Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 21: Craig Villani Seminar

Wow! What can I say.  If ever you get a chance to go to a Bikram seminar, do it!  Craig was amazing.  First off let me start by saying I was very stupid and forgot my camera.  I was very upset about that.  However, Toni Jo (an instructor) was taking photos and I asked her if I could have them.  She said yes.  So if she delivers, I will add them to this post.  
The format of the seminar was very much like I imagine teacher training might be.  We were in the big yoga room and all sitting on mats/towels.  I wore comfortable clothes and brought yoga clothes for the class at the end.  The room was slightly heated and the fans were on the whole time.  It was a little warm still (humidifier was off though).  Unfortunately for me, I sweat the minute I walk into the studio, my body says "oh! I know where we are, lets go!"  So I had to suffer through some sweat marks on my shorts and I appeared to be the only one with the problem.  I panicked about it at first, was embarrassed then gave up.  By giving up I mean I just figured that is one thing I cannot change about myself and I let it go.  
Craig had a headset on, was up front at the teacher podium and started off talking about the different kinds of yoga.  Which was really cool, because I struggle with certain aspects of myself right now that I'm having difficulty changing (and these things need to be changed) so when he talked about karma yoga my ears perked right up.  It made me realize that I need to start thinking about my practice as more than just the 90 minutes in the room and let it affect other areas of my life in a positive way.  After his talk, he started in on the pranayama breathing.  Very informative.  He talked about how you should be thinking in your head "so" and "ha" as you inhale and exhale and shape your throat to make the "so" sound.  Good stuff.  Then we stood up and did the breathing and he walked around and gave us more tips.  Next he did half moon in the same format.  Demonstrated, spoke about it and then we all did it.  The thing I got from his talk on half moon that I didn't already know was to keep reaching for the ceiling while pushing your left hip to the side as you bend right.  I guess I more picture that I'm supposed to reach for the wall.  But you don't, you reach for the ceiling and you stretch up and over and that keeps you from collapsing.  So cool.  Great tips on the forward and backward bending also.  Yuko, a teacher, went up and demonstrated back bend.  She is very bendy and he made a very cool correction with her.  Hopefully I can get Toni Jo's pics, because I know she snapped Yuko.  Anyway, he was having her lift up more through her chest and go more up and over and it compromised some of her depth, but you could see the change in her form.  Awkward and eagle he just talked about, we didn't have to do.  Then he segwayed right into standing head to knee.  That was done in the format where he went over it and then we all did it.  I was having a hard time just staying in part one, so finally I just stood and watched everybody else trying to get their head to their knee.  A lot of the teachers and students just had beautiful postures.  It was nice.  After hearing him talk about that one, it helped me to listen to the transitions after you kick out as I don't really ever kick out and am unsure of the next steps when I do get there.  I also realized I have got to really focus on evenly distributing my weight over my entire foot.  My foot right now wobbles.  Standing bow was the same format but with a student going up and demonstrating first.  He was correcting her as she was in it.  It was awesome because her name is Danielle and she has a gorgeous bow.  Looking at that bow, I would think, yep, shes done, that looks good.  Yet he was showing her how she can take it to her edge and get closer to that ultimate locked leg kicked in the air, and helped her with her shoulder to chin alignment.  It was awesome.  It really made me realize that even the people who look fantastic in the postures are not done.  You are never done!  Its amazing.  He went through the rest of the postures just talking about them and having a student come up and then triangle was in the half moon format again where he talked and then we all did it together.  He was amazed because he said he always has to correct everybody with their arms.  When they tilt their arms, the move their body over and collapse.  We don't do that because our instructors are diligent and constantly demonstrate the correct way to move only your arms and stretch up and stretch down.  He thought we all looked pretty good in our triangles!  Yay us!  
Lunch was a nice raw food affair catered in by a student.  She made these wraps, they were like green leafs (some kind of lettuce I'm sure) with beets and nuts and some other stuff chopped up in it.  Then there were these bite sized peach cobbler things for dessert and fresh fruit.  I took a wrap, a banana, and a bite sized dessert and thought "this won't be enough food".  But it was.  It was extremely good and very satisfying.
He finished off the standing series and then went through the whole cobra series, camel, then rabbit.  So he didn't do all of the postures, but the main ones.  After the floor series lecture/demonstration/doing cobra series (but not camel and rabbit) we got ready for the "master class" at 4pm.  King (the owner of the studio) went into the other small room that had a normal 4pm class about to start and brought them all, students and teacher over to take Craig's class with us.  So we have maybe 50 students in there total and there was alot of energy.  I am embarrassed to admit that he was taking it easy on us (as compared to teacher training I'm sure!) and his class wiped me out.  I hit the deck after triangle and had to sit on knees for a minute.  I'm also ashamed to admit I actually had to put my arms down for a quick second during second set of half moon.  I was just exhausted already by half moon.  How does that happen?  Its only two postures in!  My poor performance aside, it was an amazing class.
I'm so very glad I went.  It was well worth the money.  I really hope to be able to add pictures to this post soon!

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