Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Few Classes Later

Finally I've gotten to a point where I think it's worth while to edit another post.
I have taught 13 classes so far (more then I had expected).
I admit that it is fun but my head still keeps me busy most of the time. I focus on the dialogue, maybe a little too much, try to stay on time and wonder if I do things wrong.
Today Abbey (studio owner) took my class, so I finally got some feedback. My homework for now is to relax and start to really have some fun, since my knowledge of the dialogue got approval. Sounds easy enough....we will see.
My first class was an odd experience. I was so nervous! While in the class I felt lightheaded and dizzy, so I sat down for the floor series. I knew it wasn't good for the energy but I didn't feel like making a spectacle of me with fainting and falling off the podium. Luckily it was a one time experience. It feels like it has gone up steadily ever since. The only problem that remains is the timing! One thing we never learned in TT. Reading through the entries on the FB-page I'm certainly not the only one with problems here. Maybe it would be an idea to give some time to talking about timing the class, at least more then the 5min at the very end of TT that we got.
TT seems already so far away that it is kind of hard to realise it's only been 4 weeks since we had our graduation.
It has been time to reflect upon the training though.
I have to say that even though TT has by far NOT been the hardest thing I have ever done (as it has been so often predicted), it certainly was very interesting, fun and totally unique! Did I get everything out of it that I was hoping for??? No, I didn't! But I got other things in exchange that I hadn't expected.
I would have loved to learn a little more about each posture and why they work the way they do, but I think to cover all that it would definitely take more then 9 weeks and you want to have something to work towards to too. So I guess patience is the word here.
Getting the feedback in the Posture Clinics was revealing, interesting and fun. My most favourite evaluators where Joanne (Jo), Diane, Nikki, Lisa and Lynn. Jo and Nikki kept following my group around and so had a good understanding of everyones progress, other then being very supportive and just plain fun to have around!!! Lisa was hilarious and gave some real cool tips to some in my group with immediate results. I thank Diane for being such a quell of information and always in a good mood, still holding you responsible for your effort. Lynn was always straight forward, clear with the feedback, helpful and also holding you responsible for your progress. Great women, all of them and I truly feel fortunate to have met them.
I had hoped on improving my postures a bit but instead went backwards with alarming speed. Not uncommon but frustrating to say the least!!! With teaching and the normal routine at home my practice hasn't been as regular as before the TT but I slowly start to see improvement again with all the aches and pains from TT being part of the history. Since I'm one lucky person I have been able to attend Advanced training taught by Ida Ripley once and will continue to do so whenever I can fit it in. Oh boy, there is still so much more out there to challenge myself with I'm positive I won't get bored any time soon!!
I met to many wonderful people at TT that it was kind of overwhelming! I loved all their individuality, joyfulness, hopes and dreams and the total lack of competitiveness!!! I loved our group of five that would go out and explore the culinary side of San Diego every weekend. I ABSOLUTELY L O V E D my roomy Jana from Prague! How lucky can one being be to end up with such a great person?? Always in a good mood, even when she was upset, the bestest of all study buddies and just a super great friend to have gained from the training!
The list goes on and on there is still so much more that floats around my head.....
Teacher Training certainly was a great, once in a lifetime experience which I'm happy I was able to take and I thank all of my family members that made this dream come true for me!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The End And The Beginning

Where to start to recall the last week of TT.... it already feels like it's been a century since I left San Diego.
Since the Posture Clinics were all out of the way the last week was filled with lectures. Bikram went through each and every of the postures, gave advice on how to improve to some but mostly explained the posture and what to look out for! That was actually very interesting. There was a nice relaxed atmosphere in the bubble. Our last class of Yoga was to be on Friday evening and there were no more make-up classes scheduled, thus even if you missed the sign-in there wasn't a penalty (Other then the threat that you might not graduate). The evening classes were all taught by Bikram himself and none was overloaded with coarse humor, or maybe I just got used to it. We were also VERY fortunate to enjoy another great class taught by Emmy Cleaves. I admire her and think she is the most amazing woman connected with Bikram Yoga!!
