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this is the thought’s been running through my head for the past week. so now i’m trying to take advantage of every moment here. i voluntarily stayed up after watching the 3 hour Bollywood movie – that ended at 2:30AM – to hang out with Boss. on saturday (yesterday), i took the “team saturday” class (the makeup for those who miss or are late for regular classes) for fun!

sick i know.

but even before coming to training, i was a yoga geek. as my beleaguered friends and family will attest, it’s my favorite topic of conversation –  and activity. to spend these 9 weeks with nearly 400 like-minded people is a dream come true.

we are riding a wave, as one of the teachers here explained (can’t remember who said it). and the peaks and troughs of the process are intense and fulfilling – the peaks because you feel superhuman and the troughs because you learn how to continue on until arriving at the next peak. same happens in every day life, just here each is heightened and condensed. personal growth on steroids.

also, i’ve never been around so many folks with smiling happy faces in my life. everyone around me is glowing.

it will be hard to leave this beautiful, loving and super supportive group of people. but it will end. and i will continue. daily practice and teaching(!) and being with my real-life loves will ease the way. now i must try to help other people to glow.

week six

it’s all going by so quickly. i don’t even know where to begin. hmm. . . . i came back to my room on tuesday to a surprise care package from Bikram Yoga in the Mission – my home studio! i was incredibly touched that they put together such a thoughtful gift full of goodies and a beautiful card signed by my yogi friends and soon-to-be colleagues. lovely way to lift my spirits. continually grateful for my yoga family! oh, and they included a Bikram Yoga in the Mission tee shirt, which i kept meaning to buy for myself before leaving for training and never got around to. i’ve been rocking the tee nonstop, representing Mission Yoga, remembering the good vibes from home, and getting loads of compliments on it in the process. super cool.

another great surprise from home was Liza coming to visit training. Liza manages the mission studio and completed teacher training in LA this past spring. she rules! i swear, her smile lights up everything within five miles of where she stands. such fun to chat with her about our experiences at training. her presence was a giant hug from home.

classes have been great – i’m getting more flexible despite my hamstring injury. my practice is improving, which is contrary to what many people here have expressed. i feel awesome. bikram taught a crazy hot class on monday, which was carnage yet super fulfilling. i moved to the left side of the room. the first half of training was spent on the right side. next move is to the middle. gotta get at least a week’s worth of classes in front of the podium. i’ve not been slacking in the least. i’m just nervous to be called out by boss for doing something incorrectly or for my general appearance. stop being chicken shit. i will get over there!

also, i’ve stopped drinking so much water during class – now just during party time, first savasana, and supta vajrasana. will continue to cut back.

one of my favorite classes of all training was taught on Tuesday (?) evening by Pubali, who i believe is Bikram’s niece, from Bikram Yoga Manchester, NH. Love LOVE her! her beautiful voice + clear instruction + her rockin sense of humor = totally fucking awesome class!

posture clinics continued to go really well for me. Pubali was our lead for one of my best days – a day we were in the lecture room. being in the lecture room is kind of a big deal. you get to use the mic, you’re on stage, and Michon (lead staff member and BY teacher) is throwing all sorts of distractions your way while you try to deliver the dialogue unsullied. my distractions were having to close the curtains during the posture set up as well as dealing with various vocalizations from Michon on the other mic oh and i figured out to take the mic away from my face when he kept messing with my volume. i consider this one of my stronger deliveries because i was able to go nearly verbatim despite the distractions. need to better learn how to use a mic though. i have a loud voice naturally. fun times!

oh yeah, we had the fascia guy lecture. it wasn’t as fascianating (sorry, couldn’t resist) as it could have been. i wish he took fewer questions so he could talk more about the work he does. i felt like he was withholding info so we would buy his book. oh well.

week seven

best week yet! super strong (and by strong i mean flexy bendy) yoga classes, end of posture clinics, and the funnest halloween dance party!

posture clinic - group 15!

