Week 7 Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Week 7 was the breaking point for me and many of my fellow yogis.  It dragged on so long as many nights and days were filed with never-ending  posture clinic sessions.  The staff was on a mission to finish posture clinic as soon as possible to leave enough time in the final weeks for Bikram (Boss) to lecture to us about becoming teachers.  This meant us yogis sacrificed sleep, meals, and every minute of free time to memorize and practice posture dialogue.  Some people presented as many as 5 postures in a single day! Talk about stressful nerve-wracking times! There was a real threat of losing our sanity; some people wanted to call it quits, pack their bags,  hop on a plane,  and leave teacher training immediately.  Thankfully they were talked off the ledge and found the willpower to continue on.

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Memorizing the dialogue. Good ole dialogue.

Outside of week 1,  week 7 has been my hardest week. I’m so thankful it is now over and is behind me. 76 hot yoga classes completed in 7 short weeks. My limbs, joints, muscles and bones – whole body- is crying mercy!

I will say,  week 7 had its highlights.  A Communications expert from India lectured to us about the power of voice, presentation and talking style. He creatively illustrated these points to us via interactive exercises where we sang aloud as a class, watched videos of greatness such as Martin Luther King “I Have A Dream” speech and used the audience to effectively teach the class. I learned that to become a great yoga teacher,  I need to showcase confidence,  commitment and courage.  It is vital to remove fears,  inhibitions,  and self criticism as those are surefire viruses that will hinder any success. One thing I took away from his lecture is to share my voice more with people.  I am comfortable talking to only those who require my attention and otherwise can be perfectly cool minding my own business in silence.  Staying quiet can be looked at as an injustice to others who may stand to gain from me sharing my wisdom and knowledge about the things I love and enjoy including yoga, food, healthy living,  cooking,  taxes & accounting, and wellness.  Going forward I will share more and speak more to spread love & community and to inspire change and health.

“Your voice is your calling card.”

Week 7 is a wrap, now on to week 8! Then we conclude teacher training week 9…November 15 to be exact. Let the countdown begin.

Namaste.

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Goodbye week 7

Week 5 Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

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Every week completed is a reason to celebrate.  Bikram Yoga Teacher Training is not for everyone.  Not too many people can withstand the mental, physical,  spiritual cleansing that occurs each moment,  each hour, each event of each and everyday.  There are days I question “why did I sign up for this? ” when things get tough and I have no control. And there are days when I struggle to keep the food in my mouth because I am laughing so hard from something a fellow yogi friend has said or done. There are bad days, there are good days.  As I tell myself day after day to just trust the process, I know that, in the end,  things will be okay.

Week 5 brought us a very special gift – the beautiful Rajashree Choudury,  wife of The Boss,  Bikram . Her aura is so beautiful,  I am convinced she can make the toughest of thugs take a break from thugging to spend a fre minutes getting in touch with their emotional well-being .  She’s unreal!

She was once a Yoga champion, discovering yoga at the young age of 4. Not only did Rajashree show us how to improve our postures by demonstrating each posture to us and answering our questions,  she also gave us lessons on love and it’s connection with yoga. 

Love is energy.  You cannot just say ‘I love you’, it’s an action. 

First you must love yourself.  Yoga helps you to improve the relationship you have with yourself.  Emotions can be all over the place but yoga can help channel your emotions therefore creating a harmony of self-love, yoga and emotional balance. 

She taught us some deep topics that I am trying to grasp and apply to my own life. I have really enjoyed the lectures of the past week!

The Boss also came back early in week 5 after going away on business for the past two weeks.  He taught a couple of grueling yoga classes that each lasted over 2 hours. Surprisingly it wasn’t too hard on my body because of the preparation of the last 5 weeks. He even complimented the class saying he was proud of our improvement and determination.  Sweet!

I heard from others elsewhere that week 5 is the breaking point at BYTT – it’s stressful, the body is fatigued and the mind is ready to quit.  But thankfully,  week 5 was not horrible. Rajashree was a huge reason for that.  Her compassion,  calm demeanor and motherly nature are exactly what we needed at the exactly correct time: half way thru the BYTT. 54 classes completed in 42 days! Only 4 more weeks to go.

Namaste.

Week One Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

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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.

