Archive for May 2008

Late Night Lectures

May 19, 2008

About two weeks ago, we received news that the son of Bikram’s guru passed away. We found out after the Monday morning yoga class when Craig announced the news, and due to his death, Bikram requested that we have the rest of the day off to honor his friend. Bikram was away when we all received the news, but arrived here in Acapulco two days later. He told us that he was so happy to be back with us and to have our support. Bikram had lost his childhood friend, and I believe he was only in his early 60’s when he died, so I imagine it was a tremendous loss for Bikram and his family.


When Bikram returned to training, his lectures really began. In addition to posture clinic, I had heard from many of my teachers that Bikram’s lectures are what take up a tremendous amount of time at training. They weren’t lying. When Bikram is here, we continue to have posture clinic in the afternoon between lunch and the 5:00 p.m. yoga class, but at 9:00 p.m. we report to the lecture hall and never quite know what time we will be let out. The week of Bikram’s return he combined lecturing with old Bengali movies; he lectured until about midnight and after a short break started the movies. The latest we stayed in the lecture hall was until about 4:15 a.m. – last Friday night. The other two nights he kept us well past 2:00 a.m. By the time Friday night rolled around most of us trainees figured that brining a pillow was a smart idea, and as soon as the lights went down most of us started snoozing.


During and a few days after the “4 A.M. Lecture” (as I am calling it) I was beyond mad. The staff continues to tell us to “trust the process,” and I felt extremely fed up with whatever this process entailed. As the week went by and after bitching and moaning to my fellow trainees, we all seemed to come to the conclusion that everything in this “process” of Teacher Training is to push us to our limits – physically, mentally, emotionally – maybe even spiritually. If the classes aren’t breaking us down physically, maybe these lectures will test us mentally and emotionally; I know they did for me. By trusting the process, we have to accept that we have no control over what’s happening to us and simply ride the wave – the ups, downs, and plateaus – of Teacher Training. The way I feel is that the sooner we let go of that control, the sooner we are able to enjoy or at least willingly accept what we are experiencing. This is not to say, however, that I am looking forward to the late night/early morning lectures that are most likely going to take place this week when Bikram returns from India after the funeral, I think I simply am more accepting of them.


Posture Clinic, Posture Clinic, and More Posture Clinic

May 6, 2008

Week 4 consisted of endless hours of the infamous part of Teacher Training: POSTURE CLINIC. This is the time when the trainees stand up in front of already certified Bikram Yoga instructors – some are full time Teacher Training staff members while other are visiting teachers – and recite the dialogue for whichever posture we are on that day. While the trainee is reciting from memory, three other students demonstrate the posture, simulating the students in the class that the person reciting will be teaching. After the student recites the dialogue, the certified instructors give feedback. Tone of voice, voice pitch, energy, connection to students, speed, verbatim dialogue, inflection, and confidence are all things that we are told to work on.


While these posture clinic sessions are not held with the entire Teacher Training group – we are split up into eight groups of about 40-50 people – standing up in front of a group of people to say something from memory can be extremely nerve racking. A few times for me, I have known the dialogue precisely but blanked on a line when my turn came to give the dialogue. The instructors that give us feedback have emphasized the importance and necessity of using repetition when this happens because if a teacher blanks in an actual class, she has to say something.


Sometimes I feel like studying the dialogue for posture clinic is just like cramming for a big test: We know the information for the exam and then forget it immediately after. This, however, is not quite true. Many teachers have urged us to repeat the dialogue to ourselves before we go to bed for the postures that we have already recited; to be honest, I surprised myself with how much I remember. Sitting through posture clinic helps drill the dialogue into our brains, no doubt about that, because when we are not reciting or demonstrating, we are sitting and listening.


This week we will for sure continue with posture clinic, and hopefully get through the majority of the dialogue.