After Friday's last class there was no holding us back: lots of cheering and many hugs even a few tears!! We still had to report to the Lecture tent at 9:00pm, even though many had hoped that that evening would be free. After all assembled for the lecture Dom finally passed on some tips about the timing of the class, which we all had been waiting for. After about an hour of what to do the next day (graduation), where to sit, how to get on and off the stage and a check on how all the names were pronounced correctly, we were informed that we were free to leave!! Bikram would still watch a movie later that night and everyone was welcome to join but it was, again, optional!
Jana and I decided to celebrate the end of the camp and our surviving it with a nice glass of red wine. On our way there we just dropped by the laundry room that the hotel had set up for us and that neither of us had been to in all the 9 weeks. In the end we just stayed there, practiced dialogue sitting on the washing-machines and talking to every Yogi that was coming by either to also do laundry or to use one of the two microwaves (another item I never used during the entire time). By the time the laundry was done it was so late that we just went back to our room. That had become quite strange, with all the suitcases on the floor. It already looked deserted. Saturday morning we went over to the mall to get some breakfast and enjoyed one last shopping spree. Then it was back to the room and the, very time-intense ;-), preparation of the 'looks' started. It was fun though and a very nice time to just talk! Jana's husband Jirka had also arrived and stopped by for a short while. He and two friends stayed at a hotel nearby. I talked to my family on the phone for a little and then it was already time to go to the graduation ceremony. San Diego must not have been happy with us leaving for it was raining 'cats and dogs' all the time. Once we made it to the big hall it was so nice to see everyone dressed up and put together nicely, such a difference from how we had gotten to know each other. In some cases you even had to look twice to be sure who it was, such a transformation!!! The ceremony itself was nothing spectecular, the biggest highlight being the demonstration of the postures by some selected yogies. Then it was time to line up, go on stage, get ones picture taken with Bikram and the certificate and exit the stage. That was it! After that we had an open buffet with Indian food as well as Sushi. Sad thing only that it wasn't enough for everyone. More food was ordered but by the time it got there some had left to get food somewhere else, which kind of broke the party up a little. After all the official part was over the hotel had very gracefully allowed us to keep using the rooms for our dance-party. So dance it was and it was a lot of fun,fun, fun!!!!
It also marked the time that I would see many of my new found friends for the last time for a while. So Jana and I tried to extend the time as much as possible but had to give in to being tired at some point.
Sunday it was only packing together the last few things, saying good bye to Jane before she took off with her Mazda and then the dreaded moment had arrived and Jana and I had to say good-bye as well. It was a tough moment, and I'm so grateful that she was my roomy!!! Someone that I got along with excellent, that had the same study habits as I and was just so entirely enjoyable to share this experience with!! Jana you ROCK!!!!! A visit to Prague is SO on the list!!!!
At the airport I met Catherine, from Sidney, and we discovered that we were on the same planes all the way to Victoria. Since we both had our first class to teach the very next day, guess how we spend the time?? Exactly: we studied dialogue!!!! When we arrived in Victoria we wished each other lots of luck for the next day before we were embraced by our families! It felt SO good to be back together with the kids and Hannes!
Monday had me VERY nervous and I was close to call the studio to tell them that I couldn't possibly teach a class! Thanks to the encouragement from Max and Hannes I gathered my stuff and took off. I forgot my water bottle and my watch and felt totally spaced out. Owl, Peter and Lisa were attending my first class and it was comforting to have them in class, very close to me ( in more ways then just sitting right next to the podium)! Needless to say that I didn't feel relaxed or in full control of what I was saying, but the students as well as me survived! I was SO happy to have the first one out of the way!! My second class was already way better and I even started enjoying myself. The next day my legs were hurting so bad that I could barely walk. Thinking about the cause of it I realised that I must have taught the full 90min. class with my knees locked and calves contracted..... always something more to learn!!
This morning I taught the 7:00am class and have to say that it was my best yet!! I have three more scheduled for the next week and might even get a class in the Westshore studio, if I finally get the time right and catch Jaqueline!
