Monday, November 23, 2009

Just serve me on a platter...


Hello, strangers! Yes, it's been ages since I last posted. To be honest, I was going to terminate this blog because my creative juices were running dry. Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner (how did the year fly by?), I thought I would let you know that you can serve ME on a platter this Thanksgiving! No need to run out to Safeway to buy a butterball turkey and wait days for it to defrost. I have been feeding myself plenty and gearing up for the big day.

It all started when I was at the yoga studio, gearing up to take a class. I took off my sweater, bent down to put my sweater into my bag when all of a sudden, a sharp shooting pain went through the left side of my back. "Yeow!" I've never felt anything like that before. I even joked to the yoga teacher, "I don't know how well I'm going to do today, I just felt something weird in my back!" (To which the teacher responded with the standard answer that I, too, tell students, "Oh, you'll be fine once you get into the heat!")

I was surprised that class went well...nothing snapped or popped so I felt much better after class. But ohhh noooo...the very next day, I emerged from bed with such a achy, dull pain down the left side of my body that it hurt to walk or even drive a car. The pain started from my lower back and shot down to my thigh. The soreness felt like I had just spent 4 hours at the gym working out my left quad (fancy word for thigh), buttock (fancy word for butt), hip and back. I was couch bound and popped over the counter meds and ice'd it profusely. It wasn't getting any better so I went to the doctor the next day to get my drugs. My doctor is so nice and old. He just wants to talk and joke around but I was in no mood to be playful. "JUST GIVE ME THE DRUGS!" It has been over a week of laying around, eating comfort foods, sleeping, eating, and popping pills (did I not mention eating?). The classes I was supposed to teach had to be covered by other teachers and my yoga mat has collected an inch of dust. Hey, at least I've been prepping myself for the big turkey day! That's one way to look on the bright side. With stuffing, I can feed a large family of 32!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

things you miss out on when you sit in a cubicle...

Below are some of the things you just can't do when you spend 90% of the day in a cubicle...

1. Watch Ellen Degeneris dance on TV (not recorded, live!).
2. Go to bed late, sleep in.
3. Get the latest scoop on Conan's feud with Corey Booker, Jersey mayor (again, live TV).
4. Greet the lawn guy/US postal guy/FedEx guy and actually see what he looks like.
5. Make breakfast for lunch.
6. Go to yoga whenever you want! (bonus)
7. Make friends with the housewives at Michael's on a Monday afternoon.
8. Go to the dog park during the middle of the day and have your dogs think you rented the place out.
9. Make time for hobbies you never had time for like baking and making jewelry.
10. Read facebook updates from those stuck in a cubicle and think, "Thank god that's not me!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Unemployment sucks


I have been denied Unemployment Benefits ...once again (*sigh*). This would be the second time they have sent me a letter stating that my status as an unemployed person is in question and they need 4-6 weeks to investigate my case. During ths time, no phone calls please. I sit and wait once again. This time, a red flag was raised when I switched from filing as an employee to self-employed. I had been filing incorrectly and didn't know it. As soon as something changes, the 10 page forms, questionnaires and letters start appearing in the mail. I feel like I'm committing a crime for trying to get $ that belongs to me in my account! To quote one of my girlfriends, "I'M SICK OF IT!!!"
This time, I put all of my facts and experiences in a document and emailed it out to the local news stations and newspapers, hoping they will investigate the Unemployment Dept. to figure out why they are so inefficient, unorganized and just plan stupid.

-penniless once again

Sunday, September 20, 2009

unemployment

It's been about 7 months since I've been a member of the unemployment club. Here's a glimpse of some fun moments.

Situation: I needed to announce my decision to attend training and ask for approval from the Unemployment Committee in order to receive $.

Before I went away to training, I followed the proper procedure to fill out a 10 page form. I snail mailed it in and waited and waited. And waited. Weeks went by and after numerous calls to the 1-800 unemployment line, I finally decided to give up and let fate take it's course. If they approved, yipeee. If they didn't, then I'd have to find some way to pay the bills while I was away for 9 weeks.

Halfway through my training, I find out that a letter was mailed to me stating that from here on out, I was not eligible for any $ because I was in training full-time and not "actively" looking for work (even though I was still applying for jobs in both WA and CA every week). Even worse, I may have to pay back $ that I had received during the first half of training.

Finances were the last thing on my mind when I was in training so I tried not to worry about it too much. I had written an appeal letter stating my situtation and how I was attending training so I could actively become employed when I returned.

When I got home from training, again I had other things on my agenda like SLEEP and STUDY DIALOGUE so I would be prepared to teach my first class. After all, I did slap over $11K on my credit card so I would be able to teach yoga!

Slowly, reality started to settle in and the fog lifted...back to "normal life" outside of the yoga bubble. Bills, bills, bills. I was a poster child for Destiny's Child. Soon after, I received a letter in the mail with my hearing date. Yup, I had a date with Judge Judy to contest their decision.

"The Hearing"
Why was I nervous to talk to Judge Judy? It was a phone court hearing but since I was on speaker phone, I felt like I was IN the courtroom, raising my right hand to swear on my life that I was telling the truth. In my mind, she even looked like Judge Judy. The Judge lady asked me why I wasn't able to find jobs as a "Business Manager," as if I had the magic wand to create jobs in this economy.

I filed my claims every week so it's not like I was slacking but the Judge treated me as if it was my fault that I couldn't get back on the cubicle wagon. To make a long story short (I know it's already long), the Judge ended the call by asking about my monthly finances (cell phone, groceries, housing, tv, car, hair cuts, 401k). I'm surprised she didn't ask me for my blood type. When I had asked her about the purpose of reporting this info, she said that it was going to help her determine whether I would need to be put on a payment plan in order to pay back $ that I had received during the first half of training. Really? I didn't know I would have to pay the State my own unemployment $! I was in tears after this hearing, just dreading the Judge's decision. I had known that they were going to deny 9 weeks of benefits and I would be making checks to the State of WA! Just give me community service. Oh, and I had to wait for their decision in the mail. A few weeks later, I received a letter stating that my benefits were denied. Moments later, I received a letter stating that my benefits were approved. HUH? Szicho!

About one month AFTER I came back from Training (and training was 9 weeks), I received a letter in the mail stating that my training had been approved. However, they were going to require status updates to be filled out and mailed to them letting them know how I was doing in training. And I say this again...this is a month AFTER I completed training. Can you say DISCONNECT??

BUT WAIT - there's MORE favorite moments...

"Oh, man the wait times"
I can feel 6 new white hairs sprouting on my head each time I call the 1-800 unemployment number. I've never timed the wait times, but you wait a LONG time. I could get groceries and still be on hold. I could take the dogs to the park and still be on hold. The wait times are so excruciatingly long that some days you experience the next...

"Did you just hang up on me? Nuh-uh you didn't!"
I think they figured out that most people don't want to be on hold for 30 minutes so they started an automatic recording that says something like, "Don't you know the jobless rate is 10%? We are too busy to help you right now so we'd like to do you a big favor by giving you your time back. Now go find a job. GOODBYE (click)." Typically, this message runs on Mondays and Tuesdays.

"You better do what Momma tells you!"
One time I had a long drive so I dialed the unemployment line knowing that I would be on hold for awhile. I was caught off guard when they answered my call before I got to my final destination. In the middle of our conversation, the lady stopped and asked, "You sound like you are in a car. You know you can't drive and talk on your cell phone. It's illegal." I must've said, "Uh huh I know." Then she insisted that I pull off to the side of the road or else she wouldn't continue our conversation. Gee, thanks, Mom. It's none of your beeswax if I choose to defy the law.

