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!

It's a dry heat

Well, everywhere, but in the hot room, of course!

So, I made it - both to Palm Desert and through the first week of training!! The hotel is lovely and all of the trainees are so friendly! The hotel put up a hard-walled tent for us to practice and have lectures in.

The yoga room is huge, and we have a separate room for lectures (as opposed to sitting on the sweaty yoga room floor for lectures - woo hoo!)

(This is the yoga room. The lecture room is through the doors in the middle of the second picture.)

(The heating system for the hot room!!)

There are 320 trainees from all over the world! This week we have been reciting Half Moon in front of Bikram. It is a long process to get through all of us; we're only about halfway done. I don't think there is anyway I will ever be able to forget any of the words in this posture after having heard it 319 times! I haven't been able to recite it yet, but I am hoping to get a good spot in line tomorrow!

Our days are so full! Just looking at the schedule didn't do it for me - experiencing the daily routine has really driven home how intense this is. We have a class in the morning that lasts between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Then we have an hour to an hour and a half to pick up lunch, shower, change, eat, and make it to the tent for our lecture/posture clinic. That has been lasting about 3 1/2 hours. After that we have an hour to change and make it back to the hot room for another class. After class we get an hour and a half dinner break, again to shower, change, eat, and get preped for the evening lecture that begins at 9pm. This past week the lectures have gone til about 11pm, and then Bikram has played (mandatory) Bollywood films til the early morning (2:30 one night, and 3:30 the next). The alarm rings at 7am for the next day's class :) . So yeah, it's intense, but it's all part of the training! Now you might ask what Bollywood til 3am has to do with yoga training. How is sleep deprivation going to help you succeed?? But, the point is, how well can you control your mind in the moment to focus on your yoga practice when you've only had 3-4 hours sleep? It is a struggle, but it definitely makes you stronger (and sleepy :) )!
We are very lucky to have a grocery store right across the street; I've been able to do a good amount of shopping and stock up on a ton of good food. My roommate is very nice and we get along well. Our room is off the main part of the hotel, and is very quiet (which we are both very thankful for!) Here's the view from our room:

This is a nice, low key little pool area. There is another pool in the middle of the hotel that is maybe 4 times this size - it seems to be the place to be if you just want to people watch. There are swans (black and white), ducks, geese and flamingos galore at the hotel. Here's one that came to visit right outside our balcony:

So, one week down and eight to go! I will get more pics of the grounds and some interesting things in posture clinics and class to share with you. Thank you so much for your support, it really helps me so much!! Right now it looks like I will be able to update about every week. Lots of love!!