Thursday, November 27, 2008

LA Woman...walking down the street with her dog

So I arrived in Los Angeles, found the Bikram Headquarters (more on that later) and then made my way into Hollywood to find the hypnotist.  I know that going a small distance in LA can take hours due to traffic, so I did the recon, found it and then got a comfy and safe hotel nearby.  Showered up, gave Higbee a quick walk and then walked onto the studio lot where Mary's office is.  Our appointment was at 5pm, and most of the business of the day was over,  so I didn't get to see any famous people.  Mary's office was in one of the original buildings, a beautiful art deco design looking over a courtyard.  We spent nearly 4 hours together, and talked quite a bit about my experience in training, why I felt I was having trouble learning the dialogue and how I did in posture clinic.  Then we did two meditation  imagery exercises.  Finally, Mary talked with me for about 45 minutes about hypnotism and how it works.  Then I put on some headphones, wore a lavender scented bean bag for the eyes and settled comfortably into the couch and listened while Mary mixed her voice and ocean sounds into her computer and of course into the headphones I had on my head.  She did the countdown and I was out before she got to five, and then I woke to the count back up.  I have no idea what she said, and even after listening to the CD she gave me later, I still went to "sleep".  But I do seem to have more ease memorizing the dialogue and it seems to be sticking better.  So hey!  I'm happy with the results so far!  

The next day, I took Higbee for a walk around Hollywood and Vine and we looked for a place for her to do her business.  There's a lot of concrete around, and lots of bars on the windows in that part of town, but finally spotted a beautiful lawn in front of an apartment building.  Feeling a little guilty about the inevitable pee on that nice green lawn, we made a beeline for it and was a plastic yard!!!  Yup, that green was astroturf.  So we walked around a bit longer and finally found an appropriate place for Higbee to do her business. 

We then headed back to Bikram headquarters.  I was surprised that it wasn't as luxurious as I expected it to be.  In fact, it seemed a little run down!  The studio itself was really large and I virtually stood alone while I practiced.  Had a hell of a time doing the balancing postures as the floor and the walls were all the same tan color and had trouble finding a point of reference.  But it felt so good to practice and I even saw two people there from training!!  Honestly I do miss being in the room with 300 other people.  The women's room had really old lockers and the color on the wall was kind of stale, but I did like that the studio had doors on either side -- it was obvious that opening up both would create a great cross breeze.  

Manali was not there, but I did get to talk with several other people there and it looks like my thesis can progress.

Made the long drive home after that, and dealt successfully with the holiday traffic.  Am enjoying a terrific day today with friends and family.  Looking forward to getting back to the studio tomorrow.

Love to all and happy thanksgiving!!!   

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The adventure continues

A few more notes on teaching my first class:  

Those poor students.  They really put up with a lot from me.  I was able to complete the class in 90 minutes because I forgot more than half of the dialogue!!  Here's the internal dialogue that I was having:

"Oh my GOD --- they are doing what I'm asking them to do! Look at that!   Oooo, I'm standing in the way of that woman and she can't see the mirror. I need to move to the right. Oh, now I'm standing in front of him, I'll move over here, oh fuck it, there's too many people in here, I can't avoid being in the way of somebody, oh no, what's the next posture? Well, I couldn't remember much of that pose but people got through it, ok, on to the next one, oh yeah, I could have said this and that and this...oops better focus on the posture I'm in....darn, what's the sanscrit name again? HEY -- I'm doing ok in the timing of this! Ok that's a bonus! Uh oh, which leg is it? Right? Left? Oh, there's Patty touching her right leg, ok, it's right leg over the left leg!"

It felt pretty hot in there, but as someone talking through the class and not actually doing it, I couldn't tell if it was hot or not, and of course coming from the boiling hell of Acapulco, what's hot?  At the end of the class, when everyone was in final savasana, as I was walking out to turn off the lights, a fellow kind of moaned, "turn on the fan", and I realized that people were truly suffering.  Of course, I completely forgot to say thank you or "Namaste", so after I stood in the lobby laughing my head off, Patty told me that the group said it to themselves.  

