Week 6 & 7

WEEK 6 (May 21st till May 28th)

Apart from Bikram and Emmy, most of the time we have a different teacher each yogaclass. Some I like, some I don’t. Those who I like, someone else may dislike and vice versa. I like a teacher when he/she is calm and relaxed. Someone who doesn’t feel the need to crack a joke while we’re in savasana. Someone who doesn’t ask you to sing ‘happy birthday’ while in triangle.

I have a hard time getting the dialogue out during posture clinics. I may have memorized a posture 100%, but somehow during a clinic only 70% remains. Its no rocket science, but the dialogue needs a lot of attention. One day you know a posture by heart, the next day it seems gone with the wind.

Most of the trainees have some kind of struggle. I’m trying to find a certain pace and flow. I was told to have fun. I’m still way too much into my head. When the nerves come up, I tend to lose whatever I think I had.

Posture clinic cabin D. Trainee on the X, Bodies on the stripes.

Posture clinic cabin D. Trainee on the X, Bodies on the stripes.

We had a lecture by Bikram about why yoga is the only good exercise for your body. The argument is that you can do yoga at any age, other kinds of exercise you can do up till a certain age. Yoga heals your body, other kinds of exercise break down your body.

We didn’t have much late nights yet. Only two weeks to go before graduation, so it may happen during these weeks, but so far Bikram has been good to us. We had one ‘class B’ Bollywood action movie somewhere during week 6. I didn’t enjoy it, but it seems some trainees did.

There are voices saying Bikram hasn’t been around at TT as much as he had to. If I remember correctly he some time said during a lecture that this would be his last year lecturing/teaching at teacher training. Unfortunately the organisation is on one man’s shoulder and that’s Bikram’s. To my humble opinion not a very healthy situation.

View at the LAX from the Radisson Hotel at night

View at the LAX from the Radisson Hotel at night

On Thursday we had a yoga class by Emmy again. She’s at an age where its normal you tend to forget things. After first set Balancing Stick the following happened:
Emmy: ‘Ok.. Everybody… Seperate Leg Stretching pose’
Crowd: ‘No, second set!!’
Emmy: ‘Oh well…. I’m not not sure if I can stand it’

She can be very funny, but you shouldn’t mess with her either.. 🙂

Two lectures by Jon Burrus. Jon has a theory about what is called ‘fascia’. Shortly, ‘Fascia’ is like a soup that’s everywhere in our body. Here’s a more elaborate excerpt about what fascia is:

…..Fascia anchors our intestines to our rib cage. Fascial membranes anchor the brain to the skull to
minimize movement. Fascia encapsulates every bone and organ […] Fascia not only wraps around muscles and organs but also travels through them.
We are also supported, bound together, and held upright by the tensile strength of fascia. We
would be just a puddle of liquid and a bag of bones lying on the floor if it weren’t for fascia. Under
our old model of thinking we were taught to believe that our skeleton is what holds us upright…..

The medical world still seems to believe in the old model of thinking. Jon believes that if the fascia hardens, you get more and more unhealthy. Yoga is a means to keep the fascia flexible.

Forgot to sign in for class Friday morning. Changed my routine the Wednesday before and went early to class. Instead of 5 minutes before sign in time, I went half an hour before. At that time the doors to the yoga room are opened. I go in, lay down my mat, go back to the hallway, grab my dialogue booklet, sit down somewhere on the floor and start learning until about 5 minutes before class starts. Wednesday and Thursday, I signed in right after I had put my mat in the yogaroom. This Friday morning I didn’t.

Just before class started, I went to the toilet and said hello to Felix, who was supposedly talking to somebody.
Felix is a trainee who makes sure that you signed in. Something he started doing voluntarily right from the start of training. Before class, he is standing near the entrance to the yoga room and everybody who passes has to answer his question wether you signed in or not.
I asked him if he was talking to himself, since I didn’t see the other guy who was in a cabin. I heard the other guy laugh and Felix said something like ‘yeah, yeah..’. That was my ‘death sentence’, sort of… ‘yeah, yeah’… What if I didn’t make the joke and he had time to ask me if I signed in…?

