Monday, September 29, 2008


My Name is Lucille Allen.  I am 46 years old.  Today, the 15th day of training, for the first time since the first day, at the 23rd yoga class since the start, I did every single posture.  I did them fairly well and I finished strong.  I am so friggin proud of myself I have a mile wide smile on my face!

This is how I did it.  Before class started, I told myself that I made a promise to do the best I could do, and I needed to live up to that.   So during the standing series I had to ask myself if I was doing the best I could do, and when I said no to myself, I did it more and longer.  And then the ball started rolling, and I realized I could keep going, so I did the triangle (which I normally sit out) and I did stick (which I have come to love) and I even did a little bit of toe stand, and when I got to camel, I knew I could finish and finish strong.  

What a great feeling, especially compared to this morning's class.  

I also have to give credit to Jim, who taught this afternoon.  I love his style because he encourages everyone in the room and that's the kind of teaching I love.  He doesn't scold, he just wants us to do the best we can.  And I did.  Awesome!!!!!!  

Reality Bites!

So I've been in the yoga studio here for more than 2 weeks and in all that time I have been positioned at the back, completely unable to see myself in the mirror.  Today, they started to rotate people around and I was in the front right in front of the mirror.  OK, so I'm always stiff in the morning, but it was such a disappointment because in my mind, I have really advanced and my postures are really beautiful.  In my mind, I have progressed to look like this, but of course the fingers on my left hand are beautifully positioned between the big and second toes on my left foot:

Unfortunately, today I saw in the mirror someone who looks more like this:

Ok, maybe not that bad (we all know my boobs aren't nearly that big and I never pass gas except in the bathroom), but not nearly as beautiful as I thought I was doing in my head.  Hopefully this afternoon I'll feel a little more strong and bendy and I'll not judge myself so much.

Gotta run.  have to grab some food and then our first anatomy test!

Love to all.  

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My good yoga buddies

Here is a photo of me and my new yoga buddies.  Let me tell you a bit about them so you can get a feel for the cool people who are here with me.

From left to right is me, Sunny, Erin and Jacqueline.

Sunny is from Boston and has been an herbalist, a massage therapist and used to own bees!  She's amazingly positive and has overcome a lot to be here.

Erin lives in Chicago and has a beautiful yoga practice.  Her backward bends are legendary and Bikram complimented her on her standing bow pulling pose.  That doesn't happen often.  She's also a voice coach and can sing beautifully.

Jacqueline came from Holland but lives in Brisbane with her boyfriend.  She has been a flight attendant for many years and has travelled all over the world.  She also had a store in Holland and while traveling bought amazing things for her store.  She's very strong and determined and I'm confident she will do great things with her yoga teaching credentials.

This weekend has been really cool in many ways.  It's Sunday night and I'm still sore and stiff, but I'm not as physically tired as I was last week.  Over the last two days, I got into some very interesting conversations with a variety of people.  Bikram said that we would go deeper into ourselves as a part of this process, and I believe that's why we are all starting to converse on a deeper level.  There's a shift happening here and it's pretty awesome.  I'm really looking forward to how this will progress!

Ok, time to get some rest to start week #3.  The passing of time here is kind of like it is on the "Lost" island.  It doesn't seem to jibe with the rest of the world.  

Love to all.  

An Editorial

For those of you from Sacramento, you'll recall the woman who died from drinking too much water from participating in the game sponsored by a local radio station:  "Drink the most water without peeing and win a Wii Game set".  The woman won the game but lost her life as a result of washing out the electrolytes in her system. 

That's basically what happened to me this week when I bonked.  Obviously not to the degree that it happened to the Sac woman, but I not only felt tired, my brain was starting to malfunction.  I couldn't think and could barely operate my arms and feet.  In this environment, there are people looking out for  you all the time, so I got it fixed pretty quick, but having had a mild case of that condition, I am frankly angry that no one was able to prevent this stupid and enormous error for that woman.  

She left behind a young husband and two small children.  And all she needed to fix it was a little pedialyte.  I know that her family has a good lawyer, but nothing will replace the mother of those children.  What a friggin shame.  

Ok, enough of the Sunday Sermon.  Time for some breakfast!!   Thanks for letting me rant.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Week 2 is DONE! Analysis of my body

Well, it's Saturday, and we've completed another 11 yoga classes.  It's a different kind of exhaustion I feel this week -- last week I just wanted to sleep, and did for hours on end.  This week, I'm fairly alert and just, how do I describe it?....feeling washed out.  

