this torture chamber of unlimited potential. 


Week 9

Week 9. I have been waiting to write this post because: I don't want it to be over, nothing I write seems authentic enough to capture the last week, and I am so nervous about teaching my first class that I am distracted.

The last week was extremely difficult because waking up and dragging my sore ass to yoga when I was so close to the end was brutal. The room was never hot enough to melt my sore joints and muscles. I saw the end coming and I wanted to rip that band-aid off! Pulling it off hair by hair and then reapplying it is not my style. The goodbyes to friends, the last classes, the looks of longing that we better make the most out of the time that we have- not for me. My friends in college had a name for me- Houdini. I disappear preferring to remember the times when time was not a constraint. In other words, I like to leave on my own terms.

Bikram's lectures during the last week were all-time amazing. I could not write fast enough even the common sense wisdom he spoke. It is good to be able to back up your claims about how this yoga heals. Boss's words the last week enable me to 'back that shit up'. The postures, oh the information and the encyclopedia of wisdom on the postures that is Bikram Choudhury- I was like a kid in a candy store. As people got up to ask questions, questions were either good or stupid- Bikram's words not mine.

I had been mulling over my question for a couple of days, debating on whether or not it would fit the bill. Luckily, someone else had the same idea and asked first. The question related to the importance of switching the grip during Pavanmuktasana. Bikram's answer was this, - Weird, weird question (stupid question), Do you know what I do when I am home? I get up on my bathroom counter and I get really close to the mirror with my black costume on (costume is Bikramspeak for your yoga shorts). I look in the mirror and I ask myself, "Am I weird?" and every time I get the same answer, the same answer is "Bikram you are the weirdest person I know."

So this is Bikram in a nutshell, it was an answer if you really think about it but don't think too hard. Stay out of your mind, it's a bad neighborhood.

Graduation and the final hurrah was amazing, but this is expected. My parents and my husband came to show support and I am so lucky to have them. My parents impression of Bikram was probably not ideal but hey, "Don't let anyone steal your peace" is what I remember. As I hear reports of first classes taught by my fellow trainees, I realize that when I give my mock class this Sunday I am not alone. I will see the faces of my group members with smiles in hopes that I am capable and it will go well.

My first class back home was not at my home studio. After flying in and a rough transition back to reality, I took a class in the city. I stood in the front and the teacher acknowledged my accomplishment. Class felt different, it was no longer just for me- I set an example and I could feel eyes on me. To that I say, yes I am capable of showing you how the posture is supposed to look and yes I have earned every inch of flexibility with sweat, tears, and a lot of muscle. No I am not bendy but yes I am precise. In the locker room after class, a woman came up to me and said she remembered me from when I was a regular. She said she had wanted to go to training but was worried about her age. At 52 she was preoccupied that it was too late or that she would stick out like a sore thumb. I realized that no one really talks about the demographic of teacher training. Ours was as follows based on my own observations and in no way is this official:

*About 1/4 men 3/4 women
*70% of women in 20s and 30s
*30% of women in 40s and 50s
*Most seasoned age 57 years old
*Youngest was below the age requirement
*Most lbs lost- 23lbs straight from the horses mouth
*Most lbs gaind- 23lbs straight from the horses mouth

I can tell you that never was my first though upon seeing a fellow trainee, He/She is old, he/she is too big, he/she shouldn't be here. NEVER- because it isn't about comparisons, it is about who you are. "Never to late, never too old, never to sick, to start from scratch and begin again."

Returning to my home studio is wonderful. Classes are almost more difficult than at teacher training. I have a few theories for this having to do with the amount of energy in the room, my nerves about teaching, and learning to deal with my new outlook on things. The mental aspect is after all the most beneficial part of the yoga to me. We have an amazing and close community and one of my fellow yogis told me that she completed a 30 day challenge in my absence. She said, that she didn't do it for herself she did it because she knew if I was doing two classes a day,then she could do one class per day. She was right and she did it! That simple event made all my training, sweat, and tears so much sweeter and all the more worth it.

I will teach a mock class on Sunday- so that is about a week after graduating. I will be on the schedule for next week to teach my first real class. I am beyond nervous, excited, and oh so ready.


Week 8

Week 8 FLEW by. It was marked by impossible morning classes and fiery evening classes. The morning classes are brutal for almost everyone. This is because we are all stiff and so close to the finish line. Pushing is hard for body and the mind ina morning class when you know it is only your first class of the day.

