Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arizona: Come on Vacation, Leave on Probation

"All the problems in your life don't come from the outside in - they come from the inside out.  If you achieve self-realization, there are no problems.   And it starts with lock the fucking knee."  

Finally left Palm Desert yesterday.  I am so very glad I stayed - it was a real gift.  Let me back up a little:  when I was in training, when doing the last posture, spinal twist, I was told that I would be, "Fine - but you know what that means - Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Ego oriented."  Obviously, the comment bothered me, as I can remember it as clear as day.  So the person who said it taught a class, and it was the greatest gift I could get -- it was okay in that the students enjoyed the antics, but in no way was it a Bikram class - there were a lot of wrong things said along with a lot of inaccurate and out of order instructions.  The easy analysis would be to say it was a "fine" class, but what it was to me was a completion of the circle.  I was shown that I am better than fine in so very many ways - I am, and continue to strive to be, a very good and soon an even better, Bikram yoga instructor.  

Then the Jon Burris, the fascia guy spoke.  I definitely enjoyed his presentation mid-day, but in the evening discussion, there were some statements that I disagreed with.  but that's ok - he's entitled to his opinion and I'm entitled to mine.   It was a worthwhile use of my time.

On Friday morning, Diane taught - she has a GREAT class!  And before I left campus, she had a short, sweet (just like her) lecture in which she talked about the power of the dialogue.  She had her friend Terry (who was assaulted and tore her neck muscles and tendons) come up and tell her story and relay how Diane's compassion and the use of the entire dialogue ("your back is going to hurt like hell, don't be scared") gave her the courage to do the yoga and improve her health.  It was a very impactful presentation.  

After Diane's lecture, I called it a day and went to get the pop up at the tire store.  I told the guy the day before to hold on to the tire with the hole in the sidewall so I could take it back to Schwab and get a refund.  Got there and guess what?  They threw the damaged tire away and the truck had just hauled it away.  So I got the repair completely and totally for free!!!  Woo Hoo!   Divine providence!  

Started the drive eastward.  Passed the exit for Needles California (shout out to Robin and Marshall) and crossed into Arizona.  It was amazing - the minute I got over the border, the Saguaro cacti showed up.  I love those amazing plants.  They look like animated creatures in a variety of positions.  Even saw two growing side by side looking like they were hugging!  A prickly relationship for sure, but one that obviously works.  

Rolled into Phoenix after 8:30 and spent the night in a Motel 6 instead of a trailer park.  They have a pretty good deal:  A clean and cool room that welcomes dogs for only $44 a night.  It's nice to relax and watch TV now and then.

Since I spent time in Phoenix last summer, I'm going to continue south and east, and spend a few days in Bisbee, Arizona.  It's up at about 2500 feet, so it will be a little cooler.  I'm going to process what I've learned so far and also do some work on the thesis.  

Plus there's a lot of cool things to see in that area - Tombstone, some awesome caves and other Southwest sights.  Will post pictures next time.  

Sending love to all.  

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lots of pressure - no air pressure

Wednesday, May 27

Yesterday was a crazy yoga day! The morning class was led by Emmy, who has a disconcerting method of getting off the big podium and walking around amongst the people. It’s so weird because her voice is coming out of the speakers and then WHAM, there’s reverb and she’s standing behind you poking you in the spine telling you to stand up taller. She walked around when I was in training, and when she walked by me in pranayama breathing, she said into the mike, “I don’t understand why there’s swaying”. I didn’t understand either at the time, but have learned that you have to focus on the inner thighs and tighten up the legs to stop the swaying (plus the chiropractor recently told me I have a misalignment of the cerebral vertebrae and that affects my balance). So yesterday morning, out of nowhere Emmy showed up RIGHT behind me and man, I tightened up and held it for every posture! She ended up sitting in the chair almost directly behind me and I didn’t get any pokes, but I did get a VERY helpful correction on spine twisting posture. She’s absolutely right – the yoga must be done the right way to get the full benefit. It was amazing to me how a small shift in the hand makes it a whole new posture!