halloween party recap: Monday night, post-class a bunch of costumed and hungry yogis file into the lecture hall-cum-dance club – outfitted with a disco ball, spotlights, and smoke machine. to the right is all the soda 400 people could possibly drink and all the way in the back is the pizza. i am dressed as an elf, which means i spent 5 bucks to buy stick on ears – and then put on a dress. michon’s djing, jessica’s pouring the drinks (soft) and eddie and erik are making sure we don’t hurt each other while negotiating with the other 400 fellow trainees trying to get slices into their faces ASAP. i ate three pieces and drank a keg cup of orange soda! i haven’t touched orange soda since 5th grade! it was delicious! i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, we’re going through some weird shit.

cut to sugar-high yogis dancing our collective asses OFF! so much fun! so much! shiniest happiest people i’ve ever seen. at least sober. i danced my pants off till midnight with a dozen or so trainees and the staff. could have kept going, but i was afraid i’d turn into a pumpkin. we did after all have class the next day at 8:30AM. lost my voice. still joyful thinking about how fun it was!

shiny happy people!

lovely aury!

pals!

posture clinics ended on thursday of this week. i delivered final spinal (spine twisting posture) on wednesday night. this is by far the most difficult moment for me throughout training. worse than the puking and nausea. worse than gollum face.

i have had nearly verbatim and well-paced deliveries since the the very first one. and i know spine twist dialogue. i have it. i can recite it now if called upon. but something happened. maybe i subconsciously sabotaged myself, i don’t know, but when i got up there, i could not get the words to come out. during the first pause – there were several – i began laughing and said, “this is ironic.” because it was. this happens to most people in the beginning of clinics and then they improve over the course of the process. for me, the last posture was my worst. i still don’t understand what happened. i told will, “i feel like bill buckner, and the red sox is my ego.” that’s the only way to describe the utter letdown and disappointment. you come so far and then fuck it all up at the end. and there’s no way to redeem myself because this is the final posture. i somehow got the dialogue out, albeit haltingly. had to ask my groupmates because i couldn’t remember anything from my time up there. once my feedback was given, i started sobbing. my dear friend A rushed me with a hug, and i melted. she has been my inspiration through this training. she speaks no english yet she can recite the english dialogue verbatim and with panache! amazing girl. then my whole group gave me a hug. so grateful for them! it was so hard to maintain my dignity and not continue sobbing. blessedly the clinic ended 5 minutes later. that morning i woke at 6am repeatedly reciting final spinal to myself. ugh. the next day i was not much better. luckily group members let me talk it out with them so i could begin to let it go. it still haunts me a bit, but not nearly as strongly. i will let go. it is only my ego.

eddie’s class that next morning also helped. eddie is a staff member here and it was his birthday so he got to teach thursday morning class – yay! you see his smile and you can’t help but warm up. i know, i know, another smile description. i tell you people, you gotta get this yoga in your life! change your life!

eddie as anatomy!

i left class feeling way better and continued to improve as the day went on.

feeling good feeling great. happy to start week 8!

PS: my life includes many exclamation points now. get over it!

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. . . it’s the end of week five!

holy shit. apologies – i’ve been a terrible blogger. i do have an excuse for last weekend – my parents came all the way to LA from Massachusetts as a birthday surprise!!

fam fam

i’m 30 now, by the by.  and Will was here (not a surprise).

manhattan beach pier with will

We celebrated my birthday all weekend by eating tons of delicious food and going to the beach. and i showed them around the yoga bubble. i have to admit it felt pretty weird to have my real life intersect with my bikram yoga life. the initial surprise of my parents arrival and trying to reconcile these worlds sent me into shock and then a full-on panic attack, the only remedy for which seemed to be handfuls of chocolate-covered espresso beans. i continually stuffed them into my face until the panic subsided. it was a strange reaction. whew. once i overcame the shock, we had a fabulous weekend together. i miss my loves.

the anxiety attack was to be a harbinger of the emotional roller coaster of a week to come. but let me start with week 3.

week 3 AKA welcome to full speed ahead

this week marked the beginning of posture clinics. we were broken into groups of 20 organized by last name – shout out to group 15! – to practice delivering the Bikram Yoga dialogue. did i mention already that we have to memorize more than 40 pages verbatim? yup. now we’re actually reciting it and getting critiqued. luckily, the owners of my home studio (mission yoga!) recommended i learn the dialogue for as many postures as possible before training even started. so freaking glad i took that piece of advice! while most people were studying late into the night, i was able to watch tv or study even further ahead. i’m also pretty damn grateful for my natural ability to memorize. thanks brain.