I went back to the yogaroom. Michon grabbed his microphone and called out the names of those who didn’t sign in. After the first name was called, I realised I didn’t sign in. Like waking up standing on the ledge of a cliff, nowhere else to go than down, I waited for my name to be called… A really awkward moment..

And there it was… ‘Mark Krom… Mark Krom… where are you… Mark Krom’… I waved my hands like Robinson Crusoe who sees a ship on the horizon.. @#$%&@#$%^… Why? Why?, I thought… Its not that I care about the extra class on Saturday, Team Saturday, but its just that I don’t want to make this kind of unneccesary mistakes… Its just stupid.. Grrr…

Robinson Crusoë

Robinson Crusoë

WEEK 7 (May 28th till June 4th)

Monday it was Memorial Day. Somehow I had the feeling we would get the evening off. We had the regular yogaclass at 08:30 am, followed by a posture clinic at 12:30 pm. At 03:00 pm we were told that we had the rest of the day off. That was quite a surprise. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I took the Trolley to Manhattan Beach and learned another posture.

Tuesday shit hit the fan. The afternoon yogaclass was cancelled for no apparent reason. I remembered the teacher that morning class complaint about how cold it was and I had seen people walking around that had something to do with the fire department and /or security. It looked like they were inspecting something.

Later, we heard a male trainee had been worrying about his/our security and therefore talked a couple of times with hotelmanagement about the yoga room. Finally the yoga room was inspected. As it seems some things were not correct and this would take some time to resolve. If you want to get things done by a municipal department you have to have patience. It had something to do with a temporary permit.

Unfortunately the trainee has been expelled from teacher training. It seems like a harsh decision, two and a half weeks before graduation, but I can understand both sides.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable, unsafe or even claustrophobic I can understand you want to know wether you are safe or not, or how you can feel more safe. I never felt unsafe in the hot room, although the entrance is quite small and if panic breaks out for one reason or another, people may trample each other to get out.

On the other hand, I see myself as a guest of the Bikram Yoga organisation and if I question anything within the organisation which I would like to see handled or changed, I should talk to the organisation about it and not some third party. Therefore I can understand, to Bikram, this feels like a stab in the back.

Wednesday we had a lecture by Brian Tracy (Brian L. Tracy, Ph.D., Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado). Brian did research on the benefits of Bikram Yoga for general health. We all (think we) know that Bikram Yoga is good for your health, but Bikram would like this to be scientifically proven. Therefore there’s a research department within the organisation and there are contacts within research departments of several universities like UCLA and Harvard.

We also had a very interesting lecture by Dr. Mani Bhaumik, a well known physicist and author of the book ‘Codename God‘. The book examines the hidden links between science and spirituality, revealed by recent breakthroughs in quantum physics and cosmology.

Dr. Mani Bhaumik

Dr. Mani Bhaumik

Thursday we had our last regular posture clinic. Everybody had instructed each and every posture individually (except for Pranayama breathing, Kapalbhati breathing, Savasana and Situp). Finishing posture clinics in week seven seems quite fast.

Friday afternoon we had our first yogaclass since Tuesday. It took some time to heat up the room, so finally we started at 07:30 pm instead of 05:00 pm. The rest of the evening we were free to go. Had dinner at Paco Taco’s with Bram and did groceries at Ralph’s.

Since we missed six classes this week, Bikram decided to let us have four classes during the weekend. Since I had a ‘make up class’, I had three classes on Saturday and two on Sunday. Had some cramps Saturday evening and was pretty tired. First time ever I did three classes a day and they were quite okay.