Since the heater was repaired and the power lines replaced in week 7, morning classes are colder. Occasionally the evening classes will warm up a bit but it is not the inferno I am used to here. Personally, I am discovering a connection between the food I eat and how my body reacts in class. When I cook for myself daily in the room, my body is your average run of the mill stiff but strong and sometimes flexible yogini, but when I eat out my joints feel like there is molasses in them. I am looking forward to testing my allergies for what exactly it is that makes this big difference. For anyone reading my blog who is coming to teacher training, I have included a grocery list for yours truly (below). I have not been too low on electrolytes or energy yet so I consider my diet a success. But remember that in the beginning I lost my appetite and ate much much less. However, I would never skip a meal, your body needs fuel even if it is just a little little bit. I like Bikram's mantra of 'The best food is no food' but that mantra is relative. My diet has absolutely changed in that I CRAVE healthy foods (the majority of the time). Again, these are not the foods that contribute to my stiffness but rather the foods that I can trust to nourish.

The majority of this week's lectures were given by Dr. Premsunder Das author of Yoga Pancea. He was very interesting but VERY hard to understand. He lectured on yoga therapy. The weekend rounded out to the International Hatha Yoga Championships.

I have changed inside out, bones to skin, fingertips to toes, here at training. I can see clearly and I have taken a very big step. The environment is so safe, your boundaries in view at all times. Every day is different and each day is a choice. Each class I am consistently kicking out in Standing Head to Knee on both legs for a minimum of 5 seconds, just like Bikram taught.

Grocery list: All items kept on hand pretty much at all times. The goal is to be prepared for any type of craving because you can't afford to not listen to your body here. My dad sent me an AMAZING care package with bars, nuts, and healthy munchies.
*Trader Joes canned soups (Split Pea, Black Bean, Lentil)
*Tempeh (cooked on George Foreman)
*Pre-washed salad
*Hemp Hearts
*Olive Oil
*Basalmic vinegar
*Blue Cheese
*Ginger Ale
*Juices with chia seeds
*Chocolate, cookies, candy
*Nuts- Thai lime and chili cashews,almonds,trail mix
*Hummus and Vegetable Chips (Trader Joe's brand for both)
*Oranges to put in water and eat immediately after class
*Granola+greek yogurt+grapes
*Dried Mangoes
*Whole Wheat pasta
*Organic Marinara with mushroom
*Parmesan Cheese good on salads, soups, and pasta
*MUNCHIES and lots of them

*Photography by Lisa Marie Johnson


Manic Me

3 important things happened today.

1.Bikram yelled at me during evening class, I was Ms. Black and White.

2.I held full expression of Standing Leg Head to knee for two seconds (Dandayamana-Janushirasana)- forehead to knee.

3. My elbows touched the floor in final Stretching Pose (Paschimotthanasana) for a couple of seconds.


Week 7

This week was a shit show. Monday and Tuesday rounded out our dialogue clinics. What I mean is, we have all successfully delivered all 26 postures of Bikram Yoga and passed... from now on, our posture clinics will be fewer and we will practice stringing postures together. This is an interesting endeavor because most of us have crammed all of the dialogue into our brains and going back in there to find it and sort it is arduous. Personally, I have come up with a schedule to review but am not following it. I realize that caffeine might be necessary to accomplish this.

Now for the shit show part of this dialogue (pun intended). We didn't have class on Monday night for Memorial Day, then after Tuesday morning class- the hot room was shut down until Friday night. Because of some fire code violations/inspections/whatever we missed 6 classes and people were pissed. I can only speak for myself here, but at first it was like spring break then after a day, it began to suck. Many people went to surrounding studios because when you take a break you loose momentum. We were all in it, in the grove, going daily, comfortable with the uncomfortable prescribed 2 per day classes, posture clinics, and lectures. People were cranky and I was ready to get back into that room and get my ass kicked. When you know how good it is possible to feel doing this yoga, life any other way isn't as good. We also didn't want to miss out on 'the process' which is what this 9 weeks is called here- 'the process'.

By Friday night, new power sources for the heaters were secured and let me be the first to tell you that they work. They work too well. Friday night we were also told that Saturday and Sunday would be make up days with two classes per day. If you miss a sign in for any of the daily lectures, classes, or posture clinics then you have to make up a class extra on Saturday in addition to the one that is mandatory at 8AM. Since I am going out of town next weekend, I was a part of Team Saturday, as it is called, this Saturday. That means I did 3, pause for effect, that's right 3 classes on Saturdays. I like to call it the triple threat. This means I had class at 8AM, 11AM, and 5PM.

