Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bikram Yoga Teacher Training - WEEK ONE

ok here it is - i've decided to get back on the blogging bandwagon!

i had thought maybe it would be too much of a hassle getting entries in every time i had something to share - but now that week 1 has flown by - i'm realizing how important it is that i document every moment and every feeling. because at the end of it all - i want to look back at this blog - and feel it all over again.

Welcome to Bikrams Disneyland Haunted House -
now where to begin? the end or the beginning? ill start with saturday april 14 - the day i packed up and left my home - my life and my love back in ottawa to pursue my dream of becoming a bikram yoga teacher. when i think back - all i see is mikes face through the tears in my eyes. the thought of leaving him that morning was so terrifying and heartbreaking. i had always been the girl to get up and go - travel to new countries - discover different cultures - and live independently. but as my best friend jenn said " it isn't so easy leaving when you have someone that you love at home" and i was learning just how right she was. im going to be honest - every part of me was yelling at myself to just stay home - but as bikram says, "your mind is your enemy. you must learn to control it. stop thinking and just do." so i did. i left. and i continued going through every motion until i got myself on and off the plane and to my new home in LA. (and i am ever so happy that i did!)

arriving at the airport was a little chaotic - the shuttle was nowhere near where the site had said it would be - so i ended up wandering around and around trying to figure out my way out of LAX airport. finally - i saw one - a yogi. YES! i was saved. i ran right up to him and poked his shoulder. "are you going to the bikram teacher training!??" i said all excited, without even saying hello or introducing myself (oops). and that's how i met chuck from chicago (now one of my best friends here in my home away from home). eventually all us crazy yogis got ourselves from the airport to the hotel - where we prepared ourselves for the next two months of our lives on the bikram rollercoaster. 

bikram himself? let me tell you - there is no man in the world like him. he speaks the truth. even when he talks nonsense. he explains yoga and he defines life. he gives you mean when you need mean. he gives you honey when you need honey. but at the end of the day - everything he says makes sense and has a purpose. this is why we are told to trust him. trust the process. and absorb it. like bikram says "there is no place in the world, no school, no university, no institution, or organization that offers what i am selling. the product i sell is LIFE; humanity and spiritualism. with bikram yoga, you live as long as you want, anywhere you want. dont follow the world. let the world follow you" and im telling you - he is right. i came into this training telling myself i wouldnt get sucked into bikram himself - and that i was here ONLY for the yoga. well now i know its impossible to do one without the other. he has infected my brain. and everything he says is what i bring to my mat every class. and what i bring to life every day. ill be starting a section of inspirational truths by bikram in the following weeks so you can all get a feel for what im describing...

i wont go into too much detail in this post as its cramming an entire week of feelings and memories into one spot - but there are certain things i must share! 

bikrams first class? it was INSANE. this man broke us down. one by one. thankfully i stayed strong throughout and stayed on my mat (my new mantra has shifted from "lock the knee. lock the knee. lock the knee" to "stay on the mat. stay on the mat. stay on the mat." every teacher this week has emphasized the importance of remaining in the room - building the group energy. we need to be strong for our neighbors. because it isn't easy seeing over 420 yogis in one room - slowly falling to their knees one by one around you. leaving the room. sweating. crying. vomiting (sorry but yes its happened, right next to me actually). it was the most eye opening experience i ever had. the class was the hardest, most emotional, hysterical, scary, and vulgar 90 minutes (plus) that ive ever spent in a hot room. and i LOVED it. you hate bikram - but at the end of the day - your life is wonderful :)

we are very blessed to have guest teachers visiting during TT - each one brings a different energy to the podium and i find myself grabbing onto their words of wisdom, advice, and knowledge. to inspire you, here are my QUOTES FROM THE HOT ROOM WEEK ONE:

Anna from Bikram Headquarters - Tuesday, April 17
- in the morning our bodies are strong - in the evening we are flexible
- learn to be cautious, not fearful
- listen to your body, feel it, find it, adjust it

Ulises from Bikram Yoga Mexico- Wednesday, April 18

- you cannot save your energy for tomorrow. who knows if you will be here tomorrow. use it. don't waste it.
- every time you choose to sit out a posture, it is a decision you are making. you are thinking. stop thinking. and just breathe. come back to the yoga.
- you have nowhere to run, nowhere to go, nothing to think, nothing to do.
- your mind is your worst enemy. when it is saying "you cant" tell it to shut up and then lock your knee. learn to control it. 
- fear and anxiety are built based on past experiences. let it go. you are no longer in the past.
- i love every single one of you. from the bottom of my heart. seriously.