Obviously, I need help, so I'm writing from Harris Ranch along hwy 5.  I'm on my way to LA to meet with Mary Holmes the Bikram yoga hypnotist.  She has helped dozens of people not only get the dialogue in their head, but access it in the order at the right time.  Let's see how this works.  Several friends have asked for her phone number so they can tell her to put a few items in my brain, and maybe take a few out!!!  No way!!!  

I'm also planning to meet with Manali at headquarters and talk to her and someone else about using Bikram people to complete a survey for my thesis.  Met with one of my committee members last night about 8:30 to confirm the process and then drove down about half way down with trusty Higbee in the back of the car.  At around 1am (time sound familiar?) I decided to call it quits, and made the decision to sleep in the car --- figured that I'd save some money and would spend it on a hotel tonight in LA.  So I found a cozy parking spot in the Harris Ranch parking lot, rolled out the sleeping bag and grabbed my pillow.  Higbee and I tool a short stroll so she could stretch her legs, and we took in the lovely smell of thousands of cattles' poop.  Those of you who take that trip down or up Hwy 5 know that tell tale smell --- ick.  So we climbed back in the SUV and, without permission, I commandeered Higbee's bed as a comfy cushion for my head and hips.  This awesome dog that's not SUPPOSED to shed has disproven the breed - this dog sheds like a building in the back yard (get it....shed?).  So there I was covered in dog hair, realizing that I was completely buzzed from the diet coke I drank about an hour before to stay awake.  Bummer.  And Higbee was sitting on my feet.  65 pounds of dog tends to cut off the circulation.  I kept telling her to get off my sleeping bag, but I'm certain her response was, "well, get off my bed"!  

So finally fell asleep, avoided any highway killers on the road and woke to the amazing smell of cooking beef!!  Much preferable to cattle poop!  I let Higbee do her business, did a little of my own, and now, fully stocked on a lovely Earl Grey tea and a banana walnut muffin, I'm heading south to Los Angeles.  

Wish me luck.  Love to all.  


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yup!! I did it!!!

So on friday, I went to the 4:30 class at the Granite Bay studio.  I was so warmly welcomed by Patty, the studio owner, and Cory, her assistant manager.  They were so happy that I had survived training and immediately asked if I had taught a class yet.  I told them that I hadn't and that I was planning to go to LA first.  They said, "no, no, no, you must teach as soon as possible" and Patty tried to talk me into teaching the next morning at 8am.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), I had already planned a road trip with my buddies Selina and Karin, so Saturday was not possible.  So she set me up for this afternoon (Sunday) at 4:30.  I didn't have much time to prepare in my mind, as I spend the weekend with the gals, and I got to the studio, sort of ready at 4pm.  

I was really nervous and when more and more and more people came into the studio, I didn't know whether to shit my pants, drop dead in fear, or just be glad that I could embarrass myself in front of even more people!!!  I decided to just go to the bathroom and then walk into the studio.  Patty gave me a beautiful introduction and then I started......started to completely butcher the dialogue!!!!  I could not remember much of anything, forget the Sanscrit names for the postures and I was into the next pose when I remembered, "Oh shit ---- I forgot that paragraph, or that phrase" and in the remembering of what I forgot, I was forgetting more!!!  But I got through it, got everyone safely in and out of the postures, even a very first time student, and I had people laughing now and again, AND...I finished in 89 minutes!!!  When people were in final savasana, I completely forgot to say thanks for being on the show and Namaste, I just walked out of the studio, but I did it, and for a few moments in each posture, it was really fun.  They were actually doing what I asked them to do!!!  

So now I have to learn the dialogue more and more and more, and I'll be better at it.  Patty said afterward that I have nowhere to go but up (and I'll take that as a compliment), and she also said I have a nice voice, and I'm very grateful for that statement (and even for the nice voice), so now I just have to get better.  

Whew!!!  It was fun, it was scary, but it was so good!!!!  I'm going to like this!!!

More later.  Headed to LA and Bikram headquarters tomorrow.  Will write more after that adventure.