This last nine weeks have been very interesting and I edit one more entry on what it was like, but I want to have a little more time to digest the experience.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Since yesterday evening I'm back and happily reunited with my family! So many things have happened within the last days of TT as well as just today! I taught my first class today, weird to say the least.... I have another one coming up tomorrow, still have to unpack, do laundry, review dialogue and have cuddle time with my family. I'll edit a more detailed blog asap

Monday, November 15, 2010

Only a few days left

The time of “last-ones” has started! We already had our last Yoga class on a Saturday! That one was taught by Jo Robinson! It was a very good class in the way of pacing, motivation and general nice atmosphere. My posture clinic group was lucky enough to have had her quite some many times as an evaluator. Always smiling and in a good mood, she would encourage where necessary but also hold you responsible for getting it right! She embodies the kind of teacher that I would love to turn into! We also had our last Posture Clinic on Thursday morning, or “camp-time” afternoon. They wanted to get us all through so there was not that much time for feedback but at this point of the game we didn’t really care either. Lucky as we have been throughout the time of Posture Clinics with our evaluators, Jo came to our last one as well. It was so great to have someone there that has been with you for a big chunk of this journey and could see the transformation from the beginning up until now. I can’t say that I feel prepared for my first class after all this dialogue practice, but I do know that I don’t stand alone and if you ask for advice the most common answer is to “trust the process”, for lack of other options I guess that that is exactly what I will do!
Yesterday also marked our last outing to do laundry and groceries. In the evening we went a last time to Old San Diego and had one last dinner at “Fred’s” the same place we went to on our first night out together. This morning Jane, Heather and Chrissy will go to the local farmer’s market for the last time. Jana and I took a pass on the invitation to come along. I am scheduled for a phone call with my family and since I didn’t really get around it yesterday and it is my eldest’s birthday today it might take a little longer. In the afternoon we have the regional Yoga-Championship here in ‘our’ tent. It will be interesting to watch. That also means that there will be vendors for Yoga-clothes and we are all starving for some new colors and styles! Since the weather is nice and there is no direct pressure to learn dialogue anymore it promises to be fun. After we have taken in our fill of Yoga performance and selling stands we will head out one more time to La Jolla.
The next week we are promised to get lectures from Bikram and Rajashree that will give us more in depth knowledge on this kind of Yoga. I am very hopeful that that will be interesting! The drawback of being done with the Posture Clinics and having ‘only’ lectures ahead is that we will be sitting in the chairs for many, many hours without end without the opportunity to move. As always there is something good as well: sitting without moving means that I won’t get reminded on all the places my body is hurting at this point. It is kind of disturbing to see my practice going backwards to this degree. Every day I’m challenged by yet another posture. Locking my knee is a challenge in itself, not to mention this stabbing pain in my derrière when I try to do the ‘Head to Knee’. Awkward and Toe Stand let me think that my knees will detach at any moment (and honestly I wouldn’t mind if that means it doesn’t hurt so much) and the newest edition is Fixed Firm Pose. I absolutely NEVER have had problems with this one….. up until now that is!! It is truly a sorry affaire! I’m contemplating to stay away from the studio for a good part of the first week just to regenerate and not to embarrass myself too much.
Since, yet again, the internet connection sucks big time and I have not been able to edit this post as of yet, I might as well write about our afternoon.
The Championship was very nice to watch. We got to enjoy the complete set of men and half of the women before we made a bee line to La Jolla to check out the LulluLemon sales event. It wasn’t what it had promised to be but was nice nevertheless. I found myself a nice hoodie and another combi for my upcoming days as a teacher. Now I find myself in the dilemma on what to wear for the first class…. Thanks to all the other vendors that were here for the weekend I also got o few more tops and shorts, definitely not at all necessary but there is just nothing that beats good old retail-therapy. As a lovely ending to a, quite expensive, weekend we had dinner in a cute little Italian place in La Jolla. Those Gnocchi in Gorgonzola Crème Sauce were just perfect and lip smacking good. Since the conversation reduced by quite a bit for some time I figure everyone was enjoying their chosen dinner as well. Now I will try the internet one more time before I call it a day and try again tomorrow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where Did It Go??

Another week in the camp has come and gone and it feels that the speed in which time flies by has picked up tenfold. It was a very interesting week! Lots of rumors, tense even heart-breaking emotions, interesting developments and of course FUN, FUN, FUN!!!