As a first timer on unemployment, I never imagined it would be such a battle to get benefits that already have my name on them. I'm sure there will be more adventures, as I apply for Extended Benefits in the next few weeks...yiipppeeeee!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Article Published!


Labor Day special edition...all about the jobless and how they (err, we) cope with life.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2009748301_pacificplabors06.html

Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

labor day?

When you are collecting unemployment stamps, you lose track of Holidays. Especially Holidays where banks, snail mail, the stock market and corporations shut down. For over 10 years of my life, I had EACH and EVERY Holiday marked in my paper calendar, Outlook calendar AND phone calendar. This time last year I had Labor Day on my radar months ahead of time and mapped out a jam packed "things to do" list for the long 3 day weekend. The excitement I felt about getting an extended weekend was equivalent to learning that school was closed due to a snow day.

If it wasn't for the yoga studios having special Labor Day classes, I would've never known. When you are totally unemployed, every day is a Monday, Holiday, TGIF...
Now that I teach five days a week, I'm settling down on a somewhat regular schedule - Sundays and Mondays off. I call it my hairdresser hours. At least the two days are back to back. If I already get this upcoming Monday off, am I supposed to celebrate Labor Day? Anyhoots,

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

Labor Day (from the History Channel)
http://www.history.com/content/laborday/labor-history/labor-day-history

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

hi, i'm the new teacher

It's almost been 2 months since I've been teaching Bikram yoga now. To sum it up, it's been a love/hate relationship. It's definitely harder than it looks. I'm not a huge fan of public speaking, so to stand on a podium in front of a class full of sweaty students for 90 min is tough. On top of that, you spew off dialogue (kind of like a script) for 26 postures, 2 breathing exercises. Add to that the fact that you have to watch the clock to make sure that postures are being held according to the correct time (1 min, 30 sec, 20 sec, 10 sec, etc). AND you have to watch the bodies (especially beginners) to make sure that the postures are being performed correctly. It's an awful lot of multi-tasking, which is my weak spot.

So here are the highlights of my teaching experience so far with students...

The Evil Eye Student
It's 105 in there (sometimes hotter) and you are telling people to do things that are hard. They don't want to do it sometimes and boy, do they let you know! I label these students, "Mr./Ms. Evil Eyes." When they are supposed to be focusing on themselves in the mirror, they throw you a 1/2 second deadly glare that sends chills down your spine. If looks could kill.

The "Ew Gross" Student - 110% of the time, these students are female. They are typically new students and can't fathom the idea of being in a hot room with other sweaty bodies. One "Ew Gross" gal in particular asked me if the sweat from other people's bodies is harmful, as if a drop of sweat that flings her way would burn her skin like silver on a vampire. This Ew Gross student went on to ask if the toxins that had been released from the prior classes in the studio was dangerous for her health. At this point, I looked at her hands, searching for handcuffs since it seemed like she had been dragged into the studio against her will.

Another "Ew Gross" gal made blatent facial expressions to let me know that she didn't enjoy the smell inside the studio. It's hot, humid, sweaty...so what do you expect the room to smell like - fresh cut roses?

The Groaner
We all know some whiners. The Groaner is the student that just can't be silent during a meditative savasana (which translates to "dead body pose" so imagine the posture). Savasana is the most important posture in the entire series. Bikram says it's the most hardest posture too. You just had your butt kicked for the past hour and now is your time to lay on your back, clear your mind and relax your body as still as possible. The Groaner ignores the teacher's request to remain quiet and does such things that dead bodies don't normally do like groan, sigh, move, fart, burp, etc.

The Rebel
Their favorite song is Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It!" They come in all forms. You never know what The Rebel looks like until you get into the hot room. Many times, they are in Child Pose (not even part of the Bikram series) while the rest of the students are in a completely different posture, like Camel. One Rebel asked whether she could do a headstand in place of postures that she couldn't do. Might as well run in place on the mat and pretend you're running a half marathon in the desert. A much better workout than a headstand.

The Anti-Change Student (New category added on 9/6)
These students arrive over 30 min. prior to class in order to reserve their favorite place in the studio. It reminds of when people line up 1 hour ahead of time on SouthWest Airlines to secure their favorite seat. The yoga will teach these types of students to be more flexible and accept change because one day (*gasp*) they may find a mat already in their favorite spot. The practice is the same. Your reflection in the mirror will never change even if you are in the left back corner instead of the right front row. When I sub for another teacher's regular time slot, these students walk through the studio doors, look at me behind the desk and give me "the face." It's a facial expression comprised of 20% surprise, 30% questioning "do i really need the yoga today?" and 50% "ohhhhh great, new teacher teaching." They are used to doing the same routine, according to the same environment. Taking class with a different teacher (nevertheless a NEW teacher) will throw them off. Eeek - they have lost control! Typically, these students will fake a smile and ask me, "Soooo...will you be teaching this class from now on?"

After talking to fellow new teachers, these students aren't shy about expressing it to new teachers either. One student asked the new teacher what qualifications she had to teach the class! (my response would be to keep this person in triangle twice as long - ha!). The practice doesn't change just because there is a different teacher. It is the same 26 postures. I have hope that the yoga will change these students...only if they are open to it.

Of course, not all students fall into the categories above. Most are extremely focused and go to the hot room expecting to get their ass kicked and handed to them. I like these students. Bikram Yoga is all about giving 110% effort in each posture to the best of your body's ability. What you put in is what you get out of it. That's why I love the yoga. Each class is always challenging, both mentally and physically.

Friday, August 14, 2009

mathematical calculations


Tonight, I was teaching my 8:30pm class and after the students did Half Tortoise pose, I shared that according to Bikram 30 seconds in that posture is equivalent to 8hours of relaxation. We do two sets of each posture so while the students were resting, I thought, "Well, 60 seconds of the posture would be equivalent to 16 hours of sleep, right?" Who needs sleep? After watching Conan O' Brien, do one set (30 sec) of Half Tortoise and you are good to go until 8:30AM. Do another set (30 sec) of Half Tortoise and you don't even need to spend $4 on a latte. In fact, you are not due for another until 4:30PM! I value my sleep so I'm not ready to be the guinea pig for this experiment. Feel free to try it - after all, the posture was named "Half Tortoise" because tortoises live hundreds and hundreds of years.

I was on a hot roll with math (usually my weak spot)...so I calculated the number of classes I'd have to teach in order to avoid foreclosure. Here are the results:

63 classes a month,
16 classes a week,
2 classes per day 7 days a week OR
3 classes per day working 5 days a week.

This is assuming I have health insurance but does NOT account for food, grooming expenses, toilet paper, gas, etc. OUCH!!! I have 3 classes each week (soon to be 7 total). I would need to more than double the number of classes I teach each week. Double the classes without funds for food or deodorant. Not a healthy combo.

Knock me upside the head! I need another job. This is a tough reality check. I've been trying to avoid being dragged back to the cubicle, only to be chained up and force fed pringles all day while I stare at a computer in a zombie like trance. Unemployment has been unkind to me and is running out. What's the mega million jackpot at?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lights, camera, ACTION!!!

Well...sort of.

Not quite filming a movie, but I do have some semi-thrilling NEWS to report!

So remember Keri? The blog queen that started a massive pink slip movement? Well, guess who made the front page of The Seattle Times yesterday? Ms. Housepants herself.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009471899_leisure15m.html

I stopped reading the paper when I went away to training so my boyfriend came running into the house shouting, "Hey babe - look who made the cover? Your friend, Keri!" I was so excited!