Love to all.  Lucille 

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.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Leaving....sort of

Well, here's one photo of me, Sunny and Jacqueline on graduation day.  I took a bunch of images of the demonstration as I had a perfect vantage to see our wonderful Susan from New York and of course Erin from Chicago.  So when it was time for me to get on stage to receive my diploma from Bikram, my camera died.  Serious bummer.  But my awesome friend Upkar took a photo with her camera, I'll have it soon.  

Really wanting to get away from this place, but it's a national holiday in Mexico-they seem to have a lot of those-and there's nothing available anywhere but here.  So...I'm going to spend the night sharing a room with a bunch of people and then I'll find a peaceful place to relax tomorrow.  
Had a half glass of wine with dinner last night and I immediately felt its effects - and even woke this morning with that tell tale dryness in my head.  Couldn't believe it.  So that cold beer on the beach will have to be handled with care.  Guess my body is more pure than I thought!!!

Ok, have to check out of my home, and get on with life.  More later.

Love to all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Graduation Day

The alarm woke me at 7am, but I snoozed for an extra half hour.  Gathered a bunch of extra food and supplies and carried them to the yoga room to donate to a homeless children's organization. Hope they like sweaty yoga togs!!  I was pleased to see a lot of things there, hopefully we will help a few unfortunate kids.

Awesome Diane taught the last class ever to be held in the studio -- Bikram has moved the location next time to Palm Springs, CA.  Unlike last week's makeup class, where I was still suffering from the effects of dehydration, this one was nice and loose, comfortable, easy, flexible.  There were two women right in front of me who were beginners.  One in particular kept walking around her mat and checking herself out in the side mirror, all during the balancing postures.  I was entertained rather than flustered by it (even though I kept falling out), as we have been told over and over that we will be shocked to get back into a regular yoga studio and see what "regular" people do.  

About half way through the floor poses, I started to realize that I was coming close to the finish line.  Last night was great, but I held back my excitement as I felt it would have been premature to celebrate.  So while on the floor, I finally felt a tremendous sense of completion, and I also felt both of my parents love and support.  That room has been a hell, a haven and almost always hot, in many ways I'm going to miss it, but will always treasure the transformation that occurred there.   63 days, 101 yoga classes, 750 hours of training, and about 82 hours of sleep in total.  

I'm not the same person who arrived here 9 weeks ago.  Although this is certainly not the hardest thing I've ever had to do, it's pretty close in many ways, and the quiet satisfaction of this accomplishment (especially at this age) will be with me for a long time.  Last night at the talent show (which was amazing -- I had no idea we had so many amazing people amongst us), Diane gave me a big hug and said she could feel my wings.  I'm not sure if she meant that the muscles in by back had become more defined, or whether I had metaphorically sprouted wings to fly.   Either way, I like it, and believe they are both true.  

It's been a rough year in so many ways.  But I'm stronger, better, faster and I can lock the knee!  
Tonight is graduation.  There were women in the salon across the street getting updos.  I felt pretty fancy just getting a trim off of this ratty hair and a pedicure.  We will have quite an event I understand, and it will include an audio of Bishnu Gosh, Bikram's guru, multiple speeches, and of course, each of us gets to walk across the stage and receive a diploma and a photo with Bikram and Rajashree.  

Here's the photo I got last night.  It's a pretty big smile, but I think tonight will be even bigger.  Or maybe with more tears.  Wait, don't anticipate, just do.

Love to all.

I'll write more as the days progress.  I'd like to continue to capture my thoughts, and if you're interested, you are welcome to continue to read!!  I'll also be sure to write about my first teaching experience.  THAT will be a hoot!!!!

I have to thank you all, not just for following my progress, but also for giving me support, on this blog, via email or just in your thoughts.  Believe me, I could feel it and it is so greatly appreciated.   

Ok, time to get gussied up for graduation!!!  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bikram's Final Class

Just completed our last official class of the training (and yes, I have a makeup tomorrow, but that will be just fine, in fact it might even be relaxing after this afternoon's class!).  The energy in the room was amazing.  I'll write more later, but here are my before picture, with my awesome buddies from group 1 (yes I'm the whitest one there) and after picture with my wonderful friend Melissa.  I'm almost there.  What a great feeling!!!!

