Thursday, November 20, 2008

Adios Acapulco!

November 19, 2008
10:43 am I’m waiting around in the Mexico City airport for my connection to Cabo and then on to Sacramento. Spent two days not very far away distance-wise from the Fairmont, but about as far as you could get socially. I ended up with group of yogis in Playa Bonfil, a beautiful and simple little beach and surfing community unfortunately getting edged out by high rises and luxury brand specialty stores. I spent most of Monday sitting in a hammock reading a novel that was quite gripping, I’d read for several hours, nod off for a while and then wake to grab the book again (it’s title is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Sieg Larsson – don’t know if it’s available in soft back in the US yet). Had an ice cold Corona to celebrate a stunning sunset and then went with my buddies Mark and Chris Bayokis (refer to previous entry on Chris) to dinner at 100% Natural. Our other eating option (since almost everything else was closed by sunset) was a place right on the side of a very busy road, with small chickens running about, a non-operating toilet and a drunken old man trying to grope me. Normally I would consider that type of thing do-able (not the groping, but he could be handled), but after Mark reported on the condition of the bathroom and suggested an alternative, I agreed. I’ve been fairly lucky in regards to stomach illness; no reason to tempt the gastrogods at the end of the trip.
We retired to our simple and much less expensive hotel on the beach and called it a great day.

Yesterday, I woke earlier than most of the group and enjoyed a lovely breakfast on the beach. Continued to read my book and then was joined by a few yogis. Mark, whom I went into town with a few weeks ago, wanted to teach a yoga class (his first) so we moved a few tables and set up our mats under the palapa roof of the restaurant and did a class in the sand! I didn’t really push it – my knees are only just starting to repair and my hamstrings are still aching, and I didn’t want to tweak something in the sand. Plus I was in my bathing suit and the top wasn’t as reliable as regular yoga togs. Mark finished in 100 minutes (a little over) and he did a good job – he wasn’t exactly on dialogue, but he kept going and I think he will be a good instructor once he hits his stride. It was good to do a little stretching! Then an excellent swim in the ocean -- the riptide wasn’t as strong at the Fairmont, but the waves were bigger. Apparently this weekend they will have a surfing competition at Bonfil. I’m sorry I’ll miss it.
The photos in this entry were taken by Chris. He did a good job capturing Bonfil’s relaxed atmosphere.Again had a beer at sunset, then a mosquito filled meal after sunset (that’s another strange thing – there are NO bugs at the Fairmont and of course a million elsewhere, don’t even want to think about the level of pesticides at the five star residence). Once again retired early in order to prepare for a 7am flight out of Acapulco. It’s pretty darn cold here in Mexico City. When I arrived 10 weeks ago, it was boiling hot, but everyone here is wearing warm coats and scarves. I think I’m in for a shock of cold when I get to Sacramento.

But I’m ready to go home.I’ll have to hit the ground running when I land – have an opportunity to work with Bikram studios on my thesis and have to meet with Manali next week in LA to discuss the particulars. Which means that I’ll have to talk with some of my committee members to get a few things sorted out before I go. While I’m down there, I’ll visit Patrice’s studio in Orange County – it’s supposed to be the most beautiful studio built and I’d like to benchmark it. Will also talk to the hypnotist who has helped many a Bikram yogi get the dialogue in their head. It might be a shortcut, but if it helps, hey, why not??? I’ve looked at the dialogue document over the last few days, and although it’s certainly familiar, and I know I could do just as well as Mark did yesterday, I don’t feel like I own the words yet.
Still have some thinking to do about all of this. But I suppose that feeling will be with me for a while. I have completed a pretty impressive thing and I feel very good about it, but I really feel like I’m just starting. Have a lot to do in the short and long term. This is just the beginning.

