Monday, October 01, 2007

3rd Week Rollercoaster


I am on my 3rd week of teaching here in Houston. I'm also on my 2nd week of the 60-day challenge, which I will hopefully complete! The 60-day challenge imposes a strict discipline on yourself (regardless of if you ate a lot, etc), at the same time improving your practice step by individual step, inclusive of aching body, energy spike and then plunge, and clearer mind. So so far, so good. As for my teaching, for a while, I wasn't progressing: it was sort of stagnating and I'd feel desperate and weak after class, going back to stuttering the poses more. Then one day, Mike set me aside and made me hear an opening of one of my recent classes. And ohmygod I sounded weak and small and uncertain and afraid: NOT in control. And he said concernedly, "THAT is horrible." He told me to be smiley and bouncy and CONFIDENT from the get-go, take control from the very start. In short, kick their asses even from half-moon, and my energy will pick up, so much so that even if I stutter, it will hardly be noticeable. He said, "Think about how you were when I first got an iMac: you should be that happy in class." He even had it saved in voicemail, he said it was that cute! "Pure delight," he said it was. He told me I could practice in my room how to go into class, starting strong, half-moon, etc, and I did, and ever since then, my classes have been pretty good, less stuttering, more energy and command. I'm the teacher: I've got to take charge after all. Because as Mike pointed out, if I won't, who will? Definitely not the students! So I've got to take charge, be in control, at times even be a little pushy and less merciful, almost not giving a damn as they "suffer." So yeah.

Coincidentally, though, that day I decided to pick up the pace a bit, I got a newbie who turned out to be having a rough time in class. She first left during triangle pose, but after leaving during tree pose/toe stand, she didn't come back. But she didn't look ashen, so I figured the heat/humidity was too much for her. I didn't give it much thought 'til after class, when we saw her at the lobby seated on a bench, with her eyes clenched shut and breathing shallowly. Turns out she hadn't eaten anything before class, instead drinking a liter (or was it a gallon?) of water with a quarter teaspoon of sea salt. What the heck: this induces one to throw up. Not only that, but she takes Abuterol, a powerful anti-asthma medication which she takes not for asthma (she doesn't have asthma!) but for her running. What the ****. Then she started shaking, and didn't stop. We offered her a mint to get some sugar into her system, and she took that, then we offered her a banana, a slice of bread, but no dice. Then we gave her some Emergen-C, but she hardly drank it. I called Jack in a panic, but Annemarie did better and called Mike. So he came and was better at handling the situation than I was: I was a bundle of taut nerves, gnawing my lip, my nails, short of wringing my ice-cold hands. He called 911, but was super cool about the whole thing. When she was given oxygen, she looked better. After they left, I was so scared Mike would round on me and blame me for what happened. To my surprise, gratitude and relief, he didn't. He said that hardly happens, even teasing me, saying that that would usually happen to a teacher after two years, at most; to me it happened after two weeks! So he told me not to worry about it, saying that the thing to do in such situations is to be upbeat and positive, not to worry, as that would just add to the situation. Gotta keep that in mind. I e-mailed Joyce (the assistant director and Joani's sister at the other studio) about it, and she said to think about these mishaps as a little personal bank wherein after a while, nothing will faze me anymore. That afternoon, Joani laughingly teased me about it, but also affirmed what Joyce said, saying it'll prepare me for anything that can come my way, yet still continue to teach.