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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. 

Namaste.

How to Love Yourself

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Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Phenomenal Woman is one of my favorite poems ever.  I can listen to the words for hours on end.  Renowned poet, Maya Angelou gives women everywhere an intoxicating lesson on the beauty, power and awesomeness in which we possess.  If you are unfamiliar then you MUST read the whole poem, it’s quite inspiring.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

We women are powerful beyond belief.  Who else has the aura, softness and amazing grace to bring a man to his knees simply by walking into a room?  Sadly, many women are unaware of the strength, beauty and charm we possess.  Instead, we stay worried about belly pudge, acne, and crooked toes.  Women obsess about small imperfections when all a man notices is the beauty of the feminine body.

Valentine’s day is around the corner which means either one of two things:

1. If you are in a relationship you may get showered with chocolate, flowers and if your man really loves you — diamonds.

2. If you are single, your mind will be on overdrive wondering how you managed to end up dateless on yet another valentines day.

But single ladies everywhere, you must must must change this self-deprecating way of thinking — the health, success and longevity of any future relationship you will have depends on it.  Being single on valentines day is not the end of the world.   I have NEVER had a valentines day date in all of my 28 years on this planet.  But I am not bitter.  When February 14 rolls around, I can enjoy it just like the drunk-in-love couples that smother the streets everywhere like a plate of home cooked chicken and collard greens — why oh why must the juice greens get all over my chicken errghhhh.  But I digress…

I-Love-Me-44118211

…this Valentines Day, you must practice self-love. What is self-love you ask?  How can self-love add to your beauty, strength and grace?  How do you truly enjoy a dateless v-day?  All these questions and more are answered in this short video I put together with my dear friend Mourhia.  Take a moment to watch.

And remember, whether you are single or in a relationship, let February 14th be a fun, cheerful day.  Afterall, it’s on a Friday.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Grain-free, Dairy-free)

Almond butter chocolate chip cookies (Free of dairy, grain, soy)

Love is in the air:  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner which means millions of people will spend countless dollars on chocolates, flowers, and cards to show that special person how much they are loved.  Personally, I’d rather my guy treat me to an experience in which we can share together and recall the memories for years to come;  material things pale in comparison.

One way to show your love and appreciation for your loved one is to prepare dinner for the two of you to enjoy together. Set the mood by dimming the lights.  Getting physical in the kitchen can ignite the slow burn later that night, if you know what I mean.  Consider serving your lover this easy salmon entree.  Or if red meat is more your speed, this rib-eye steak recipe will satisfy completely. After the main course, serve these cookies up warm, fresh out of the oven.  Then get on with the intimate festivities planned the rest of the night – satisfaction guaranteed!

These cookies are a dream come true for someone looking for a sweet, soft, chewy, decadent treat without dairy, grain, and soy.  If you have food intolerances or health reasons to avoid dairy, gluten and soy, make sure to choose a chocolate chip brand that does not contain these common allergens.  Enjoy Life chocolate chips are dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free.  Score!

Bonus:  cooking video!! Because sometimes we prefer videos over words…

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 25 cookies.

Ingredients

.almond butter chocolate chip cookie ingredients

Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the baking sheet with a small pat of coconut oil.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together almond butter, coconut oil, and honey.  Beat in egg and vanilla.

wet ingredients w/ egg & vanilla

wet ingredients w/ egg & vanilla

3.  In a small bowl, combine almond meal and baking soda.  Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well.

dry ingredients mixed together

dry ingredients mixed together

mixing wet and dry together

mixing dry with wet ingredients

batter mixed

addictive cookie batter!

4.  Scoop the dough 1 tablespoon at a time and roll into balls.  Set the balls on the baking sheet and flatten them with a fork.  Bake for 10 minutes until the edges just start browning.  Becareful not to overbake or they will be dry.

rolled into balls, flatten with fork  on baking sheet

roll into balls, flatten with fork

cookies baked on cookie sheet

cookies baked on cookie sheet

cookies n coconut milk

cookies with ice-cold coconut milk (truly hits the spot!)

that's one large yummy bite

that’s one large yummy bite

What do you think? Comment below because I really want to hear from YOU about the foods I prepare & share, from my kitchen to yours.  

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