So as I continue to push my body and mind, what's happening to my body?  A head to toe analysis follows:

1.  I'm a little concerned about my hair.  Washing it 2x/day can't be good, but I can't imagine leaving all that nasty sweat in it after class.  Will condition vigilantly.

2.  My face is not breaking out nearly as much as others (I'm certain age has something to do with that), but I feel like the humidity is helping reduce wrinkles.  That's a plus!

3.  Sinuses are clogged up a bit, partly because I'm inhaling my own sweat on the downward postures.  I mentioned before I sweat a lot -- I'd love to measure the amount of water that comes off of my body during class.

4. Shoulders, arms and legs are starting to get fairly defined.  And my butt is tightening up!  Wahoo!!   I'm still not very flexible, in fact I'm tight as hell in the morning classes, but I do feel pretty strong.  And that's a good feeling.

5.  Losing weight in the middle.  Those of you who know me know I'm fairly thin most of the time, but I did pack on a few extra pounds over the summer.  Turns out that was the right thing to do as I'm using that extra fuel now.  Emmy said the other day that people who don't have any extra body fat use up their reserves in about 60 minutes, which leaves them bonking for the last 30-45 minutes of class.  I don't have that to use as a reason to take a knee, but hopefully I will soon!

6.  Knees are sore.  Not really my knees, it's more like the tendons that attach to the patella.  Robert, the super amazing yogi from Amsterdam told me to lean back more during pada hastasana.  I tried it at the pool after class this morning, and it seemed to help.  I will do everything I can to avoid an injury.  

7.  Feet are also sore.  No athletes foot yet, and that's a true blessing.  There are a lot of people here with some funky stuff going on with their feet, and given the humidity, it's not surprising. Before the evening lecture I spray anti-fungal on my feet and put on socks.  Hopefully that will keep the buggies away.

That's it for body.  I'll address my mind in another posting.  I need to take a nap.  


We are in the middle of the rainy season here in Acapulco, which means that it's really humid when it's not raining, and when it's raining, it's even more humid.

The result is bacteria growth everywhere.  My yoga mats smell horrible as I can't seem to get them dry, people are getting colds and sinus infections, and anyone with a cut really has to be vigilant to keep it clean and dry.   And everyone is getting rashes from being wet all the time.  

The yoga studio cannot get below 75% humidity, which makes the heat feel even hotter, and I for one, am sweating buckets at the most simple of effort.  In fact, right now as I type I just washed my yoga togs and put my mats in the bathtub with a little clorox and I'm sweating -- btw, I have the air conditioning on in my room.  

But the good effects are beautiful foliage all over the area, sweet-singing birds in the trees, and my skin has lost that shriveled up look.   It's an interesting feeling to wake up with glistening skin that needs to be washed instead of moisturized, and even better, I can salt the hell out of my food ---- I'll surely sweat it out before any of it causes high blood pressure.

And on that note, the next blog on what's happening to my body.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Strange Parallels

A human being fashions his consequences as surely as he fashions his goods or his dwelling. Nothing that he says, thinks, or does is without consequences.
– Norman Cousins

The Hindu and Buddhist scriptures give us the same truth in what is called the law of karma, which is the psychological equivalent to the physical law that every action has a reaction equal and opposite to it. The Buddha says we can fly higher than the heavens or hide in the depths of the earth, but we will not be able to escape the consequences of our actions. Though we drive to another city or fly to another country, though we change our job or our name, our mistakes will pursue us wherever we go.

The text above is today's "Thought for the Day".  It's a daily email I get from the Eknath Eswaren ashram.  I went there for a meditation retreat at the suggestion of my brother Bob.  After my mom died and I was a bit gripped with grief, he thought it might help me find some peace.  It certainly did, and I appreciate the ideas and philosophies from the daily thoughts.  

The strange thing is that recently my Thought for the Day is the exact thing I have needed to remind me of what Bikram said or some concept I learned that day.  It's almost uncanny how it parallels.  Just tonight, Bikram spent hours talking about Karmic Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga and then I come back to the room to find this email.  

Pretty cool, huh!  