You see, since I was a little girl, I have always been fascinated with celebrities. Even the ones on the B list. When I was 11, I signed up for a subscription to People magazine. Back then we didn't have Access Hollywood so you had to pay for juicy celebrity gossip. When my first edition of People arrived, my heart was pounding as I snatched it out of the mailbox. It was gonna be a good one, nice and thick, full of hearty gossip! My parents didn't know I had ordered a subscription so I hid the magazine underneath my shirt and quickly snuck back into my room. I would turn each page very slowly - I didn't want the magazine to end! I suppose being consumed by famous people's lives allowed me to escape my own life. To this day, I'm perplexed at how I kept getting magazine after magazine...without paying a dime (um, I had curfew at 3:30pm. How could I possibly make money?)

I'm going to get Keri's autograph because she is blowin' up! She was on KOMO news, countless websites, Seattle Times...pretty soon, I'll be watching her in the hot seat with Larry King.

AND because of Keri's exposure, a writer from The Seattle Times (Pacific Magazine) contacted me and interviewed me for an article on unemployment! It's going to be published on Labor Day - great timing, eh? I never ever ever thought I would get exposure for being jobless in house pants.

I'm a pretty private person so I'm surprised at myself when I get excited about being in the spotlight. I guess I have a secret craving to be in People. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I taught my first class!



In training, they tell you that the "full circle" is completed when you teach your first class. In 9 weeks, we learn each posture individually, one set only (there's two sets to each posture). So we never practice teaching the entire series as if it was a real class. You are also on your own to learn the breathing exercises, 2nd sets, sit ups and transitions. It always puzzled me why we never got to teach a mock class. So that's why I was a bit worried before teaching my first class on Thursday -I was scheduled for the first Thursday after flying back home!

When I re-visited the postures, I felt like I was looking at them for the first time! YIKES This was going to be tough...oh, and did I mention that I was sooooo incredibly exhausted that I snoozed for 20 total hours on Monday?! Hibernating bears don't even sleep that long! Boy did my body feel like a used piece of meat. My body was craving Zzzzz's. So re-studying dialogue was on the bottom of my list!

My studio manager helped me snap back into reality and I knew I had to get my butt in gear. During my practice session, I only made it through 1st part of Awkward (2nd posture). There was no way I was going to be spewing out all 26 postures! I almost chickened out and contacted the studio owner to ask for more days to study...but I decided to just go for it. I went home and studied, recorded myself and crammed as much into my brain as I could.

So there I was, 6:15pm on a Thursday standing outside of the room I was about to teach. There were 24 students! EEEEK! It was in the '80's and I wished that more people would've skipped yoga and played in the sun. I had to do a few breathing exercises and got a pep talk from one of the instructors. She reminded me that it's all about the students and to have the yoga speak through me. I was merely the messenger so there's no need to be nervous. Oh and to imagine that a mini Bikram was standing on my right shoulder, guiding me along in his black spandex bikini. I took a deeeep breath and walked into the classroom. I thought, "Here I go - sink or swim!!"

Overall, it went ok. I got my rights and lefts mixed up and forgot a posture and a second set of a posture...but I made it out alive (or should I say, the students made it out alive!) My first reaction was, "That was HARD!" I found my dialogue during the standing series but lost most of it during the floor series. But you find 'normal' words to get the students in and out of the postures. WHEW - was it a BIG relief to get the first class over with! Thank goodness the students are all so understanding and didn't hang me. I was so relieved that I practiced the 8:30pm class afterwards...the first class since training!

Since then I've taught one more class. This time only 6 students. I find that I still need to work alot on my dialogue and mix it up so that i don't sound like a broken record. But they say it comes with time so I will trust that. I'm still in shock that I've survived two classes!

*Pic of me behind the desk checking in students before class!

Friday, June 26, 2009

97 classes done!



They said that Week 9 would be a "party week." We are finding out that people's definition of "party" varies. Tuesday was another late night showing of Mahabharat - this time we set a new record of staying up til 5:30am! It's odd when birds greet you on your way back to your room for a cat nap before getting up in a few hours. On Wed, we had Craig lecture about teaching your first class. He is a pretty funny and entertaining guy. Bikram followed by going through each of the postures to discuss the benefits and corrections. No movie night on Wed, and we managed to get back to our rooms at 2:30am. Oh, and sleep deprivation was catching up so there were some people that signed in, and left during a lecture break. Bikram was saying that he wasn't going to let them graduate. But last night they announced that they would - imagine the last 2 days of training and you don't get certified!

Last night (Thurs) was our last lecture! In keeping with the spirt of things, it was long. We had another showing of the Mahabharat (everybody groaning). The sleep police were out so we had to sit in our chair "spine straight" position. It was painful. Thankfully, we got out at a decent time (3:00am).

Today is FRIDAY and the last day of training!!! Rajashree taught morning class and I surprisingly had energy to get through it. I enjoy her classes...they are meditative and challenging. Tonight we have a talent show so my bf and I are going to that. :)
He's also taking his very first Bikram class tonight! YAY!

Fav quotes of the week:
"A negative attitude is 9 times more powerful than a positive one." (Bikram)
"There is no such thing as a 'hamstring' - that is like pig. It's supposed to be tricep of the thigh muscle." (Bikram)
"When teaching your first class, close your eyes during Triangle." (Lynn)
(In trying to say "scholarship," Bikram was saying, "collar...collarship.") Everybody laughed and he said, "How do I know? I learn English in Hollywood!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Week 9 and I'm doing fine...



Wow. It's weird to have a weekend where you aren't stressing about dialogue! Last weekend I went out for dinner (see pic), hung out at the Spa Pool, napped, got my hair cut...It was great!

It's week 9 and I am ready to go home! I awoke Monday morning and felt like I had been crushed by a monster truck! I had one of my worst classes, physically speaking. Mostly my knees have given out. Let's just say that I can't do the 2nd part of Awkward and it used to be one of my favorite postures! If I see a $20 on the floor, I'm leavin' it cuz if I crouch down, I won't be able to get back up!!! :)

We have lectures and yoga classes for the rest of the week. More on the postures and corrections and stuff. For some reason, I am nodding off (and getting caught!) during lectures now...it's all catching up on me.

More to report soon....!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Week 8 - Posture Clinics Done!!








Week 8 was all about finishing up posture clinics (26 postures). I delivered the last 6 postures this week! Lots of prep on the weekend and cramming big time! Dinner was a smoothie in one hand and the dialogue book in another...today is Thursday and WOW! It was an amazing experience to be able to deliver Spine Twist. This was a posture that I didn't have time to learn (we were up til 4:30am last night due to a lecture and movie night - Mahabharat). Off of mere 3 hours of sleep (more like a cat nap), I memorized as much as I could. My favorite line is "coccyx to the neck, joints of each and every vertebrae and cartilage supposed to twist like a pearl necklace." It was really great to put everything I had into the last line - "TWIST, AND TWIST, AND TWIST, THE LAST CHANCE - TWIST!!!!" I bellowed it as much as I could. Who cares about going off the top! It was very emotional and lots of tears were flowing around.

We've accomplished sooo much during the past 8 weeks. Now we get to enjoy the yoga classes, lectures, talent show and graduation ceremony!!! The real fun begins when I see how much dialogue my brain has retained and teach a REAL class. YAY!

I'm so excited about my accomplishment that I'm going to celebrate by....going to bed. :)

PICS:
-Pic of Stephan in his yoga outfit. They enforced the posture clinic dress code so Stephan threw off his clothes right before delivering his posture!
-Joseph (staff) trying to distract a girl delivering her dialogue. When you are really good at it, they challenge you!
-More posture clinic pics

Monday, June 15, 2009

Week 7 - I have visitors!!!







