Thursday, June 28, 2007


Watched Pride and Prejudice with my mom last night, the newer adaptation with Keira Knightley. OhmyGod I was swooning and squealing all over the place. Good thing we were watching it over cable television--the few moments I watch television. Nice, nice, nice. I'd like to get my own Mr. Darcy, in the future, oh pretty please.

I've taught twice now--my first class with my studio director, which really was a blur, but amidst tons and tons of cotton stuffing in my head, and then my second class, this time at 6:30 am. 6:30. six. thirty. in. the morning. 6 frickin' 30?! Ugh. Woke up at 4 to prepare (having slept at 2 trying to review as much dialog as I could), then my director came by at 5:40 to bring me to the studio. Manila is a very car-dependent metropolis, having a lousy public transport system and little to no pedestrian areas. I miss that freedom I had when I was in Hawaii. Here, I don't drive, so I have to be chauffeured around. My studio director was nice enough to do it for me to go to class this week (well, he IS attending, also to listen to my dialog and see how I conduct myself as a teacher), but he said no more for next week. Understandable.

When we got to the studio, he told me when to turn on and shut off the heaters. Then he told me to keep my dialog because none of it would enter this late in the game. Ack. I was getting so nervous. I checked the sign-up sheet, and whereas I heard the night before I was to have 20 students, turns out I had 8, plus with my director, 9. I felt better, but still, I was nervous: I don't want to keep them hanging, I want to give them a good class. But anyway, the show must go on.

Class was 1 hour and 45 minutes, abouts. My students (formerly my peers, ohmygosh!) clapped for me as I ended Kapalabhati breathing. :) I forgot to say namaste as I left the room, and my fellow classmates-now-students ribbed me about it after. They also told me to breathe! ;) More professionally now, though, my studio director told me it was a 200% improvement from my 1st class with him (yey!) However, he said my voice was still uniform: gotta texturize. And teach with authority. He said to act it, then eventually embody it, which will come in time. Then I was mixing the hands with the feet. Again, dialog, dialog, dialog. AND keep the timing: look at my watch. But huge improvement, nonetheless.

My studio director taught class afterwards, a class I took, but aside from that, I haven't been practicing much, only twice so far this week--still so tired, and so worried about dialog (that I do everything else before it, go figure)! But I think next week, I should up my practice to at least 5 times a week already.

Did the monthly household groceries, which took a while, so gotta study now. I have less than 15 hours to tomorrow's class. Gotta focus on timing now, and of course, dialog, dialog, dialog: always.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Back Home

I've been home four days now, and it feels familiar but...different, like an old suit that doesn't fit quite right anymore. A lot has happened while I wasn't here, just as a lot happened to me while I was away.

So I'm back home--in tropical Manila. My books and various leftover unpacked stuff are still on the couch and other various spaces in my room. Still jetlagged, still tired, in my jammies 'til noon, that sort of thing. But even as I'm here, I wistfully recall the heat (from 105-145 ºF++ or 41-63ºC++), the sweat (all 300++ people's) and yes, even the stinky cat-piss carpet; the ubiquitous ABC stores, the delicious Hawaiian papayas, eating grapefruit like an orange--for the first time(!), Starbucks' soy chai lattés, loads of Japanese products to my heart's content--especially yomogi/kusa (mugwort) mochi/daifuku (with recipes when I get ambitious or desperate enough), and fresh bubble teas--none of those icky powdered stuff! I miss Bikram's humor and unpredictability, being able to walk almost everywhere, and the friends I made along the way.

Taught my first class yesterday, but only with my studio director, as the other teacher had backed out. But he (my studio director) said that's ok. Had a lot of spaces in between my dialog: a 1 hour 50 minute class!, but again he said that's pretty normal (?); however, he said for me to continue studying the dialog. Now I know what teachers meant when they said that the dialog is my best friend; it really should be--it's the only stable thing to rely on! I will continue to do mock classes next week, and hopefully by the week after next, I will be teaching bigger classes. Huh; then I took class with him afterward: right now, my back and thighs hurt like hell, haha.