Well, I hit the wall.  Not nearly as hard as others here, but let's say I had a minor bumper collision.  

After last night's super long lecture from Bikram, I woke stiff as a rod, with aching joints all over.  Just friggin aching!!!  Went to class, actually did better than I thought I would, but left feeling completely wiped out.  

Returned to room, ate lunch but still couldn't get with it.  Literally dragged myself to lecture and couldn't bear the weight of my own body.  Just couldn't get it together.   Got energized during the second lecture (that we've been asked not to talk about, so I won't, but it was great!), and then at 5pm class, barely made it through standing series and then just stayed on the floor in mostly savasana for the floor stuff.  

Got back to the room, broke into the emergency bottle of electrolytes, ate a few pieces of cheese, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER!!!!  It's like a miracle juice.  I feel life coursing through my veins again, and think I'll be ok tomorrow.  Might pick up another jar tonight just to be on the safe side.  I don't like to bonk, it sucks.

Love to all.  

A Day in The Life

So here is a typical monday through friday here in beautiful Acapulco:

7:00 am -- rise and do bathroom duties
7:10 am --- eat some cereal, check email, do blog if there's time
7:30 am --- put on yoga togs, go get ice for huge water jug and secondary water container  -- note:  a lot of people don't drink water during practice at home, and that's great, but this studio is the hottest and most humid that they've ever had and classes often run into 2+ hours.  If you are planning to come to training, please allow yourself the liberty to drink water.  Those who were adamant at the beginning suffered terribly and are now using big water jugs for their
 survival.   The blue container is a half gallon, the metal is from REI and had a big mouth for ice.
7:35 am --- cut up and squeeze limes into water containers -- this with a little salt and sugar is
 Rajashree's formula for hydration.  It seems to work as I have not yet had major cramping or stomach problems.  Knock on wood.  
7:45 am -- check email again
8:00 am --- leave for yoga studio
8:30 am --- yoga begins
10:15 am -- yoga usually ends
10:31  -- take a dip in the ocean or in the salt pool or in the regular pool.  Have been going straight into the ocean, but given the recent rains and subsequent sewage etc that runs into the water, we have been strongly advised to stay out of the ocean.  Bummer.
11:00 -- shower, hang clothes, check email and prepare for afternoon lecture
11:35 --- Leave for lunch
11:45 --- lunch in the Chula Vista.  Pretty good food overall.  I stick to eggs and bacon for much needed protein and fruit for vitamins.  
12:10 --- Walk to afternoon lecture
12:30 -- afternoon lecture starts
4:15ish --- we are released to prepare for afternoon yoga
4:20 -- rush to room to change into yoga togs, get water, etc.
5:00 -- yoga begins
7:00 -- yoga ends
7:15 --- take another shower, grab some food in the room and prepare for evening lecture.  Check internet and try to get some energy somehow. 
 Note:  I brought a little water cooker and it's the best thing I could bring.  I cook pastas, soups and other delish hot foods for dinner.  It's my saving grace.
8:30 -- walk over for evening lecture
9:00 --- evening lecture starts
1:00 am -- evening lecture ends.  Sometimes goes later.  
1:15 -- drop into bed to get some rest and start over again.  

Saturday we have only one yoga class at 8am and then we're off for the rest of the weekend.  I spent last saturday sleeping for most of the day.  This weekend I believe we'll be studying anatomy and our dialogue.  I also make a point of getting some good red meat over the weekend.  There isn't any available during the week, and I need some to keep me strong.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Comments are Welcome!!

Hey everyone!  I love reading your comments and I'm hoping that there are more people reading than commenting.  If you do comment (and please do), please put your name in there.  It makes me feel so good to know who is wishing me well!   Muchas Gracias!

Love to all


A Little Anger in the Studio

We had a little excitement in this morning's  yoga class.  Emmy, the master teacher, is awesome in that she provides a terrific amount of information and guidance about the poses.  The downside is that classes are never 90 minutes, they are usually at least 105 minutes or longer.  Believe me, that extra 15 minutes can make a person crazy.  That happened today.

Stan, who has kind of become our mascot because he is normally so happy and smiley, definitely went into the fight AND flight mode this morning.  After 95 minutes, he just picked up his mat and started to walk out, yelling and screaming about how class should be 90 minutes.  A few of the male support staff tried to stop him and get him to sit or stay in the studio, but Stan just went crazy.  He was finally allowed to leave and was so worked up.  

