Friday, June 12, 2009

Secret Lovers

That's what we are!!

Sorry Charlie, but I've found a new lover in the desert. He takes care of my needs when I am at my lowest and need him the most. He gives me the juiciest kisses ever. He's so warm; never cold (Diane took care of that*). He always gives; never takes. He's the only one that comforts me when I am struggling....

Yes, I think I have fallen in love with my water bottle.

It all happened a couple of days ago. For those of you that aren't too familiar with the yoga, we begin with a breathing exercise, followed by 3 'warm up postures', and then it's party time. So, after about 30 minutes we take a quick water break - no water is allowed before party time. Well.... the other day while I'm in Eagle (the third warm up posture), I look down longingly and pathetically at my water bottle. It seems this humidity thing is a bit of an issue in the desert (ya think?). I have noticed two degrees of humidity in the hot room here in Desert Springs:

1. Oppressively humid, as in, when it's quiet enough, I can hear the sweat falling from everyone like rain.

2. Bone dry.

This day was a bone dry day. My throat was dry. So dry. I may have actually been sick that day too (which may explain the delusion I am about to describe). Yes, come to think of it, I believe I was quite sick that day. I look at my bottle. Party time is so so so close, but I just don't know if I can make it. As my arms and legs are twisted (yes, like ropes), and I am sitting down (yes, in the chair - not the bar stool), I start considering my situation. What exactly will happen if I partake before the par-tay? Does one spontaneously combust? Does Bikram throw you out, not refund your money, and banish you from practicing his yoga for life? Do you simply become known as the loser who didn't wait for the group break? Cut to me with that longing/puppy dog look on my face, staring down at the open mouth of my water bottle.

Then it talked to me.

Yep, it talked. That mouth moved. It had a voice similar to Barry White's. It said "Don't worry baby, we'll be together soon." That reassurance (reality check - from my WATER BOTTLE) kept me going. I think I nodded my head and thought "Ok, water bottle, you're right."

So this hot new love affair is going strong. In fact, every time I give it that same longing look, this plays in my mind (and no, I'm not just being silly; it really does):

* When Diane was here, she mentioned that ice in your water bottle is not a good idea in the hot room. This is not a habit I have a home, but it was really nice here in the desert. (Note, the past tense of that sentence).
One morning I am at the sign in table. Diane's happy, smiling face greets me.

Me: "Good morning!"
Diane: "Good morning! Is that ICE I see in your bottle??"
Me: A list of excuses and a look of shame.

I have been ice-free since then!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Half-Way Day!

Week 5 brought our half way point!

Happy half-way day, Shannon! What's your reaction?

Happy half-way day, roomie! What's your reaction?

Happy half-way day, mat-mate Joann! What's your reaction?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's Up / What's Going On??

I first thought I'd throw some Marvin Gaye in here, but when I was searching for "What's Going On" on youtube, 4 Non Blondes popped up. How could I say no to that 90's one hit wonder?? The flannel. The combat boots. The dark lipstick!! Sigh...

So yes, "WHAT'S GOING ON??" you ask! I am sorry I have not written about week 5 and 6, and it's almost the end of week 7! I have been a little overwhelmed and have not made time to hit the blog. The details of the weeks are a little fuzzy (I am having trouble remembering things that happened a few days ago, or even last night, honestly), but I will give you the headlines! :)

*Diane and Teri left at the end of week 5. Diane taught class on Friday morning, and don't know how she does it, but the woman makes me emotional! It's like she opens her mouth and tears pour from my eyes. So yeah, that class was another tough one for me. To give myself a little credit, this was the week they pulled out all the emotional stuff on us. Staff members told very personal stories of how their lives were drastically changed by doing the yoga, and Manali performed an emotional chant the same evening we heard all the stories. So all that was brewing for me, and I didn't think it had that much of an effect on me. Well, come Friday morning it's HOT, I'm feeling overwhelmed, people are taking photos all class for the yearbook, and because I chose a spot in the front/middle today, I am in the background of a lot of these pictures sitting out postures and/or weeping. Awesome. After sitting out 3 postures in a row, trying to keep myself from making audible sobs, and therefore keeping myself from breathing, I decide it's time.
I. Need. To. Leave. The. Room.
I just had to get myself together so I can finish the class. So that's what I did. Judes came to my rescue and talked me out of totally freaking out.