I had a case of bad attitude food poisoning spilling over from Week 6 but it all went away when my sister and my studio teachers/owner came to visit!!! I was tired of memorizing, tired from late nights, my body was tired...but it all turned around!

My sis joined us for her first yoga class! Rose (instructor) singled her out as a beginner and helped her through the postures. She did great! Didn't even lay down and did all of the postures. In fact, right after class I went to go look for her and she had already bolted to the gym to work on her biceps! ah - crazy, sis! ;)
She said that she would do another yoga class in the future...but without the heat. What?! The heat is the best part! It was nice to see her for a little bit. Plus she brought homemade choc chip cookies! yummmmbo!

Right when my sis left, Heidi, Linda & Annette arrived! Annette owns the Renton studio where I practice, Heidi manages it and Linda is a teacher that went to the Fall training in Acapulco (2008). Boy are they a bundle of ENERGY!!! I needed a good laugh. They are soooo incredibly supportive. I felt like crying when I saw them. They shared their experiences going through the training and it was comforting to know that everything that I've been going through is normal. It's all part of the "process." I tell ya, therapists could make lots of $ here!

The practice has been good...given my body is very sore and tight. Like Linda, my new favorite scent is tiger balm. Slather that on! Interesting fact...we've done 78 classes so far!!!! That seems nuts. We have 22 more to go. I feel like I should be 98 lbs by now. Uh, not quite. I've been justifying my sweet treats by telling myself that I've done doubles every day so I should have chocolate almonds (my new favorite treat!) I'm sure the lbs will somehow magically melt off when I deflate from all of the electrolytes. ha!

Rajashree came back in week 7! I like her classes because she is meditative but also kicks your butt. She lectured about each of the 26 postures, 2 breathing exercises and the health benefits of each one. It was interesting but I felt like we needed more time. Then we had Dr. Ann Marie, who is quite a character. She talked about chakras. I'm not sure if I believe or know well enough about them. She talked about how she has a pink orb that visits her. She also reads people. At one point, she pointed to a gal and said, "You used to be a monk!" (Hmm..could it be cuz this girl had a shaved head?) One of her main points was that we are all here to be balanced in our energies. The physical body tells alot about people's past and energy flow. For example, if you carry your right shoulder down then it means you had an overbearing father figure. Or if you are a woman and carries junk in yo trunk, then that means you have supressed emotions stuck there. To get rid of the junk, you need to free yourself! She said that men don't have big butts cuz they are free and don't hang on to emotions. Funny stuff, huh?

Well, week 8 bring it on!!!
My bf is coming to visit next week. YIPEEE SKIPPY!!!

There is light at the end of the tunnel!

PICS
Me and sis
Me and Renton studio peeps

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Week 6 (I'm behind)






Hi, there!
It's been awhile. Week 6 was a killer for me, both physically and mentally. We did posture clinics 7 hours a day (usually it's 3 hours a day) in order to catch up on the postures. So we didn't have any lectures and everybody walked around the hotel like zombies reciting dialogue to themselves. Even I joined the party. I'd say dialogue to myself while in the shower, walking from point A to point B, in my sleep...the hotel guests must be entertained with 300 people talking to themselves, not to mention, watching us break out into postures in the hallways (we have to practice with real bodies). One girl in my group was asked by a hotel guest if she was trying to learn English. ha!

We completed 6 postures during week 6. that's alot. I had to cram a posture and be able to deliver it in 1 1/2 hours. More people that were rock stars (meaning they always nailed dialogue) were blanking while in mid presentation. I also blanked and was in tears when I couldn't understand why my brain was not functioning. It went on strike and told me that it wouldn't cooperate unless it got some zzzzz's. I found out that all of this was normal and part of the "process" (ahhh, "Trust the Process"
is hammered into our brains).

Physically, I felt like I was falling apart...left hip tight and makes a rather loud cracking noise, trapezius muscles tight, right leg muscle pulled, hamstrings as tight as a wire, vocal quads that scream at me during class.....yup, my body is feeling it. I just ignore it and push myself as best as I can during class.

In conclusion, week 6 was by far the toughest week I've been through. WHEW boy am I glad I survived! ("I'm in Indian boot camp - get me outta here!!!")

PICS
posture clinic pics (what else)?
catching up on zzz's every minute we can...
me delivering a posture...
socializing during break...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Week 5 - The Wave




The best way to describe going through this experience is like a wave. One day, you are so thankful to be able to practice yoga twice a day...you come to appreciate the lunch for what it is (recycled leftovers)...and you enjoy the uniqueness of everybody here. The next day, you dread getting up in the morning and going to the morning yoga class...you constantly question the purpose of sleep deprivation...and everybody gets on your nerves. It's like a big giant wave at Wild Waves. My boyfriend can certainly back attest...each day he talks to me, I'm a different personality. Luckily, I am not the only one here that is going through the wave.

High's and Low's from Week 5:

HIGH'S
-made a guest appearance on KOMO's website on unemployment and blogging
-got good review on my delivery of Standing Bow from Heather (Vegas studio, used to live in Seattle).
-my sis is going to visit me next week
-Starbucks xhot vanilla soy latte is delightful
-spending 30 min in bed during break
-my bug (cold) ran away
-deep tissue massages are heavenly and painful (pain is good)

LOW's
-starting to feel stiff 'n sore
-got a poo poo review on my delivery of Balancing Stick from Lisa (Texas). I did the dialogue but she wanted me to do jumping jacks while delivering it. REALLY? I didn't know I had to wear my jogging bra to posture clinic. Then she went into the "what did you do for a profession?" and "why do you want to be here?" I'm sorry. Slightly irritated with this question. I didn't fork out 11K to be asked what I was doing there.
-going to bed at 3:30am after sitting through a 4 hour Mahabharat. Oh yeah, there are like 56 volumes and we are on the 3rd one. Subtitled and very poor special effects. PLUS the sleep patrol is full force so if you look like you are dozing off, you will get a kind wake up call.
-brown knuckles. WTF? my knuckles look like they've been rubbed in dirt. No idea why my knuckles decided to get a tan. I guess it could be worse - roomie has had heat rash for weeks now.
-my unemployment benefits were denied so i'm a poor yogini in training. will teach Standing Bow on the streets for $20.
-my scale officially speaks the truth. darn it. i weighed myself at the spa and it is true - lost a whoppin' 1.5 lbs!

We had Jon Burras (www.jonburras.com) speak to us about yoga, energy and health. By far the best guest lecture. I learned so much from him. He critiques the Western view of medicine and healing - which is primarily driven by $ and scientific results. Instead, we should be concerned about taking care of our fascia. It's a connective tissue that holds and balances the human body. Western medicine doesn't acknowledge fascia. Enegery runs through fascia. When you are practicing Bikram yoga, the muscles lengthen and stretch, and the fascia does as well. When you get injured, what do doctors tell you? Rest the injured area and don't move it. That is the opposite of what you should do to heal. You should exercise and move the fascia so that it can heal and not go into "cold storage." Be wary of doctors that want to operate on an injured area. Remember that surgeries are money makers for doctors. During lecture, we heard from students and visiting teachers that have suffered from illnesses (thyroid cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, broken back, broken leg, etc) that have recovered through Bikram yoga. It's really amazing to hear the personal stories of recovery. No surgeries or medication. The yoga is the best prescription.

*My favorite quote of the week*"If you spend your life defending limitations, then you keep them." Jon Burras

Pics - While waiting for Bikram to arrive for lecture, we were bored and someone started the wave. It was hilarious. The room was divided in half and as each wave passed, it got louder and stronger. Sort of how the emotions have been this week - up and down like a giant wave!

