Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm getting excited.....are you?

Three more days.

Bikram 101~ Let's do this!

Come read this post.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

~~I want to inspire you....~

I'm over here at Bikram 101 posting.....trying to talk you into a challenge.
Please go visit me over there.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm glad you're gone. Done come back, ever again

I had a visit from somebody that I'd rather not see or talk to anymore. She's grumpy. Tired all of the time. Eats like crap. Is overweight and doesn't do anything about it, just lets it rule her and make her unhappy. She's quiet. In fact, her staff members kept asking her what was wrong today and even called her a debbie downer. She's not that fun to be around. There is an unhealthy glow to this woman.
I know what you are thinking. "Geez Michelle, you are being awfully harsh!". Don't worry. She deserves these harsh words. I've worked very hard the past two and a half years to avoid the heck out of this person. Despite all of my efforts, she surfaced over the weekend. All it took was missing yoga for five days straight. The first two days, no sign of her. I was living off the interest as Bikram likes to say. Days 3 to 5, no such luck. A steady decline until I woke up today, looked in the mirror and saw her.....pre-Bikram Michelle. Like I said, I try to avoid her. What started off as "taking a day or two off before my 101 day challenge" turned into "I really don't feel like going to yoga today". How easy that mentality seeped in, like a very dangerous poisonous snake!
I'm glad the 101 day challenge starts Jan 1st. I would like to make more deposits in my Bikram bank to ensure that I stay away from pre-Bikram Michelle!
I was scared to go to class tonight after my five day break. I went to my old studio and practiced with Reggi, Christian and Ray....my family. And just like family, they embraced me and carried me though what turned out to be a tough class.
Welcome back Bikramyogachick. I sure as heck have missed you the last few days. I like you much much better than old Michelle......

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Teacher Training Graduation, Yogi Christmas Party and adventures with Mei and J

Well I've been a big fat slacker blogger. I know, I owe you guys scoop, big time. Here goes. Last Saturday was teacher training graduation. It was held in a gigantic ballroom at the Hilton. The trainees were all dressed up and seated in the first several rows. Bikram was escorted in by two Las Vegas showgirls, one of them being Stacy Shea, the owner of the Green Valley Bikram studio. It was pretty funny and totally Bikram. Craig Villani was there to "mc" the graduation. Rajasharee spoke and then ran the demonstration. Trainees selected by Bikram himself (including Mei!!!) got on stage and performed all 26 postures in the series, with Rajasharee explaining the benefits of each one as they were being demonstrated. I love that woman. She was far away up on stage and I could just tell that I totally be enamored with her if I met her in person. She has a beautiful energy. The ceremony started at 3 and I had to leave at 6 to go to the Christmas party because I volunteered to work the door. I missed seeing Mei go onstage (there were only on J when I left) but I did see her during a break and gave her a giant hug.
The yogi Christmas party was held at the Playboy club at the palms. I worked the door for the first hour and a half. Lots of my yogi friends showed up, including fellow blogger Greg (Big G from "Another Version of the Truth") and my friend Michelle A (one of the original "regulars" from my old studio). Trainees started to show up later, including Mei. I found her later at a very loud dance club upstairs from the Playboy Club. It was pretty fun. Yogis sure do clean up nicely!
I picked Mei up the next morning and she stayed with me for a few days. As you know from my previous post I got to take her first class ever. We left later that week and headed to southern California to see Julianna (Dancing J from "Lock the Knee" blog). I have now met three bloggers in real life and all three are phenomenal people. I am amazed at how awesome the Bikram community is. J took us to her studio that night and when we got back to her house we hung out and looked through Mei's teacher training yearbook. I know J was touched, because she will be going to training in the spring and I was touched because I don't know when or how I will get to training....just know I will go. The next day J and I got to take Mei's class at noon. I was excited to see J's reaction to Mei's class. She loved it of course. Practicing next to these gals was inspiring to say the least. They both have incredible postures and are strong, determined and flexible. I mean really flexible. J looks at her heels during the half moon backbend. She is also very graceful (her ballet training), super smart and friendly just like you would expect after reading her blog. The three of us meshed really well and were very comfortable together. Good times!
I left Mei with J. They took a road trip up the coast. I drove 30 miles and stayed the weekend with old high school friends. Tonight was my first class back after missing three days of yoga (sat-mon) and I paid the price let me tell you! It was humid as all get out and Dray was riding us hard. It felt good to be back. Now to gear up for the big 101 day challenge starting Jan 1st. If you haven't yet checked out our group blog, please do so (click on the 101 badge in the top right corner of my blog). We also have a facebook group page and it has gone viral! Over 400 yogis joined the group in the first few days.
Sorry for the lack of pictures (and for the terrible quality of the graduation pics).
Pics 1-3: Greg and Mei, Michelle A, two other yogis then Greg, Me and Greg. All taken at the Christmas party
Pics 4-7: Teacher Training Graduation
Pic 8: Me, Mei and J