Other highlights (but I don't know that I would categorize the former as an actual 'highlight') of week 5 & 6:
* Jon Burras (the fascia guy) came to talk to us about ... well... fascia, and his thoughts on parenting, which pushed a couple buttons seeing as he admitted to having no children. So that's neither here nor there. He had some pretty cool props, and I am just like a child - pretty, shiny, colorful things with lots of movement; you've going my attention.

Danielle being a good sport and demonstrating how everything in the body is wrapped with fascia!

* Lisa from San Antonio rallied all the visiting teachers to throw us a pizza party. Let me tell you - this was the most pizza I had ever SEEN. It was like Christmas morning! HUGE stacks of pizza boxes everywhere. What's in this one? What's in the one buried under ten other boxes. It was a TON of food and SO SO SO nice of them!

* Manali had a birthday and was so nice to buy treats for everyone!

Raj and Manali on Raj and Bikram's 25 wedding anniversary.

* We were honored to have Dr. Das (Rajashree's teacher) lecture to us! He was such a sweet man, and gave very informative lectures.

* Posture clinics really gained some speed around week 6. We started doing 2 a day for 3 hours at a time. Unfortunately, I got sick (again, dang it!!) during the same week, and it affected my delivery of postures. I kind of bombed Tree/Toe Stand and Wind Removing, but I rebounded at the beginning of this week after I was able to study well over the weekend, and could once again breathe through both nostrils at the same time.

I think I got all the biggies from the last two weeks... and what the heck, here's a little Marvin, just for fun!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Diane Working her Magic!

Here are some pictures from an impromptu after class lesson with Diane. It is a lot of fun to watch her teach. She has such a talent!


Yay roomie! This is Rebecca.

I know this feeling... well.

Straight wrists and no "basketing"

A few visiting teachers decided to do an advanced class.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Week 4 Re-Cap

I am so very tired. A little too tired to go into a lot of detail about the past week, but I will do my best to fill you in.
Week 4 will not be my shining week; it will not be the highlight of my training. It was my ... shall we say "hormonal" week, which didn't help things. So, you know Diane came on Sunday (and the website will not let me load my video, I'm really sorry). Bikram returned on Tuesday, and strangely the Bollywood returned on the same day.

Return of the boss! He was very excited to show off his new shirt.

We were up to 4:30 on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, 3:30 Wednesday/Thursday, and 2:30 Thursday/Friday. I have now learned to not even try to stay up. This is the only way I can function: just bring my pillow and blanket and camp out on the floor. Tuesday they fixed the ac in the lecture room!!!!! The only bad thing is that when they did, it was PUMPING. I had posture clinic in the lecture room on Tuesday evening, and as I sat there I started to feel drainage in my throat ... then it started feeling a little sore. I shivered as I slept on the floor that night for our Bollywood fest. Awesome. The cold is still with me. Wednesday I was really struggling for obvious reasons. I signed up in week 3 to be part of the yearbook staff. I wanted to add my pictures and have a say in the layout. I thought it was a good idea because it is so out of character for me to be involved in something like that. Well, they planned a 10 minute meeting on Tuesday morning. I was the only one to show up, and so I was kind of ignored. There was an announcement that they would "definitely" have the meeting on Wednesday morning. I just couldn't be there early after falling asleep at 5:30am. I thought this wouldn't be a huge deal, but I was wrong. Apparently I don't get a spot on the committee (that I signed up for) because I wasn't at the meeting that was a redo of the one that no one but me showed up for. Sweet. Don't forget, at this point I am: hormonal, sleep deprived, and my feelings are hurt. So the day progresses. Rebecca and I take a "little" nap before our evening class. We wake up at 5:07. Class starts at 5pm. Really sweet. They call us to make sure we are not dead. We are indeed not dead, though we are comotose. This is beside the point, though. They urge us to come on. We rush to the tent, and then find out we are required to watch the class and do a make up after our Saturday morning class. Now I am hormonal, sleep deprived, my feelings are hurt, and I am feeling defeated. Let the water works begin! The week kept going and things obviously turned out ok. Actually, for it to have been such a frustrating week, it went by really fast! Saturday's make up class wasn't bad. I did Eagle and Standing Head to Knee in posture clinic, and got great feedback both times.

Nice ladies: Carol and Jennings

Hmmm.... I have felt this way once or twice in Posture Clinic too.