The pressure to perform for Emmy was nothing compared to the afternoon class! I don’t even know why or how, but I ended up with Diane Ducharme in front of me, Lisa from Texas on my right, Lynn Whitlow on my left and Michael Harris immediately behind me. It was a vortex of yoga power and I was in the center of it all! I did fall out of standing head to knee before anyone else did (which I almost always do), but I have to say I held my own in the rest of the postures – I had a respectable practice. Whew!! Did I mention that Bikram taught? And you KNOW how he holds people in postures forever!

Since I arrived on May 14, I have taken 20 classes and taught once. That’s probably more than I’ve done in a two week period since training and although I’m tired, I feel really strong and am actually performing fairly well! Surprise, surprise!!! It feels good!

The guy in the campsite next to me hates Higbee and she’s not so hot on him either. Straining at the end of the tether, she was barking at him (but wagging her tail) on one of the first days we were here – obviously establishing her territory. But the guy didn’t like it and voiced his disapproval. So instead of leaving her on the tether while I go to the bathroom, I’ve been taking her with me. She sits quietly in the corner of the public bathroom and it’s been perfectly fine as I’ve seen only one person in there two times. Yesterday, though, the guy who cleans the bathroom tried to come in and Higbee barked, and the guy freaked out – some people just don’t understand dogs! I told him that I had no other place to leave her, but he would not be satisfied. When we went to take a shower after this morning’s practice, there was a note on the bathroom in big letters, “NO DOGS ALLOWED IN BATHROOM” I laughed and brought Higbee in and took my shower. Strange place this RV park. I appreciate that they have rules and follow them, but the intensity of adherence is a bit much. The place is nearly empty, I can’t figure out why they don’t have better customer service! Not to worry, the road calls and we head eastward.

6:53 pm. Frack!! The pop up camper has a flat tire. Don’t understand why – I bought new tires not a week before I left Sacramento. Spent an hour in Walmart trying to figure out whether to buy a can of air or a compressor to get it inflated so I could tow the camper to the tire place in the morning and get it checked out. I learned that the cans of air (and sealant) ruin tires, so I opted for the mini compressor that runs off of the cigarette lighter. Naturally, the flat is on the side of the camper that’s inaccessible to the car, so I can’t reach the tire with the compressor. So in the morning, I’ll have to try to hitch up the camper, then unhitch the car to get it close enough to use the compressor, then rehitch the camper and hope that the air will hold so I can get to the tire place. Cannot depend on any help from folks here --- some are full of advice, but few provide actual assistance. The good news is that Albert the guy at the tire store, seems like he knows what he’s talking about.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Itchy feet upon me

May 25, 2009 11:52

Just had the leftovers from last night’s dinner at the City Wok – my mouth is still burning! Practiced this morning in the tent – Diane taught yet another kickass class using 99.9% dialogue. The woman knows her stuff. Afterward, as usual, I shadowed her as students came up to get help on different postures. I absolutely love the way she uses dialogue to get them set up, correctly into and deeper into poses! I am learning so much.

Yesterday was a great day. I spent the morning in my little campsite using the computer to tape and then replay my delivery of the poses. I’m trying to get the dialogue down perfectly (or pretty close) and it is a method that works for me. Good thing, as I went over to the Palm Desert studio to give Kim a message from Diane and Kim offered to let me teach the 3pm class! I was a little hesitant, but decided to do it and I had a BLAST!! Was surprised at how much I enjoyed being up on the block at the front of the room – being just a little bit higher allows me to see better and I also don’t feel like I’m blocking their perspective in the balancing poses. That’s the first time I’ve been off the floor level and I like it. Kim (who went with me to training and is an awesome yogi) took the class and was really complimentary! I asked her to give me something to work on and she said she didn’t have anything. I’m guessing she’s being kind, but her positive feedback did feel good, especially because I’m certain she has a very different style of teaching.