Mark, one of the most zen-like guys here said later that guys often choose anger instead of vulnerability or other "non-male" type of feelings.  Perhaps that's what happened to Stan.  I know that I have wept in that room when various emotions emerged, and perhaps a similar event was the catalyst for Stan's blow up.   

I'm guessing that he'll be able to stay in the program, but he'll be doing more than an extra 5 minutes of yoga this weekend --- I'm guessing he'll have to do 2 full makeup classes!  

Love to all.  


Stan is gone!!!  He talked with Bikram this afternoon and Stan argued that classes were supposed to be 90 minutes.  Bikram said that that's true in the studio, but in teacher training, it can be up to 3 hours, depending on the desire of the instructor!  Stan said ok, but then somehow he ended up dissing Emmy and then it got into women in general and Stan's misogynism came out loud and clear, so Bikram said he had to go.  

See, that's the weird thing about Bikram, he says a lot of stuff about women that can really piss you off, but then he basically fires a guy for speaking unwell of women.  

And to the fellow who commented on this post, yes, if you are late to class or a lecture, you have to do a makeup class over the weekend.  Avoid this at all costs.  By Saturday afternoon only the insane want to do more yoga.

No Love, No Booze, No Cigarettes

As part of our training, we signed a contract that said we would not partake in any alcohol, nor smoke any cigarettes.  Bikram also said on the first day that we are verboten from "touchy touchy, huggy huggy, kissy kissy, fucky fucky".  This guy is pretty graphic when he wants to be.  

Frankly any of those things right now are absolutely the last thing in the world I would want.   Even the thought of a gin and tonic or a nice cold beer brings a gag reflex to my throat, I've never smoked, and the rest, well, not much of a change these days.

We were up last night until well past 1am watching another Indian movie.  This one was much better than the last Bollywood extravaganza that had us up at similar hours, but still, the lesson learned is conservation of energy.  I am learning to be much more efficient in my actions.  I have to be in order to get through this!

Today is Wednesday, hump day.  Once we we get through today it seems to get a little easier.  The light of the weekend is in sight! 

More on Anatomy, half moon, food and other topics soon.  

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet!!!!!

I woke last night to shaking that, frankly, I thought was coming from some action in the room next door.  A few seconds later I recognized the feeling and realized that we were having an EARTHQUAKE!!!!!!!  My major fear was that I'm on the 3rd floor of this concrete edifice and I was hoping and praying that there was sufficient rebar installed during construction.  

The quake didn't even shake the glasses off of the table, so all is good.  

But things are shaking up here.  Our bodies are changing on the cellular level.  A fellow I spoke to yesterday said that he has never had more eye to eye contact in his life.  I feel it too, and everyone is talking about their vivid dreams, and I'm certainly experiencing those -- vivid good and vivid bad.  Last night even, I woke up after the earthquake and couldn't feel my heart beating.  My chest hurt, but I couldn't figure out why.  Thought I was having a minor heart attack or something, but I could breathe totally normally and I wasn't upset or anything, my chest cavity just hurt.  After a while I just went back to sleep and asked about it this morning.  One of the people said that it is happening to many people as we are opening up our chest and heart chakra and becoming more open to new experiences.  Ok, that works for me!!

I was really happy in morning practice as I only sat out for triangle pose, mostly because I'm terrified that I'll slip on the slickery carpet and take out a knee or muscle (I was totally wrong about my initial impression, this carpet is like a frozen lake!).  But I did two sets of everything else even through a 2+ hour class with Emmy.  Emmy is more than 80 years old and she is fabulous.  I love her philosophy and her guidance.  

Ok, have to change (I'm changing continually) and get ready for the afternoon class.  Have been sitting in the lecture hall for hours and hope my back doesn't start to hurt again.  It was pretty good this morning, I'm hoping to have gotten past it.

Again, thanks for all your good thoughts -- I am LOVING this!!!!  

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!!!  

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Bikram Acapulco Studio

I'm posting a few pictures of the studio.  It's absolutely enormous---even with the 300 plus people in training and the visiting instructors and others, there is plenty of room in the place.  Of course, all the room is in the back, we are all jammed together in the front.