Now I remember.....

So at this afternoon's lecture we were able to stand up and talk about why we came to training and what we got out of it.  It was EXACTLY what I needed.  I've been cranky and achy,  and in more of a foul mood than not over the last few days.  Today, I was reminded what this was all about.  People stood up with absolutely amazing stories about how the yoga healed them, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Yes, we have been through hell and back and then back again over the last 9 weeks, but it has done more than we can know right now.  Some people know, but I think that when we go home and get the perspective I talked about before, we will really come to understand what we have done and what we have become.

OK, I have to get going for class in a moment.  More later.

Love to all.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grenades and Insight

All week, I've been thinking of these last few days like a soldier whose been given leave.  You know the story...he or she is really excited about going home to partner and family and then steps on the grenade.  BAM!  That's that.  

Well, apparently without my knowledge (but isn't that always how it goes?) I've stepped on the grenade.  I checked the makeup class list and guess what?  My name is on there.  I can't friggin believe it.  The LAST thing in the world I want to do is one more class.  So I checked with the person who is in charge of the lists, and she said that I forgot to sign in earlier this week.  Frankly I find that hard to believe, as I have a system -- I NEVER cross the path of the sign in table without adding my name.  There's definitely a part of me that thinks that perhaps my name is mistakenly still on there from last week.  I've been stewing about it for a good part of the afternoon, simply pissed.  But then when I was still irked in afternoon class, I realized that I've been bothered by it for much longer than the 90 minutes it will take to do the makeup class.  

So, I'm going to put down the  anger and frustration and just do the class.  In the grand scheme of things, 90 minutes (plus the prep time, but hey -- who's counting?) is a small amount of time and effort, so I'll do it.  Not exactly happily, not grudgingly, I'm simply going to do it.  

The aches and pains in my knees, hips, hamstrings and even my fingers are back with a vengeance, but hey -- that too will pass.  

So time for a quick shower, some food and then the final lecture from Bikram.  This has been a very long week.

Love to all.  Lucille

A few random thoughts...

Just 3 more classes to go before graduation.  I'm wrapped in a towel, and need to hustle to get to breakfast/meal, but I have some thoughts I'd like to share:

One of the things I've noticed about many people who are certified Bikram yoga instructors is that they have a certain type of quiet confidence.  They are not cocky, but they are self-assured, and today, just a few moments ago, I started to get that feeling.  Yes, it does feel good, but it's also like it's always been there and is now just coming up to the surface.  Interesting.  I'll give that more thought soon.

Juliana, I told Diane you send your regards, and she asked me to say hi back.

They told me a while ago to trust the process, and I have, especially in regards to the dialogue.  I've been simultaneously worried I've forgotten the whole thing and then madly studying and then not worried about it.  But yesterday while waiting in lecture, I just started to think about eagle pose, and was mildly surprised and pleased that I remembered most of the pose....and I haven't even given that much thought in over a month!  So maybe there's hope for me yet.  Or maybe that's where part of the quiet confidence comes from.

Here's an image of me in that afternoon posture clinic, studying and doing the dialogue while it's being recited by another student/teacher.   Thought you'd enjoy this one.  I need to flatten out the foot and sit down more.  That's good to see!!!  

OK, gotta get dressed and get some food!!!  Love to all.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boot Camp, Concentration Camp & Craig

It's been a rough couple of days.  They told us weeks ago that week 9 would be easy, but it's been anything but.  A few weeks ago it felt like book camp here; over the last few days, it's felt like a concentration camp.  Yoga classes have been a challenge (and the extra 2.5 hours in the hot room didn't help), Bikram has kept us up very late watching movies, and people have been generally disgruntled for a variety of reasons.  By lecture time this afternoon, people were either giddy with exhaustion, cranky beyond reason or pissed and ready to go home.  Then Craig, who is normally the teacher training coordinator for the entire training, was introduced by Bikram and came on stage for the first time.   Through his enthusiasm, his passion for the yoga, his humor and his insight, he turned things around.  I honestly didn't think it would be possible, but he got nearly everyone's attention and held it for several hours.  Ironically one of his topics was perspective, vision and focus -- I must be psychic!!!  