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm a celebrity...get me outta here!!!

....not really. i just can't wait to watch the season premiere in june. sanjaya, heidi & spencer and other circus characters? I can already feel the drama brewing...

My friend, Keri at LOL (http://lordsandladiesofleisure.wordpress.com/), referred Amy (KOMO) to me and we chatted over tea and crumpettes. Nah, we spoke for a few on my blog and the general state of the economy. Check it out - here is the article that she wrote! Enjoy, my friends. And thank (yoga) god it's Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.komonews.com/economy/46308687.html

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Week 5 - almost halfway!!!



Ahhhhh....all rested from having Memorial Day off? Hope it was relaxing and you guys ate a ton of bbq food!

Over here, Bikram's reaction to Monday was, "What Holiday?!" Needless to say, we were going full force on Monday. Monday AM yoga is always a little creaky for me but Diane from Boston taught and she's really good. Is it good that we get Sunday off? There are lots of people here that can't wait to take the makeup classes that are on Sundays. Rumor has it that they go to the Palm Springs Bikram studio to practice on Sunday (and pay $10!) That's hard core. Me, on the other hand, am stuffing my pie hole with angel food cake (yup, finished off an entire cake), sour patch straws, 100 grand bars, and chinese food. That's my idea of a day of rest!!!

Monday was the last day that Dr. T taught. He was so sad to leave. He said we are his favorite group ever! His wife is funny...she grabs the mic and sings, tells jokes and stories. Even funnier is that she's always wearing bright green pants and shirts (did she not get the memo?)

I did better on my anatomy test. Just missed 2 questions. No more anatomy tests - yay! Then we had posture clinics in the afternoon. My group is super anxious...anxious to deliver dialogue, that is. You have to claw your way to deliver dialogue. I didn't get to deliver Standing Bow Pulling Pose but oh well...I guess I'll live.

Evening lecture was Bikram talking about the different types of yoga. It was hot again in the lecture room and I struggled to stay awake. They shut off all air from escaping into the room. No air. Dry heat. Sometimes I feel like I should bring a brown paper bag. After Bikram made his 4 important points (in 3 hours), we had MOVIE NIGHT! Now I know what "midnight showing" means. Except this was more like 12:30am showing.

So today is Tuesday and guess who is visiting? Jeremy! He is a familiar face around the Renton studio. He teaches at the Redmond and Seattle studios, and subs at the Renton one (I think). It was nice to see someone from my 'hood. Jeremy is here until Thursday. I recommended he go visit Living Desert to see the cool wildlife there. Here's a pic of me and Jeremy before tonight's yoga class.

*Favorite Bikram Quote of the Day*

(During middle of tonight's yoga class)
"Men need excitement in life. They don't like the same thing all the time. Women need to cook something different, change your face, keep men interested or else it's boring." (Or something to that effect)

PS) Tomorrow is officially the halfway point!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Week 4 - Done and Over With!!!


Wow, I was sure excited when I typed the Title of this blog. Week 4 done, we are almost at the halfway point!!! HOORAY!!! I'm jumping for joy because the sleep deprivation doesn't jive with me. For those that know me, I have two very basic needs in life: 1) SLEEP 2) EAT

After that, I don't need anything else. I've been making up for the first basic need by doing more of the second. I'm sure my roomie loves images of me walking into our room and me grabbing the nearest chocolate type substance and going to town until I'm just left with chocolate remnants on my fingers and mouth. It's a lovely sight.

To continue from my earlier Week 4 blog...remember that Tues was movie night until 4:30am, Wed was movie night til 2:30am and again Thurs night til 2:30am. I really try hard to sleep on the hard floor but somehow I can't get comfortable to sleeping on concrete stone. My joints don't like it very much. You see, when the lights go out and movie starts, bodies hit the floor for some good sleeping space. I manage to get a spot...and then toss and turn, which to me is a waste of floor space. My roomie, however, has no problems and is typically the one snoring up a storm. She has the thick thermarest chair that rolls out into a "bed." I'm jealous. All I have is my hotel pillow and blanket from home. (I told my bf this already) One time, I was shutting my eyes tight hoping to conk out...and when I realized I wasn't hitting REM anytime, I opened my eyes to find a rather large man's butt 2 inches away from my face! AHK!!! Scary mental picture I'm trying to erase from my mind.

Oh, and to make matters better...I came down with a cold on Thursday. I was miserable. I've been popping throat drops like candy. Dr. T recommended a Vit C drink that I've been making that supposedly cures evils like the common cold. It's lemon, ice and blueberries. You remove the yellow part of the lemon, chop up the rest and throw it into a blender w/the rest of the ingredients.

On Friday night, we got let go early from posture clinic at 10pm!!! It was tooo goood to be true. An hour of freedom! yay! During PM Yoga, we had a senior teacher from Texas. She was all about the "YEE HAAW" sit up. At the end of class, she played Bikram's techno hit and said we had to spring off of our mats and dance because it was Friday night. YOGA RAVE! All I have to say is that I wish I had my camera with me.

On that note, I'm off to study for another anatomy test tomorrow and more postures! Until next time...

*Funny Bikram story of the week*
During the middle of class, Bikram looks at a girl that has a tattoo of Chinese characters on her arm. He said, "Why does white girl have chinese character on arm? You like Chinese shit?! Chinese have small balls. I have atom balls! Chinese only good for fixing shoes and laundry!"

(pic of me and Hannah from England before yoga class)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Week 4 - continued

For some reason, they don't offer free therapists here. Wouldn't that be a great idea? Instead, most of the control you normally have is taken away from you so you learn to roll with the punches. It's like someone telling you to ride a roller coaster without a seat belt. The recurring theme here is "Trust the process." So my therapy is to "communicate" (I'm using a nice word) through this blog.

So today is Wed (Sammie's favorite day - Hump Day). When the alarm went off at 7:30AM this morning, I awoke 90% zombie, 10% human. My instinct for Tues night was right...movie night. We weren't released until 4:30AM (um, gotta think, that would be Wed!). Needless to say, morning yoga at 8:30AM was tough. I didn't have a rock star class and was fine with that. I, along, with the rest of the class, were a bunch of yawning half moons. Thank the yoga gods that I finished. After class, I was even more sleepier! Zzzzzz......(I know this blog is putting you to sleep). Ahhh...I love 3 hours of sleep!

We had anatomy class w/Dr. T in the afternoon. For some odd reason, they found out how to turn on the AC and it was a wind tunnel in the lecture room! I even ran up to get my polar fleece jacket. Such an extreme...one day it's 189 degrees and the next it's 52 degrees. Dr. T let us go a half hour early (he felt sorry for us - what a nice guy).

Evening yoga class was taught by Bikram. It's the first time he taught since he's been away for a week. He was in his usual form. Get this - my group had to be on rows 1 & 2! Right in front of Bikram. So, there I was on row 1, staring at myself in the mirror for the first time. The mirror makes you look stubby. Reminds me of a circus mirror. Let's just say that you don't take shortcuts or half ass postures when Bikram is teaching because he will call you out and make you do it by yourself in front of everybody. Today, he yelled out, "I HATE LAZY PEOPLE!" and made us do 3 sets of balancing stick. Wobbily hamstrings 'r us! He only told me to push harder in half moon and left me alone (thank yoga gods once again).

Tonight we have posture clinic at 9:00PM and then a Bikram lecture / possibly movie night at 11:30PM. If we do movie night two nights in a row, I'm going to...oh..i don't know...feeling morbid so will stop here.