I believe the room used to be used for indoor tennis.  If I were to guess, I'd say the space would hold 4 tennis courts.  When you walk in to the building, you're immediately hit with hot wet air, but that's nothing compared to the actual studio.  When you walk inside the glass doors, it gets even hotter.  And everything I said about being prepared is a load of baloney.   It's just friggin hot and humid in this place.  

Bikram or another instructor stands up on a HUGE dais so that all of us can be seen.  Bikram always has a big orange towel draped on the chair he has installed on the podium.  I think he loves the color orange because it's like saffron.  
When class begins, the sound is truly amazing.  I already mentioned the beautiful sound of 300 pranayama breaths, but even during other poses the collective effort helps a LOT.  Except when you can hear someone barfing in the back.  That kind of ruins the meditation.  But we're even learning to concentrate beyond that.  

Exhaustion, but Week 1 is DONE!

I can only remember one time in my life when I've been so absolutely drained -- after climbing half dome.  But this is like climbing half dome every day.  Had my last class this morning, ate, and I'll shortly be taking a nice nap for a few hours.   And I'm confident that I'll sleep through the multiple jackhammers working below.

I woke up last night and couldn't move my arms.  They just wouldn't move for a few moments.  Then I got some water and things started to work again.  In class this morning, I started to get that cramping in my leg that other people have experienced throughout their body.  It was more surprising and interesting than painful, but I sure as hell wouldn't want any more of that.  One guy showed me a bruise he had on his leg from intense cramping.

So this is not just about surviving the anguish of the physical torture.  It's also about clearing up and letting go.  Almost all week my back has been bothering me.  I can feel my spine moving and straightening and that's terrific.  But in the middle of class this morning, just aching and tired from the continuous back pain, I heard a little voice in my head say, "Let go of the pain, give yourself permission to let go of the pain".  And that voice wasn't just talking about the pain in my back.  So I laid there and wept a little (that's very common in the studio) and I felt better in so many ways.

Now I'm just tired, so a rest will do me good.

More later.   

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A new room, a new view

It's all about perspective on so many levels.  Yesterday, I got to change my perspective and I am so grateful.

This is a picture of the view I had from room 1818.  Not bad, not so great with the Walmart and Mega signs, but still a pleasant view:

But thanks to the staff and I truly believe with a little help from my mom and dad, I got
 to witness this spectacular sunset yesterday from my new room:

An enormously different perspective, and one that I will appreciate every single day.  I'm connected to the internet in my room and I'm enjoying the sound of the surf right now.  But it's after midnight and I need to get some sleep.  

I nailed my half moon dialogue this evening.  More on that later.

First nearly dead, then ecstatic, then nearly dead

Boy this is certainly a physical challenge, but definitely more of a mental game.

The last two days have been amazingly challenging.  Strong, beautiful people have been barfing at the back of the studio, they have had to carry people out for IV fluids and normally amazing yoga practitioners can barely get off the floor.  

Me, I'm just keeping a happy attitude about it all.  By no means am I even coming close to even doing all the poses, but this afternoon, I finally was able to stand for most of the standing postures.  Doesn't mean I did them, but I didn't collapse on the floor either.  

There is a very strong and athletic man who is constantly cramping up.  He can't even stand up for most of the 90 minute class (or when Bikram teaches, more like 2.5 hours).  Then another woman who was hit by a car only 9 months ago and BROKE HER NECK is not only doing the entire series, she is executing the poses beautifully.  I'm bitching about my aching back and she has pins all inside her spine and is doing forward and backward bending.  But hey -- we all do the best we can, right?

Lots more news -- got a GREAT new room, will have pictures in a day or so, just got my computer up and working in the room.  Wahoooo!!!!  

Tonight I recite my half moon pose dialogue to Bikram and the entire class.  Hope I don't screw it up!!

Again, thanks for all the positive vibes.  Am loving it

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That didn't take long!

My back has been spasming for nearly two days and in the afternoon class yesterday, I could barely do the floor poses.   Toward the end, was able to get up on my own power but had to lie down at the doorway.  Bikram nearly tripped over me.

I was laughing at it though, as I've had this problem before -- when I started doing the 60-day challenge at Patty's studio.   It will pass, eventually, but meanwhile, I have to stay hydrated -- they are carrying people out by the dozens and it's not the softer people who are losing it, it's the rock solid muscled people who are literally dropping, gripped with unbearable pain from muscle dehydration.  Given that analysis, I should be ok.  Man, there are some chisled people here and there are a few stay puff marshmallows.  But who cares -- they are all here and we are suffering together!