Linda (a teacher from home) came to visit!

Delivering a hug to Soka from her daughter Thita :) . It made me cry (hormones)!

Diane doing it Diane style! She said she didn't like being down there :)

Monday, May 18, 2009


Yes, Diane arrived yesterday! It is so cool to have her here! She taught the morning class, and let me just say, I am glad I know/love/appreciate her already! This morning's class was like WHOA. Wow, did I have my butt kicked. I mean kicked doesn't even really describe it. I was embarrassed at how much I had to sit out. But there is always the next class, right? :) I have to remind myself of that: that class is over, and now it's on to the next one!

I will have a video of Diane's introduction up soon. I tried to get it done now, but it is taking too long to upload and I have an anatomy class calling my name .... :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thursday, What a Drag ....

Thursday, oh Thursday.

I wake up. I am dragging. I tell my roommate she doesn't have to wait for me to go to the morning class. I am really dragging. I continue to drag. Perhaps this was the day Pubali teaches the very low key class... yes, I believe it is. I am thinking she is picking up on the vibe that it seems everyone is feeling. Tired. Drained. And yes, dragging.

The day, and myself continue to drag. I have enjoyed Dr. T's anatomy lectures. But not today. I am falling asleep. I am not alert. I am hot. It is stuffy. I ... am .... falling ..... asl ......... (body jerk) OH, I'm awake!! It seems to me that all of a sudden, today about half the room is asleep.

We break for a 25 minute break during anatomy. I rush back to the room. I lie down for 5 minutes. I decide to see what Miss Pink was dealing with on this day during her training. I open her published diary, The Mighty Cobra and The Pink Rabbit. Miss Pink (a nickname bestowed upon her by Bikram) attended the Spring 2005 training with Charlie. I kid you not, this was an excerpt from the same day of her training:
"During anatomy class (which usually runs from noon until around 3:00) about half of the students were fast-asleep. I was really battling the heavy eyelids, too, and may have dozed off here and there. Up until today, I have been fairly awake -- not necessarily alert, but at least my eyes are open. But as I listened to little tiny snores from all over the room, I decided I had nothing to prove, who am I to stay awake when everyone else sleeps?"


So later it is class time. Martha Williams came in to teach. Confession: I didn't love her first class. I thought it was ok, but I was not in love, and I understand that I do not have to be in love with all the classes/teachers.

WHOA again.

She was so on. She was SOOOO entertaining. She kept me super focused and super determined. I didn't feel the heat. I just felt totally energized by her class! She sang to us!

Then it happened. Full Locust Pose. Imagine the room you saw of us in the youtube clip. Then imagine all of us like this:

Gets a little cramped right? You can pick your neighbor's nose, right? Well you start the pose with your chin on the floor and your arms "out to the side like airplane wings".

Setting up the pose, Martha starts singing:
"Where it began, I can't begin to know when
But then I know it's growing strong
Oh, wasn't the spring, whooo
And spring became the summer
Who'd believe you'd come along"

Me: "I know this ... what is this?!"

Martha: "Hands, touching hands, reaching out
Touching me, touching youuuuuuu"


Martha: "Lift up, and SING!"

320+ yogis: Lift annnnnnnnnnnd
Good times never seemed so good
I've been inclined
to believe it never would"

Uncontrolable laughter (but controlled poses), clapping, and cheering ensues.

Wow! How can Thursday be a drag when you sing Sweet Caroline in Full Locust Pose? I ask you, how can it??

Posture Clinics

This was the week we split into 16 groups and began the all important *posture clinics*! Posture clinics are where we present a memorized posture in front of our group and a teacher, and 'teach' a group of 3 other trainees. The point of this is the feedback from the teacher - how well did we do, what do we need to work on, etc. This week I delivered Backward Bending with Hands to Feet, and Awkward. I did pretty well in both. I was told I would be a good teacher and I need to project more (ahem, Charlie) with BB and HtF. Ren led the posture clinic where I delivered Awkward. I was pretty sleepy and not feeling like going. Apparently many people were feeling the same way, because no one wanted to go. Shannon finally jumped up, and I told her that because she went (and wasn't planning to), I would do the same. Ren said I did well and I had good energy.... at the beginning. Apparently I lost it somewhere in the 2nd part. I think I got a little irritated that "compression of the abdominal wall, contraction of the abdominal muscles" came out reversed, and I just lost my enthusiasm. That, and I was super sleepy. Oh well, he said I did fine. I'll just have to remember to really fake the energy even when I'm not feeling it; that is what a good teacher does, isn't it?

