Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Dialogue Dilemma

I set a goal for myself that I want to accomplish before I board the plane to San Diego next month. I want to know the dialogue fully and completely. The reason for this is twofold:
  1. Every single person who has gone to training before me has recommended doing so.
  2. I want to sleep! Sleep deprivation is guaranteed at TT, but is worse if you need to stay up studying dialogue for the next day’s posture clinic.
I’ve made pretty good progress towards my goal. This morning while I was getting ready for work I was able to learn Rabbit Pose. That means I have only two more to go! BUT, with the exception of the first six poses (up to Standing Bow), I’m not able to recite any of them effortlessly. I have to think very carefully about each line, which means instead of 10-second postures, most of mine are about three minutes!

Up to now, I haven’t had much opportunity to practice in front of live bodies. Last week two teachers at my studio made me say Half Moon Pose in front of my studio owner while they did the posture. I was super nervous, but did it without making any mistakes. It was just longer than 60 seconds. Now every time I go into the studio, they make me say another posture. Nerve racking, but good experience for me.

Getting my head around the dialogue has been incredibly challenging. You see, I’m an editor, so it’s very hard for me to not correct the grammar. It’s actually affected my professional life. I’m more likely to overlook shoddy grammar these days at work and many of the emails I write are short and directive – just like Bikram’s dialogue.

Probably the most challenging aspect of learning the dialogue is the inconsistencies in language. For example, in the standing series, all of the postures start and end just a little bit different. Same deal with the floor series. My solution to this dilemma is just to focus on the “meat” of the posture and not worry too much about beginnings and endings. I figure I’ll have time at TT for that.

There are also slight variances in the use of certain words – for example, “the” versus “your.” There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it and as much as I try, I can’t get it right. Ultimately these nuances may not make too much of a difference when I’m actually a teacher, but I’ve been told they are important in posture clinics.

For those of you who are learning the dialogue, take solace in the fact that the floor series postures are much, much easier than the standing series. I have learned these very quickly – all within the last week.

I’m really looking forward to actually using the dialogue in posture clinics and eventually, in the future, when I’m a teacher, in my classes. As much as I find it challenging to learn, I enjoy saying it and see its value.


  1. You are so much further along than I with the dialogue. So much further. I wish I had your discipline right now. Work has me crazy.

  2. That;s great Chrissy !! I think you are going to get your hours of sleep during TT.

  3. So you're not allowed to correct even the subtle grammar stuff? What about the redundant stuff, like "eventually, one day, in the future"?? (I'm a writing teacher, so of course I understand the desire to tweak! tweak! tweak! :-)

    Nice job on trying to learn it all! Great, interesting post, btw.

  4. Yes, you have to say the dialogue verbatim. You'll be called out if you use "your" instead of "the" where it doesn't belong (and there are a ton of instances where these words are used interchangeably). It's incredibly challenging for my editor's mind to not correct the dialogue as it comes out of my mouth. Given your profession, I'm certain you'd have similar challenges Elisa.

  5. Oh I feel you, I truly do. My first attempt I ACTUALLY took out a pen to correct the grammar "your and not you're, vice versa". [anal writer much?]

    Studio manager explained to me that the dialogue is meant to be COMMANDING. There is a huge difference between "Lift your right leg up" and "Right leg lift up" cause the latter is short, precise and to the point.

    Oh eventually, in the future, you'll get what I'm rambling about. ;)

  6. Hello! I just dropped by your blog the very firs time through joining the FB Group for TT Fall 2010 in San Diego. :) Enjoy your posts (still reading thru the older ones)! Thanks for sharing them. Hope to meet you in SD this Sept!

  7. Hello, well...have memorize the whole dialogue b4 going to San Diego is my goal also, but you are way,good 4 U, but I still thinking that I will make it happen too, good thing my english is not that good so I don't worry about the gramma at all...another good thing, lol, but after you read this comment you will have some more gramma work to do ;)) ok, xox C U SOON, thanks for the tips

  8. WHO told you to worry about the "the"s and the "your"s? Come on. That is the LAST thing that anyone cares about. Just get the bodies into and out of the posture, using the best dialogue that you can.

    You are super far ahead. Don't stress. "Only" 6 postures are effortless so far? Cry me a river. Just relax, you'll be fine. You'll have plenty of time to practice saying them out loud with bodies at training, since it will be the only thing that anyone is doing, all day long...

  9. Really? I don't need to worry about those small little word variations! So happy to hear. The very dialogue-intensive teachers at my studio told me that some of the posture clinic leaders are very specific, especially if you already know the full dialogue before you get to training.

    Regardless, I do feel very good about my progress and can't wait to use the dialogue in real life!

  10. Oh yeah, every now and then you might get that ONE stickler in posture clinic who's like "you said THE instead of YOUR!" but that's kind of silly feedback, in my opinion. Speaking as someone who knew the whole damn thing before I got there, pretty much all of my feedback had to do with delivery, energy, tone of voice, emphasis, and eventually giving corrections. You know... the stuff that is actually USEFUL when you TEACH. ;)

    Of course, I think I DID end up learning the whole thing, down to the little words, but that's just cause I have a ridiculous memory and was being OCD. Hah!! It was kind of unnecessary.