as for the critiques, all my feedback has been positive! woohoo! i’m getting confident in my delivery, having fun playing with my voice – using inflection, getting loud, being a bit silly. basically, i’m trying to figure out how best to motivate my future students using only my voice for 90 long minutes in the hot ass torture chamber that is the Bikram yoga room. Also fun, seeing the progress of my fellow group members. taking criticism and coming back stronger.

they are so strong… we are all so strong!

this is the week we started anatomy with dr. jim preddy. he is the man! he is hilarious. so funny, he can keep a roomful of sleep-deprived yogis awake during nighttime lectures (though i did doze once or twice. sorry dr. p).  he also answered my question about night sweats. lots of us were waking up drenched in sweat in the middle of the night. now this had happened to me during my regular practice, so i thought something was wrong with me. in fact, our bodies release hormones to condense our urine so that we sweat more during class (our bodies’ futile attempts to cool us down). our bodies may continue to secrete these hormone at night and the result is night sweats. it was pretty funny to hear the collective, “ohhhhhhh,” in the room once the explanation was given. we are going through some shit.

week 4 AKA the week that nearly never existed

it flew by. posture clinics were fantastic. my “homework” was to help others who were struggling. i began to prefer clinic to class, especially since i tore my hamstring at its attachment site. again. on the other side. so annoyed. had many strong morning classes, surprisingly. dreaded evening classes, but made it through. bikram was back in town, but didn’t teach any classes. and i can’t remember if he lectured that week. oh, we did watch a movie till 3AM. i managed to stay awake for the whole thing, cry a little for the characters, and get up and have a wonderful morning class with emmy.

i finally got up the courage to ask emmy a question about my grips during certain postures. she stays after class answering questions. many of us sit at her feet and listen as she gives corrections. she is a treasure. we are learning so much from her. she looked at my grip and confirmed that i should be separating my thumbs to get my wrists straight. now my practice is slightly different and i am using my quads more than my hands in standing separate head to knee. woohoo – on my way to the advanced expression of this posture.

week 5 AKA welcome to puberty . . . again

i turned 30 on monday, and had a lovely day. received so many great birthday wishes from friends and family. my roommate J got me a delish cupcake and made my day with a beautiful card. She also went crazy and gave me yoga shorts! thanks girl!

so sorry that i have not thanked everyone yet. i shouldn’t even be writing on this thing now – i should be studying my dialogue, dialogue, dialogue! but i am thinking of you and am so grateful!

with the twice daily classes, the late nights with boss, and the pressure to deliver awesome dialogue, we are getting a little raw. this was a week of uncontrollable giggles, visceral bursts of tears, and lots of rumors (which i won’t get into here). many of us entered what feels like a second adolescence. my teacher from home, Julia, gave me the heads up on this phenomenon, but i still wasn’t prepared. it is pretty, pretty, pretty amazing to feel this crazy youthful passion again. loving all the ups and even the downs. not loving the acne and weight gain, but hey, it is only temporary. the rest of it is really fun since now i’m 30 and i know myself much better.

boss is back. he taught three amazing classes (tuesday-thursday nights). we had a few nights during which he kept us up till all hours watching mahabharat, a renowned tv show out of India based on the teachings of Lord Krishna. as my friend and spring trainee, danielle says, it has the “best special effects ever created for the small screen.” she did not make mention of the longest mourning scene of all time however. on thursday night, i dozed off a bit to women crying over the death of loved ones (it was 2AM). when i woke up about 15 minutes later, the women in the scene were STILL crying.

back to class with boss. whatever you think of bikram – he can be at once infuriating and infinitely lovable – he will teach his ass off and hand you your own in the process. and if you’re me, you will love every moment of it. he makes you work hard even if you don’t want to or think you’re incapable. the heat is back and so is the struggle, but it doesn’t feel so hard when he is on the podium. and on thursday night i had a breakthrough in final stretching (despite my injury) – i touched my goddamned forehead to my goddamned feet. it was unreal!

also a thrill, watching my friend S get up on the podium with boss, while he he coached her into full camel. then he stood on her hips! it was awesome. this event triggered the (first) visceral burst of tears. beautiful. S’s practice is gorgeous.