Rumor: one staff member had to leave due to being caught having had sex with one of the students. Question: if that is true, how come that only one part has to take its leave while the other struts around campus enamored with self-importance? My point of view: it takes two to shuffle horizontally, being here means you should be 21 years or older so you are legally responsible for you actions, you know the rules so when you break them BOTH have to leave!!!
Heart-breaking: one of our students here has lost her 15 year old son a year ago under the most horrible circumstances you could imagine! After delivering her dialogue in Posture Clinic she was asked by one of the evaluators if she has kids. She said yes and actually the one year anniversary of her boy's death was approaching. That led to her being asked to try to deliver the dialogue to her dead son as if she was trying to teach the posture to him.She was shocked at first but did it anyways because she didn't really feel she had a choice.
Interesting: having to listen to Bikram’s unique points of view had one student lose the temper and actually voice his/her opinion. That didn’t sit well with Bikram and it is now pending if this student remains on campus or has to leave. We might find out tomorrow…..
Monday started off with a good class in the morning taught by Bikram. He shifted his teaching class to the mornings for the week, since he had to teach the Advanced seminar as well. At home I practice in the mornings and do love it. I’m not as flexible but I do concentrate better (and it just works best with my schedule), here I’ve turned around and like the evening classes better. I’m not as stiff and the whole class is not as painful (Pain and stiffness being recent developments). Bikram was, surely enough, disappointed in our morning performance. I guess he will always find something or someone that is not up to his standards, he is THE teacher after all! The evening we had a teacher that started of the new no-need-to-introduce-myself-tradition. Besides that, he was speaking so fast that you felt like being at an auction! No need to say what posture we were doing either! Biggest nuisance for me though: his ongoing copying of Bikram’s style!!!! Needless to say that I didn’t enjoy that class as many others didn’t either. Some did, or thought that it was ok. They knew that he, apparently, is a Yoga champion and due to that has automatically the ability to teach……. For me that only proves that being a champion doesn’t make you a great (or even passable) teacher!!! Some definitely should be kept from climbing up on that podium!!! Friday was the Highlight in two ways: Bikram’s class turned into one that was very challenging to stay calm in due to his continues comments about the role of the women and that of the men. There were so many emotions broiling up around me, very intense, very anti-Bikram. I had a hard time too, but always think that his points of view are pretty well known and he just LOVES to challenge. So I kept my thoughts to myself, other than joining in the Booh-choir just once, and aired my disagreement after class with my fellow yogies . The evening class was taught by Ida Ripley. FINALLY a voice from home!! Everyone loved that class and we were asked repeatedly who she is!!! It also was the first time that all the Victoria yogis were called out before the class started! Sure enough, Ida called each one of us out in class as well! I already anticipated being called out in Triangle, for Ida knows about my problems with this posture here in the camp. Instead it hit me in Head-to-Knee :” Leg up higher, Bettina!” Funny enough it was much easier with having it up higher and I finally could touch my forehead to the knee, thank you Ida!! Jane, Keir and Rhiannon got their names being called as well. After class I got asked if there is another Bettina in the camp. For how could Ida possibly see me where I was practicing? She just knew where to look!!!!! Thank you Ida for ending the week in such a good mood :D!!!
The whole week was spend with double posture clinics!! Now we only have three postures left and then they have to think about something else to do with us ;-) Most of them were fun, some long-breathed and some just plain boring. We are not allowed to cheer for our team-mates anymore!! That is so we pretend the real life circumstances in the studios where there is no clapping either. That had some of us quite upset; I just think it makes the classes boring. Thursday’s morning class was fun though, thanks to very supporting evaluators that tried to lighten the mood in whichever way they could. My delivery went really well and had the group laughing and the evaluators (and me) happy! Jane had a good run in Friday’s class, which was double good because Niecia (from our studio) was sitting in as well!
Friday night we got off! Sure enough we went over to the mall and spend the time, after having some yummy food, shopping. It was so much fun to just hang out, not thinking about the dialogue or for how long we might be kept up this time or to have to be back at a certain time. FUN!!