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guest Post: New teacher Mei!

Mei has been too busy teaching and facebooking to blog. So I talked her into a quickie guest post (begged). I now give you Mei. Enjoy!!

Actually, I lie. I knocked her out with a champagne bottle and decided to hijack her blog! *evil laugh. OK, I lied about that, so put that receiver down and read this entry. Like, right now.

Soooooo. I have been out of teacher training for... exactly 4 days. That means, 4 days of good sleep [I'm still stuck on TT time though - sleep at 12-1am, wake up at 700am going "OH FUCK NEED TO SIGN IN"-], good food, general lazing around, facebooking [hooray for internet!], laundry, general lunatic behaviour on twitter... and TEACHING. Yes, teaching!

Taught my first class at Bikram Yoga Summerlin [props to Jason for letting me hijack his class. Only because I possess the ultimate power of cute. That and I won't be in Vegas for long!]. How does it feel coming full circle, I hear you ask? Weeeell.. it felt... FUCKING AWESOME. Apologies to BikramYogaChick if I am desecrating her blog with cuss words, but heck, she's out cold after I knocked her out with a bottle of champagne. Heh heh heh.

Let me describe the feeling of teaching - it felt... surreal. After 9 weeks of hell and torture, late nights, movies, cramming in dialogue, crying [yes, I balled my eyes out Friday of Week 5], frustration [why won't the dialogue stick?!?!?], lethargy and tiredness [try staying up till 1-5am everydaym waking up at 7am to hydrate, eat and rush off to 830am class]... I am a newly minted teacher! For my very very first class [proper class as well], I had ONE first timer, TWO beginners, and TWENTY ONE students in total. In short, I think I killed everyone in there [with kindless, love and corny jokes - yes, I know you love my corny ass jokes] and I saw a few people sitting out. Shit, that was when I remembered... "Open the doors, uh, hello, get a clue, you're the teacher!!!". It felt so surreal when a student approached me and asked if I was the teacher. I had to get used to saying yes and looking her straight in the eye as she explained her medical predicaments. Had a brand new guy in there as well, and he did pretty damn well for his first class! Props to Jason for helping him out with his grip for Standing Bow [I saw he had the right grip the first set, couldn't see for the second set cause uh, I'm still too short to see from above the podium].

It was a night of firsts, as BikramYogaChick would tell you! It was my VERY FIRST CLASS, the VERY FIRST TIME BYC TOUCHED HER FOREHEAD TO HER KNEE, and my very first class with ONE first timer! YAY for us!

If BYC hasn't told you yet, I'm currently bunking at her place, just a room across from her. Thank GOD we're not in the same room cause she'll be listening to me pace up and down the room, memorising dialogue and generally cussing to myself when I'm studying dialogue. And no, I don't weigh 89lbs dripping wet, and no, I don't fancy myself going out clubbing people when they're asleep in bed.

The circle is complete. Now, off to kill people lovingly all over the world with Bikram Yoga, muahaha!