Sunday morning we had class by Jake, a staff member. His instructions were great. Jake is in my top 3 of best teachers here at teacher training now, next to Emmy. He used just enough words necessary to get us into the posture. No unneccesary jokes. No rattling dialogue like a machinegun. Just plain and simple. Jake is calm, friendly and relaxed by nature and this showed in the way he teached. I can’t wait for the time that I am able to teach that way too. If ever…

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Week 5

Second anatomy test on monday. This test and the test a week ago had 100 questions in total. I had 78 questions right. A lot of trainees had more than 90 questions right, but to be honest, I didn’t do any homework and English is not my first language, so I’m glad with the result. I agree knowledge about the human body is very important for a yoga teacher, but… well, there’s no ‘but’…

Autonomic Nervous System

Autonomic Nervous System

Monday morning we had a teacher from Texas. She was, well how should I put it without being unkind, a bit awkward. She brought a whole caravan of people with her, who were standing in the back en were screaming and yelling once in a while. It was more like a circus than a yoga classroom. Her way of teaching was very energetic, like her whole personality, but to me, this way of teaching makes Bikram yoga more into a regular hardcore workout. During posture clinic she was one of the teachers and stood out with great advice and tips & tricks. She runs three Bikram Yoga schools, so she knows what she’s talking about. A very nice and pretty lady, but her way of teaching was a bit rough for me.

I Love Yoga

I Love Yoga

Some trainees seemed to like the screaming and shouting, so whenever one of these crazy Texan people (no offence) suddenly screamed ‘I LOVE YOGA’, some trainees began to scream and shout like angry birds too… OMG… During savasana, for crying out loud.. Get me out of here… Thursday this happened during Emmy’s class too and she was completely astounded. I think they got her message…

Emmy Cleaves

Emmy Cleaves

Tuesday morning we had class by Rajashree, Bikram’s wife. Class was very powerful, lots of energy. Although Rajashree is very calm and relaxed, she somehow knows how to get the best out of people. Some postures, like awkward pose, took quite a bit longer than normal. In the afternoon Bikram’s niece, Pubali Campbell, gave class. We, group 10, were lucky to have her during posture clinic. Very kind person. Also kind of pleasant, soft and nice, but I found her yoga class that evening being quite though.

Rajashree

Rajashree

During posture clinic I gave Triangle pose. It was the first pose I was somewhat pleased with. The day before I gave standing seperate leg standing posture, which was very bad. I blanked out. Couldn’t connect lines. My homework after Triangle was to continue with whatever I did to get this result. It was repeating, repeating, repeating…. but there’s so little time. ‘Sleeping is optional’, they say…

Sleeping Yogi

Sleeping Yogi

Bikram returned from a two week absence. He gave a lecture Tuesday evening. Most of us were surprised we could already go to bed at 11:15h pm. Wednesday morning I felt ill. No appetite. Since I’m quite skinny that’s not a good thing. That afternoon Bikram gave his first class since two weeks. Ofcourse the room was hotter than ‘normal’ (as if there’s anything normal at TT)… I broke. I wasn’t able to walk out of the room by my self after class. I had a little bit of fever. Took some good old medicine and Thursday my body temperature was back to normal and Friday I was feeling better already.

Friday and Saturday there was a re-certification for about 120 teachers. The yoga room was very crowded and hot and Bikram pushed it a bit more during class, so this was another great example of how I don’t ever want my yoga class to be. Not as an instructor and not as a student. Yoga should be fun. Not a battlefield. Some trainees love it and are capable of dealing with any temperature, but I really don’t see the use of it. I like my muscles to be lean and flexible, not ‘well-done’..

Hot Dog

Hot Dog

Friday evening after posture clinic Bram and I went to the In ‘n’ Out Burger, a MacDonalds clone, a ten minute walk from the hotel. Very good though. Like a goose who needs to grow as fast as possible for his delicious liver, I gobbled down about 1.800 calories. How’s that for a skinny yogi…

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger

Saturday morning Rajashree gave class again and this was my first class, since some time, that I was capable of doing all the postures. Nice temperature and quite fast in and out the posture. That was nice for a change.