Got to join Diane and more folks from Mass and NH for dinner and definitely enjoyed being a part of the conversation. I had very little to contribute, but just enjoyed listening.

Strange – was playing with Higbee in the grassy area by the pool, and I noticed her nipples had gotten bigger. One little squeeze and Uh Oh -- milk came out!!! The vet assured me she wasn’t pregnant (but a false pregnancy is possible), so if she pops out some little bastards somewhere on the road, I have no idea what I’m going to do!! I guess I’ll figure that out if I have to.

It’s Monday and I’m paid up here until Thursday. I think by then I’ll be ready to hit the road. As nice as it is here (ok, yeah it’s hot too), I’m getting itchy feet, and I’m ready to start moving eastward.

Talked to Lisa today as I usually spend memorial day weekend with her family up in the mountains, and she said that perhaps she’ll join me on a leg of this journey! Wouldn’t that be fun!!! Selina might come out at some point too – But a warning to all who are interested in getting on the yoga train – some hot yoga will be part of the agenda!!

Sending love to all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some hot desert images!

It's a little bit of a challenge to get reliable internet here, so I apologize for not posting pictures with the last few entries.  Here's a few that will hopefully make up for the recent dry spell:

Here's the car and camper, and of course Higbee, just before we left.  Notice all my stickers on the pop-up -- have a sticker, will travel!!!  

The view on the drive south on Hwy 5.  I'm pretty certain the smog in the distance is smoke from the Santa Barbara fires.  

This is our little campsite at the RV park.  It was the shadiest spot we could find, but it still bakes in the afternoon.  

The studio tent.  Look familiar???  

Collective Camel.  Lynn Whitlow teaching.  

Fixed firm and yes, the mirrors do look a bit like a fun house.  I was up close today for the makeup class and I looked nice and slim in the mirror!  

My friend Cory from Granite Bay.  He stayed with me at the campsite for a few days.  Good camel - hips pushed forward.  Not bad for a guy with a busted coccyx.  

Diane, Linda and Sunny on our afternoon jaunt to visit the Palm Desert studio.  According to Sunny, the cockroaches at the hotel are about this big!!!  ;-) 

We stopped at a really wonderful sculpture and art gallery.  Loved this rabbit doing fixed firm.  

Can't remember the name of the artist who does these amazing glass sculptures, but they had several there in the gallery.  Extraordinary.  

The Boston Clan plus an Aussie.  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday May 22, 2:00

I’m sitting in the Denny’s on Rte 111, which runs along the base of the mountains that surround the desert. I’m cooler in here than I’ve been for days and days – I can’t remember what it feels like to be cold, but I suppose I’ll remember soon enough. I decided to stay for quite a bit longer than I had originally planned, but I’m learning so very much here – mostly from Diane Ducharme, but also from other senior teachers and other teachers in general.

Sunny and Linda left yesterday and I have to say that I’m really impressed with their collective passion for the practice. I had so much fun talking yoga with them – and hanging out with them. They have extended a welcome to me when I get to Massachusetts – I’m looking forward to that.  Cory from my studio in Sac also visited for a few days - it was great to have a friend at my humble RV abode.  

Because Diane is friends with Linda and Sunny, I also got to hang out a few times with her. I’ve been shadowing her as much as I possibly can – after each class, she stays behind and helps people to improve their practice. Before helping them with the posture of their choice, she makes them do cobra pose. Most people do it wrong, she reasons because teachers don’t use the dialogue to explain how to use it. She is a huge proponent of dialogue and I’ve come to realize how much more work I need to do to get each and every word in the dialogue in my head and out of my mouth. It’s not just Diane, it’s seeing both the power of the dialogue by those who use it and the effect of those who don’t use it. I’ve enjoyed taking the classes from the teachers who have sung, who have told stories, and who are “airy fairy (as other have referred to it) and the yoga is good, but it’s not Bikram yoga. There’s something very powerful about the descriptions, the pacing, the way one does the postures when the dialogue is used. I’m a huge fan, and I have a lot of work to do to embrace it wholly. I also believe it would be so helpful to require all the senior teachers who get up on the podium to stick immediately to dialogue – it would accomplish two things: first, it would help the students to get one more example of how to use it; second, it would eliminate the excuse that students (justifiably in my opinion) have that they don’t have to learn the dialogue fully because senior teacher X doesn’t use it. They need to close that loop.

