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.
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.
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…
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.
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…