A teacher at a posture clinic advised us to prepare and learn, during the weekend, at least five postures for week six. Next week I will also be prepared for long nights and just a little bit of sleep. I have no thoughts about it… just go with the flow.. The only way out, is the way through..

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Week 4

Monday the 7th the anatomy test was taken. Questions about the muscular system, skeletal system and the nervous system. I got 26 out of 30 questions right. Tomorrow we’ll have a bigger test. Seventy questions. Unfortunately Jim Preddy is done with teaching Anatomy. First of all I’m going to miss his jokes, relaxed nature and almost permanent smile on his face. Secondly the ‘anatomy time’ will probably be filled with more dialogue clinics, ‘bla bla’ lectures (oops, don’t mean to be rude) and probably late night Bollywood movies.

Jim Preddy showing his 'fixed firm pose'

Jim Preddy showing his 'fixed firm pose'

I wanted to write something about how annoying some of the lectures can be, how annoying some teachers can be, but its really no use. Don’t let anyone take your peace..

The most memorable man I met this week was Jim Ambrogi (Yogi Ambrogi). Jim is a former US Army Ranger, who are the elite members of the US Army, born in what is now called the Italian part of Switzerland. I don’t know which rank he had, but he could either have been a tough Sergeant or a motherly General, but he probably was something inbetween.

Tough Sergeant?

Tough Sergeant?

When Jim introduced himself, together with some other newly arrived teachers, he didn’t just say his name, where he was coming from and perhaps even some “you’re doing great guys.. Enjoy!!”-lines, like most of the teachers do, but he took the stage, the time and the moment to lecture us about…. well, I don’t even know anymore… I guess staff hadn’t plan this either. I saw Kate (staff member) looking at him like ‘WTF…’ without being able to do anything about the situation.

Later this week I had posture clinic with Jim. From the moment we started he was very clear. He was the director and we had to do as we were told. But Jim also had a soft spot. Jim works with people that are physically disabled, probably most of them veterans with injuries and/or disabilities. His studio is located on the Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria, Virgina. There’s a refrigirator in his classroom (mind you!!) with water and Gatorade. During the first savasana he will ask his students if they want to drink anything, perhaps someone wants half of a banana or even a cold towel. Hahaha.. Now that I’m writing this down I’m wondering if he didn’t just fool us, but really he was honest and sincere when he told us. He thought it was way to hot in the classroom that morning, so ‘he also took a knee’. Later that day he was the teacher of the five o’clock class. Again he told us to take care of ourselves, drink enough water, electrolytes, vitamins, not pushing yourself over the edge, be gentle and kind to yourself. For a moment I thought it was going to be an easy class.. Well. I was way off. Jim had a very strong dialogue and somehow you just got caught by his words. To be short, for me it was a tough class, but it was an honest class. Not exaggerating anything. Pushing a little bit, but not over the top. Very honest and clear.

The weather here in LA is kind of unpredictable. Today, Saturday, it was clouded, windy and chilly. We went to Manhattan Beach, with ‘my’ group 10, for brunch and study, but most of the group went back to the hotel after the brunch.

Brunch Group 10 at Uncle Bill's

Brunch Group 10 at Uncle Bill's

Jimmy, Jessica and I watched a surfing contest and for a few minutes catched a couple rays of sunshine. Jimmy, who’s as skinny as I am, only wore a t-shirt and was shaking like a leaf… There’s your ‘Sunny California’..
I wanted to believe that it would be possible to study dialogue on the beach, but I think its kind of fooling yourself… Unfortunately..

Surf Contest Manhattan Beach

Surf Contest Manhattan Beach

Monday and Tuesday were quite well…heat-wise. The yoga room was comfortable. I can’t recall I had any serious difficulties. Wednesday and Thursday times were changing. ‘The heat was on’ again….