We've been doing the first part of the half moon pose in front of Bikram.  ALL DAY YESTERDAY.  After midnight, he said we were finished for the day, and then he said we were going to watch a movie.  I figured that he was joking, and thank God he was, but I know it's coming -- the all night Bollywood extravaganza.  That's ok, it's just sleep.  I'll get more later.  We are more than 300, so it will probably take all week to get through everyone.  I'll know half moon for sure.  

May try to do my dialogue this afternoon.  I'm not so concerned with my presentation, but we have to stay up on the stage and execute 3 half moon poses and if my back continues to ache like it is currently, I might not be able to get through that!

More later, have to get ready for class.

Thanks to all who have sent good wishes.  They are GREATLY appreciated!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What a difference a day makes!

I was so frustrated yesterday.  Had to wait nearly 5 hours for my room, and when I finally got it, it had no ocean view, no internet, and no fridge.  And I lost my favorite hat while waiting.  Nothing huge in itself, and when I was still pissed this morning, I gave some thought as to why I was so bothered by these things.  I figured it out after a while -- it's that I really feel like this training and especially having my own room is a gift from my parents and in some weird way I'm letting them down by not getting a view of the ocean.  I know that both my mom and dad loved the sea, and feel in some way that if I can go to sleep and wake with the ocean, I'll be paying tribute to them.   Once I figured that out, I actually felt better about why I was so upset, and asked the staff to do whatever they can to help me switch rooms.  I'm confident that they will make it happen once everyone here for the Mexican independence holiday is over on Wednesday.  It's quite the fiesta tonight!!

This morning was just lecture on what we're to expect and 90 minutes of philosophy from Bikram.  He's good!  I appreciate his ideas, don't agree with all of them, but can see how he comes to this ideas, and they are fine for him.

Then this afternoon, we finally made it to the yoga studio.  OH MY GOD...hearing more than 300 people do pranayama breathing was absolutely amazing.  THAT sounded like the ocean coming in and out from the shore.  It was incredible!  I really enjoyed the class and owe a GREAT BIG THANKS to the folks at Yoga Loka, at BY Granite Bay and at San Rafael.  All those hot rooms really helped me to prepare for today's practice.  While other people were dying all over the place, I was able to push through and complete all the postures, not perfectly by any stretch, but I got through it with only a little leg cramping during Salabhasana.  I'm not getting cocky by any means -- I know that my day of pain will come soon, but wow, I'm nearly high on the energy of all those people doing the postures together.  

And I have to say, Bikram was really entertaining!  I'm certain he'll get tougher on us as we progress through the training, but today he had me laughing.  I can see where Bill gets his style.  Ironically, it's very similar to Bikram's...a little philosophy, a little humor, a little yoga.  Excellent.  

OK, off again to Mega and Walmart.  I ruined my turkey yesterday leaving it out while waiting for my room.  No reason to risk eating bad meat.

THANKS for all the good thoughts.  I could feel them for sure today.

A room with a view of everything....but the ocean

A bit of a rough start checking in on the first day.  All small things, but added up, very frustrating.  One thing I will ask of anyone reading this is to provide encouragement.  I opened up the comment section for all.  Thanks.  It will help a LOT!!!  OK, have to go, Bikram will be speaking in 25 minutes, and we cannot be late.

Sending love to all.  

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Welcome to the Fairmont!

I'm sitting in the atrium lobby of the Fairmont, my room isn't ready yet, but the other women with whom I've befriended are putting their stuff away and then we're off to Walmart and Mega for our perishable supplies.  
This place is really spectacular.  I'll post pictures later, but there are swans, flamingos, big talking birds all in an incredibly lush and tropical setting.  

The women I've met so far are from all over the world -- Holland, Vancouver, Lexington, Czech Republic, Boston, Finand, and I'm sure there will be other countries and cities represented.  

We practiced half moon pose last night in the hostel and I feel much better about it.  For the first time I thought, "I can do this" and have dispensed with some of my fears. 