the second round of tears came during jim’s class on friday night. it was carnage, this class. it was one of those when we started pranayama, i thought, “oh shit, i’m fucked.” and even though i felt dizzy to the point of collapse during balancing series, i managed to pull through and have a strong floor series. as soon as we finished breathing, the tears came. no direct cause, they came from my guts. people were carried out, puked, fainted, etc., but i never left the room and did almost every posture. it was an otherworldy experience. the week was capped off with a lovingly taught class from balwan, another staff member here.

last night i went to dinner with some great ladies. we had a LOT of laughs, continuing the adolescent-like jag. it was fantastic.

thai dinner - in the elephant (not me)

ok, it’s study time again. until next time.

Caveat: grammar is not a concern here. forgive me.

After a strong close to week one, i was tempted to take a class last sunday. and again today (it being sunday), i miss the yoga. crazy, i know, but it feels weird now not to stretch my body every day. While last week was defined by extremes, this week my practice felt great! this is not to say that is wasn’t a struggle to shut off my mind and just do the yoga. now that the nausea is gone (knock on wood), i can get into every posture if i let myself.

developed a crutch to help me beat the heat: ICE water. i have two liter bottles for class filled  to the brim. during the standing series, i try only to drink during the designated “party time” following the warm up series and before triangle pose. once we hit the floor series, though it’s a free for all. drinking water in-between every pose.

it’s purely accidental when some of the cold stuff dribbles down my face and onto my body before camel pose. i most definitely wasn’t trying to cool myself down that way. nope. no way, no how.

it’s enabling me to quiet my mind enough to get through. . .  for now. As Yogananda said, “the human mind is like a drunken monkey stung by a bee,” and it can most definitely work to detriment as many of us are finding. monkey mind is very crafty! i WILL lose this crutch and any others i may develop.

My new best friend - icee nicee

Michon, one of the staff members here and a teacher, told the story of having watched a baby zebra, attacked by a lion the day previous and still with a bloody shank, eating grass paying no mind to the wound nor acting fearful of a potential future attack. the past is past and all that made the reality for that zebra was eating the grass. get it? it’s a metaphor for what me and my fellow trainees must do to get through. we need to eat the fucking grass. be present dammit!

monday, tuesday, and wednesday – the classes were CRAZY hot. insanity peppers hot. one of the ventilating fans died, and so did most of us. i surprisingly had some of my strongest classes. i never left the room!! amazed myself.

Monday

Tum Tum, a descendant of Bishnu Ghosh (Bikram’s guru), taught AM, Boss taught PM. Felt i was flying after each.

Tuesday

Rajashree taught AM – her last class before leaving for India for several weeks to attend the Pune Festival.  Boss taught PM. this was the most intensely hot classes yet and Boss got sick and had to leave the room. not due to the heat, but from a bug he picked up as we later found out. we’re all hoping we don’t get it! Eric, staff member from Sweden, finished off the class in his stead.

Wednesday

Happy Rosh Hashanah! Polly from Headquarters taught AM and left us with an image to help us get through the next 7 weeks. we are to imagine ourselves floating in a pool of cool water during savasana. i couldn’t help but think of my sitto (grandmother) and how she would float vertically (!) in my uncle’s pool and i would struggle to float on my back because i could never relax enough. such an appropriate lesson to remember. i need to relax my mind and let my body do the work. during that class i began meditating on my sitto and guidu (grandfather), concentrating on feeling their spirits with me, helping me to relax and support me in the poses. i’m not a spiritual person, in fact i push that side down again and again. one: because i’m a skeptic, two: because spirituality has become so tangled up in religion and fanaticism. now i’m letting it come through and it feels good. i feel safe with them – even if their spirits only exist in my mind, it’s enough.

Marlon from Colorado taught PM class. She insisted the door stay open, for which we all cheered. after five poorly ventilated classes, this was a refreshing treat i was willing to embrace. it was a fab class – went full out in every pose – major confidence boost. oh yeah, i remember being “good” at this once before a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.

Thursday

AM class taught by Emmy – i was a wee bit scared after last week’s correction and because boss kept us up till 3AM watching Jodhaa Akbar (great flick, btw, wish i could have stayed awake during the last hour of it), but it ended up being an excellent class. sometimes a tired mind means, body can do more. PM class with Jim who is the lead instructor here. “did well, didn’t die,” is what i wrote in my notebook following that class. they are beginning to run together.

