Week one down. it’s been a roller coaster ride of a week to say the least. So much to process in this process.

please excuse the lack of proper grammar and consistency in this post – as i said, lots to process.

Day one, Sunday, arrival day.

Nice flight, slept the whole, what is it from SFO to LAX, 45 minutes? Enough time to get up in the air and have a beverage and then get back down on the ground again.

Planned an early flight so i could go grocery shopping before the madness would begin.  met some people and walked to trader joes. never had been to trader joes. little put off by the plastic wrapped produce. bought my normal items – lots of healthy shit – fruits, veggies, chicken, high protein goodness. this detail will come into play later, promise.

Then, I met up with Erin, who was catching a flight out of LA. So amazing and appropriate that one of my bestest girls and college roomie was here on my first day of Bikram school. We sat in the Radisson lobby and shared a terrible and overpriced Ceasar salad until my room was ready. Got to show Erin my new digs for the next two months (slightly better than our first dorm room in Weinstein at NYU). And, she got to meet my new roommate, J. The cosmos – energy what have you works in crazy ways – bringing erin here to see the beginning of my journey after we’ve shared so many together. it was a true blessing to have her share the first moments with me.

Erin left and J and I got to know each other. We seem to share a very similar temperament – both of us lean toward introvert and appreciate personal time, TV, and FOOD (more on that later), yet are sociable and fun-loving. very excellent start.

That evening we had orientation – met the staff who are volunteering to take care of these 9 weeks. these folks are working as hard us, or harder. the amount of human kindness in this world is astounding sometimes. No Bikram – the man or yoga yet – not till Monday!

Day two, Monday, first posture clinic and evening class.

During afternoon posture clinic we are introduced to Bikram, who enters like a Hollywood star – announced, clapped for, wearing flashy clothing and bearing an entourage. Surreal moment that. First impression: he is everything they said he is: brash, dirty mouthed, NEVER PC, but also incredibly jovial and warm with sparkling eyes. one can tell immediately that he delights in life’s moments. tries to keep things from becoming boring. he is a living ontradiction.

First class taught by Bikram.

After nearly 4 years of committed yoga practice, I am a beginner. In other words, Boss handed me my ass. by party time (the water break after the warm up series) i must have lost a liter of sweat and was questioning the sanity behind my decision to to do this training. after the balancing series, i was hyperventilating (which i did not realize till later) and could barely make it through. i had to lie in savansana for the last third of the class. kept trying and failing to make it into the poses.

i was very humbled by the end of that class. i think most of us were. it was a struggle to make it out of the room. i had to crawl to the door literally. so weak. shit, what happened?

I honestly can’t remember if we had posture clinic following class. i don’t think we did. eek. yoga brain – total mush.

The next day.

Started with class with Rajashree – Bikram’s wife and yoga champion. her specialty is yoga therapy, and it comes through in her teaching style. she is like fresh cool breeze. doesn’t mean she won’t kill you. she makes you work hard – you’re just less aware of it because she is so soothing. i put myself in the front towards the middle. did every pose and felt great. until after lunch. . .

. . .then the nausea started – and did not stop for two days. i felt sick during class that night – left the yoga room because i thought i was going to vomit – and ran out of the night posture clinic twice thinking it was coming. and then it did. the staff and nurse could not have been nicer or more understanding. they sat with me on the bathroom floor, gave the warmest hugs, and let me cry. a lot. without judgement. they made me feel safe. did i mention how incredibly humbled i am by this process and how much i appreciate these people??

