Aaahh beautiful Thailand. Week one of Bikram Yoga Teacher has taught me more about me than what a year of regular living ever could. The week has had its challenges and successes, both small and large. A few things that stood out includes:
1. “THE BOSS” Calling Me Out In Front of Yoga Class.
Bikram Choudhary, The Boss, guru and founder of the rightly named Bikram Yoga phenomenon is a very hard man to please. He is not afraid to curse you out, call you ugly, and insult your mother all while wearing a smug smile on his face. So in the hot yoga room, I’ve struggled with getting my hips to touch the floor in Fixed Firm pose. On day three in the evening class taught by Bikram, he noticed me struggling to follow his instructions to sit my butt down on the floor. In front of 332 fellow yogi trainees, he called me out, barking orders for me to spread my knees apart, tuck my feet in, and go down. Embarrased, I instantly followed his orders and miraculously accomplished the posture. It only took 18 months of practicing yoga and a stern push by Bikram himself for me to achieve such feat. I’m thankful that he called me out.
2. Scary Cramping In My Fingers and Toes.
I have never in my life experienced such agressive cramping in which I experienced on day two. I like to nickname it “the claw” because my fingers uncontrollably took on the shape of a claw mencanically moving in and out beyond my control. The pain would last for what seemed like eternity but was merely a few seconds at a time. This stopped and started again and again a good 24 hrs during yoga class and after. Why did this happen? Apparently all the vitamins and minerals my body needs to function is lost thru the excessive sweating during yoga class. Not to mention class number one lasted 2.5 hours!! Bikram was on a mission to break us down physically and mentally. Thankfully, with ample dosage of magnesium, potassium and sea salt, the cramping has long ceased.
3. Pesky Itchy Mosquito Bite
Dumb mosquito flew into my room in the middle of night two and bit me on the inside of my left ring finger making it impossible for me to hold a nice tight grip during many of the standing poses. Not to mention it itched like crazy for 3-4 days after. Long week nights lasting past 12 midnight in lecture felt like torture. Since the bite occurred, I’ve been spraying on my DEET daily to keep the mosquitoes away. Lesson learned the hard way!
4. “THE BOSS” Grading My Delivery of Half Moon Pose Favorably.
In his words: “You didn’t just say the dialogue, you became a teacher. “
When he said those words to me right after I delivered Half Moon Pose on stage in front of 332 of my fellow yogi trainees, in that moment I knew this is where I am supposed to be. All doubts and fears removed.
5. Soaking in the Beauty of Thailand
After 5 days straight of a grueling 8am to midnight schedule filled with lectures and ten sessions of Bikram yoga clases totaling a whopping 20 hours in the hot yoga room heated to 105 degrees + 96% humidity which easily makes it feel like hell on earth, Our. Bodies. Deserved. A.Break. ….Beaches, pools, massage, shopping. All much appreciated.
Now that we are rejuevenated, bring on week two! I’m ready to conquer all fears and “trust the process” as Bikram likes to say.