By 5PM mid-class, I realized that I desperately needed some sugar. My intake that day was about 5 liters of water prior to class, a healthy well rounded meal about 1PM, some electrolyte pills, and an EmergenC in my water for evening class. I savored each sip of that drink but panicked for a second when I realized that I should have come prepared with a gatorade or coconut water. Having been in a situation about a year ago, I learned my lesson and very carefully walked the line in my 3rd class between feeling faint and week and participating in class. My goals for class 3 were to not leave the room and to be smart about how hard I pushed. With some additional sugar, I could have pushed harder but instead I am happy with the 1 set per each posture that I did with my fellow teachers that also did their first triple that Saturday. It was a huge accomplishment that I am so proud of. The night rounded out with a mexican dinner in Manhattan Beach with my fabulous Group 7.

Highlights from last week include a night out of dancing and late night ocean skinny dipping with my fellow yogis and friends and general feelings of awesomeness. I am on less medication than ever here, more comfortable with looking out for yours truly, and hanging on with the serious mood swings that come with un-peeling the layers here at Teacher Training. We have had some good lectures, some bad lectures, and some incoherent lectures by Rajasheree, Bikram,Dr. Sarkar, and Dr. Mani Bhaumik- physicist and Nobel Prize winner. He spoke to us about consciousness, the body, matter, and the Universe.


Week 6

Week 6. Something has happened to time here. My perception of it has changed, each moment in each moment is realized and it is flying by so fast. All who I surround myself with are on cloud 9, our bodies and minds running full with no need to slow down and no stop signs in sight. Hugs and smiles and words of encouragement float by like clouds everywhere. We are truly the 'yoga bubble'.

By now, I have mastered the art of living out of a hotel room with no kitchen. My kiwi roommate Helen and I are closer than ever and I am so happy to know her. My group 7 has become a second family and is proof that you can know someone intimately after just a few weeks- if you both show your true selves. This is a terrifying task but is so much of what the WHOLE 9 weeks here at Bikram Teacher Training is about.

My feedback over the posture clinics has not been as varied as some. Some of my group members have been asked to act out postures as ghost stories, Steve Irwin, Bon Qui Qui, a beggar on their knees. But in general, the most often given advice for me has been the following: project more, keep smiling, let it out and let your personality come through. The first time I received the feedback to 'let it out' was from a teacher from headquarters in LA and I cried. He was right, the advice hit home, but how do I just let go and do it, it is so hard. I work on this every posture clinic and in reality I work on this every moment. There are people here who came for self empowerment, to get over fears of public speaking, and some to actually become teachers. I came with the intention of 1.successful completion and 2. to be able to teach for the rest of my life. We are all starting to think about teaching our first classes. The thought is exciting and nerve racking. This yoga is inside of us we just have to let it out in order to share it with others.

Physically, I realize how lucky I am in this following aspect. (Knock on wood) my knees are fine. Other than appeasing my mind monsters, my arthritic knees were a primary reason to keep with Bikram Yoga. I am only 30 but regularly took pain medicine to control my aching knee. Snowboarding was not possible without high doses, I was resigned to the fact that one day before I was 50 I would inevitably need a knee replacement. I have not had ONE problem with my knees here. They don't ache except for a little stiffness when I get up from sitting for a while. I see others with ice packs on their knees, indications that they are peeling layers away and revealing old wounds. My knees are happier than ever and that is priceless. Bikram himself ruined one of his knees in a weightlifting accent when he was younger and as his knee was crushed he was told amputation was the answer. His guru and this yoga rebuilt his knee, through the compression and strength training that is incorporated in this Hatha Yoga of Bikram.

Pain. "Pain is the sensation of stretching"- Emmy Cleaves. Pain is in your brain, it is a signal. I see the light that without a little pain, there is no stretch. Sure it can be uncomfortable but if you are not injuring yourself and you are stretching the right way, is it really pain? Yesterday, 65 classes and 6 weeks in after 2.5 years of consistent Bikram Yoga practice, I saw the light. I saw what was possible and that hope is stronger than the fear. The hope that I will see it again with the next class. For the first time, after becoming angry and frustrated with my body built in the Sheffield Steel factory and after shaking at how angry I was I let go and let it hurt.. and do you know what? NOTHING happened, I didn't break! I was not even sore today. I was able to let go and truly feel a difference in how my body felt from when I walked into the hot room for an 8AM class versus when I left. I stood up straighter and walked out of there knowing truth.

