Monday, November 8, 2010

Welcome to Bikram's Torture Chamber (Week 7)

Week 7 was the hardest week of Teacher Training. Every trainee here would agree. We were pushed beyond our limits both physically and mentally.

The week started off on a high point. I did a bonus class on Sunday morning at Jim Kallett's studio in Old Town. The fabulous Jo from London, England taught. She had led my posture clinic the Friday before and I was able to see in her teaching many of the things she spoke about in the clinic. She was verbatim dialogue but was really able to inject her own personality and style into the class. She called me out by name several times to offer me corrections and commend me on my postures. It felt really good to have that individual attention again. I've missed practicing in a studio!

The advanced seminar took place this week, which meant an extra 200 people were practicing in the hot tent. It also meant that Bikram taught the morning classes, as he led the advanced seminar immediately afterward. I practiced beside the podium on Monday and it was a killer class that ran past the two-hour mark. I had to start rationing water two-thirds of the way through the class to ensure I didn't run out. The class exhausted me and I experienced pain and discomfort in the classes that followed. I retreated to my old spot out of Bikram's line of sight for the rest of the week.

We had double posture clinics every day this week with the exception of Friday. So in total, we spent over 25 hours sitting and listening to people deliver postures. I got through five postures: Bow, Fixed Firm, Half Tortoise, Camel, and Rabbit. I continued to have strong posture clinics and was given a couple challenges that pushed me out of my comfort zone. After Camel, I was asked to deliver the first three sets of Pranayama. I admitted to not knowing any of the dialogue but was encouraged to give it a try anyway. Amazingly, the words came out of my mouth and it felt comfortable and effortless. It gave me a boost of confidence, especially since my first class is only a couple weeks away. For Rabbit, I was given lots of distractions -- all of my demonstrators did something to throw me off. I handled it relatively well and was forced to veer away from the dialogue to offer corrections. My homework for the next posture is to not be so distracted by the distractions. Hmmm... we'll see how that goes.

The rules of posture clinic became stricter this week. On Wednesday we were told we could no longer clap and cheer for our group members before or after they delivered their postures. This really changed the mood of the clinics -- they went from fun and celebratory to serious and gloomy. The reason for the change is that in real life your students won't clap for you after you teach a class. While I agree with that, this isn't real life -- it's the yoga bubble where we should support and encourage each other while we can. In Wednesday's posture clinic there was a tense and emotional situation that actually brought several trainees -- including myself -- to tears. I won't get into details, but it created a negative vibe that carried through to the end of the week.

Friday morning's class pushed many trainees over the edge. Some things were said in the class that were rather contentious. People reacted by shouting and getting up and leaving. I chose to lie down, close my eyes, and bring myself to a happier place. After class people were incensed. It had already been a very difficult week and many felt this was done purposely as a test. Just before the evening class, we were told we had the night off. The crowd roared with excitement. It was a good way to end a week where many of us came to appreciate why they call it "Bikram's Torture Chamber."

I spent the weekend with Heather, Jane, Jana, Jayna and Bettina -- the Fabulous 5! We headed over to Fashion Valley Mall for some much needed retail therapy Friday night and then did our usual laundry and grocery run on Saturday. Saturday evening we checked out the Gaslamp Quarter and had a fabulous dinner at the Red Pearl Kitchen. The Gaslamp is by far my favourite part of San Diego and I'm sorry it took me eight weeks to discover it! Sunday we went to Ecinitas, which is a coastal beach city in northern San Diego. We had lunch at a local Mexican eatery and then sat on the beach and enjoyed the crisp, clean ocean air. I'm so thankful for my weekends and the company of my new friends. It's what keeps me going and what I'll miss most.

Week 8 is here and I have only 14 days left in San Diego! It's scary to think of going home. I've been here so long that I can hardly remember where I came from. I'm ready to start the next chapter of this incredible journey though and am certain this experience will inspire many more positive changes in my life.


  1. Oh my gosh, I can't believe you're not clapping anymore. We ALWAYS clapped! The first time I delivered dialogue without clapping was my first class....

  2. Aw, I agree with J. The lack of clapping would make me sad, too. I would hope TT would be a nurturing, supportive bubble... for the most part! Reality will certainly sink in later on.

    So glad you like Gaslamp! It's been so revamped these past few years--it has a great energy, and I enjoyed RPKitchen last time I was there. Did you get down there on Halloween? Now THAT was an experience!

  3. NO CLAPPING? At Hilton when we had the rooms, we didn't clap but "snapped fingers" or did the "magic fingers"

    And remember - if someone can steal your peace, you are the loser.

  4. We're not allowed to show any recognition of the person... Before they do their dialogue or after.

    I disagree with the "peace" comment. I can block out 99% of the noise. But there was one comment last week that pushed me over the edge.

  5. Now THAT'S how to write a blog about a difficult week. You're an inspiration to this hot-headed writer. Thanks, Chrissy.