Yesterday was the usual routine: laundry, Pizza, groceries and speaking on the phone with my family! In the evening we went out to ‘the Gaslamp’. That is one area of San-Diego’s down town. Oh boy, the dinner was sooooo good! We went to an Asian restaurant called ‘The Red Pearl’ where I chose the green curry……. yummy, yummy!!!! After that we strolled through the lively streets and checked out every shop that looked promising. It felt good to just let the camp/yoga-bubble disappear into the background for a while! Today we might head out again, but I will have to see how far I am in memorizing the last postures before I go along. The weather looks promising and stopping by at the beach would be nice… we will see.
For a week now I have the schedule for my first class. I had the option to pick the time and, after thinking long and hard about the pros and cons, went for the first one available. Now I’m everything from excited to mortified!!!! That didn’t stop me though from buying a nice outfit for my fist class yesterday! Still….. the nerves…..OMG

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Can you believe it, week 6 is a part of history

Here I am sitting outside in the sun at 8:30 in the morning; my roomy is still asleep, dressed in skirt, tank top and bare feet at the end of October…. Life is REALLY good right now!!!!
Week 6 started with a lecture held by John Burras. The subject was 1. Fascia & Yoga, 2. Emotional Anatomy, the stage was full of little gismos for demonstrating purposes and it looked very promising. When he started he asked us to stay open minded and just try to look at things from a different angle. I really tried to stay open but it got harder and harder. Now, I consider myself open to all kinds of different believes and I certainly am interested in everything esoteric, but the way how he tried to sell his subject was a challenge. The tent was divided in those being completely in tune with what he said and those that had their doubts. I was in between the two for some time but changed over to the doubters when it became evident that his knowledge had no real foundation. Every time he was asked a more critical question he evaded the answer or promised to get to that later, which he never did. I am still trying to figure out how he got into this program but I guess everyone should be given his chance, and since he reached a few of us it might just be me missing the message. He kept us occupied for Monday’s and Tuesday’s morning lecture. So we had posture clinics in the evenings. Wednesday Dom had to break his promise that there would be no double posture clinics and we found ourselves reciting dialogue in the morning as well as in the evening. Thursday yet another of Dom’s promises was broken. “If there is a double posture clinic on one day you won’t have any posture clinic the next day.” Well, we had a full repeat of Wednesday’s schedule!!! So by Friday we were all resigned to the fact that we would have another double set of clinics. After the evening yoga class, to which most of us came dressed up for Halloween, Bikram announced that we all had to be in the Lecture tent by 7:45 for Rajashree had organized a Pizza party for us. Evening Posture clinics or Lectures start at 9:00pm so we didn’t trust that we would be free after the party. At 9:00pm Bikram announced that he would have to leave now, but that we were free to stay and party on or leave!!! So we enjoyed some more pizza, generous helpings of cookies and trick-or-treat-candies and Soda-pops. The whole time we got to listen and dance to the music of one of Bikram’s CDs. I have to admit that I just might have to get that one, for memory purpose as well as that it is actually not too bad. One more thing about the posture clinic: on Thursday Jane had a double break through!! She has had a strong run from the beginning but the two postures delivered on Thursday blew us all away. Living with the process of these clinics for a few weeks now and slowly getting the impression that the teachers just might be running out of things to say to us, has us slowly letting go of the stage fright so many of us had to fight in the beginning. Jane never belonged to those having to hold on to their nerves while delivering but had to work more the opposite way as in not having too much fun out there. Well, Thursday was her day to let go completely of that restrain and give it as much fun and “TADA” as she felt like. I SO will be there for her first class!!!! It is going to be great!!! Saanich watch out for that fire cracker!!!
Yesterday had us in our usual routine with laundry and groceries. In the afternoon I spoke with my family on the phone. My Mom did leave last Tuesday and now they are on their own, but I know that I have the best kids ever (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and they will keep my husband alive and the house intact! I do miss them, when I get some time to do so, but I also freely admit that I have a great time here and enjoy every minute of it!! So far I have not been hit by any emotional outbreak, the feared Yoga-truck has only parked in the area but hasn’t turned my way yet, I’m getting along great with everyone, I have been able to stay awake through every lecture, posture clinic (yes, I know that there is this one photo circling the internet, but there is a story to it) and have not missed one minute of any of the movies or Mahabarat-sequences that were mandatory! I have, however, declined every invitation to watch a movie until dawn and instead opted for the comforts of my bed! On the downside my practice has gone down the drain! If this would have been my state of practice when I asked for their signature on my application for TT I’m sure Anastasia and Abbey would have declined!!! I’m glad that they don’t have to witness the poor state of it here and just hope I don’t embarrass them too much!!!