Drinking during yoga class here at TT is quite normal. Its called ‘party time’. Most trainees bring at least one bottle of water, Gatorade, coconut water or even coca cola with them into the yoga room. Drinking water in The Netherlands is discouraged. Nevertheless, here at TT, I find it almost impossible not to drink during class, but I’m sure I won’t get used to it. Perhaps I’m just kidding myself by thinking the water will cool me down, but then again, Teacher Training is not really a normal situation.

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Mothersday

Here’s a big heart to all the mothers in the world and especially my mother who is the best mother in the world.

Thanks mom, for being my mom!

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Week 3

This week we had several anatomy classes. I think I’m not exaggerating by stating that Jim Preddy is the best (school-) teacher I met in my life. He is the funniest guy you can imagine. ‘Humor’ runs through his veins, bones, nerves and muscles. If he wasn’t crazy about anatomy he could easily be a standup comedian. He doesn’t try to be funny… he IS funny. So you never get tired of him *being funny*. Jim is a doctor working at an Emergency room in Las Vegas. Like he says, he’s good at “keeping people alive”.

Friday night at 12 o’clock, after finishing the anatomy class, he showed, those who were interested, some pictures of former patients. ‘Gross pictures’, so to speak.. I will spare you the details, but I would have never believed that a heterosexual guy, or any guy for that matter, or any human being for that matter, could have a vibrator entirely *inside* his body, from the battery pack at the bottom to the tip at the top, approximately from his anus to his diaphragm (yes, diaphragm!!), unnecessary to say a HUGE vibrator, if I had not seen this on an X-ray picture with my own two eyes…..

Well, Monday morning we will have a little anatomy test. In about a week another, larger one. Bring it on..

We had two yoga classes by Emmy Cleaves this week and one ‘Triangle pose’ workshop. At the workshop trainees could show their Triangle on the podium and Emmy would give them advice when needed. Follow the dialogue and you should know exactly what to do. Right leg like perfect upside down ‘L’, like Linda, Right elbow in front of right knee. Righthand fingertips between big toe and second toe, fingertips touching the toes but no pressure on the floor, left hip forward, left knee locked…… The real heroes showing their Triangle, were the people who had problems with this pose. Sometimes Emmy could correct them, sometimes hips were so tight they need a lot of practice. Emmy is adorable, has humor, has a lot of knowledge, but is also very human. Her first class this week she was a little annoyed by trainees who didn’t take her advice or couldn’t.. One time she even said ‘I give up…’.. Well, only human.. I hope I will be able to give class like she does when I’m her age…

Roommate Bram and I are getting along very well. The first week we shared food and bought groceries together, but the second week we decided to do our own things. Bram likes to cook, I don’t, Bram uses a lot of water, I drink coke with a smile (see picture below…), Bram likes to have breakfast with a slice of slightly toasted whole grain bread (yes, we bought a toaster for 13 bucks), avocado, cottage cheese, a little bit of pepper and finally some drops of lemon juice (really, really nice… yummie, try it!! although I would recommend salty butter and some tabasco too)…..

Toast with Cottage Cheese and Avocado

Toast with Cottage Cheese and Avocado

……I like to skip breakfast or eat a banana at least an hour before yoga class. We both bought a rice cooker. A rice cooker, for those who don’t know, is like a small saucepan standing on top of a source of heat with a second pan, that has holes on the bottom, on top of the first pan. You can do everything with this cooker.. boil eggs, steam vegetables, cook rice or pasta, bake chicken. Who needs a kitchen?

Billboard between
Ralph’s and Trader Joe’s

Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter?

You wouldn’t eat
22 packs of sugar.
Why are you drinking them?


The most exciting thing that happened this week is the start of the ‘dialogue clinics’. You learn the instructions of one of the 26 postures or the two breathing exercises by heart in your own time and at the clinic tell three fellow trainees to follow these instructions, in front of some teachers and two groups each of approx. 20 trainees watching you. The most difficult thing about this is getting out of your head, where the memorized instructions are hiding, and actually look at the three bodies in front of you, while telling them what to do.