***This is my home for whole wild ride.

"We are all the same teacher, we are all teaching the same thing." - Jake, teacher and staff here at BKTT

“Don’t allow your wounds to transform you into someone you are not.” Paulo Coelho


Week 5

Week 5 was tough. My willpower to actually try and finish classes in the hot room without sitting down was gone. We also picked up the pace in our posture clinics. It was not a bad week, it was just a tough week.

Posture Clinics: In posture clinics I have greatly improved. I reached the point where we were learning postures so quickly that I had my nerves kinda flew out the window, it was one of those situations where it was too stressful to get stressed out. As a result, I took one teacher's advice to heart and smiled. I started smiling when delivering postures and everything else kind of fell into place. Our progress in posture clinics as a whole is varied, you have your rockstars who were amazing at the beginning then start to fall (NOT FAIL) as they no longer have time to get that perfect dialogue prepared. People go up one week then down the next week then back up again. People make huge leaps in posture clinic and it is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced to watch someone change (gain confidence, loosen up, let it out) and blossom (like a flower petal blooming) right in front of your very eyes. I am someone who does not have much faith in humanity and this gives me hope. Nights when we have posture clinic usually end about 11:00 which is awesome.
br> As a result of all this time spent in posture clinics where we grow and change and become stronger, we become very close in a unique way to our group. As I said before there are about 20 people in a posture clinic group and two groups are paired at (semi)random so you deliver postures in front of 40 people. This is a picture of my posture clinic group. I love them all.

The Hot Room: We have had our first couple of classes with Rajashree and all of the rumors are true.. she really does kill you with kindness. Her voice is like a songbird. We usually have Bikram in the evenings and Emmy Cleaves on Thursday mornings. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there were 130+ teachers visiting for recertification which = a very hot and crowded room. All in all there were about 600 of us in there on Friday night and it was a class to go down in my record book. Bikram taught, it was beyond hot and humid, and class lasted about 2.5 hours, and I did not leave the room. Bikram gets up on the podium and tells stories while you are holding postures, people were carried out, people were passed out, and there was a steady stream of people leaving the room. I drank 3 litres of water and died a couple of times.

On Thursday night we were taught by Ashley (?last name) and she was hands down my favorite teacher yet. I trust her completely up on the podium first of all because her practice is amazing and I don't believe she would steer me wrong. She reminded us after every standing posture to 'lift our chest' and as a result my breath was less labored. She was one of those teachers who with her every word encouraged us to make our practice our own and to try the right way because it is so much more beautiful.

The Body: My body is holding up and I am finally seeing a glorious release in my right hamstring and hip flexor which have been SO tight from all the snowboarding. I feel strong and my core is powerful.

P.S. Thanks to everyone from training whose pictures I am borrowing.


Week 4

I realize that a yogi is just a man who has a great understanding of man.

Week 4 has been a chore. My body is holding up pretty well with the expected stiffness and slow deterioration of my practice (depth and flexibility-wise). This deterioration is experienced by many if not most trainees. Our bodes are STILL adjusting, settling then moving again, and as Emmy Cleaves our 86 year old senior teacher extrordinaire said, "This is the time for you to be your own artist and re-sculpt your body into what you want." We are all hot, sweaty, tired and moldable. This time also marks the end of Dr. Preddy's lectures and the Anatomy portion of Teacher Training. Our final exam is Monday. Bikram returns next week as we hit the halfway mark of our Training. We have done 40 Bikram classes in 25 days... HOLY HAMSTRINGS!

Week 4 is also when they start to crank up the heat. I am speaking for everyone when I say that it is freaking hot in there. You walk in and think, "No". But then you start with Pranayama breathing and remember that it is overwhelming only when you look at the big picture. If you focus on each moment and each posture, time begins to go by and you get into it. Staying in the room, trying not to sit out any part of the class, and survival are my priorities. I heard from a reliable source that the temp in the room one day was 134 degrees. This however was the measurement up on the podium which is elevated about 8 feet and hotter naturally.

