Monday, April 18, 2011

Hot as 100 donkeys... what-ing?

Not only was today the first class we had with Bikram, but there was a film crew from the Today Show present the entire time!!  I think I caught a glimpse of one of those poor fellows, dressed in very practical street clothes of course, after having given up on his sopping wet shirt and filming without it on.  But I died a small (very small) death in there so it could have easily been a hallucination.  The show will air on April 26th at 8am on NBC.

It will be fascinating to see what hits the cutting room floor and what is kept intact in what I presume will be a fairly short television spot.  There were a number of choice phrases thrown around today by Boss, so it's kind of a crap shoot as to how it will turn out.  Hopefully will paint a representative picture as they have over 90 minutes of footage.

The first class today was exciting and amazing.  It was also incredibly hot.  I mean hotter/more humid than any class I've ever ever ever taken in my entire life.  No joke!  During the meat of the standing series people were not only dropping like flies but they were leaving the room!  At least 1/4 of those people left the room at some point during class, in particular when transitioning to the floor.  My own experience was intense and it took some incredible determination to stay in that room today.  The humidity alone made it feel like a real-and-for-true steam room, complete with a heavy mist in the air.  I set up third row, left hand side, and didn't have nearly enough water.  Tomorrow will be better!

Speaking of tomorrow, things really begin in earnest come 8am so I'm determined to get some last precious hours of sleep before killing myself again in the morning.

Feeling very grateful tonight for the opportunity to be able to undertake this incredible challenge.  Knowing that there are 425 (the number went down by a few yesterday apparently) other yogis on this path is overwhelming and really serves to bolster my own sense that this is, indeed, the right challenge for me to undertake now.  

Have to add that I'm loving the mini dialogue practice sessions that have popped up randomly in the hotel lobby.  The reactions of the poor guests who have to deal with all of us sweaty, incessantly reciting, and ubiquitous yogis as we go about our business here is just priceless.  Can not begin to imagine the impression we make on them as one person recites Half Moon and two or three others move into the posture in tandem.  Love it!

All stocked up, organized, and ready to be ground into (vegan) hamburger

Today was such a long time coming that all the events, even as they transpired, felt very surreal.  It feels like I've spent the last few months preparing for today and that this was the final - really final - I truly and absolutely mean it final - preparation before we begin Teacher Training.  Even just the process of driving from Long Beach to LA (via a stop for supplies), unloading, and getting checked in was epic!

Orientation was scheduled for 3pm, but due to the record-busting number of people, we were delayed at least an hour while the check-in process wrapped up.  Bikram's daughter (Laju?) kicked off the afternoon and we were introduced to a number of individuals that I've only either read about, like Emmy Cleaves, or corresponded with via email, like Sharon Clerkin (amazingly organized woman) and Shelly Kopel (loved her!!).  Jim Kallett was just fantastic at conveying a context for the yoga we are about to become completely immersed in and forever changed by.  What a wonderful character and lovely spirit. I hope I have the chance to talk with him a little.

On a lighter, more frivilous note, my requisite TT haircut below.  If you hadn't met me before today, this photo probably doesn't hold any meaning for you but it's a good few inches shorter.  No more sweat pouring into eyes and nose during forward bends!!!!

Diversion over, back to the events of the day.  Once I was finally all checked in and sorted out (thanks in no small part to my amazing roommate), and orientation over, I was able to pick up a number of essentials: Fruits, veggies, tofu, hummus, chips, cereal, OJ, etc.  After spending a few hours organizing space and a sizable array of appliances (juicer, blender(s), hot pot, coffee maker...) things are feeling much more calm in my own mind.  There is a fridge, food is in it, water is plentiful, yoga clothes are clean, I didn't do something ridiculous like forget to bring my dialogue, and things are as right with the world as they can be in this strange, artificial environment.

Notable firsts today:
1. First kale salad made in a hotel room.
2. First time seeing an entire table of people doing seated half moon while someone practiced dialogue
3. First catered, completely vegetarian buffet (thank you Radisson LAX!)

4. First time utilizing the media cabinet in a hotel room to house food

5. First time sitting in a room with 429 other people aspiring to become Bikram Yoga Teachers!!!  Yes, apparently 430 is the final count for this training.  All speculation can now be put to bed.  While practicing at my local studio in California, I was told that the rumor was a number above 500.  
6. First look at the famous Bikram shop

Now going to take the advice of all my yoga teachers regarding the lead-up to this training: "Sleep while you can."  

Yes, boss.