Yesterday, Saturday, there was a voluntary lecture at which a couple of studymethodes were explained. Some were very useful. There’s such a positive vibe at TT. Everybody is really helpful, nice and friendly. It is adviced to have one or several study buddies. Roommate Bram already has memorized a lot of postures, so we sometimes do practice together, but we decided to both have another buddy as well. My buddy is a very friendly girl from Canada, whoes parents are actually from the Netherlands. We memorized two postures this weekend, so this week probably won’t be too hectic with regard to studying. Monday I will do Eagle at the clinic, which I learned last week, so hopefully will only have to learn one more to get through week four.

With study buddy Winny in front of the Radisson hotel on artificial grass.

With study buddy Winny in front of the Radisson hotel on artificial grass.

Michon, one of the staff members, a yoga teacher and very funny guy, attended my first or second dialogue clinic. When a girl was instructing ‘backbend’ or ‘hands to feet’ we suddenly heard a dog barking, very loud. It was supposedly coming out of the speakers. It took some time before we realized Michon did this on purpose to distract the girl, learning her/us not to get distracted by anything or just to learn how to raise your voice. The sound of construction workers is also a nice one I can recall. Very annoying.. 🙂
Most of the teachers, as it seems, use a micro(head)phone in class, so we also have to learn how to use this. When a girl got up on stage and asked if the headphone could be made a bit smaller, Michon asked if she couldn’t make her head a bit bigger… Haha..

Bikram went on a trip last Wednesday and will be back in about 1,5 weeks from now… Tuesday evening… eh night, you could voluntarily watch Bollywood movies with Bikram. Of the 421 trainees five trainees did and about four even stayed when Bikram started the second movie at about 3:00am… As it seems it finished at 06:30am. My study buddy, who watched the first movie, fell asleep after the first 08:30am yoga class and was woken up by the cleaners a couple of hours later when the yoga room was entirely empty. How funny… Respect though!!

Yoga classes were ok this week. Saturday morning was tough. People dropped like flies, a lot left the room, a girl cried in the hallway after class. I felt sorry for those who had to take another class 1,5 hours later, to make up for any mistakes they made during the week. They must have been toasted…

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Koninginnedag in L.A.

Koniginnedag (Queensday) in Los Angeles with Maddy, Bram, Jib and me.

Koninginnedag

Koninginnedag

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Week 2

This week started quite good but suddenly Tuesday afternoon, during the second class of the day, I lost it. Had a hard time to breath. If you can’t breath normal anymore, you’re lost… forget about it, finito, end of story. I had my worst classes ever this week. Watching people around you who seem to do quite well make you lose your confidence even more. What the heck is wrong with me? Thursday morning the GREAT, no the GREATEST Emmy Cleaves gave class again. Wonderful! Eightysix years old it seems, but she’s one of a kind. I heard her say that ‘stress is going to sit on your chest’… or something like that.. Then I realized that if I don’t focus on my breath for 90 minutes, to make sure it doesn’t halt for even a tenth of a second, to make sure my chest and diaphragm stay nice and loose and relaxed, my upperbody gets so contracted that my lungs have no more room to expand. The hotter the room, the more I have to stay focused.

Lungs

Lungs

From that moment on things started to get better. I had a class during which I had the feeling, for the first time in my Bikram life, that I was doing yoga. For the first time after 600+ classes. Amazing. I was so focused and relaxed that I really found stillness during some postures. As soon as I felt that my breath didn’t flow normal anymore I just stopped. I didn’t care if Bikram was giving class, screaming and shouting, or whoever. I just stood up straight, or lay down in savasana during the floor series. I realized that breathing normal actually is most important. Better to do just one pose and find your stillness, than doing 26 postures and not doing yoga. ‘Don’t let anyone or anything take your peace’, Bikram says. These words are starting to get meaning now. He’s pushing us so we just get there. No matter if he insults women, no matter if he shouts at a guy for three times he should suck his stomach in, no matter if he asks a chubby girl if the food is cheap in her country…