Then he taught class this evening, and although it was a rough class, it wasn't too exhausting because he kept the flow going.  I actually enjoyed it!  

I finally feel pretty good, although again, my knees are ready to explode, my hamstrings throb, and my back is ready to go out any second.  I think that's from being in the hot room for nearly 6 hours yesterday and then in a very uncomfortable chair in a really cold room for nearly 5 hours.  Not a good combination.

Anyway, I have hope for an upbeat conclusion and that makes me happy. 

Love to all.  Lucille 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11 -- RIP VMA

Well, today is the one year anniversary of the death of my mother.  She died in the early hours of the morning, around 4:00.  So I awoke this morning at about 4:15 to a fairly good sized earthquake -- I laughed about it and thought it was my mom letting me know she can still shake me out of bed.  Apparently she was pretty adamant about me getting the message -- we had two more good sized rockers in that hour.  

This morning was like most, another class at 8:30, but we were told we'd have an extra half hour off before lecture began this afternoon.  So I took the opportunity to swim in the ocean, which had a strange and fierce tidal pull.  Didn't stay in long, I could tell it was making me tired and not rejuvenating like usual.   Went for a swim in the pool and then came back to the room to talk with Bob via skype.  

Caught a very late lunch, in fact I missed the gratis lunch in the Chula Vista restaurant and instead got a sandwich in the hotel deli.  Just managed to take the last bite before I went into the lecture room, and so when they told us to change into yoga clothes and meet in the studio, I got a little nervous.  Turns out we spent afternoon lecture time in a new kind of posture clinic, and those who wanted to practice, got to go up on the big dais and deliver three postures.  We all had to do the postures, and on a full stomach, I thought I was going to hurl.  Didn't, but others did, and then we got a short break and returned for our evening class.  So I'm going to say that I'll have done 100 classes during this trip (the effort put into that hot room for 2.5 hours this afternoon certainly counts as a class), and now I'm at 94 and have a balance of 6.  I really hope we won't do that again, but I'm not going to cross my fingers.  Started to get that electrolyte headache in the third class of the day, but got through it with minimal damage.  

A lot of people here are in a foul mood, for a number of reasons, but mostly I think they want to go home.  People are tired, they are starting to look gaunt and unhealthy, and I think by the end of this, some might be on the verge of homicide -- roommates look out!  I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to get my own room, the women especially seem to be completely fed up with those whom they share a bathroom.  

So, a bowl of soup and another Bikram lecture.  Again, no fingers crossed, but I'm hoping that we'll get out fairly early.  

3 more days and counting.  

Love Lucille

Monday, November 10, 2008

Focus, Vision, and Perspective

My vision these days is a bit askew.  I can see close up just fine, but my distance vision is definitely wanting.  So I find myself doing the opposite of many people my age -- I'm putting my glasses on to see far away and pulling them off to read or write.  Or maybe it's the same as other people.  Whatever, you get the point, I can't see very well consistently.  
But I don't wear my contacts or my glasses into the yoga studio.  Forget the glasses, they will not stay on my head and the contacts will clog my eyes.  So although my vision is wanting, my focus has become dead on.  Instead of looking in the mirror as I had done at my home studios, here I focus on one stationary object (usually it's an orange water jug) in front of me.  Of course, I can't see myself in the mirror most of the time anyway, but even when I can, I prefer to look not at myself, but at the reflection of a jug.  With this focus, I'm able to balance much better than I had before, and I'm improving in the balancing series fairly well.  I think -- I can't tell because I don't look at myself in the mirror.  And in that regard, I had come to believe at one point that my yoga had become better, and I was fairly good at it!  But then when I was close to the mirror one day I was shocked, SHOCKED, to see that my practice wasn't what I believed it to be.  I guess you call that perspective.