Bikram has taught two classes while I’ve been here. He is in prime Bikram mode. When he yelled at a woman, “Miss Pink, what the hell you doing?” I fell out of the pose and almost peed my pants I laughed so hard – it was the exact same scene I experienced in my own training when “miss glasses” was not trying the right way. “I HATE lazy people!” Many would consider him crass, even rude, but there’s no one like Bikram, and you really have to hand it to a guy who has been hanging out in his underwear for 40+ years teaching the same thing over and over. He told some of the same stories in lecture a few nights ago, but this time because I wasn’t completely exhausted and brain dead, I actually got the meaning of what he said. Then I started to nod off. I’m no good after 11pm. Bikram would say I’m wasting my time with so much sleep, but this gal needs a solid 8 hours.

Posture clinic has been really great. First of all, the students in this training really, and I mean REALLY know their dialogue. But of course there are a few who are struggling. I’ve noticed that women of a particular age seem to have more trouble than others, and I can totally identify with them. There was a women yesterday who was questioning her ability to do this, and I told her that she absolutely, positively could – and to have faith in herself – she called me an angel – hey, if I can help, that’s wonderful.

I would recommend that everyone come back to TT for as long as they can. It really is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect to the source – to learn much of what you missed in the original TT because of exhaustion, to see how other’s teach after you have taught yourself, to lend support and love to the new trainees, and to practice doubles as much as you want and then leave when the movies fire up!! THAT’S AWESOME!!!

Ok, time to go to the post office, run a few other errands and prepare for afternoon yoga. I love this path. Can’t imagine doing anything else.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A very hot weekend!!!

Sunday, 7pm.

Higbee and I have become quite at home at the RV park.  We have our pattern down for walking to the grassy area for "rest stops," for finding our way to the bathroom in the night, and for rising early and making sure to catch the wind whenever possible in the pop up.  It's getting hot here, in oh so many ways!!

Friday was great.  I got introduced to the group before Dr. T's lecture and was applauded heartedly when I said that I was the worst person in posture clinic and have taught more than 120 classes, and some people say I'm their favorite teacher.  It felt great.  Then after two AWESOME yoga classes (PM by Ren, I just love him), I joined Martha and Joseph for posture clinic.  I have to say I was kind of freaked out and felt the pressure of the last training, but I also got to share a few things and felt good about that.  I loved what Martha had to say to those delivering the postures - yes, she is amazing.  

Saturday I slept in, went to the movies to get a little cool, and then picked up Sunny and Danielle and we drove into Palm Springs for some dinner and walking around the shops.  They bought some really cute clothes, I figured I don't need to haul anything else around.  It was so much fun to talk yoga at dinner....but that was nothing!  Today after finishing my book about the Good Friends animal sanctuary, I picked up the Massachusetts girls and took them to Target and Trader Joe's.  Then we returned to a hotel room to eat sushi and talk more yoga.  Linda is a veritable gold mine of information about how to deliver, and how to use the dialogue to really improve people.  These people from the east are purists and they are kind, supportive and interesting.  I have a lot to learn and I am SO interested to learn it!!  Am definitely looking forward to this trip.

Diane Ducharme is coming in tonight.  I hope to have some time to talk with her tomorrow and set a date for my time with her.  The rest of the trip will fall around that time with her.  

Ok, it's time for a beer and a little time studying the dialogue.  I thought I knew it well, but I realize that I could be better!  I'm so excited!!!!  

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day one -- Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Palm Desert

May 14 Cathedral Palms RV resort – 8:15am

I’ve been on this journey for less than 24 hours and I’ve already broken the rules. I suppose you could say that rules were meant to be broken, and I’ve got a hunkering for some hot tent yoga.