On a tangent, Keri (blog friend that inspired me to do this blog) referred me to a gal at KOMO news that was interviewing bloggers. I chatted with her today and she said that my story may be published on the KOMO website. Yay. Fun. I'll send the link if I get famous. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Week 4 (Monday only)





It's almost midnight on Monday and I just got out of posture clinic and settled into my PJ's (ah! PJ's are heavenly!) I thought I would do a quick post since I was on the web.

Today's first anatomy test went well. I think pretty much everybody passed. You'd have to miss like 17 out of 50 questions to fail. I missed 5 so I was happy about that. I'm more concerned about memorizing and delivering the dialogue. Tonight, I delivered Eagle on stage w/the mic (again). That's me in the shorts - not a great angle but my camera woman was sitting on the right side of the room. My critique was understandable. A senior teacher guy said I had a good voice and projection but I should play w/being more commanding since I had the dialogue down already. Honestly, after waiting in line for an hour, I just wanted to spit it out and get off stage! It was late and I was tired. Maybe it was the Monday blues. We had a packed day today....AM yoga was really really really hard! During triangle, I felt like I was going to fall on my face and pass out. I fought so hard to make the stars go away and managed to get through the entire class. It was TOUGH. I heard a big "thump" and a girl close to me had fainted. Another girl was crying. Come to find out that the temp was turned up ten degrees today. I guess it's a Week 4 thing. The PM class was much more bearable (I went early and got a space to the left, not in front of the podium so there was some sort of breeze coming through). Even if it's a hot breeze, I'll take it!

Bikram hasn't made his appearance but I have a gut feeling that tomorrow will be bollywood movie night! So pretty much yoga, anatomy class, yoga, posture clinic and movie night til 3am. CAN'T WAIT!!!! :)

pic 1 - me delivering Eagle (I'm in the shorts)
pic 2 - me doing Eagle after delivering it

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Week 3 - The studying begins...




Bikram was traveling this week so we had anatomy class with Dr. "T." during the afternoons. All I have to say is THANK GOD there is a Starbucks in the hotel lobby. Sitting in a room that feels like 110 degrees (no A/C) with 300 other students is painful. You doze off...your butt cheeks hurt...your back 'hurts like hell' (uh oh starting to use dialogue in normal speak). The caffeine helps a tiny bit to stay awake.

Dr. "T" likes to talk about nutrition and everything that is bad about food. Food additives, growth hormones injected into meat, dairy...by the end, you realize that everything you put in your mouth is toxic! I guess that's why we do two yoga classes a day, huh? Dr. T is a local - he's from Walla Walla. He must be in his 60's or 70's and likes to try out his latest jokes on us. Monday is our first anatomy test so we've been studying up on synovial joints, vertebrae and platelet aggregation!

Aside from anatomy, we've started to move faster in the posture clinics. We are on Eagle now. Clinics are held 9pm-11pm and each person gets up and delivers teaching a posture in front of two groups and sr teachers. You have to memorize the dialogue word for word or else!! So far, I've seen three girls cry in posture clinic. Luckily, I had memorized the first few postures so I didn't have a problem with the dialogue. It is still nerve wrecking. I had to deliver Awkward on a mic in the lecture room in front of everybody. My knees were shaking like jello. Hopefully I'll get more comfortable as I deliver more and more postures. It's weird. I talked to people here and alot of them say that they have jobs in the public eye, but when it comes to delivering the dialogue, they get nervous.

As far as the practice goes...it's going well except for Monday PM class when I felt like I was going to DIE during the floor series. It was hotter than usual and I was in a hot spot. All of my water was gone and I had to mentally keep it together to finish class. Hey! I didn't lay down. Sometimes it feels worse to lay down because then you feel like you're broiling in an oven. Better to move. This week, we've had senior teachers teach the classes - Ren, Val, Mike, Martha. Ren from LA and Martha from MN are the most entertaining teachers (besides Bikram). Ren is a diva and likes to emphasize certain actions like, "Touch it, touch it, touch it! Suck it, suck it, suck it!" Martha is the singing teacher. She is also pregnant so she's probably practicing for her baby. She even sang while teaching one of the postures. It's entertaining...keeps your mind off of the heat. They've got group assignments now so you can't choose where you want to practice in the tent.

Back at home, my boyfriend sent me a care package of extra clothes and a scale (I asked for it). I was curious because 2 classes a day and eating pretty healthy (excluding weekends!) must've shed some lbs, right? Boy, was I wrong!!! I stepped on the scale and was horrified to see that I lost ONE lb! How could that be? I started seeking answers...maybe my body is bloated from all of the water...maybe yoga doesn't burn as many calories as i thought...maybe my scale isn't calibrated cuz it had a rough flight...ahhhh! So, there it is. 1 measly pound. Oh well, I guess I better put my Whatchamacallit bar down.

pic 1 - visiting teachers
pic 2 - Dr T
pic 3 - "studio" where we practice

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Toe Stand (Padangustasana) & Balancing Stick (Tulandandasana)



Week 2 is officially over! The weekdays are so packed and busy that the week goes by fast! I could see how they say, "Before you know it, week 9 will be here."

Doing doubles every day (except Sat where we only do one, and we get Sunday off) has been great! Last Monday, we were up til 3:00am watching an Indian love story. We were let go "early" at midnight on Tues & Wed and we felt like celebrating!!! My roomie and I celebrated by heading straight to bed. On Thurs, we had another movie night until 3:00am. Bodies were sprawled out on the floor. I actually watch all of the movies. Man, they are long...4 hour flicks. My butt hurts soooo much from sitting in the chair for 6 to 9 hours!

On Friday, Bikram made a brief appearance and said goodbye for the week. He's traveling to Portland, Hawaii, Tokyo and somewhere else. If he's gone next week, that means there's no late night movies! yay! Next week we start anatomy and posture clinics. Time to start memorizing! However, I'm going to miss his classes. They are the most entertaining classes ever! One time he said our faces looked sad so he broke out singing an Indian song and flexed his chest muscles to the rhythem.

In yoga, the spaces in the back of the class are the first to be filled up now. Beforehand, I used to be able to get some real estate without any problems. I usually head down a few minutes before class so I get stuck being in the front/middle of the room. I actually don't mind it. Sometimes I can see a sliver of myself in the mirror. Most of the time, I end up staring at some girl's butt. I don't mind being in the front cuz I get more space to do Locust! Nothing runs into me when I'm a 747. :)

I still can't believe that somehow I find the energy to finish two classes a day! The human body has sooo much energy (we get into the scientific data later) and it's 90% mental power and focus to get through the class. The rest is practice and physical strength. So pretty much ANYBODY can do yoga. I don't get it when people say they aren't flexible or can't stand the heat. It's ALL in the power of the mind! Everybody should try Bikram yoga!

Typically when I'm sore, the two postures I fall out of are Toe Stand and Balancing Stick. For those of you not familiar w/the postures, see pics. My mind has ignored my quads and hamstrings crying out in pain. I've done both postures in every class (yay!). Plus, I haven't had a need to lay down or take a break! :)

Pic 1:
Toe Stand (Padangustasana) Benefits

-Creates balance and focus in body and mind
-Strengthens stomach muscles
-Strengthens joints (hips, knees, ankles and toes)
-Helps relieve arthritis in all leg joints including hips

Pic 2:
Balancing stick pose (Tulandandasana) Benefits

-Increases cardiovascular circulation, especially to heart blood vessels
-May help clear blocked arteries
-May help prevent future cardiac problems
-Creates a total spine stretch Relieves stress from spine
-Good for varicose veins
-Builds strength in legs
-Exercises pancreas, spleen, liver, nervous and circulatory system

Thursday, May 7, 2009

PBA (Peanut Butter Addict)





I like peanut butter. But I've never been a PBA (Peanut Butter Addict) until now. The past few weeks have been filled with so much stuff that my sole comfort has been my jar of crunchy Skippys peanut butter. During lunch and dinner breaks (and even at 3am in the morning after a Bollywood night), I grab a plastic knife, my jar of Skippys and go to town. PB tastes great with everything...trail mix, mixed nuts, bread, pretzels. Anything that can be dipped into PB is bound to be delicious! Maybe I am a PBA because it is my way of dealing with all of the emotional and physical stuff that's going on right now with training. Here is a taste of the daily schedule:

AM YOGA
We start the day with a 8:30am yoga class (you have to sign in at 8:00am). Class is 90 min.