But I have to admit, after eight weeks of a fairly consistent groundhog day experience, I've lost most of my perspective.  I no longer remember what it's like to not do yoga twice a day, I can't figure out any more if I've lost weight or gained it, I don't know how I compare to what I was before, and I certainly don't know anymore how to consider this experience.  I've lost the perspective with which to compare it.   Some people here are getting so wrapped up in the politics of the group,  I'm smart enough to avoid that, and others are judging people and events in ways that I think will embarrass them when they return home, so I guess I'm not the only one left wanting in the perspective department.  

I am, however, looking forward to the day when I'm far enough away from this to give it some perspective.  I know I'll miss parts of it, but I also know that I'll gain more meaning from it when it's a little farther away.  


I got up on stage with Bikram on Friday.  Even though I was washed out entirely from Thursday night's classes and the subsequent IV treatment, I felt ok enough to go up and get direction on the separate leg head to knee posture.  He was pretty funny with me.  He said that because I was trying hard and not doing it very well, I was getting 110% benefit -- those who do the pose easily don't get as much benefit.  I take that to mean that I'm really getting a LOT of benefit from my entire practice!!!  

Also today, I stood up when we were talking about bow pose, and told him that I came with excruciating back pain and now that's all gone, but my knees are killing me in standing bow and in the floor bow.  He asked me why my backed ached so much and I told him I had been sitting at a computer for 20 years.  He complimented me and said that I must have started sitting at the computer since I was 5 years old!  Perhaps his vision needs some help too!!!  Anyway he told me to take the knee pain, it will go away eventually, so I will.  

All in all, I will have done 99 yoga classes while here.  This evening, I completed the  91st class.  That's pretty cool, I have to admit.  

The Last Week

Spent most of the weekend sleeping.  Talked to my dear friend Eileen, and she said that when you're dehydrated enough to require IV fluids, it takes a few days to come back up to speed.  So I don't feel so bad about the volume of sleep I've had.  Did go into town with my buddy Mark on Saturday night.  Bought a new pair of jeans, which are already too big (not because I've shrunk, but because the jeans have stretched), and we had a great dinner in the old part of town.  A giant meat, fish and vegetable kabob, rice, and some kind of slaw for 100 pesos (about $7.50).  A very different price than what we've been paying here at the Fairmont.  While we were enjoying our meal on the patio upstairs, there was a birthday party going on at the building next door --- they played musical chairs and had a pinata.  It was so heartwarming and beautiful.  

Then we walked a way and took a cab home.  Yesterday, Sunday, the last Sunday I'll spend here, I again slept for most of the day but made sure to go to the beach for sunset.  I love it here at the end of the day.  It's still warm out, easily warm enough to swim in the waters and the sunsets are spectacular.  Ended up talking with Ivan from Croatia, and he's from an Island close to Split, where I've been and knows Plitvice, one of the most beautiful places in all of Europe.  It was an interesting and eye opening conversation.  Ivan is a very thought provoking fellow.  We enjoyed the sunset together, talked until way past dark and then I returned for a shower, a little food, some study of dialogue and then another long sleep.  This one was filled with strange dreams, I guess that's what happens when you get enough sleep.  I finally feel rested.

Good news!!!  Diane, the instructor from Boston whom EVERYONE loves is back!!!   I hear that this week will again be a rough one, but at least with Diane on campus, we'll have some interesting and fun conversations.  I would love to work with her, who knows.  

Ok, time to get ready for another day.  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Eight Weeks Down, One to Go

We had another long lecture last night -- I think we went until after 1am.  By the time I left the lecture hall, I was a zombie.  Still tired from the dehydration.  and I didn't help it earlier in the day -- after morning class yesterday, one of the studio owners from NYC offered to buy us all a coconut.  They are really healthy for you; the juice inside can revitalize.  The only problem is that we had to walk a way down the beach for them, and then stand in line for about a half hour.  Then after I drank my coconut juice, I again stood in line to get it chopped up so I could eat the meat.  Great coconut juice, bad sunburn.   I can't believe I did that.  I've been so careful and then at the worst possible time, I get a burn.  

