Sunday, September 26, 2010

Too good is no good (Week 1)

Week one of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training is officially over. We did 10 classes, watched two late night Bollywood flicks, and listened to over 250 people deliver Half Moon pose in front of Bikram. The week went by in a flash and I'm hoping that the remaining eight weeks aren't that quick. I want to enjoy every single moment of this experience, as the opportunity to focus 100% of my time and energy on my single greatest passion won't come around again for a while.

Our morning classes this week were led by Rajashree, Rich, Brandy Lyn (2010 Bishnu Ghosh Champion), Antonia, and Emma. All of our evening classes were led by Bikram, with the exception of Thursday, when Jim taught. A couple of Bikram-led classes have run past the two-hour mark, but not because he's holding us in postures or making us do triple sets. Instead he's been telling us stories and correcting "Miss Red & Black" or telling "Miss Yellow" that she's stingy with the inches. He's absolutely hilarious and I've enjoyed his classes very much. What an entertainer!

Morning classes have been challenging for me. My body is incredibly stiff and sleep deprivation makes it impossible for me to muster up the energy to do class at my usual ability. Evening classes, on the other hand, have been fantastic. I have so much strength and flexibility -- I feel like a super yogi! It's hard to believe sometimes that it's still the same day when I compare my performance in the morning versus evening classes.

I practiced in the front row all week, but to the far right of the room, so Bikram and the other teachers haven't spotted me yet. It's funny how we are creatures of habit -- everyday, twice a day, I practice next to the same group of trainees. We have declared that section of the hot tent ours and don't want to venture to new areas. This will all change come week three, when we rotate around the room with our posture clinic groups. Speaking of posture clinics, I'm in Group 3! Can't wait to start delivering the next set of postures!

The first week went relatively smooth. The aspect I struggled most with were the late nights. I'd feel myself getting riled up when Bikram would announce that it's a movie night and it actually impeded my ability to pay attention to the movie. It's almost as though I was rebelling. I will need to find a way to work through these feelings, as they will take away from the training and turn me down a path I'd rather avoid. Would appreciate any advice from those who have gone before me!

To wrap up, I'd like to talk about the title of this blog post: "Too good is no good." It's something that Bikram said over and over again this week as people delivered Half Moon. What I took from it is that you have to find a way of doing things -- whether that's teaching a class, practicing yoga, raising a family, and so forth -- that's sustainable. You can't always strive for perfection and deliver at 200% because you'll burn out. You have to find a good balance. Always try your best, but perform at a level that you can maintain long-term. I've always been an all or nothing person and tend to overwork myself to the point of sheer exhaustion. So this was the most valuable lesson that I learned in week one.


  1. one comment I loved when I was in training was: "Do you want to be perfect? or do you want to be a great teacher? Diane would say this over and over. It stuck with me and I think about it all the time...not just with teaching.

    great post!

  2. That's actually a really cool line! It makes me think that being in the moment is really the way to go--being connected to the other humans in the room will enable you to deliver the material beautifully.

    So cool you got to take from Emma, too! She has such a unique approach to the practice.

  3. Heya, Chrissy: That's one damn fine blog you're writing here. I love your wordcrafting. I'll just be off to deal with my envy now. Keep up the ridiculously great work.

  4. Oh man... the way you talk about your "rebellion" gives me insight into how I will, more than likely, be during my own training... I am NOT good in no sleep. Or late nights. Grrr! Better get ready for that one, I suppose!

  5. aha, rotation starts week 3. I was wondering 'cause some people were telling me, "next week, I'll be in row 10" or "I'll be in the front, right side".

    I think my biggest struggle is going to be the morning classes. I don't like them at all :( I love Bollywood movies but I am not sure about late movies followed by early classes. Aggggh

    Nice post, C !!

  6. Hi Chrissy... Just checking out your blog. Welcome to the beginning of an AMAZING journey.

    As "one who has gone before you", the best piece of advice I got before I went to training was to set my intention every morning as a positive one. In other words, instead of waking up and saying "OH MY GOD, I can't believe I only got 3 hours of sleep lat night... how can I do this today?" You wake up, and before even setting one foot on the ground, you say to yourself, "At least I got 3 hours of sleep - just what I needed!" I am telling you, it sounds funny, but to set a positive intention to your day before setting your first foot on the ground will do wonders for you.

    Oh yes... and of course, learn the art of the 15 minute power nap. They are surprisingly energizing.

    Good luck!! And whatever you do - keep smiling!

  7. Ah, I love these teacher training recaps!! Sounds like week one went as well as it could. The one thing about teacher training that always catches me is the doubles...every day...for six days. WHEWWWW! Even if the mornings are tough, at least you're getting some great afternoon classes in.

    Can't wait to see how week two goes for you!! :)

  8. This makes me both excited and nervous at the prospect of going to teacher training at some point soon! So fun to read your updates - thanks for sharing your experience:)