Friday 

Carolyn Beshara taught AM. I had taken a master class  and posture clinic with her before so i knew what to expect. Great class, good ventilation. She is a cool lady. Lead us through a color meditation at the end of class. Left refreshed.

Jakob from New York taught PM. He ruled! High energy, funny. Choice quote: “Its Party Time! It’s a Bikram Party-where you get 1/2 naked and drink water for 30 seconds.”  With one more class on Saturday, we were psyched to learn PM lecture was canceled – Boss was off to Tokyo – and we could rest! J and I went to Indian with another great gal from training.

Saturday

Jim taught class again in place of Michon who was sick. Strong performance – he gave me a correction on my grip during bow. that’s two now, the first from emmy for standing bow and now for floor bow. this time i just felt grateful for the correction and opportunity to try the right way in second set. so much easier with these new grips!!

week one was all about food and drink and bodily functions. this week AKA the week of puffy faces (water retention from all the lovely salty fattiness consumed in week one) people are starting to test the boundaries of this process, seeing what they can get away with and becoming irritable when there is push back. very curious. i’m enjoy the structure of the days. when i have too much free time i get a slightly anxious – not sure what to do with myself.  though today was an exception.

room with a view . . . of LAX

view part 2

started the day with what is becoming a sunday morning ritual – a wonderful conversation with my new friend M over tea about the week’s events with some philosophy thrown in. then i headed to manhattan beach, meeting up with some fabulous fellow trainees on the shuttle bus there. we got lunch (shrimp taco for me), swam in the ocean, sun bathed, talked about this whole thing we’re doing, practiced some dialogue, played yoga, and then left to get ice cream (strawberry with chocolate sprinkles). it was a glorious day. not sure how i will adjust back to real life. . . 7 weeks to go!

This experience is amazing. Give me more more more!

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. . .

Standing Bow Pulling Pose

No, I’m not trying to break into show biz. Though, if the right opportunity arose . . .

No no no! I’m headed to LA on Sunday to go to boot camp AKA Bikram Yoga Teacher Training for 9 weeks! and maybe someday my standing bow pulling pose will look like the one pictured above.

For the uninitiated (those of you i haven’t already bored to tears blabbing about how amazing this yoga is), that means i will live in a yoga bubble.

There are twice daily 90 minute (though i hear they often run two hours at training) classes –  one at 8:30AM and another at 5PM – in a room heated to 105F with 40% humidity (though i hear it is definitely much hotter and more humid).

The rest of the day is devoted to posture clinics, during which i learn to deliver the 44 pages of dialogue that i’m responsible for MEMORIZING VERBATIM – and refine my own understanding of this yoga, yoga in general, human anatomy, and myself.

if bikram is giving clinic, most likely i will be kept awake until 3AM – sometimes later – depending on which bollywood movies and indian tv shows he’d like us to watch. i’ll wake at 6:30AM to eat breakfast (did i mention one can’t eat for two hours before class otherwise one might vomit??) and start all over again.

we have a single class on saturdays and sundays are free!

I CANNOT WAIT! seriously. this is my dream and i can’t believe it’s almost here.

my shit’s all packed up and i’m ready to go. united is gonna charge me a million dollars to get my suitcase from SF to LA.

since my communication  level will be poor to extremely poor, i’m gonna try to update this thing – as much as my body will allow – as a means of keeping in touch. so . . . watch this space for pics and more rambling about this experience.

arriving at work is never fun. imagine walking into this building – my office building – everyday flanked by these:

relig

relig

ulous

ulous

wtf?! right? every morning i must run the jesus gauntlet.

sometimes i think of that scene in the neverending story when atreyu has to pass between the two sphinxes that shoot lasers out of their eyes killing those who “do not feel their own worth.”

heavy stuff for 9am.

i mean, i’m all for jesus and his message of brotherly love, but these paintings are creepy, HUGE, and poorly executed to boot (maybe i should use a word other than execute here?).