Keep your peace

On her blog, NoĂ©mie tells about the time she had to pee during class. As a co-incidence I had to pee right at the start of class during Pranayama breathing, Friday afternoon. I drank about three glasses of water before class, but I never realized that this could happen. Bikram was giving class, so this was another challenge for me. Would I be able to choose for whatever I wanted to do, for whatever I felt I should do, to do whatever makes me feel comfortable, or should I conform myself to what I think others expect from me. At first I thought I might sweat it all out, but I kept being distracted by this feeling I really had to pee. If you can just forget about it and keep your focus then that’s allright I guess, but I couldn’t. I think I also liked it if I just dared to leave the room. What could Bikram do? Bite my head off? Send me home?

Savasana

Savasana

So I did. During Savasana, before the floor series started, when everybody was lying on their back, I ran to the door, jumped right into the cold hallway, to the restroom…. Woooow, that felt gooood. As soon as I could I ran back to the hotroom. Bikram started the floor series already so, as humble as I could be, I waited till the posture was finished so I could go back to my mat during Savasana. Before the second set started Bikram said I could go back to my mat and thanked me for waiting. You could have seen a balloon above my head like in a comic book saying ‘Yes master, thank you master, no problem master’. What a world. What a crazy world. But I like it. This afternoon my roommate Bram said ‘we are living the good life’, while looking at our table full of food for the coming week, being prepared and well organized. You’re damn right we are living the good life!

Thursday evening, if I recall correctly, we had a lecture by Jim Kallett. Jim is a teacher, having his own Bikram school in San Diego, and as it seems a close friend of Bikram. Jim speaks highly of Bikram and told about the history of Bikram Yoga. How it started. Jim’s a very good speaker. I couldn’t stop listening, focusing only on Jim and probably with my mouth wide open. Jim talked for perhaps three hours but it didn’t seem that long. Everything he said was interesting and I guess he has a nice voice and what he says comes straight from the heart. To be honest, the next day Jim gave another lecture and kept talking on and on and on.. It seemed he just couldn’t stop. As if he just had to fill the hours until next class started, which probably was the case.. So, kudos to Jim, but as long as it really comes from his heart, he’s the best speaker we have had up till now. Jim gave two classes this week. Very good also.

Jodhaa Akbar with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai

Jodhaa Akbar with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai

Thursday night, around 12, we started watching the Bollywood movie ‘Jodhaa Akbar‘. Although Bollywood movies in general are quite long, this one took 3,5 hours, I would recommend this movie to anybody. The man and woman that are playing the lead role are both very beautiful and the whole production is of high quality and has a good story. Very entertaining. I might even watch this movie again some day at home.

Friday evening after class we were free. No lecture, no Bollywood movie. Just doing whatever you want to do. Heaven.

Michon gave class Saturday morning. He’s a senior staff member. I really like his humor. Its as dry as the Sahara. Starting Poorna Salabhasana, full locust pose, he said ‘don’t be scared to touch your neighbour, just don’t feel anything’. He had more funny lines, but unfortunately I can’t recall.

Unless you had to do a so called ‘make up class’, you were free for the rest of the weekend. Yahooo.. A ‘make up class’ is a class which you have to take if you f*cked up, so to speak. For every class or lecture we take, we have to sign in. No matter if you are in class, if you forgot to sign in, you’re f*cked.. There’s a girl who forgot to sign in four times already in one week.. So the next four weeks she’ll have to take a ‘make up class’, right after the official last class of the week. Sad but true. The good thing is, or what makes it even worse for this girl and others who forgot, some students voluntarily stand next to the entrance of the hot room or lecture room to ask anybody who passes by if they have signed in. I guess some people just lose their heads. They don’t know if its day or night, if its the first or second class of the day. Like a girl who told me today that when she finished a posture sometime this week she wondered where she was and who all these people were around her.. She lost all track of time, space, herself.. This is TT. This is Bikram Yoga Teacher Training! Sounds dramatic right.. 🙂

Two weeks down. Its going fast now. Monday the posture clinics will start, or better said, the dialogue classes. We will be divided into smaller groups, of about twenty people, and will instruct poses in front of two groups during these classes. Exciting!