LUNCH
Line up to get small portions of grub (I call it 'leftover conference food' from the companies that have meetings here)

LECTURE
We have class in a small, cramped, extra hot room from noon til 4:00pm or so.

BREAK
We get a little bit of time to go up to our rooms and change for the evening class.

PM YOGA
Bikram teaches the 5:00pm class so you better be sure that you are putting in 110% bengal tiger strength into your postures or else he will make you do it in front of the entire class! (savasana is laying on your wet towel listening to bikram's greatest hits)

DINNER
We get about an hour to grab something quick to eat. Let's just say that I can't remember the last time I had cereal for dinner.

MORE LECTURES
We meet once again at 9:00pm and listen to Bikram's lecture. He likes to talk so who knows what time we call it quits for the day. On average, we get done around midnight. On a "lucky" day, we watch a Bollywood Indian flick until 3:30am in the morning (I pretty much want to commit murder when the alarm goes off at 7am the next day).

(Get up and do it all again the next day!)

So that pretty much explains why I seek comfort in my Skippys. I'll have to write them a letter giving them kudos for getting me through the first two weeks of Indian boot camp.

Enjoy the pics!
pic 1 - bikram checking out his new whip (SLK 550). he took it around the block and it made me miss my car (my super cool black infiniti G37!).
pic 2 - bikram in his comfy chair critiquing half moon
pic 3 - walking to your room after yoga class. ah, what bliss!
pic 4 - lecture room. it's 105 today and it gets to be 120 in there!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Week One Dump



You know how a week flies by but it feels like Monday was one month ago when it was really a few days ago? That's how Week One went.

It is Friday night and I finally have my internet squared away with help from my roomie. I guess we don't have lectures on Friday nights. Here are the highlights from this week:

Monday - First 8:30am yoga class taught by Rajashree (Bikram's wife). The "studio" is a tent that they've pumped hot air into. I think it fits close to 500 people. There are 320 students and we don't have to sit or sweat on each other, which is nice. Check out the pic (it's a lot bigger and more filled than it looks). It was neat to practice w/hundreds of people. In the beginning, I was irked because I couldn't even see my eyeball in the mirror. But now I like practicing w/o a mirror because it allows you to be more in tune with your body. The heat was good. Not too hot. In fact, there were lots of breezes. Rajashree teaches with a meditative like style. It's nice and different. We didn't have evening class.

Tuesday - Started dialogue for half moon, which is where each student recites the dialogue and teaches students in front of Bikram and all of us. I went to stand in line but they cut it off at a certain number for the day. It's really interesting to see and meet people from all over the world! There are people that travelled all the way from Russia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Phillipines, Australia, England, etc. Bikram is very well traveled so when a student introduces him/herself, he will usually have a story about his travels there. It reminds me of my dad when he does the whole, "Back in 1967..." and goes on and on. All afternoon and evening we did half moon pose. I was ready to shoot myself after hearing it 100 times (or it could've been because it was midnight by the time class ended!). The AM yoga class was taught by Rajashree and evening class taught by Bikram. I wish I could snap a pic (but am afraid he'll single me out and call me names) but it's funny because he teaches in a black spandex bikini and ties his hair up samurai style (I learned that he's part Japanese! He'll break out in Japanese songs). Bikram is an amazing instructor. He pushes you. I thought my quads were going to pop off in standing head to knee because he has us hold it for what feels like 2 minutes! Man, is he entertaining too! I've never laughed so much in a yoga class. He will pick on people if they aren't doing the postures correctly. I can't recite examples on this blog but yeah...it's pretty hilarious. Oh, and the heat was good. Not too hot...yet.

Wednesday - Morning yoga is great coffee. There's a starbucks in the lobby but I've only gone there once (vs daily). I enter the tent half asleep and leave bright and awake!

After yoga and a lunch break, the afternoon lecture was a continuation of half moon. I didn't have a chance in line. You pretty much line up first come, first served. Typically you wait 2-3 hours sitting on the floor if you get to go up. Again, I wanted to shoot myself after hearing the dialog over and over and over and over (imagine listening to what will be 320 students reciting the dialogue. it takes hours and hours and hours. my butt is screaming at me for sitting for so long.

Evening yoga was great! I think my favorite part of training so far is the practice. I typically will do a double maybe once every two weeks. Not every day. I'm surprised I have the mental and physical energy to go through 3 hours of class.

Bikram had an interesting lecture in the evening. He touched on mind, body, spirit connection and talked about history (he's a huge history buff) and the human anatomy. He gets off into so many tangents, he forgets where he started from. He also forgets whether we do one or two sets for a posture when he's distracted by the students. This one time, someone picked their nose right in the middle of awkward pose and he went off about how you shouldn't be picking anything while you're in a posture. He demonstrated by scraching his you-know-what while in the posture. It was hilarious. I guess you just have to be there. So.....after evening lecture, we started a Bollywood flick at 11:30pm! I don't know the title of it but it was one of the cheesiest movies I've ever seen. It was an Indian love story. I'll have to rent it one day and have a chick flick night! That was a late night, as I got to bed around 3am.

Thursday - Needless to say, morning yoga was a blur. I was asleep for 110% of it. But I still did all of the postures and was surprised at how my body cooperated (I promised to feed it a good meal later).

For the afternoon lecture, I finally mustered up the guts to stand in line for two hours to do half moon! WOW. I never thought I'd be that nervous. In the lecture room, there is a stage so there are four students that do the half moon pose while you teach them on stage. Bikram is below watching you. As I was waiting in line for my turn, I was so nervous that my entire tee was soaked w/sweat! It's so cute to be pitting in front of hundreds of people. Thank god I remembered to put on deodorant. On stage, I could feel sweat dripping down my face and my knees were shaking. I threw all of that nervous energy into the dialogue and finished without forgetting a word. All those hours practicing with Heidi, Grant and Linda really paid off! It was weird. It was like I was saying it on auto pilot. When I finished, Bikram asked me where I was from again. He asked a few questions about the studio and didn't have any corrections. Whew! I wanted to celebrate after that was done!!! I celebrated during the evening yoga class. :)

Evening lecture was a continuation from the previous night. Then it was Day two of late night Indian movies!!! Bodies were all over the floor. I couldn't find any real estate to throw mine on so I squirmed around in the room chairs. The movie didn't end until wee hours (3 ish?) so I groggily threw out my contacts and threw myself into bed.

