Week two was probably both the fastest and shortest week of my life. It zoomed by in a jiffy compared to week one but four days of lecture ending around 12:30am and even one long early morning 3:30am dismissal tried my patience and good spirits time and time again. In my regular life I usually like to lay my head down to rest around 10 or 11 at night. So with no choice but to stay up extremely beyond my normal bedtime to listen to lecture and watch Bollywood videos (The Boss’s favorites!) and still wake up 7:30am for morning yoga class every day of the week, left me irritated, confused, frustrated and itchy (attack of the mosquitoes…again !). Wednesday’s insanely long 3:30am ending was my breaking point.
But of course this is Bikram Yoga Teacher Training taught by The Boss himself, Bikram Choudhary, so there’s a method to his madness, a lesson in every action, an A-ha moment waiting to be unveiled. Week 2 of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training broke me down mentally and rebuilt my mind using Terminator strength.
Please Dont Take Away My Precious Sleep Boss
Wednesday night, week 2: After 3 hours of lecture on the topic of humanity and spirituality, the time was 1am. Most of the 333 of us fellow yoga trainees were struggling to keep our eyes open. So when The Boss announced a ten minute break and then resume to watching a Bollywood love story film at 1am, our jaws must have dropped 5 feet below the ground in total shock and disbelief. But we had “no choice” – a phrase Boss and staff uses so often, you’d think it was going out of style.
So we complied, we snacked on late night munchies like ice cream, cookies, chips, candy and drank coffee all in an attempt to stay alert during the movie. All that sugar and caffeine in my body only made me tired and bloated. I watched the first 3 quartets of the movie then my eyes gave up and shut themselves in peace until after the movie was over. Damn I missed the ending.
Despite not knowing how the movie wrapped, I was elated to get to my room in record time to lay my head on my snuggly soft pillow. Before dozing off, negative thoughts boiled in my mind such as:
. Wow I can’t believe he took away my sleep just to watch a dumb movie. Soooo not right!
. Is this how the rest of the 7 weeks will go?? I don’t know if I’m cut out for this
. He’s torturing us keeping us up so late. How evil and inconsiderate.
. Eating all that crap just to stay up failed miserably. If I gain weight at the end of this 9 weeks it will sorely put a damper on my spirits.
Then I closed my eyes, slept a few hours, woke up zombie like, put on my sports bra and yoga shorts and headed to the hot room around 8am Thursday morning. Class began 30 minutes later and as I sweated through each posture stretching and flexing and deep breathing, the most amazing thing began to happen: I slowly gained energy at the completion of each posture. 26 postures later I felt like a brand new woman: recharged, rejuevenated, reenergized, rebuilt. This renewed, vibrate person painted my persona for the whole day which didn’t end until after midnight.
I was amazed at what my body was able to do off such little sleep. The Boss brags to us how he stays up until 5am watching Bollywood movies with his staff. He generally gets 2 to 3 hours of sleep each night and teaches us five days a week boosting the amount of energy it takes to light the Staples Center. Looking back at the negative thoughts that satiated my mind 3:45am Wed morning I learned many life lessons:
1. Sometimes in life, we have “no choice”. In such moments, instead of pouting and stressing over it, it’s best to use positive energy, and go with the flow. In such moments when we let go and just allow things to take its natural course is when we learn valuable lessons.
2. You are as strong as what you allow your mind to believe. Because I believed I wouldn’t be able to stay up for the movie, I allowed myself to overload my body with sugar and processed foods which only failed me and proved what I was thinking in the first place: I can’t stay up. Lesson: whether you succeed or fail is the doing of the mind.
3. Sometimes we have to be broken down in order to be built up. Bikram took away our sleep to get us out of our comfortable place and learn to adjust to what is not normal for us. After the 3:30am experience, I now feel like I can handle any obstacle that comes my way.
The Boss has a way of doing things. He gives us “no choice” and tells us to “trust the process” time and time again. Usually I just follow along because it’s what all 333 of us yoga teacher trainees are expected to do. But after Wednesday night I realize why he tells us these things. So much doubt, fear, and limitations we put on ourselves when we have a choice to say no or not follow thru with the hard tasks in life. But by trusting the process we are trusting in ourselves to tackle life successfully. Each and everytime.
Bikram Choudhary is a genius! Week two was a much needed mental workout for me and fellow yogis. I am so grateful for my experience thus far. Looking forward to week 3. Follow along with me as I continue to blog my experience at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in beautiful Khaolak Thailand.