Made a new account on FaceBook to connect to my fellow yogis, so I'm considering deleting my Friendster and/or MySpace, 'coz I believe that one can only properly manage so many accounts. Been playing with my dogs--God, how I missed that! and noticed that I'm not as physically stern with them, but even with less effort, they already follow my command. I also noticed I'm more assertive outside (whut). This is so weird. Perhaps Bikram really is right: we go home completely different people. Maybe not completely, but pretty much! Then on FaceBook, today's Horoscope read as such: "You've made quite a bit of progress toward an important goal, but you're really tempted to slip back into old patterns. Don't start backsliding now." Mustn't backslide. Must will to continue developing, continue practicing, continue teaching. As they say, the real training starts after training. Someone said, "It's called yoga practice, not yoga perfect." Indeed, the dialog is my real companion now.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yoga Camp Starts Now

It is the Sunday before graduation. Posture Clinic finished last Friday, with one best student from each group delivering the dialog. I did mine Thursday night, because Friday was Talent Night and I felt I wouldn't be able to focus on both. So I opted to do dialog Thursday night, amidst fatigue and a splitting headache. People were going up and winging it; I was looking at the dialog while the teacher was saying, "All you have to do is look at the bodies and you'll know what to do; it doesn't matter if you don't know the dialog verbatim, what matters is the courage to go up there and deliver it and tell them what to do!" I felt I had to do it; this was it. And I did; I was the last one for the night. I was saying it from the back corner, then she [the teacher] told me to jump up and down, shake my hands then say it. I did and my voice got stronger, faster. I hardly said the whole dialog, but most of the keywords were there, and most importantly, I taught it confidently. At least that's what my friends said. Besides, the teacher said so, too. But I was shaking when it was over; but I was told that's good?! Though I'm glad I did; then I was able to focus on Talent Night! Fast forwarding to Talent Night, I sang Cynthia Alexander's Emptyhanded, and until yesterday, people were coming up to me and saying how beautiful the words were, how sweet my voice was, and how brave I was to go up there So I say thank you; I am just so glad it affected them the way it did; singing to me is to evoke emotion, to touch others. And so I hope I can do the same with teaching, but of course with more energy--soon. Had CPR training after our Saturday class with Craig, and the infamous Awkward Contest (I went as far as a minute, but that was it). So exhausted, have no idea why, but after going to the group barbecue, the group love won me over. Went dancing last night, as well--something I normally do NOT do. Surprisingly, I loved it, I think mostly because most of us fellow yogis were there, dancing even if we didn't know how to dance, but just for the pure joy of it, of life. And that made it wonderful. Sunday of Week 9 is upon us, before graduation, before going home, before we take our tentative steps into the pool of Bikram Teacherhood: the calm before the bubble breaks into reality. I'm savoring it for now.

Emptyhanded by Cynthia Alexander --Tuning: CGCGCD

Why, why do you worry? We are not born nor do we die; What is happening happens for the best, what will happen happens for the best
We have come emptyhanded, we will go emptyhanded
What have [you] lost that you are weeping; what have you found that you have lost? What have you built that has been broken? You have not anything
What you have, you got from here; what was given you, was given here; what you took, you took from here; what you gave, you gave unto here
We have come emptyhanded we will go emptyhanded, emptyhanded
Why, why toil for sorrow; and what have we to fear? What is happening happens for the best, what will happen happens for the best
We have come emptyhanded, we will go emptyhanded
What you have, you got from here; what was given you, was given here; what you took, you took from here; what you gave, you gave unto here
We have come emptyhanded we will go emptyhanded; we have come emptyhanded, we will go emptyhanded, we have come emptyhanded, we will go emptyhanded
Emptyhanded, emptyhanded

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Week 8.5 and counting

It's officially Thursday but we just finished Wednesday, so-called "the hump of the week"--the hump of week 8 to week 9, ohmygosh! Still have two postures to memorize by Friday, specifically Head to Knee with Stretching later today and Spine Twist by tomorrow. Then there's Talent Night on Friday. I was only given four (4) minutes, so I can only sing one (1) song. By consensus, it's to be Cynthia Alexander's Emptyhanded. Oh Lordy Lord; give me strength to finish the dialog well and to sing the song with finesse! As Joel Pierre from Philly says, "Practice, practice, practice!" Besides, Bikram says "negative thoughts are nine times more powerful than positive thoughts," so gotta crank up all that positivity!

Also met Ren Soriano, one of the guys from HQ, who turns out to be a fellow Flip! As in he spent his first 15 years in Manila and was born there; I even know where he went to school! Coolness. Anyway, only Joani Nuñez from Houston and Kat Kelly-Chung from Columbia have responded about mentoring, though I'd prefer the former as she is one of the more senior teachers. But Ren, after listening to me during camel, said, "She's too sweet, like sampaguita." During the break, he said he has to train me to be more bitchy. (Fred's term for BITCH= Being in Total Control of Herself; niiice) Then he [Ron] said, " But how will I train you if you won't be in LA?" If there's a spot in HQ to do whatever, or even if I have to moonlight preferably in a bookstore, YES I want to go! It's LA: I have family and friends; it should be doable! Nothing's solid yet, though: gotta talk to Ren more, hopefully at a haircut session this Sunday, a bit $ of course; he's supposed to be very good, having trained with a certain Jonathan. Heck I know. But if this will help networking, then why not? As Bikram says, "You have nothing to lose; you had nothing to begin with." Indeed.