The circle would not have been able to be completed without the following individuals. I would like to thank the following, in no particular order, for helping support me in this crazy journey called Teacher Training : McKinley - for organising the fundraiser, BikramYogaChick - thank you for the lodging, the company, the bubbly, being the perfect hostess!, my teachers at True Fitness Malaysia - thank you for putting up with my crazy behaviour, Jakob for being my mentor, Erik for being the awesome studio manager and teaching me the value of street smarts, all the staff at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Fall 2009 - thank you for all the hard work and sacrifice!, visiting teachers - thank you for your wise input and wisdom, Lisa I. - for the awesome distraction you dished out during Rabbit pose and being so encouraging, my roomie - because I am actually quiet and distant during my solace in the big big tent and room, my family - thank you for supporting my dreams and not thinking I was insane, my friends - I know you miss me!, last but not least - all my readers and followers on twitter. Thank you, Thank you, for the follow and allowing me to share this awesome journey. Special thanks to Laura for sending the awfully sweet card... and thank you to everyone who sent mail and packages! You made me feel so special and loved :)

Ah, BikramYogaChick has come to consciousness. Again, thank you everyone for sharing this awesome journey with me.

Now, to pretend like the champagne cork knocked her out flat cold. *twiddles thumbs


p.s : I kid, I didn't really club her unconcious.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mei gives me a new truth, I pop her yoga cherry...then she pops mine

Well I didn't pop her cherry. Bikram Yoga Summerlin did. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. **clears throat**. Ok, let's start from the beginning shall we?
The first time Mei and I practiced yoga together before she went to teacher training she told me "Oh, you're a flexi". Bikram teachers often talk about how there are two body types. The strong ones and the flexible ones. The strong ones need to use their incredible strength to buy some flexibility. The flexis need to work on their strength. When I first started yoga, I couldn't touch my toes. I assumed that meant I was one of the "strength" people. As I began to practice yoga and open up my body, I progressed along in the flexibility area, but you don't see me touching my forehead to my toes with Bikram himself bouncing up and down on my back, so I still had it in my head that "I am not flexible". That was my truth. When Mei said that to me I looked at her, head tilted to the side like "huh?" I wasn't ready to change that truth. This past weekend, sitting at the Christmas party check in table, chatting with teacher Sharon, I was again told I was a "flexi". I said Sharon, why do you say that? She said, you just are, your body type is a flexi, you've got a very flexible and lovely spine (J, I no longer have spine envy!!) I decided, right then and there to start telling myself "I am flexible". I have embraced this new truth and it has actually begun to change my practice after just a few short days. Mei said to me "be careful what you think, because your cells are listening". It works to the positive as well!
Tonight was Mei's first class. Tonight, I got to see Mei complete the circle. Armed with my new flexible attitude I was front row center at her first class. Her Bikram teaching cherry was offically popped during a real class, with real students. No mock class for this new teacher, we threw her right into the fire! She got up there, got the headset adjusted and smiled. She asked if there were any first timers. There was one. She asked his name and gave him the little "first timer" speech with poise and confidence. Then she launched into pranayama breathing. What followed next was very good dialog, good timing and even some jokes! While in forward fold shaking our hips out left and right, left and right she says "It's Vegas, shake your hips like a showgirl!". Then for standing bow when we said the "mama give me money" she said "don't drop the money or I'll use it for my flight home". After balancing stick she said "you're heart is probably beating out of your chest feeling like it's going to break. Don't worry, yoga won't break your heart only love will". Then at the end she said "everybody give a hand for andrew, he did great for his first time!". As we are clapping she said "Andrew, after the last posture we are going to do a bunch of pushups and jumping jacks, ok?". He looked a bit scared for a minute, then laughed. He had done great, attempting every posture and was probably wiped out at that point. I know I was! Aside from the jokes, there was another pretty momentous event (well for me anyway). I got my forehead to my knee second set left side! That is the first time ever I have kicked out, held it, got the elbows down below the calves, and hugging the calves tight. I was looking in the mirror at my elbows and I thought "they are in position, I need to go for it!" So I did. And I touched my forehead to my knee. Forehead to knee cherry popped. I didn't keep it there for very long, but that's ok.
Mei ended the class at roughly 98 minutes (not bad for first time!) and was given lots of sweaty hugs in the lobby. It was announced before class that she was from Malaysia, had just finished teacher training and that it was her first time teaching. Students who didn't know her looked at her expectantly, probably uneasy that their "routine" was being disturbed. Those same students gave her kudos after class, said she did great (she did!). I was honored to be there and see her complete the circle. I felt a the same way I feel when I watch my daughter in dance or sports. I got a bit teary eyed at the end during final breathing. **looks around** Sshhh! Don't tell her that!