OK, let’s look at something pretty to cleanse our senses:

pretty

pretty

this little lovely can be found next to the pottery barn on my way to yoga in the castro, and is an example of the succulents that are part of the san francisco landscape. i am continually amazed by how green this city is.

continuing on castro street to bikram, i am transfixed by this view, which my camera phone cannot begin capture:

castro theater

castro theater

on my last night in worcester during the winter holidays, i went to see milk at showcase cinemas north (my first employer!). one might think, oh you live in san francisco, you should see milk where it all went down. well, friends, worcester was the perfect place to see milk because it got me excited to return to a city, despite a wonderful vacation with my dearest friends and family.

the quality of life here is truly great and milk reminded me of that. i feel so very proud to be part of such a supportive and progressive community.

part three – coming soon!!!

as you may know, I commute to and from work and yoga everyday via my own two feet. the walks take about 40 minutes and are undeniably the best parts of my day (nights are a different story).

Commuting usually involves precious mom-talk time during which she and i catch up on the parts we miss of each other.

but, sometimes i just need to be in my head for the duration of the trip absorbing this cityscape. it is so damn picturesque.

though i take the same route everyday (i do have to get to work in a timely manner), there are little things that stick out and end up making my day.

Let’s begin shall we?

off we go!

off we go!

About a quarter of the way through my walk a pass this amazing tree. I am overwhelmed by its beauty.

magnolia

magnolia

Unfortunately, it will lose it’s blossoms in a matter of days. Not to get all Benjamin Button-y on you, but nothing lasts.

Why is that?

We’re about halfway through now. This marker is made of broken bike reflectors. There are about five of these posts marking the entrances to an apartment complex on my route.  I wish the picture showed better the colors and patterning. They’re quite nice.

reduce, reuse, recycle

reduce, reuse, recycle

Going up the one hill that stands between me and my place of work, there is a locksmith’s shop. for the longest time i was so bothered by the sign. i kept thinking, “why the heck didn’t they measure out the word ‘open’? the ‘n’ doesn’t belong on the second line.”

close-minded

close-minded

Apparently, I am a big dunce — with a very literal way of thinking. As my coworker finally pointed out to me, the word is supposed to look like a key for chrissakes!  In my defense, I never really looked at the sign from faraway and all i saw were the individual letters not the overall impression. Still…I guess I shoulda known.

Stay tuned for Part Deux!!

…to star trek, dear reader, to star trek. my new obsession was cemented last night after viewing First Contact starring Jean Luc Picard and his wonderful crew of the Starship Enterprise.

it is love.

how did this happen, you may ask. you swore never ever to to watch star trek again after your first taste traumatized you so, you say. [my older brother who introduced me to such lovelies as star wars and the comedy of bill murray, failed me miserably after letting me watch wrath of khan with him – specifically, the part in which the bad guy forces a parasite in its soon-to-be host via his ear canal. ugh. it still creeps me out thinking about it. i ran screaming from the room after that nightmarish scene (in fact, it was to be a source of recurring nightmares i had throughout my childhood involving my dad and a cave full of insects of every imaginable variety locked in their cages only to be taken out and used to do harm, that’s how deeply it affected me), and refused to ever let star trek interfere with my psyche ever again.] well friends, it seems the wrath wrought by khan is not lasting.

w tricked me into it, tricked i say. i would never willingly sit down and watch star trek: the next generation. oh, hell to the no.

i’m still not sure how. but watch i did and…i’m in deep. they got me hook line and sinker. i mean, i am the perfect candidate for trekkie-hood: a sci-fi/fantasy fan boy at heart; i am naming my first born daughter and son eowyn and han respectively. seriously.

so, here we are watching all the star trek videos and waiting with bated breath for the new one directed by jj abrams.

oh boy. jean luc may reach the top of my names list… if that’s the case, i will have to get one one of these:

sweet.

sweet.

Dolores Park – January 31 – 70F

san francisco's finest (day)

san francisco's finest (day)

my sister gave me this card on christmas eve: card …a belated birthday card. maybe it was the copious amounts of lobster fritters and savvy b (sauvignon blanc) dulling my mind, but the exchange on the front of this fine greeting card made me laugh for a good five minutes. my one wish to make the card even funnier is that these were true non sequiturs rather than a bunch of old men mishearing each other talk about the day of the week and being thirsty.