Going deep into postures is not a priority for me. The postures that I push in are few and different every class... in fact it just kind of happens. It was explained to us this week that during our asanas we may experience 'Pratyahara'. This is a Niyama of yoga. I am not pretending to be an expert on the subject.. Bikram yoga is super straightforward and simple- this is the beauty of why it works.. but it is still yoga.

It is a name for the experience of when you are in a posture and you have no idea what posture you are doing, your just doing it. Now.. there is a fine line between being so hot that you are careless versus Pratyahara. I have experienced this sensation increasingly here at training when our minds are most connected with our body. Today, during Head to Knee with Stretching (Paschimotthanasana I think) I looked around and I was down there! My elbows were almost on the floor. I don't know how it happened, I don't know why today, I don't even know if it will happen again. My whole class had been about self-preservation and colorful fantasies of being immersed in cold water. I do know that I am grateful and hopeful that this is the beginning of a new kind of opening in my body.

Overall, my body is needing less food but I am not loosing weight either. My body tells me what it needs and I go fetch plain and simple. I look around see beautiful bodies and realize that I too must be one of them. Clean sweat that doesn't smell and tight bodies that are at their best. Bikram returns next week and shit is about to get cray cray. This pictures I posted today are first of the dialogue and palm trees at the pool, this is a fun place to study but only when you remember to wear sunscreen. Below is a picture of the van that take us to Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and laundry on the weekends.. this is how we roll!


A letter to my neighbor in the hot room

Dear Friend.
I see you suffering. I witness your struggle. Whatever it is inside I see your tears on the outside. I take out my heart and offer it to you. In my palm facing up here it is, take it, it's yours.


Week 3

This Week was filled with big days, it was a huge week. We have started the Anatomy portion of the training with Doctor Jim Preddy. Aside from being awesome, he was also a cheerleader at University. We get a crash course in all the major systems of the body with a few bits of anatomy specific to the postures. Each lecture is about 3-3.5 hours and in class demonstrations are fun. Bikram is gone for a couple of weeks while we learn our Anatomy (we will have a test) and get to the heart of our posture clinics. A posture clinic is where we learn to speak the 'dialogue' in front of people. It is scary, fun, exciting, terrifying.. it is where very real work takes place. Each person delivers a posture to experienced teachers and feedback and homework is given based on what aspect we need to work on. The aspects include delivery, personality, and letting the real us shine through because that is the key.

Before coming to training, I had memorized Ardha Chandrasana, Backward bending, and Pada Hastana. I have received feedback and am actively working on projecting and just letting it out. This is easier said than done when like everyone else, it is exciting to talk in front of people.. all eyes on you- judging you, rooting for you, pushing you to be your most authentic. Fears are faced, tears are shed, nerves are high but we are all in the same boat. This last aspect is what makes this process so beautiful and true.

Many come here to overcome personal problems, addictions, fears of public speaking. We all have something we want to overcome.. all of us beautiful people have something. The make-up is coming off as I look around at these yogis and teachers in the making. The highs are so high here and the lows don't keep you down long because you have 420+ people to catch you.

Physically, the endurance and heat are fine but meeting with Doctor Preddy revealed a tight right hip flexor and now my sciatica is having a tantrum as a result. The only way out of this is through. I ACTIVELY change my posture every moment of the day to correct this as my body opens up. After 30 years of standing one way it is a bitch to constantly readjust. All of this nerve sensitivity has forced me (unhappily and with tears) to listen to my body each and every moment of class. Your best in each moment is different every moment, every single moment you must be present. I thought that this yoga and this teacher training would simply make my body more efficient, functioning at is best, but I see now that it is me also that must actively pay a roll in this process.

I have finished week 3. This is 1/3 of the way done. I have completed 30 classes and I have not left the room yet.


Some say I am a dreamer but I'm not the only one.

Two nights ago I had a dream that I was writing on white notebook paper, the kind we used in school. I was writing one sentence very clearly. This was the sentence. This is all I remember about my dreams that night.


Week 2

This week has been defined by intentional willfullness and increased commitment to practice. These are hefty statements! I could also say that this week was defined by Jim Kallett (amazing Bikram studio owner and teacher in San Diego) and the cold that has landed me on the sick line once. I have so much to share so please bear with me.