1.5 weeks to go. Breaking out, tired, but with a little care and with our happy smiling faces, we should emerge as butterflies, albeit at the bottom of the Bikram Yoga Totem Pole, but who knows, in time, slowly coming to the top. As group 1 says, "Ganbatte!" We can do it! We have no choice. Isn't that great? :)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Week 7, Represent!

So it's Week 7, soon to be Week 8: should I whoop or should I wail? But going back, I had my birthday the weekend of Week 5. It was great: I was the only one who had a birthday that day, and Rajashree read my name for everyone to sing happy birthday to--imagine 300+ people singing for you. It's a compendium of all the missed birthdays I had in school (my birthday would always be during summer vacation): so worth it. Then my parents also came over during the Thursday of Week 5, and the weekend when I was to practice Trikanasana! Of course I didn't practice it while I was with them. So I had to struggle to catch up with postures in week 6. But it was so great having them here, yet emotionally wrenching, too--seeing them arrive, and seeing them leave: it's tough. And partly because of that, or maybe mainly(!), Week 6 was THE rough week for me. The Monday of Week 6, after crying through class, losing control of my breath, then having to leave the room to use the loo FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME (I never leave the room!), I went up to discover my laundry that I had put in before class GONE. Hoo boy. So I cried some more. I told Mom and Dad, and they were so supportive, even buying me extra clothes! Plus this time away from them, I think it's made us value each other more; I actually, truly hugged my Dad for the first time, without reservation, when they visited. Plus I'm a bit more open to them now, revealing my emotions, my frantic side, that they never really see. Ok, I'm tearing again now (must be the yoga!), but Bikram's right: this teacher training will make us new persons, at the same time value our relationships especially with our families more. So Week 6 was tough: by losing that weekend intended for Triangle, etc. to time with my parents, I was constantly completely exhausted, plus lagging behind dialog to being one of the last to say it, really struggling to do it--well, of course: my inner super-critic wouldn't even let me try otherwise. So the weekend to Week 7, I decided to take it easy. Didn't go beyond errands, then went to the supermarket with a groupmate. On my way back, an odd thing happened: as I was passing our floor's laundry room, lo and behold, my missing clothes were there. Oh my God! What good fortune! Thank you, Lord! Then I had my first dinner with groupmates, and that was fun, having a first gossip session, as well! Girl power! Sunday, I took my hopefully last make-up class, then afterwards took my first nap for this entire training so far. An uncle and aunt just arrived from abroad so they took me under their wing for Sunday afternoon. Went to mass, too: Mom would be so relieved. So Week 7 rolled in better. Then Bikram started lecturing again for three nights, and those nights have been taking their toll. Dialog recitation has also been speeding up, and I've still been going up last...that is, until the climax of Cobra Pose. Everyone was required to do it and finish it by that afternoon. AND I WASN'T READY, at all. I wasn't able to do my memorization technique that day, so I was completely unprepared. Obvious or not, I hate being unprepared. I am Ms. Control Freak: I have to have at least something to hold on to. And this time, I was called to the bat. I was so scared and frantic I cried. But I had no choice. So I did it, and expectedly, my dialog was nowhere near perfect, but I did it. Our teacher-facilitator Joel from Philadelphia was especially great. He even corrected our postures hands-on and told us why it's wrong and how to correct ourselves. But after I delivered Cobra as best as I could, he told me I have good projection, so now I just have to practice the dialog and believe in myself. Ever since then, that sheer fear of ill-preparedness drove me to recite sooner, do what it takes! The next day, I went up during the middle, and Lynn Whitlow was our facilitator. She's great; I pray I can mentor with her when training is over. She told me to get loud, get crazy! But that's just hard. The night after, I delivered Dhanurasana, and I just freaked. Fred, the French facilitator told me, "Get out of your head; ask others for feedback then build on that." That inner critic which prevents me from even trying is kicking and screaming under a straitjacket. But I have to let it go, and say it with confidence. Today is now the close of Week 7. That's two weeks left to graduation (God-willing) and one week to sing in Talent Quest (of which I don't know why I signed up for)! Craig's teaching tomorrow, so gotta rest the quadriceps, yikes! Visiting teachers have especially given us better practices, and there are more coming. I still have the weekly stuff to do--groceries, laundry and whatnot, but I also finally said uncle and booked a massage: Lord knows I need it--tight hamstrings, shoulders and back. I'm also hoping to relax a bit and watch more Miyazaki. Though we've had one classmate, Denise, go home due to serious kidney disease, dialog-wise, we're at Half-Tortoise Pose, almost done! Hopefully all we can go to is up.