5:44 pm. Absolutely exhausted. How many times have I written that over the last 9 weeks? It’s been a long day, but unlike none in the past. I’m shivering in the air over California (I think we’ve crossed over the border), dressed in a ridiculous group of layers, none of which match, all of which make me look like a dork. Even so, I’ve introduced myself for the first time as a yoga instructor!! Kind of a strange feeling, but one I’m very proud of. As opposed to “marketing director”, “graduate student” or “Silicon Valley resident” I really like referring to myself as a yoga instructor, or rather, a BIKRAM yoga instructor! Surprisingly, the woman I talked with, who is from Mexico City, knows about Bikram yoga, but she hasn’t been. She said she’ll think about it. She’s a psychotherapist.

Cindi is going to pick me up at the airport and she’ll have Higbee with her. Can’t wait.

At graduation, Dr. Tom, one of my fellow graduates and a retired oncologist, spoke about the benefits of Bikram yoga and how it can be used to promote good health. He was very articulate and convincingly talked to us about how the current medical system is seriously broken and a new model is required, one in which the pharmaceutical companies are rewarded for developing life saving drugs, but where also we have alternatives that allow us to do activities that help us to prevent the need for those drugs (and perhaps even recover without them). I talked in an earlier post about the awesome stories people told at the last lecture. There were people who had been addicted to alcohol and drugs, women who were anorexic and had done self-mutilation, people who had recovered from pretty serious diseases including RA, major knee ruptures, and even depression, and they all triumphed because, they said, the yoga healed their bodies, their minds and their spirits. I believe it. This is a picture of Emmy (she’s facing the mirror so you see both front and back views) from the advanced class demonstration – she’s near the same age that my mother would have been. She had a brain tumor a few years ago and look at what she’s doing – the woman is amazingly flexible and she’s also sharp as a
 tack. I plan to be somewhere in the vicinity of that level of flexibility in my ‘80’s! So Dr. Tom said in his speech that not only should every student of medicine take Bikram Yoga (and the teacher training program), but they should prescribe it to their patients. Wouldn’t that be cool? Tom is going to work with Rajashree to set up and conduct several medical studies that will help to identify in more measurable ways, the benefits of Bikram Yoga.
I asked Rajashree, Emmy and Craig how they see Bikram yoga as a business evolving in the next 10 years. Raj kind of avoided the question, but admitted that as a member of the family, she was biased in her vision. So she talked a lot about how it has evolved in the past. Craig and Emmy said that they can only see it growing for many reasons, several of which I’ve described in this post. The whisperings are that Bikram will have a franchise agreement in place by January, which means that when I open my studio, I’ll be obliged to be part of the franchise. This worries some people, who think that they will not be able to pay Bikram and make a living. I’m not concerned, I have seen the benefits at Kinko’s of standardization in operations and in branding, and if the franchise fee is fair (and I have no reason to believe it won’t be), then it will be a good thing for studio owners and for Bikram yoga in general! I’ve also learned that there’s no reason to worry about something I can’t control and is a nebulous thing in the future. I’ll figure it out when I need to.

Ok, battery is getting low and that’s a bummer, the laptop is keeping me warm. But that’s enough for now.

Love to all.


Mary said...

Congratulations, Lucy! I have followed your blog from start of TT to finish. I am a Spring '08 Acapulco grad. I really appreciated this posting, almost as much as all the rest. I hope you keep posting for a while as you rejoin your life. That, too, is a journey worth writing about. Regarding the franchising thing . . . that issue has been around for a long time, and each teacher training, it is thought to be imminent, and then something happens, and no franchising plan. Your approach, to just wait and see, is the right one. And about teaching? Do it as soon as you can. I know you have heard that over and over, but it is true. And when you start to teach, you will see the dialogue is in you. You just need to ask for it, and you will have it. Best wishes. Keep blogging. And teach, teach, teach.

Duffy Pratt said...

i've really enjoyed your blog. Please don't stop. While reading about the training has been fascinating, I think there is at least as much, if not more, to offer to people by sharing your thoughts on becoming a teacher. I'd love to hear what you have to say if you are willing to keep posting. After all, your yoga adventure is really just beginning.