Jorge from the youth hostel drove us over this morning.  What a great guy!!  He and his family are converting the hostel to a university and they are engaged in a massive construction and will eventually convert the hostel rooms to dorms for the students.  Although the beds were not as comfortable as what I'm sure to get here (yes, my back is quite sore), and of course the grounds were not as spectacular, I am grateful for Jorge's accommodations.

Pictures will be posted later!  

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The water´s fine! Dive right in!!

Bienvenidos a Acapulco!

Arrived on Thursday afternoon, after a significant delay in Mexico City, a place that has that unique smell of equatorial poverty -- a combination of burning wood and plastic. I could smell it in Guatemala, El Salvador, in Africa and even through the windows in the Mexico City Airport. But strangely enough, I love that smell in small doses, and I felt a sense of coming home.

Because of the ocean, Acapulco doesn’t have that smell, and there doesn’t seem to be much poverty, relatively speaking. Although John, the kid from Australia who arrived to the hostel last night said the surroundings were “dodgy”, Jacqueline and I have been getting around just fine.

When I arrived on Thursday, we made our shopping expedition to the Walmart and Sam’s Club to pick up much needed supplies for our training. I got a second mat, a drying rack, a plate, cup, etc as we won’t have time (or money) to eat out at night --- -most of us will partake of the big Fairmont brunch and then mix up our own meals the rest of the day.

Then we walked from the Hostel to the Fairmont, and enjoyed a beautiful dinner beachside. It’s a study in contrasts: we walked along the road, trying not to get hit by crazy cars and busses, avoiding the thousand broken plastic bottles of Fanta in the gutter and then entered the gates of the Fairmont to a lush garden and golf course, meticulous grounds and lovely accommodations. But in either place, the people here are so kind and helpful.

Yesterday, we made our way into town - took the rickety local bus for 8 pesos per person (less than 10 cents) and was immediately transported (in my mind) to Guatemala 16 years ago. The grinding of the gears, the worry that the brakes would fail and we would go careening off the side of the mountain, and the pure pleasure of being the only gringos in this form of transportation brought back very fond memories.

We saw the famous Acapulco Cliff Divers --“Los Clavaistas” . The boys collected 35 pesos (U.S. $3.50) from each of us, and then disrobed, climbed down halfway from the vista point, dove into a tumultuous inlet and then climbed quite a steep cliff on the other side. They made a big show of it, swinging their arms around, saying a prayer at the little altar, but when it came time to dive, they were nothing but serious. I took a lot of pictures, but for the last guy, who dove from the highest point, I just put the camera down and enjoyed the spectacle. Beautiful and amazing.

Then some time in the market. My new friend Jacqueline, with whom I’m sharing a nice enough room in the hostel, is from Holland, but she and her boyfriend live in Brisbane, Australia. She and I are getting along very well, she’s a bit younger than I, but equally as adventurous. As a flight attendant for KLM, she’s been to more places in the world --- I have to catch up! Jacqueline wanted to buy some silver, and she has quite the eye for beautiful pieces. She’s been to Taxco, the silver capital of Mexico and was able to spot the real stuff from the fakes (there weren’t many) and cut a hard bargain for some beautiful pieces. I ended up buying a new silver bracelet and think I got a good price. Anyway I like it, and will be my “requerdo” for the trip.

We finished off the day with a beer by the ocean. We have been warned to stay out of the bay waters as the rains bring all the garbage from the streets with it to the sea, and can cause that revenge I’ve been lucky enough to avoid thusfar. The Fairmont is on the open ocean, so we will be fine there. IF we have time for a dip.

Today is reserved for practicing the Bikram dialogue, and then we’re heading over to the Fairmont to meet up with other students who have arrived. Ok, time to get on with it!

Con mucho gusto!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bikram Video -- check it out!

On my facebook page is are two cool videos describing Bikram Yoga and the teacher training program.  Here's a third.  You'll have to copy and paste into the address bar.  I don't know how to make a link on this program.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I love Bill and Sandy!

At Yoga Loka, there's a spot on the ceiling just by the crux of the wall, and over the last three years, I put in that spot my heartache and sorrow.  You see, at Bill and Sandy's studio, in nearly every savasana, I found a way to take the bad stuff out of my body and let it go into that place in the ceiling.  I didn't have to carry it around with me any more, and even though it sometimes came back, I always left the studio feeling better than I had when I walked in.   Over time, I didn't need to use it as often as I had, and even today, I took comfort knowing that spot was there if I needed it.  But I didn't.   