**this was my most powerful class. emotionally. physically. mentally. spiritually. he pulled emotions out of me i never knew i had. he was so contagious i ate it all up. i think im headed for mexico next...

Abhi from Bikram Yoga Santa Clara - Wednesday, April 18

- commitment to the yoga: you have to make up your mind when you first come in that you will stay in the room for the 90 mins, then work as hard as you can

Emmy from Bikram Headquarters, Thursday, April 19

- precision is EVERYTHING
- focus on the power source of each posture
- in savasana, there is healing and recovery, do not sabotage what is happening. 
- control your bad habits. you can have a habit be your worst enemy, or be your habits worst enemy. 

Danny from Bikram Yoga Vancouver- Friday, April 20
- just like brushing your teeth, you need to work on your spine everyday. (spine > teeth)
- suck it in. fill it up.
- yoga is going to your edge, and finding stillness there.

Patrice - Friday, April 20
- in stillness, there is healing.
- the best thing you can do for your students is to continue to work on your own practice
- tell your students to breathe, listen, and look

Lisa Johnson- Saturday, April 21

- your eyes and your abs are the most important aspects of your balance
- still body builds a still mind
- tell yourself i am. i am. i i am light. i am truth. **and lying there on my mat i said to myself i am....happy :)

oh my lord this is getting out of control long - i apologize and promise to break future weeks down into daily posts. in the meantime... 

MY HALF MOON DIALOGUE (aka "judgment day")
although there is no judgment in bikram yoga or here at teacher training (big emphasis on practicing non-judgment) - the moment of reciting HALF MOON pose to Bikram Choudhury and 420+ yogis looking at you on stage seems like judgment day to me (i mean - hes judging our performance, our deliverance, our energy... what do you call that?) i remember waiting in line to go and completely blanking - i was freaking out. i knew the dialogue. i had been reciting it since i got here with the tv remote in hand using my roommate colleen as a body to guide me. i was singing it. i was rapping it. i had nothing to worry about. but as each student went and the numbers between the stage and i grew shorter - the more i blanked. i kept singing lyrics to "where i come from" by montgomery gentry (what the heck!?) somehow i got it together. walked on stage. grabbed the mic. and introduced myself. from then on - i had a complete out of body experience. i was watching and hearing myself deliver it perfectly in front of everyone. with all the right tones, all the right energy, all the right seriousness and all the right playfulness. i couldnt believe it. i was impressing myself - and i just kept going. that is, until bikram stopped me halfway. EEEK. he said "wow. fantastic. you see her energy? THAT'S how you teach a class". i couldnt believeeeeeeeee it. i was so proud of myself. as claire told me afterwards (director and mentor from BYO) - bikram does not give praise when it is not due. so im quite happy with my feedback :) later on that evening i was sitting on my mat waiting for class when felix (a montrealer) came up to me and explained how much he loved my delivery and energy. he offered me a teaching job at his wifes studio in laval anytime i come to montreal on weekends !!! 

to give you an idea of our groups energy im going to share a moment i will NEVER forget. adriana, a student from brazil, came on stage to deliver her half moon pose. this girl is beautiful. and when i say beautiful. i mean B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. inside and out. you can see her heart when you look in her eyes. really. she was so nervous she could hardly breathe. she started and kept stopping. tears rolling down her face, continuously apologizing to us. in one second, a fellow trainee started reciting with her, and then the entire room was reciting together for her. adriana pushed through it, crying the whole time, with her hand on her heart. and please dont picture some girl sobbing, making an ugly mess. this was so beautiful. everyone had tears in their eyes - the energy in the room - the togetherness. it was unreal. im feeling it now all over again. there have been moments like this where i just stop and think "WOW. i am so blessed to be here. to meet these people. to feel these connections." yoga is all about connections. with your mind. your body. your spirit. but it also between a student and a teacher. and between fellow yogis. this week i have felt it over and over and over and i love the life i live and the moments i experience. i am very lucky. 

yoga is everything. everything is yoga. life is beautiful. life is loveeeeeeee. im high on it all :)


  1. All that I can say is....Thank you!!! You are not only preserving these memories for yourself but are kind enough to share this amazing journey with us. I am so very proud of you and glad this has become what you wanted and so much more. Love you.

  2. Here's wishing you a wonderful second week, Naomi :)

  3. You recapped our first week beautifully! Thank you.
    Here's to another week!
    See you in class!!

  4. Thanks for sharing. Very nice written. I'll link you on my blog. I don't think I will write as much, but then again, you already wrote it all already.. :-)

  5. In Lisa's class I thought. I am. Hot. haha. Great post!