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Week 1

Everything is different and/or new. The environment, the people, the American culture, the weather, the bed you sleep in, the food you eat and the fluids you drink, the heat in the hot room, the instructors, your roommate.. When all has its place in your life, in your mind, you’re ready to roll. Week 1 is down and it has been a tough week for most of us, but a good week. A lot of nice moments to look back to already.

After Mondays first class by Bikram himself we had a pretty good understanding of what TT is going to be. We had nine more classes the first week. Some of them where great (Emmy Cleaves) some of them were tough (Ulises Calatayud from Mexico and Bikram’s classes ofcourse) and some were just very nice because the instructor addressed us as soon-to-be-teachers (Patrice) and stressed the points we had to look at if we gave class ourselves.

We did a lot of half moon pose dialogue individually on a podium in front of Bikram the first week (250 people out of 421) and 90% knew the dialogue pretty well. Those who didn’t, got help from people in the ‘audience’. One girl was so nervous, she cried most of the time during Half Moon and everybody helped her by saying the words out loud for her… 420 people saying dialogue and one beautiful crying girl on the podium… This was awesome…

Half Moon Pose

Half Moon Pose

This afternoon I did half moon and didn’t have to finish it. Bikram said I could teach Bikram Yoga to anybody, even a dead body. I’m not the kind of guy that brags and I know we still have a lot of dialogue to learn and eight weeks to go, but this makes me very happy.

The Radisson hotel is really great. Cleaning is good, the food is good, the swimming pool outside is great after a hot class or just to relax a little bit, if you have any questions for instance about the air-conditioning they come fix it right away. There are good groceries shops nearby (Wholefoods, Trader Joe’s, Ralphs), I’ve been to Manhatten Beach en Hormosa Beach yesterday by bus with my roommate Bram and Maddy, so overall everything is very good organized. No complaints.

Basicly every day consists out of four parts. Two yoga classes and two lectures. As soon as instructing Half Moon in front of Bikram is over we probably will get Anatomy classes and Posture clinics. During posture clinics you will actually learn how to teach with the dialogue. I’m up to Triangle pose now with learning the dialogue, but still worried about the amount of time I will eventually have to really be ready when I will go to San Francisco after TT. We’ll see..

Week 2 has already started… Watched the first episode of the Mahabharat.. A Bollywood movie… The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India.. We went to bed at 02:30 am… Class starts at 8:30 am…

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Arrival

Arrived around noon LA time, 21:00h Dutch time, after a good flight. US Customs wanted me for a secondary inspection because they couldn’t understand I was in the US just to do yoga for almost 90 days on my ESTA approved status.

LAX Arrival

LAX Arrival

Waited an hour for the Radisson shuttlebus, that for some reason never came, so took a cab to the hotel. I assume this is all part of the training 🙂

Taxi

Taxi

At the Radisson I checked in and received the keycard for my hotelroom. My roommate wasn’t there, but apparantly it was a girl or a transvestite, because women clothes were hanging around. Back to the reception. They don’t fool me. All part of the training, right?

Finally I got hooked up with Bram, with whom I was supposed to share a room in the first place.

By than it was about 15:40h LA time (Dutch 00:40h), so I had to get ready for the first yoga class, given by Bikram himself. I felt pretty good after my 11 hour flight, but didn’t manage to do all postures. I was not alone. The warmth/heat is different than in Holland. During the floor series my eyes felt so heavy they automatically closed. After class took a quick shower because we were free to go shopping for food, blenders, waterbottles and stuff like that.. Tuesday the training really starts… Class at 08:30h

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Departure

On my way to Los Angeles. Having coffee at the Schiphol Airport with my sister Marnie, niece Britt and Brigit. Two hours before take off.

Departure Schiphol

Departure Schiphol

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