Jim Kallet has held two days worth of afternoon lectures and I cannot get enough. His lectures sink in immediately and blow my mind. Answers to questions I have had since the beginning of my practice are unfolding. The reason that Jim as inspired this intentional willfulness in my practice and in my attitude is that he has answered and rounded out the story of Bikram yoga, reiterated what Bikram says but in words that are easier to understand, and quite simply as he put it, "the body doesn't lie." His lectures have inspired more trust in this yoga for me and the benefits that I have seen in my body and mind as proof that it is ok to let go and trust this process intentionally and willfully. Among the wisdom and passion for Bikram yoga, here are a few pieces that are important to share:
*Breathing always normal is according to the posture.
*This yoga is telling people the truth and that yes it is going to hurt.
*This yoga is like peeling an onion, the deeper you get the more layers you peel the more it hurts the more it stinks. We carry all emotions previous and present in our body this is a part of those layers.
*It is the stretching that makes you feel dizzy, overwhelmed, whatever- not the heat.
*When acute problems become chronic problems, it is time to work on it and push.
*A correction given by your teacher is a mantra.

Physically, week 2 has been huge. The physical is after all what Hatha yoga is. Ha (sun) and the (moon) using two energies stronger and weaker weaker and stronger- in yogic science, to heal and maintain the body. I am first and foremost stronger. My body builds muscle and shows it off very quickly. In addition we (all us Bikram Teacher Trainees) are taking two 90 minute classes per day in a yoga room heated to above body temperature. As a result, there is a lot of sweat and systematic working and sorting of all the internal organs which are as a result running so efficiently (another reason to make sure you are doing your postures the correct way). Therefore, overeating is not an option. Before I came here to LA for training, I could shove the food in if it was good. If I was full I could finish the plate. Here, my body just says no more I am full. What it does with the food I consume is sort it immediately and use it. I don't just feel this, I see it in how my body eliminates. There is a very strong mind body connection developing.

In the huge hot room where we practice our Hatha yoga, we are assigned to rows according to group number (group numbers assigned alphabetically) and these rows rotate so everyone has a chance to see their practice in the mirror. For the first time since arriving, I saw my practice (two weeks in) and wow. I need to eat something! My diet is very well balanced but I am not mentally and visually comfortable with how dramatic the change is. It may be healthy to be slim and my body may be very efficient but my eyes in that mirror cue my brain to think.. more food. Whether I am to trust my eyes or my stomach though, that is the battle. Trust is the answer there.
I was told to expect bloating from all of the increased water consumption (8Lites per day) but I have seen no such bloating in my own body, others to bloat but we are ALL different in biochemistry with the same functioning parts. This could be in part due to the fact that yours truly has a fucking cold. It is going around but I have not allowed it to get into my head space but it is very real. I have a little decreased strength in classes and a lot of snotty hasty nose blowing in between postures. This marks my increased commitment to practice. The commitment to trusting that the sweat will filter the cold, the postures will strengthen my immunity, and that no matter how bad I feel I will not feel bad and will practice.

“Watch your thoughts because they become your words.
Watch your words because they become your actions.
Watch your actions because they become your habits.
Watch your habits because they become your character.
Watch your character because it becomes your destiny.

-John Salvatore
For a bio on Jim Kallett, click here.



The posture is not the object, your body is. These words single-handedly changed my practice forever. I am on week 2 day 3 (class 16) of Bikram Teacher Training and so far it has become routine for a visiting teacher, usually a studio owner from anywhere in the world, to teach a morning class (8:30AM). Some coax us into the day with sugar and honey in their dialogue and some drill us hard like our teacher this morning who was pregnant and on the podium. She spoke these words that maybe I have heard before but today I really listened and applied. When I concentrate on this pearl of wisdom, my postures are deeper and there is less fighting the posture as I am not eagerly awaiting the transition to the next. It is after all about your body and not the posture.

Bikram likes to teach the evening classes(5:00PM) which usually works well for me because my evening classes are stronger and he often holds postures for longer and the class will stay in the posture until the person he is yelling at gets his correction. As far as the yelling goes, there is a lot of it. There is a lot of swearing and some really funny choice words that come out of his mouth.. but when it is hot strong language gets attention and works. For example, my foot will alway be on my pussy during Head to Knee with stretching pose, I will never forget to make sure it is on my pussy. With that said, Bikram cares so much for us. He wants us to do our best he wants us to push beyond our own hurdles and be regardless of his language (which I actually enjoy).
*Illustration of the Mahabarata by Mukesh Singh