Sunday, September 4, 2011

Some thoughts on making the most of your training

Written for our very own Teddy, but if you are preparing for training and this helps you, again, have at it!!

You are about to embark on an amazing journey and have a life-changing experience. Here are some things to think about to make the most of your training:

  1. DRAMA – you will encounter people who are very burdened with drama. If it’s at all possible, bless them and be on your way. The time it takes to be involved with drama is time that could be much better spent learning the dialogue, learning about yourself, learning from Bikram, sleeping. And if you feel the need to engage in drama of any kind, take the opportunity to let it go.

  1. TEACHERS – for every person who gets on the podium to teach a class, whether it’s Bikram himself, Emmy, Rajashree or the dozens of visiting teachers, take time afterward to note what you liked about his/her class, what you disliked about the class, what you can take with you as you develop as a teacher yourself and what you reject. Seriously – jot down some notes.
  1. YOUR PRACTICE – You are not there to impress anyone with your standing bow. You job is to suffer so that you can understand how to extend compassion when you get up on the podium. Your practice will go to shit. Don’t worry about it – it will come back after training. Just do the best you can and try the right way. Bikram will yell at you (if you are lucky), and that’s okay – that means he cares. And he will call you out if you are being lazy – but he will show you amazing compassion if you are in pain. He can tell the difference.
  1. ISSUES IN THE TISSUES – Chances are, emotional/psychological stuff will come up – and there will very possibly be a time when you break down, either in posture clinic, or in the practice room. That’s okay, go with it! I purged a lot of sorrow from my body in the practice room – I cried, I wailed and nobody cared. Well, everybody cared - they cared enough to allow me to have the experience and not stop it. I hope you get the same experience.
  1. POSTURE CLINICS - You will get some amazingly accurate feedback, and you will get some feedback that will leave you scratching your head. Don’t worry about it – they are critiquing you based on a moment in time and their feedback may or may not reflect how you really are. So as you progress in posture clinic, have a personal goal every time you get up to deliver a posture. Whether it’s to be louder, to get the dialogue 100% correct, to channel nerves into positive energy, to get up first, to get up last, to have fun. Whatever the goal is, have it established in advanced and make note of how well you achieved your goal. Then use those results to identify your goal for the next posture.
  1. LIVE IN THE MOMENT – You will be pushed so far beyond your daily challenges, and that is a huge gift. If, in week one, you say to yourself, “I can’t do this for nine weeks,” that’s GREAT! Because you will learn that you can’t think of nine weeks without going insane, then you won’t be able to think about one week, then you won’t be able to think of the next posture and THEN you will figure out that you don’t have to! All you have to think about is whether you can do the pose you’re supposed to do right now, and if you can’t, that’s okay, but then ask yourself again – “can I do this?” And if you can, get up and do it! Don’t worry about ANYTHING but the moment you are in. Then you’ll learn to live like that all the time and it’s so incredibly freeing.
  1. THINK LIKE A TEACHER – Immediately start putting yourself in the mindset of a Bikram Yoga Teacher. You are no longer a student (except that we are all always students); your time at training should be used to consider how you can utilize the information you learn to help others – not just yourself. Sure, if Emmy can help you to improve a posture that you are having trouble with, then by all means, take her help! But remember HOW she helped you and think about HOW you can use the same information as a teacher.
  1. DIALOGUE. DIALOGUE. DIALOGUE. You are going to hear some crazy stuff, and there will be people there who will try to convince you that at some point you can lose the dialogue and teach an equally (or better) class using your own words. It’s tempting, but don’t believe them. The dialogue is a poem, a meditation and you will see the power of it as soon as you get on the podium.
  1. STAY IN THE BUBBLE – As much as you might want to contact your friends at home, keep your phone on, go check out LA, do your best to refrain. Just stay in the yoga bubble – you will never have this opportunity again and the more you immerse yourself in it, the more you will get out of it. You may not think so at the time, but trust me on this.
  1. YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL – By this I mean that you should not expect special treatment of any kind. And believe me, you will not get it. And that’s a gift too. Your job over the next nine weeks is to follow the rules, and if you break the rules, pay the consequences with pleasure. Consider it an opportunity to absolutely, completely let go of your ego and just do it. Hold on to your self-confidence, but let go of your ego.
  1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – Stay hydrated, keep your electrolytes up. If you are in major pain, take motrin (or whatever) before you go to sleep, but NEVER before class. Eat well, eat PROTEIN, listen to your body and eat as well as you can.
  1. CONNECT WITH KEY TEACHERS – You will find some teachers that will speak to your heart. You will say to yourself, “You are my person.” When you find that person (or persons), make sure to introduce yourself to him or her. Say something that will allow them to remember you later. Then follow up after training and tell him or her that they made an impression.
  1. BE KIND TO THE STAFF – These guys are working for FREE and they often get less sleep than you do. If they are short with you, have compassion. They are having to ensure that 400 people are having their intended experience, and they are taking care of Bikram too. Believe me, they probably won't show it, but they are suffering as much as you are. Just in a different way.
  1. TRUST THE PROCESS – They will tell you this so much you’ll want to throw up on it. But it’s true; this process works. It seems wacky and strange at the time, but it works. So utilize it and give in to it.
  1. MAKE FRIENDS AND HAVE FUN – You will meet people from all over the world who are just as passionate about the yoga as you are and you can make friends for life. Many of the people from my training found their life mate – what a wonderful thing! Maybe you’ll have the same experience, wouldn’t that be great? But no matter what, know that the time will pass quickly. Savor every moment, even the really hard ones. You’ll never have an experience like this again.

Finally, know that we are rooting for you! There are a lot of people who are cheering you on, who are providing support to you and sending you strength and happiness and health. Breathe it in!!