Just came back from my second yoga class of the day, my 13th class of the week.  Am absolutely wiped out, plan to spend a good deal of time this afternoon sleeping.  I have very mixed feelings right now.  Am definitely exhausted, and frankly feeling not so excited about yoga in general.  It might be a function of the exhaustion, or perhaps a little too much of a good thing.  Even so, I'm hoping that next week, we'll feel a little more psyched up about Bikram, about teaching, and about life.  I don't want to leave here feeling overly tired or down.  

Ok, time for a nap.  Might go into town this afternoon, so I want to get some rest beforehand.

Love to all.  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

$150 US a litre

UPDATE:  In addition to the $150 IV charge, I get to do a makeup class for missing lecture last night (which went  until 2:30am).  Robyn, your questions are good ones, I'm asking the same thing.  Don't want to ponder it too much, I need to stay positive through the next 8 days.


Well, I'm not nearly as tough as I thought I was.  After what we thought was final savasana this evening, we were told to stay in the room and then Bikram came in a taught a third class of the day.  I was in the front and had just finished a class that I had worked fairly hard.   And I only had a little water left in my jug.  But ok, I gave it a shot.  

It didn't take long for me to totally lose control of my breathing, and I continually kept gulping air into my mouth.  I could only do a few postures, didn't have much energy at all, but kept getting up and giving it a try.  At one point, I was nearly sobbing, just simply because I couldn't seem to get my breath.

When class was over, I took what I thought was the longest walk out of the studio,  hauling two very wet towels and when I got to the lobby, I nearly collapsed.  They gave me some gatoraide, but it didn't help a splitting headache that I had.  I could barely open my eyes.  Then when I got back to my room, I still couldn't breathe and then after a quick shower, I started to shake all over and got really, really cold.  Had the sense to call Jacqueline and Erin's room, and J came up immediately.  Wrapped in a towel, I got the door open and then just lost it, couldn't breathe at all and collapsed on the floor by the door, by then a few other people were there to help, good thing because I couldn't keep the towel on and they had to help me to not flash the entire hallway!!!  

They called the doctor and I got wheeled to the clinic, in front of a HUGE line of beautifully dressed people here for some convention.  I wasn't exactly a pretty picture and probably scared them to death.  And when I got to the clinic, they gave me two 1/2 litres of an IV drip, the first had potassium, the second one was full of Vitamin B.  

I feel much better now, and do NOT recommend this as an alternative to lecture.  It will cost me $150 US for that little treatment.  But the headache is gone!!!   

Had a banana to prevent cramps tonight.  Going to sleep now, 13 more classes (unless there's more surprise classes) and 9 days to go. 

I'm ready.   

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Before and After

Melissa, my buddy from Canada, took some pictures in the studio over the last few weeks and I copied them from her blog, just to give  you an idea how much we sweat over 90 minutes.  

Here we are before class started, Smiley and dry.  

And here we are after class, still smiley, but definitely a lot more wet.  Honestly, if we jumped in the pool, it's unlikely we would be dripping any more than we do after yoga class.  If you had any doubts about how tough this is, hopefully now you can see, this is NOT for wimps!!  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The story of Chris Bayiokos

Because there are so many people in this training program (more than 300), we have been split into 14 groups organized alphabetically.  I'm in group 1, Abidi to Bickle-Box.  We have a really awesome group including our friend Chris Bayiokos.  At the start of training, Chris had a lot of trouble, though, for whatever reason, he would often skip posture clinic and then when he did show up, he did not prepare to deliver the pose.  He was, in his own words, "miserable" and fought hard against the process.  In time though, and with quite a few talks by coaches, group members and others, Chris came around.  And then he REALLY came around and stood out as a very strong team member.   He learned his dialogue thoroughly and delivered beautifully.  I have been honored to practice with him on several occasions, and worked well together, we helped each other learn well and quickly.

So this week we had to choose one person from our group to deliver the spinal twist in front of the entire group.  It was unanimous -- we chose Chris.  Here's a picture of him just as we announced it to him:

And here he is with our group practicing this afternoon.  We look like bowling pins don't we?