I drove from Roseville to Palm Desert in one go. That’s more than 500 miles, about 8 hours of driving without stops (nearly 10 with). But on that note I did follow the rules. We did make several stops, not to fruit stands (which I regret) but to several rest stops and Jack in the Box - ate a sirloin burger – ick says it all. It seems like there are a lot of desperate people around. While at Jack’s, I noticed a hobo kind of guy spying my totally cool popup, and at the rest stops a lot of men just hanging around – but that could have been for a different kind of desperation. Either way, for a while this ride down took on a different feel than other adventures.

I have to say that Hwy 5 is a smooth ride for the most part. I was impressed with my little pop up rolling behind me. I was comfortable at 70 mph, the speed limit for cars on that road (okay, yeah, the limit with trailers was 55) but it was an easy ride. The only thing that bugged me was the bugs --- for hours I kept getting big wet smacks on the windshield and figured it was a result of the time of day and the recent moisture in this otherwise arid land that created such a buggy environment. Then about 200 miles later, I caught up with a big semi hauling bee hives. The hives had been covered with a netting, but it wasn’t working as well as it probably should have. The bees (and there were tens of thousands of them!) were all blown into the back of the net and obviously were escaping – thus the miles and miles of bee carnage. Kinda makes me feel bad!

Along the drive south, I noticed a high haze in the air. Figured it was the smoke blowing inland from the Santa Barbara fires. I could have been looking at the only thing left of a multi-million house, or a tree, or the smoky whisps of a love note. The general impression of the trip down (with the help of talk radio) is that California is drying up and blowing away. Maybe, but maybe not, it’s time to leave.

Waiting for the office to open up so I can get my designated site (hopefully in the shade – it’s going to be HOT here) and set up.

9:06pm --- Wow what a day. I’m beat. While I was walking around this morning before they opened up, I picked a shady spot in the back and corner, and then registered and paid for several days here at the Cathedral Palms RV park. It has 3 stars in the Woodall’s guide book, but nowhere do they mention all the employees (and some guests) have missing teeth. That’s not the nicest thing to say, I realize, but it seems to be a recurring theme today. I hope I keep my pearly whites intact while here.

So while setting up this morning, I noticed that the wheel jack was gone!!! Apparently, it came apart while driving last night – can’t imagine why – I mean it wasn’t like I was going too fast or anything!!! I need that thing not only to help wheel the pop up over to the trailer ball, but also to get the camper up high enough to work the stablizer jacks down. That’s really important – otherwise when you get in bed, the whole camper will tilt over to one side. Took a trip to Indio this afternoon to get a replacement, but it turns out to be too big. A nice guy (yes, with missing teeth) helped me out by lifting the camper up by hand so I could get underneath and lower the jacks. Tomorrow is another adventure to get the wrong jack returned and a new smaller jack purchased.

So that’s only part of the day!! Went this afternoon over to the JW Marriott and found the infamous Bikram tent which is actually two parts – one is a giant studio with mirrors and everything, and the other is the lecture hall. Walked in while Dr. T was not talking anatomy. Today’s story was about cow milk and breast milk. Lucky me – as an instructor, I got to sit in the back and type away on the iPhone!!! I was surprised, however, how lax the staff seem in comparison to our experience – there were people sitting on the floor, obviously not paying attention, even sleeping!! Not for long though, faithful and wonderful Dom walked over and got them up pronto.

Then lots of familiar faces - Sunny from our training, Amber from Granite Bay, Molly, Manali, Esther, Dom, of course and others. Had afternoon yoga led by Martha from Minneapolis. My good buddy Mark Norby has raved about her for months – he works with and for her – and now I know why – she is passionate not just about the yoga (about life!), she is full of energy, gives great feedback and even sang to us!! She was marvelous. And I have to say, the tent-studio is like a breezy piece of heaven compared to the rainy basement in Acapulco. The back wall is glass that looks over the mountains (so you get natural light – I’m realizing that’s a must for a good-feeling studio), it’s bigger, and it has a great HV (no AC) system. And maybe it’s just the week, but everyone seems so relaxed and nonplussed. They had posture clinic this evening, but I didn’t go – I had to finish the jack project, and I’d rather do a double tomorrow than spent the evening watching everyone bingle the dialogue. Plus I may be a little too close to the experience – I might go into convulsions!! I’ll go next week when Diane Ducharme is here – I’d LOVE to be in PC and watch how she guides people.