Later today I will meet with Jane, Heather and Andy to visit the farmers-market. It is said to be fantastic so I do look forward to that visit! Later in the evening we are heading to a Chinese restaurant that is close by in the mall. It seems to be very good and one can’t get a place without reservation. I already look forward to that culinary treat, but the time in between I will spend with the ‘beloved’ dialogue.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wearing Thin

Another week in camp is nearly over and I get the impression that I’m slowly wearing thin.
Since Monday we have Bikram back at the helm. Everyone expected him to teach the Monday evening class but he was a no-show. As it turned out later he had an upset stomach and couldn’t come due to that. BUT we had him for lecture after class and he made it up to us with a lecture on the cons of Tattoos and another few series from the Mahabarat, that kept us there until 4 in the morning. Tuesday evening class was a mean one. The good part about it was that he pulled out 2 students to demonstrate postures on his podium. That was very beautiful to see!! Not so nice was that he kept on picking on students who were not performing to his liking. To me he seemed to be in a foul mood and had me worried that he might keep us longer in the tent. Now, it is part of this camp to be in danger having Bikram kick your behind, and there are some that certainly have it coming, but I don’t like it when he continuously picks on you for things that you can’t do anything about ( like: too short legs, too big boobs, too small boobs, big nose etc.). Also I’m a little overdosed on coarse humor at this point. I know that these are all things that make Bikram who he is, and as mentioned before I guess I’m wearing out a little, but it makes me wonder why a man like him, successful, very intelligent, ambitious, entertaining and generally likeable needs to act like that so often?? Tuesday’s class was very nic, but he said later that he didn’t feel well and even apologized for not being his normal self. In the evening we were released after posture clinic but offered the option to watch a movie with Bikram. No big surprise that I took a pass on that invitation. Luckily there are a few die-hards who went and made him happy!! Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s class were good and he seemed to be in a generally good mood, so all is well in the Yoga-bubble! Thursday after class and before the next movie, he had a Q/A-session. There were some really good questions and it was interesting to listen. I do wonder though why some people seem to have an undying appetite to ask questions every opportunity they get to do so without really contributing to the theme but being more concerned about themselves…. And please, could someone explain to me what it is with these continuous questions about in which posture you can get an orgasm and if you haven’t experienced it yet if you could get some advice on how to improve???? So far the top runner-ups are Camel and Backward Bending.…things people keep their mind occupied with… Other ‘new’ things of annoyance for me: people that keep talking DURING Yoga-class, come late and place their mat right in front of yours so you can enjoy their feet in your face (and that is surely not a pretty sight, not to mention the sensory overload), still leave during class on a regular basis and then stomp past you like a Rhino having all the yogis they pass bouncing off their mats and, newest addition as of today, dump their leftover ice-cubes right in front of you on the floor carpet before they leave the tent! Then there are those visiting teachers who think they have to motivate and animate us and get so carried away in the process that they keep us in postures longer then even Bikram, annoy the heck out of us with reminding me how tired and exhausted we are feeling, or tell us that we have to kill us every single class because we should behave like the students we want to teach….. Yayaya, just get the class over with even if it means that you will have to come down from that podium at some point!!! Wednesday and Thursday night had us in the Lecture-tent until 3 or 4am in the morning due to another load of Bollywood. Today we had our CPR class, so we can help students who get overwhelmed by the effects of a class. It was fun, as these kind of classes usually tend to be, and we all passed the course! After that, we were released into the freedom of the weekend. Since our little group of weekend shoppers didn’t all end up in the first group of CPR, we waited a little and started our tour at 5:30pm. After the laundry was taken care of, we went to a very tasty Vietnamese restaurant and enjoyed delicious dishes. After that we power-shopped at an empty Ralph’s, the local supermarket. Another good day! Tomorrow will be dedicated to learning the next postures so I might be able to keep up with the pace in posture clinic.