Bill is a tremendous yogi.  H
e was trained by Bikram in the early years, and has developed a wonderful balance between the physical and the meta-physical.  His classes are truly a meditation and he makes me laugh simply with his loving outlook.  
Sandy is a perfectionist in many ways.  She has really helped me to improve my poses, and has made corrections that no one else has.  I've become stronger because of Sandy and I always think of her when I create a cobra tail.  Sandy, I do work hard to keep my ankles together!!  

I owe a great deal of thanks to Bill, Sandy and the folks at Yoga Loka.  In that warm (ok, blistering hot) space, I found a way to heal myself.  And they have inspired me to create a similar environment where other people can find balance, strength and flexibility for their bodies, minds and souls. 

What could be better than that?  

Thanks to Bikram Yoga Granite Bay!

I started going to Bikram Granite Bay in January, as it's located near my parents' former home.  Frankly, I was a little intimidated by the people there.  They were serious athletes, the women were beautiful, the practitioners and instructors VERY serious about getting the poses right.  But I quickly recognized that Patty and her crew were kind, helpful and also extremely respectful and serious about Bikram yoga and as a result their students (including me-yahoo!) became better and better.  

A great big shout out to all the instructors at Granite Bay Bikram:  First of all, thanks to Patty, who has been extremely helpful and supportive.  When I got back into practice after a significant hiatus, my back seized up, and Patty talked me through the pain and I healed.  Several weeks ago, I came out of the toe stand incorrectly and if it weren't for Patty's gentle assistance, I'm certain I would have blown out the knee entirely.  Now, actually, it's stronger and more flexible somehow.  I won't, but I should do that to the other knee!  And more than that, Patty has shown me that it's possible to be a successful yogini, and run a beautiful studio.  I aspire to be like Patty some day!  

And a great big thanks to Corey, Kory, Michan and Alice.  Each in his or her own way has helped me to improve my practice, has shown me how to deliver the dialogue, and has shared a love and enthusiasm for this practice.  I hope to have your confidence and grace soon.


Friday, September 5, 2008

I couldn't do this by myself!

As many of you know, I've experienced a great deal of loss over the last few years.  But I've also gained a lot too, and that's because I have an entire posse of people who have provided tremendous love and support.  I'm a very lucky person because I have wonderful people in my life.  So this entry is the first of many that provides a shout out to the people to whom I owe a great deal of thanks.

First, I honestly don't know what I'd do without
 Robyn and Cindi.  They have allowed me and Higbee to stay with them over the summer, and they will care for my best puppy while I'm at training.  I can't tell you how much comfort I have knowing that Higbee will be loved and cared for while I focus on my yoga (and I'll definitely need to focus!).  I won't have to worry about her at all.
Second, Edith and Eckhard have been not only dear friends, but also a second set of parents.  They have provided wonderful guidance, love and support in addition to a comfy and fabulous bedroom in Tiburon.  I'll make you paella any time!

Third, MJW and my Davis gals keep me grounded.  They provide the, "You're crazy, but we believe you can do it" support that I've needed for years (decades?).  My nose still hurts, but my ego is intact.  

Forth, and most importantly, I owe a great deal of thanks to my parents, Jim and Ginny.  They are both gone now, but I do feel their support and love.  And there's no way I could do this wit
 their financial support.  I'm not wasting your money, I will make a difference with it, I promise!  

That's it for now, more thanks later for m
y yogi masters!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This is the famous Budweiser Beer....

...we know of no beer produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age.  Our exclusive beechwood aging produces a taste, a smoothness, and a drinkability produced by no other beer at any price."

Until this summer, The Bud Beer label, The Hail Mary and the Our Father prayers summed up the extent of my library of memorized pieces.  Oh, and the entire script of "Young 
Frankenstein".  As part of this yoga training, I have to memorize 90-minutes of dialogue and I have to say, although I'm intimidated by the physical intensity that I'll surely experience during this training, it's the memorization that has me terrified.  I have been working on one pose for about 4 weeks and only now have it down.  I have no idea how I'm going to be able to memorize the remainder before I leave on Sept 10, or during the intense days of training.  Some people who have done it say it's totally doable, others are shaking their head and telling me I better prepare for no sleep.  

Any tips?