Examples of what Backward Bending, Hands to Feet, and Awkward look like:

Week 3 Visiting Teachers Line-up

Week 3 brought a bunch of visiting teachers! Some taught classes, some sat in on posture clinics (I will explain 'posture clinics' in another post), and they were all cheerful and encouraging!
Ren taught an awesome class on Monday morning, and ended our week on Friday night. He teaches at headquarters in Los Angeles. Everyone loves Ren. You can't not love Ren; he's SO nice to everyone, and such a great teacher. I was lucky to have him in posture clinic this week, as well.

(Ren and the back of Shannon's head :) )

We also had Martha Williams from Minnesota. She taught two classes as well; one of which was probably my best class ever - it was out of this world!

Another stand out was John Salvatore - he was just a hoot, and taught a kickin class!

Val Sklar, from Pasadena also led an inspiring and tough class!

Pubali Campbell (who happens to be Bikram's niece), from New Hampshire, lead a very nice, low key class (which I really appreciated).
She took a little video clip of us before class, and while searching for it on youtube, I discovered she took another during savasana, that she didn't mention ;) . Look for me, I'm the only on in the room with a yellow mat. I'm just to the right of the center of the room, and five rows back. I'm not very clear, but you can spot the yellow mat :)

It's so cool to me how they are all delivering the same message, but have such different ways of doing it!

Here's a shot of the whole bunch:


Dem Bones

Week three brought the beginning of our anatomy lessons! Wow, the class, which is led by Dr. Frank Trapani, is really interesting but that darn lecture room is so hot!! It has made being coherent during the lecture time quite challenging. Dr. Trapani is very knowledgeable and breaks up his lecture with silly jokes and lots of information about nutrition.

The lessons are pretty basic, so that we have a general knowledge of the body and how it works. There will be a test on Monday (tomorrow) (that I haven't studied for)on everything we learned the past week. We will have one more week of lessons this week, with another test next Monday. Like I said, it is all very interesting, but it is also more to cram in while we are trying to master postures for posture clinics, meal times, showers, and our daily double time in the hot room.

This is kind of our last week of anatomy in a nutshell:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Week Two, DOWN!

Oh my goodness .... week two is over! So, you already know about Half Moon and Emmy .... along with those two events, we had some great lectures, got certified in CPR, and watched more Indian movies! Emmy taught 3 classes and gave us some wonderful lectures. It was such a pleasure to have her visit, and I can't wait til she returns!

CPR is now a requirement for teachers in training, so this was knocked out on Saturday. We did a crash course on chest compressions, rescue breathing, and abdominal thrusts. Fun stuff.

Bikram was in a great mood this week and also gave some inspiring lectures. One night we watched his 60 Minutes interview, along with a million other retro tv clips featuring him and his close friends with swords, a bed of nails, spears, and motorcycles.

He was also really excited to begin showing us Mahabarat. It is an Indian TV series filmed in the late 80's - 1990, that portrays Indian mythology. It is interesting and entertaining for different reasons, but I have to say it would probably be more enjoyable when you're not nodding off in a hot lecture room, sitting upright, at 2am. Just sayin.

Here's the first episode:


Week 2 was challenging for me personally. I had a handful of physical struggles. For example, I couldn't figure out that whole electrolyte thing. A lovely student from home, who is in the know on all things nutrition, suggested I try potato chips for their potassium and salt. No. Freakin. Way. Do you know I have been craving potato chips like nobody's business lately?! I just figured I shouldn't give in! They seem to have helped my situation! They were the first thing I could eat this week (and I had them on Friday night) that I could eat and not feel like I was going to throw back up again! Yes, I have been dealing with some *serious* nausea. I have been feeling full even when I haven't eaten in hours and my stomach is growling. So I go to eat something, and after the first bite or two I have to make a serious effort to get it to stay down. Ugh, not a good feeling ... this is making me think "Eating and keeping it down are equal and simultanious, 50/50." Gah - dorky dialogue reference! So, I decided that if I was craving the chips, and they stayed down just fine, maybe I should go for everything I was craving. And I did. And it was a crazy list. Anchovies, Club crackers, sliced cucumbers with salt & pepper, cream cheese, and olive tapanade. I made myself a sampler platter of all of these, and what do you know! It was like it was the best meal I had ever had! Like the flavor of everything had been kissed by angels! I was even able to not turn green after I had the cheeseburger from Burger King I have been craving! Hopefully this good feeling will stay with me into the coming week as we do more classes.