Ok, gotta get some rest. Only had about 5 hours of sleep last night and I’m ready for bed. Sending love to all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Prospectus Approved, T minus 2 days

Whew!!  I met with the committee on Friday and after a not-totally-grueling two hours, they all agreed to sign off on the prospectus.  Well, there's caveats, I have eleven items to address.  Some are easy fixes - making sure the reference in the text to a particular appendix is in that particular appendix.  Others are a little more daunting, but certainly doable.   After the meeting, I returned to Robyn and Cindi's house and we enjoyed our typical friday night - good food, good movie, relaxing.  Well, not totally typical, we usually all imbibe in the wine, but since the gals are working to reduce, they're off the booze.  So I sipped wine on my own.  

Had a really nice weekend.  Spent Saturday doing more improvements on the Trailer - by the time I take off, it will definitely be tricked out -- or at least a little more comfortable.  

Yesterday, spent Mother's day with the Helmholz family.  Edith is one of my alternate moms, but she's more of a friend than a mother, even though I love her guidance and support.  We went to the beach out by Point Reyes Station and built a fire, enjoyed a lovely luncheon and watched the waves roll in.  Afterward, we drove out to the oyster farm and bought fresh and bottled oysters and enjoyed both barbecued and raw for dinner.  It was a fabulous day!!  The only downside was that I dropped my camera in the sand
 (after a few choice pics)  and it got bingled beyond repair.  Note to self - no more cameras at a windy beach!!  

So now I'm back in Roseville, found a new camera, same model, on sale and I'm one day closer to departure.  The current plan is to leave on Wednesday, but I learned today that Bikram won't be at training for more than a week, so I may stay a little longer than I had planned.  We'll see. 

While driving today, I decided I need more objectives for this trip than just learning about Bikram studio-related stuff.  Here are some other goals:
- Take as many side roads as possible and not just the interstate.
- Stop at road side markets
- try to find the best tomato in the US
- taste midwest corn
- Maximum 8 hours of driving a day, but try to keep it under five.  
- stop at historic points of interest. 

In other words, I'd like this trip to be comfortable, easy, flexible.  See how much I learn from the Bikram dialogue???

Sending love to all.  

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Part 2 of the adventure

Ok, it's been a while.  Over the last several months, I've been teaching as much as I can, learning the dialogue, getting comfortable in my role as a Bikram Yoga instructor, and of course, working on my thesis.  It's been a busy and worthwhile time.

So on Friday, May 8 I have a meeting with the committee and will present my prospectus with the hopes of getting it signed off.  Once I get the go ahead to do the actual research, I'm hitting the road.  Research will be done online and will take a few months to gather the information I need, so I'll be doing the initial work and monitoring the results from the road.  Can't wait.  

I bought an old pop up camper and have been getting it ready for a big road trip.  I'm heading south first to Palm Desert to participate in the new Bikram Yoga Teacher Training.  I haven't heard much yet about how this training is going, but I do understand that the yoga is taking place in a big tent and it's not meeting the standards that Bikram has set -- guess it's not hot enough.  I'm sure that will be fixed soon enough.

From TT, it's off to Texas and a visit to Mike and Joani's studio in Houston.  I love those guys and am excited to learn from then.  A few other studios while I'm down there and then perhaps up to Kansas to visit Elizabeth's studio.  Across to SC to see David Kaiser's awesome environmental friendly studio and then over to DC and eventually up to Boston to see Diane Ducharme.  Can't wait!!!  More later