Besides that, it's been peachy. Last Saturday, though, I taught a larger-than-usual class that just got bigger out of nowhere: one minute I was in the WC, the next minute I find the class grew from 19 to 30+: holy cow. Then Cheryl, this amazing teacher comes in and also decides to take class. I started hyperventilating, trying to breathe normally to little success, and Mike took me by the hand to his office. In essence telling me to relax, he said, "What are you afraid of?" And I said Cheryl was taking my class, who teaches like a rockstar, and I...I' And he said having Cheryl there is a good thing, providing an avenue for me to improve, at the same time being a source of support. Besides, he said, Cheryl's a nice lady. And she is. So then he smiled at me encouragingly and said, "Now think about when you told me you had a great class and this great big natural smile came over your face. You'll do fine!" And the rational part of my brain told me he's right, and I was calming down. It must have showed; after that, he patted me on the shoulder, looked me straight in the eye, and said gently, encouragingly, supportively, "Now have a good class." And you know what, I did. It did get a bit gnarly in there--104 Fahrenheit but 65% humidity, even when the vents were turned on at full blast and the fan was on, not the heat. My students were dropping like flies. I had a newbie, too, and he was struggling with the humidity. Cheryl beckoned to me, asking if the fan and not the heat was on (it was). Still, I continued to teach calmly, albeit with a few speedbumps, like after I spoke with Cheryl where I lost my focus. But other than that, it was great, and I finished, and most of my students stayed in the room. Afterwards, they told me it was HOT! But it was a good class, so thank you. Even Cheryl said so! Ahahahaha. Well, I did tell them the vents were on, etc, and to breathe in and out by the nose, slow 6 counts of inhale and exhale, to regulate their heartbeat with their breath, etc, etc, which worked, I guess. So yeah, cool.

Taught a double this morning: the first one (which Tony took and afterwards told me was pretty good so yey) was a bit distracted: a student had told me to "slow down" after Eagle, which I guess kinda rattled me, because I was about to forget the entire balancing series until a student corrected me! Oh goodness! Plus afterward, a student came up to me and said I needed to make some of the standing postures longer. So I did in the second class, lengthening especially on standing head to knee, and triangle, among others, and my second class was much better. Even she said so. ;)

Outside the yoga studio and besides going to Wholefoods (which is nice too, but still), I've finally gone to a bookstore--Borders, because it's a lot nearer: I heard there are fewer Barnes and Noble shops here. Oh well. Got some new books, including a guidebook of Texas and some Houston maps: basically the books I've had on my Amazon Wishlist for a while now. Ordered for some CD's and books. Then I also opened up a bank account to put my pay and "allowance" in, very useful if I need to get stuff only based in the US. I'm also trying to ride back on the vegan wagon. Very cool. Met an elementary school batchmate and friend whom I hadn't seen in...maybe 10 years; wonder of wonders: through facebook, how neat is that. And that same night, I got to chat with Frank. Yey!

Tomorrow, I teach the 6 and the 8 am class, this time alone. After I took his class tonight (which was awesome: I was right beside him under the podium, first row, on the "hotter side" of the room, and I was DRIPPING SWEAT!) Mike asked me if I'd prefer he came over, but I said no. In any case, he said he's a phone call away, which was very sweet of him. But I should be fine.

This week, I hope to finally get a taxi: this past weekend when I called, they were booked solid for two days straight (?!), plus the bus schedules were weird. So yeah. This weekend, hopefully I'll explore more and go out more. But wait: my days off this months are more on Thursdays and Fridays. Oh dear. We'll see then. At any rate, I hope this week will be great, my teaching hopefully to only get better and better.

Thanksgiving is my next big vaca. For Christmas, I'm going home. Plus Dad said to go ahead and get a Macbook for Christmas??? Holy cow, WOW! Coooolness. Though yep, it IS more expensive in Manila by about $300 easy. Then I looked at the iPhone 'coz I know Dad is fascinated by it( and admittedly, so am I!), but it said that to sign up for the iPhone plan with AT&T (the exclusive carrier in the US), the minimum monthly fee would be $60. Not only that, but the iPhone only has 8GB of space. That lack of features for $399? I don't think so. But the MacBook sounds great, haha.

Now to study dialog...and maybe dump my sweaty yoga clothes when the current load's done. And then hopefully, SLEEP.

G'night, g'night. Sleep tight, g'night.

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