How do you google me?

This is the equivalent of "elevator music while on hold". I owe a Graduation, Christmas Party and Mei's first class post. Mei is teaching tonight at 5. I'll get my act together soon, I swear! I've been a busy bee these past few days! In the meantime, here is a draft I've been working on for a little while. My hit counter tells me how people find me. Direct hit? Cool. Google search? Well, what key words did they type to find me? Here they are. Enjoy.

Of course these:
“bikram 30 day challenge blog”
“bikram 60 day challenge blog”

“Bikram yoga death”- Yup, sometimes it feels like that
“Bikram Yoga Deaths”- I haven’t seen anybody croak during class yet!
“Doing bikram while tired”- Oh so many classes while I was tired! That is the norm during a challenge
“Bikram yoga body”- It’s good when your bikram yoga body shows up for you in practice!!
“To Feel Depleted”- is not fun.
“Bikram yoga makes me happy”- me too!
“Bikram Yoga Chick”- yay! A return visitor!!!
“Bikram teacher training blog las vegas 2009”- oops sorry, didn’t mean to get your hopes up!
“Five days break from Bikram Yoga”- really? I wouldn’t like that.
“couples bikram yoga”- sounds interesting. I’m game, hey guys, any volunteers??
“bikram yoga for a great body”- that’s what I’m hoping!
“elbows hurt bikram yoga”- ya, my left elbow was hurting for a long time. better now though!
“bikram yoga emotional”- that is for sure me! I’ve written some pretty crazy emotional posts.
“yogic crying”- Crying! There’s no crying in yoga!!
“I have an ear infection can I start bikram yoga”- wow, you’re anxious!
“numb arms in yoga”- ya, it’s that damn locust posture!
“craig villiani”- this one I get a lot….this dude is popular!
“yoga fill in the blank”- Huh?
“warning of exhausted batteries”- clearly you were not looking for a yoga blog, surprised you clicked through anyway!
“bikram yoga teachers training sex”- wow! Get me to training, stat!
“50 thousand pound challenge”- whaaat?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Proper Care and Feeding of a New Bikram Instructor

First make sure you attend graduation. When she tweets that she fell out of standing head to knee during the yoga demonstration, text her that nobody noticed (she did fantastic fyi). Then make sure when she gets to the very packed club that the yogi Christmas party is at be sure to find her even though you can't move, hear or see due to the loud music and mass of bodies. Make note of the very late time when you leave her, still dancing and tell her you will come pick her up from the Hilton very early the next day. The next morning, when you get the tired new teacher and all of her stuff into the car, drive her straight up to a yoga class (I know, it's mean, but I did it **evil chuckle**). In my defense, it was first class ever for newly graduated George, who is a Las Vegas trainee and we wanted to go. After that, drag her around on a bunch of errands, including an oil change. Poke fun at her when she shows off her new talent of sleeping upright in a chair (critical for surviving teacher training I'm told). After all of this torture, finally bring her home, light some Christmas candles, cook a nice hot meal and pop a funny movie into the dvd to enjoy while eating said meal.
Congratulations to Mei and the entire fall 2009 Bikram teacher training class...welcome to the world of being a certified Bikram instructor! We look forward to learning from you and growing with you.

P.S- I owe you guys a post about the graduation and party (I have pics!). Later this week, I promise!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It doesn't get much better than this....