This weekend included a Trader Joe's adventure (love them) and a laundry party. Woo hoo!

So week 2 is down, and week 3 is knocking on the door! Bikram won't be with us because of seminars and other such obligations. I can't wait to meet the visiting teachers who will be leading us in class! And speaking of, I am giddy that Diane will be here next Sunday to stay for a couple of weeks. She is such a special lady, and we are blessed to have her in New England!
Hmm... I should be getting on studying that dialoge again! We are breaking off into groups this week to start plowing through posture clinics!

Happy Mother's day to all who are mothers! And thank you to everyone who checks in on the blog! Your support helps me so very much!

Half Moon!

I got it done this week! I delivered Half Moon!

Charlie told me that when he was in training he would always tell a joke before he presented a posture in the posture clinic, so I decided, since it is unlike me to do so, I should try to get a little 'huh yuk' out of my captive audience of 300+. "Keep a nice, tight grip. Don't lose the grip" is everywhere in the dialoge. Bikram had been making jokes about this, "You know why Western women can't keep their men?! They don't grip tight! That and you can't cook!" So that was my joke angle.

(Me explaining myself to Mr. Bikram Choudhury)

It had been a long afternoon, and finally it was my turn to go. I get up on stage, look at Bikram sitting on his plush throne, and say "Hi, I'm Jennifer Warren, and I'm from Northampton, Massachusetts, where I own a studio." He looks through me. He doesn't blink. He doesn't question me (there's no way I can own a Bikram studio and not be a certified teacher). He is obviously not listening to me. I look at him an say "You're supposed to ask me how I own a studio already!" He snaps out of it and questions me. "Technically my boyfriend owns the studio........ but I grip tight, so what's his is mine, right? AND I can cook!" Thank goodness I got a laugh from my fellow trainees; Bikram didn't even crack a smile. He said "Your boyfriend, he do training?" Me, "Yes, Charlie Hubbard ..... (blank look from Bikram).... fireman". Bikram "Yes, I think I know who this is."

So I proceed to deliver the posture, and I did a good job of it.

(Clenched fist emphasizing "No gap between biceps/arms and ears")

What was my feedback from Bikram?

"I think fireman do good job"

And then he dismissed us. Oh well, I'll take it.

And thanks to Shannon! She was sweet enough to take the pictures for me!!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Today was our first class with Emmy Cleaves! It was a wonderful class. I was so excited to have her as our instructor this morning, it was hard to actually concentrate on the postures! (Confession: I was afraid I would be called out for not doing something correctly, and then I would have to gush and tell her I was just as giddy as a school girl that she was teaching me. Fortunately, I was saved from that embarrassment.) It was about 20 different kinds of hot and humid today. I even stumbled and lost my balance due to dizziness a couple of times, but I didn't care - I couldn't wimp out of anything in her class; it was such a privilege to be there!

You should read about her on . Click "Teacher Training", and then "Tribute to Emmy". Just to give you some idea, she is an 80 something year-young senior instructor, who is a concentration camp survivor. She can do things with her body I can't even think of attempting yet.

Hooray! What a good start to the day! Posture clinic is in about 45 minutes, and I am hoping to deliver Half Moon today! ...... "NO GAP between biceps/arms and ears!!"

(I took this in February at the Championships. This is Bikram with his wife Rajashree, and Emmy)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My new home for 8 more weeks

Here are some more shots of the property. It really is a beautiful place. If I have to have my body broken, it might as well be in a nice place, right? It is so pretty here (and this whole experience is just as emotional as it is physical), that after class one night last week, the view of the mountains and the clouds made me cry!

Not the worst thing one could pass everyday on their way to the torture chamber, right?

Oh yes, we do! This little poster is hanging in the window of our Bikram store in the hotel.

This is the hotel lobby

Um, yeah. This sign encourages you to 'stay fabulous'. Right. It's a California thing, I guess. Oh, and it features a humming bird wearing a seatbelt. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

This is walking off the property, toward our other hang out, the grocery store :) .

Night night!