The next couple of days.

a blur of trying not to sit down before the floor series is finished (i did anyway), keeping my meals down (i did barely), keeping my tears in check (no dice), and staying still in savasana (sorta successful if you don’t count heaves from crying).

who taught? wednesday morning was rajashree again and bikram again in the evening. i spent most of the time on the floor trying not to feel like i was dying.

during the clinics, every single one of us (there are 403) must recite half moon pose in front of bikram. i have not gone yet. not because i do not know the dialogue (i could say it verbatim while puking if need be – and could possibly happen), but because people are eager beavers here. such a mad rush to get it done. it was like being in a line outside of . . .i don’t know . . . walmart on black friday. and i didn’t have the energy.

i actually am enjoying half moon recitations very much. i get to see everyone who is here, learn their names and places of origin and hear their deliveries of the posture filtered through each of their different life experiences. for example, there is a girl from germany who lives in britain so her accent is german with an english slant on the vowels. or the woman from singapore who now lives in australia and has a slight aussie intonation to her mandarin accent. it’s an incredibly international group. i’d say half of the trainees are from the US and half from other parts of the world. large contingents from australia, canada, japan. about a tenth of the group is men. having fun meeting so many different people and learning from them. loving it!

wednesday evening, i began to emerge from the nausea hell. eating steak and soup – basically anything very salty and fatty  – has saved me. all the food i initially bought is totally unappealing. i’ve had to buy food at the buffet provided for us by the hotel. at $11 per lb, i am already exceeding my projected food budget. i’ve bought gatorade from the water tent too. anything to get through at this point without feeling like shit is worth it. and it’s been working.

also, the insatiable hunger is crazy. i’m like a pregnant woman with weird cravings for foods i normally dislike (i hate gatorade and red meat is not my favorite. but now it’s give me STEAK and lemon lime gatorade all day!) – and sensitivity to smells (went to the bread aisle in the grocery store and thought i might puke). today is sunday and fruit and veggies are finally becoming palatable again. luckily i’d been drinking the shit outta some spicy hot V8s to get my recommended servings during the week. we have an In ‘n Out Burger up the street, and on friday afternoon (they gave us a break because Boss is in Cleveland) it was packed with our cohort. i inhaled a cheeseburger, fries, and chocolate shake. J put FOUR packets of salt on her fries. did i mention our love for fatty salt salt beefy yumminess? total craziness.

me: vomitory gollum with steak (AKA my preciousss) and sunken eyes

j and i went to run errands after eating that delightful lunch and felt like we were tripping. everything was giggly and surreal. kinda awesome. i have no idea who i am or what my body is capable of at this point. none. humble pie – totally consumed.

thursday morning class with emmy.

the 83 year old doyenne of bikram yoga. her practice will put you to shame. i get my first correction during standing bow pulling pose: “you are not listening to me at all. i said your hand should be up higher on your foot. you’re grabbing too close to your shin!” oh man, i’m scared shitless and totally contrite. so grateful for the correction though – it immediately made the posture easier and the expression fuller. i can’t believe i had been placing my hand incorrectly for all of these years! can’t wait to see where i can go in this posture now.

thursday evening with Boss

holy shit, unexpectedly great fucking class! totally energized for the next day.

friday morning class.

ulysses was amazing. he kicked our collective asses. my breathing came back. and everything felt good after. finally the yoga high! i hated him during the standing series. he forced us to do every posture – calling out people who were sitting down. i kept thinking what an ass, and then it clicked. somehow. my thoughts shut off and i was just doing it without stressing it. the only thing i could not do was second set of triangle when my quads contracted into an excruciating cramp. but i just kept going and by the floor series, i was in the zone as they say. amazing. totally inspired. “The only way is through,” as Ulysses kept telling us. No excuses, no shortcuts, just through the madness of these next 8 weeks.

friday evening class.

60+ year old vet, Jim Ambrogi, who teaches in the DC area was fun, fast, gave many of us our confidence back. didn’t have to sit out any postures. yes! and no evening clinic! double yes! with one more class to go on saturday, we were all giddy.

saturday morning class.

lisa from Los Vegas. another fast easy-breezy fun class. i like that she teaches about the significance of the form in yoga. for example, the reason why our palms are up in savasana is because we are giving and receiving from each other. beautiful. we chanted mantras at the end of class. and while i usually don’t appreciate that kind of thing, it was soothing and powerful at once.

after our last class of the week - MUCH better

i love that in each class i have been able to take some pearl from each teacher and add it to my yoga satchel. inspiring or practical – all are helpful.

until next week. . .

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