I was in a bit of a slump yesterday. (thank you for all of the encouraging comments!). Today I was so busy at work I couldn't see straight.....and I loved it! I went to 530 yoga at Bikram Redrock with Michelle. The class was small, compact and full of energy. I had a wonderful and flexible class and afterwards went up to Michelle to get some pointers on standing head to knee. You see, it took me two years to kick out. For six months I've been kicking out and working on elbows down. I don't feel ready for the final stage, so I talked to Michelle about what I should be doing, feeling, working on. The little mini one on one session was awesome! I floated out of the studio on cloud nine. Your comments, my busy day, the feedback from Michelle and the busy weekend ahead of me turned my mood around completely. I get to go to teacher training graduation tomorrow. Then I get to work the door at a yogi xmas party at the Palms tomorrow night. Then Sunday I get to pick Mei up and keep her for a few days before embarking on a road trip to see Dancing J. After dropping Mei off safely with J, I get to go see my best friend on the planet from high school and belatedly celebrate my 39th birthday in my hometown. It really doesn't get much better than this......thank you all for your encouraging comments!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Hamster on a wheel

Tonight was 530 with Dray. I have been weird this week with my practice. A night off. Then a double. Then another night off. I'm all over the place. I had to drag myself there tonight. Literally, drag myself kicking and screaming. Why? I am not normally like this. I have been practicing for over 2 and 1/2 years, have done 3 60 day challenges and one where I hit 99 out of 101 days. Hey, I'm bikramyogachick! The one who is pretty consistent, quite frankly might be bat shit insane about yoga. So my disinterest this week is strange. In fact, I feel blah about many areas of my life right now. I've completely thrown in the towel with dating and am making no effort whatsoever in that arena. I have turned that part of myself off, as I am just completely disgusted with past disasters and cannot get even remotely excited about the thought of going through the whole process, only to get hurt yet again. I really feel like I'm just on some strange sort of hamster wheel, running to stand still in many areas of life and not being able to get any sort of enthusiasm whatsoever. I know this will pass. So it's interesting to just acknowledge that I feel like this right now, not try to fix it and just go with it.
On a very positive note there are great things going on this weekend. I get to attend Mei's teacher training graduation Saturday, go to a yogi Christmas party Saturday night and next week take a road trip with Mei to go meet fellow blogger Dancing J in person for the first time. I feel so very blessed to have wonderful people coming into my life via this blog. Mei, Greg and soon Dancing J will all be wonderful yogi's I have been fortunate enough to meet in real life via this blog. I bet all of this fun stuff will pull me right off of my little hamster wheel.....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fire and Ice

If you've been reading my blog you know that I suffer horribly during back to back doubles. The last double I did was a 1pm class followed by a 3:30. Having one hour to recover helped and it wasn't as bad as the back to backs with only 3o mins in between.
Tonight I decided to do a double. Why you ask? I really don't have the foggiest idea. It just sounded like a good idea after taking Sunday and Monday off. I took Dray at 5:30 followed by wonderful Dray again at 7:30. Hey, if I've got to spend 3 hours in a hot room, why not with one of my favorite teachers?
How did it go? Great. It really went great. I went into the first class with the mindset of breathing. I wasn't going to slack off but I wasn't going to go balls to the wall either. You see, that's where I have always had trouble. I'm all or nothing. Black or white. I remember receiving a valentines day card when I was about 10. The very observant little boy awkwardly wrote: "To Michelle....you are fire and ice". Being 10 I was pretty offended because I really didn't know if he was complimenting me or making fun of me. Later, in my adult life, another man told me the same thing.....in those exact words "You are fire and ice. All or nothing." That trait has helped me in some areas but not others. For somebody like me, balance is very hard to obtain. Yet I always seek it. I crave balance. Perhaps that is why I'm so drawn to Bikram yoga. Tonight I found balance. Perfect synchronicity of breath, movement and focus. I had a solid first class. Second class was also fairly solid but I was a little tired. Instead of getting angry with myself I would gently stop, focus on having proper breathing and flow back into the posture, trying to ignore aching muscles. It wasn't any less painful than other doubles, the difference was my attitude toward it. I was more....nurturing. Looking at myself in the mirror I had on my yoga face. No grimaces or glares or frustration. Just me, flowing through that second class and feeling like a million bucks at the end......