And finally, here is our group on the stage with Chris at the lead, delivering the spinal twist dialogue.  I have say, I'm so happy for him and for us -- he did a GREAT job and we are all so proud of him and of our commitment to each other.  It was a terrific moment.  

Ok, we're off for the night, I'm heading to the bar to watch the results on the big screen with the group.  No beer though -- that celebration will have to wait.  

Love to all.  

Get out the VOTE!

Today's an historic day.....Bikram is letting us out of evening lecture to watch the election results!!!  

It's 7:30 am Tuesday, and I'm still sore from last night's class.  Bikram freely admitted afterward to testing us in the yoga room.  It was his first class in two weeks --- he did a grand world tour via Los Angeles, Munich, Frankfurt, Dubai, Calcutta, Miami and then a return to Acapulco.  And maybe a few other cities in between.  So to see how we fared in his absence, he pushed us very hard for nearly two hours.  No one threw up or  cramped up, but after class, many people were on the floor by the fans (haven't seen that in a while), and it took me more than 2 hours to feel human again.  I did pretty well -- completed all postures and held most for the entire time.  He is truly unlike anyone else in that he carries with him a presence that can inspire others to do WAY more than they thought capable.  

He also admitted to being impressed with our collective performance.  That's a good thing.

Ok, have to get ready for morning class.  Don't think I'll be full of energy for this one, but I'll give it my best.

Yesterday I delivered the last formal posture and did a pretty good job.  Hurray!!  I'm not done though, now it's time to start all over again from the beginning and re-learn all the postures.  This is an ongoing process.  Better get to it.

Everyone VOTE!!!

Love to all.  Lucille

Sunday, November 2, 2008

On Being 46 - part deux

I mentioned a while ago that Bikram was very explicit in his instructions, "no alcohol, no smoking, no drugs, no touchy, no feely, no kissy and no fucky".  Quite to my own surprise, except for the occasional twinge that passes fairly quickly, I really don't miss a glass of wine or a cold Corona.  In fact, I'm planning to cut back when the training is over.  There's no need to pollute this new--ish healthy body.  Regarding the passion and affection, there really isn't any one here who interests me (or whom I interest), so that's not much of a problem.  In any event, there's absolutely no way that I would even come close to risking my certification.  I've worked too hard and at this stage nothing will get in my way.

Now having said that, I'm lucky that I'm mature enough physically and emotionally to get that.  Unfortunately, there are a few people here who are making choices for immediate gratification in one way or another, and frankly, I think it's a bad choice.  Part of the purpose of this training is to remove us from the things that we cling to, to the things we take comfort in, in order to forge a stronger, purer and better sense of self.  I recognize that (but probably wouldn't have at 25) and think it's a terrific opportunity.  In many ways, I'm glad that I'm older than most so that I can take full advantage of that opportunity.  Yup, age does have its benefits.

Like many of the people here, though, I'm definitely displaying a "younger" side of myself.  I don't even think in the prime of my adolescence, I broke out as much as I am breaking out here.  I'm hoping, though, that the rash on my chest, arms and back is the emergence of pre-cancerous cells that are being pushed out by healthier replacements (I am avoiding sun exposure for those who wonder).  Either that or the fact that we're wet all the time, sweating profusely before, during and after yoga twice a day, and regularly exposed to chlorinated water might create a negative environment for my skin.  In any event, I started to do Dr. T's facial scrub and I have to say, my face and skin feel pretty good overall!  As I mentioned several weeks ago, Dr. T spoke to us about anatomy, but his speciality and passion is holistic food and products.  He recommended a facial scrub made of the following ingredients:  Avocado oil, spread lightly over the face and neck, then honey mixed with salt as an exfoliant.   Lightly scrub all over and then rinse off and be on with your day!  It's kind of fun, and it actually tastes good!  

I don't know what avocado oil costs back home, but I can get a bottle at Walmart for about $2 here -- avocados as many of you know, are in full supply around here, so if anyone wants me to get them a bottle, put in your order now!!

Love to all, your aged (and young at heart) friend.