Sunday, September 21, 2008

What do I mean by "Dialogue"?

For my friends who are not familiar with Bikram Yoga or how it works:

The dialogue I have referred to is the script that every certified Bikram yoga teacher must use when teaching the 90 minute class.  It describes in detail the 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises that we do every time we practice.  Bikram has copyrighted this dialogue and he
 is adamant that the words describe in precise detail how to safely and effectively execute the asanas.

Asana, the Sanskrit word for pose, actually means, "Posture holding still, breathing always normal".  That's the key -- to breathe normally through the nose throughout the posture.  Once you start to breathe out of your mouth, the fight or flight instinct kicks in and your brain goes crazy and you feel like you must get out of the room (and if you don't you either throw up, pass out or start to cramp up).  I learned last week that once I start to breathe out of my mouth, I have to sit down until I get my breathing under control.   Then I can go back to practice.  

Anyway, Bikram has created a description of how to do each posture.  Equal to the actual yoga we do twice a day is the posture clinics we take.  They aren't really posture clinics, it's class room time that we use to demonstrate our knowledge of the dialogue.  

For the first week (and I guess into the second week as lots of people have not yet been on stage), we have had to demonstrate the first posture (half moon pose) in front of Bikram.  He says he is able to determine if we will be good instructors through our ability to deliver the dialogue. 

Some people have been amazing, others have stumbled through it.  But keep in mind that a great number of people here don't speak English well at all, and they are doing the dialogue a la Abba --- in other words, memorizing the sounds and emoting them.   They know more or less what they are saying as they practice in their own language, but they don't know the English.  It's amazing to see, along with all the different accents including Spanish, French, Dutch, various Asian dialects, Long Island, Irish, and many many more.  

When we get up on stage, we have to tell Bikram where we practice and for how long then launch into the dialogue.  I probably made a mistake by mentioning that I did a great deal of my practice at Yoga Loka, a non-certified Bikram studio.  He got rather pissed about it, but the good news is that I nailed my delivery of the dialogue.  Not one single mistake.  I have to thank my friends at BY Granite Bay (and Nora in San Rafael), as I mimicked their emphasis and it seemed to work well.  

So now I have to learn another 25 postures, and I'll have to learn it much faster.  We'll break into smaller groups this week and will have to deliver up to 4-5 postures each week.  Better hurry up!!!  

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