Friday - After 8 hrs of sleep (total) for the past two days, I'm beginning to know what this Indian boot camp is all about...morning class was tough but I got through it. Afternoon lecture was...guess? More half moon! This time I occupied myself w/my journal, pics, etc. It helped make the hours go by faster. Evening yoga practice was....HOT. Tonight was the first time the heat really kicked in. I saw bodies laying down, people saying they were dizzy, some got escorted out to release their lunch. Even Bikram said he was sweating from doing nothing and asked doors to be opened. Afterwards, while in savasana, we got to listen to his latest techno song (yep, he sings too). He told us we'd love it so much that we'd spring off of our wet towels like live shrimp and start dancing (or something like that). He is a hilarious man. There was no lectures tonight so I spent my time going grocery shopping and getting the internet thing squared away. Yipee! Gotta hit the sack for Sat yoga class at 8am! Thanks for tuning in!!! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Orientation


Day 1 was spent a few hours at the pool...visiting the Starbucks in the hotel lobby multiple times...attending orientation (I learned there are 320 people) and meeting my roomie! My roomie is from San Diego. She's cool. She brought a bunch of food so we grazed all night long. Here is a pic of the Chilean flamingos in front of the hotel (Marriott). The flamingos get their pink coloring from their diet of algae and small animals that feed on the algae such as shrimp, mollusks, and insect larvae. When I first saw them, I asked the taxi driver, "Are those real?" I've only seen flamingos at the zoo.

Getting into my room was an ordeal today. Imagine 320 people trying to check into their rooms. Orientation was good. We heard from senior teachers and Rajashree. She advised us to live in the present moment and not anticipate anything. Bikram wasn't there but his daughter said a few words on stage. Bikram will be here tomorrow.

Internet rates are crazy (a mandatory $500 deposit which you don't get back). I'm going to try and use my roomie's wireless. Hopefully all works well in cyberspace!

Tomorrow's morning yoga was cancelled so we just have one class - yipee!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Leaving for Training...


Farewell! I'm flying out 7am tomorrow morning for Training!

It only took me about 8 hours to pack. Not bad. :)

I am exhausted (didn't know packing was a sport) so I will make this short and write more once I get to Palm Springs.

Farewell...and I leave you with a pic from me and Grant's going away party held by the Renton Yoga Studio!

Ta ta! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Final Countdown...


Only 4 days left until Spring Training!!!

How does time fly by so fast?

Do I have everything for the next 9 weeks before taking off?

6 yoga outfits. Check.
Non-green yoga mat. Check (thanks to Heidi!).
Vitamins. Check.
Dried foods to graze on. Check.
Lecture chair. Check.
Journal. Check (thanks to Linda!).
Non-yoga books. Check.
Yoga books. Check.
Beach towel. Check.
Brita. Check.
Snack bag. Check.
Lotsa water bottles. Check.
Pot/steamer/boiler. Check.
French press. Check.
Blender. Check.
Plates/utensils. Check.
Summer clothes. Check.
Blankie. Check.
Woolite. Check.
Sunscreen. Check.
Digital recorder. Check.
Washer/Dryer. I wish.

Next step. How do I pack an entire dorm room into a bag?

I have a 'let's shoot for the stars' goal of bringing one gigantic, dinosaur bag. One that's big enough to fit me in (and I eat a lot). I've never been an efficient packer because you never know when you need this and that. So naturally, I googled "How to Pack."

Skipping the "Get a Six Pack" Homepage (who needs that anyways), I learned that packing requires "strategic" skills and is an "art and science." Sounds pretty serious. As I read about this new science, there are some positive light packing points such as flexibility (less stuff = greater mobility), reduced costs (airline), security (less likely to lose your stuff) and serenity (less stuff = less worry). Above all, my favorite point is...

"Ecology: All of the above are concerned with short-term benefits to you. But travelling light also yields long-term benefits to the planet. Less stuff to manufacture. Less use of vehicles and other machinery to move things (including you) around. Less fuel needed for the vehicles that do move you. Less greenhouse gas production. Less damage to our celestial home. Greater likelihood of upcoming generations being around to do some travelling of their own." www.onebag.com

I never thought that my packing of today could positively or negatively impact my future kids' ability to travel. I have been so selfish all along, only thinking about MY own packing concerns, not my kids and kids' kids and kids' kids' kids.

Now I feel so much more ...enlightened. PACK ON!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

She-Ra


One of my favorite cartoons when I was little was He-Man and his sidekick, She-Ra, Princess of Power. She-Ra could kick some ass! She had bulging muscles that any boy would envy. When I complete training, my goal is to become Wen-Ra.

Not really.

But I sure felt like it when I was at Super Supplements walking around with an entire basket full of electrolyte pills, cytomax powder, vanilla protein powder, potassium/vitamin c fizzy powder, female multi-vitamins, protein bars and tea tree oil (can't remember why this jumped into my basket...don't think it's edible). I usually go to this store to get foo foo things like organic peach hand lotion. There I was, little weak me peering up at gigantic tubs of models showing off their bronzed rock hard chests. It was enough to make a pre-pubescent boy blush. When I was checking out, I felt the need to blurt out to the 18 year old cashier, "I'm really not trying to get buff. I'm just going to yoga training!"

All of these supplements are mandatory if I want to survive the double yoga classes each day. I'd hate to faint and be carried out of class. Those days of being carried out (umm...from bars) were back in my 20's and should remain that way. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Training is in 13 days!

I can't believe how many times I've asked, "What day is it?" Just call me grandma. Nowadays, every day is a Tuesday. As I walk down memory road, I remember how much I used to look forward to the weekends - it was the only motivator to get me through the weekday. Now, the weekends are like...well...Tuesdays.

Since I haven't looked at a calendar for a good month now, I decided to look at the calendar on my computer. WOW! It's almost halfway through April! I counted the number of days until Spring Training. 13 days!! I had to re-count to make sure I didn't add or delete a few days.

13 days until I embark on an "intensive" (that's the actual description used) teacher training for 9 weeks! Welcome to boot camp. Let's see how much mental and physical discipline and strength you have. We will make or break you!Murrrmppphhhhaaaaa!!! (evil laugh)

We start bright and early at 8:30am and go until around midnight. That's 5 days a week. On Sat, we have a morning yoga class. Sunday is a day off. Guess where I'm headed (to study, of course)? The POOL! According to weather.com, the average temp in Palm Springs in April is:

Hi 90°F
Lo 59°F

(This is when you can tell me that you hate me). Don't worry, I'll send pictures of the sun (if you remember what it looks like).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wendypedia

Today's profound thought of the day: How many acronyms can the average human brain remember?

Does anybody know? I think mine holds about 11 max. Now, I'm not talking about the acronyms that actually make sense and are widely used in the texting world (BTW, TTFN, OMG). I'm talking about the acronyms that I am making up in order to retain word for word dialogue for 26 yoga postures. BUT the tricky thing is that for some of the postures, one posture is actually comprised of 3 parts! So it's really 198 postures when counting all of the parts. OK, I'm exagerating but my brain has communicated to me that unless I purchase additional GB's of memory from Best Buy asap, it is going on strike.

I don't blame my brain (we have a love/hate relationship). Sometimes my brain is sharp as a tack and can recall the exact outfit (including jewelry & hair) that I wore on my first date with my boyfriend over two years ago. When my brain and I are on the same wave length (or cell length), we co-exist in harmony, giving each other HIGH 5's when we recall details about location, hair styles, and conversations from 8 years ago. Like any relationship, sometimes we don't get along. There are stormy, gloomy, rainy days like today where my brain is protesting, "ENOUGH!".

So back to the acronyms...here's an example of what my brain is refusing to store.

LPMIAC

LPMIAC stands for the first word of each line in the Backward Bending posture (there's more to it...but I spare you the details).

L = Lower
P = Push
M = Maximum
I = Inhale
A = Arms
C = Come

Instead of my brain looking at "L" and saying, "AH HA! That means LOWER! DUH!" it is responding with "Look!" or "Little!" or "Last!"....(you get the picture). Pretty much EVERY word that begins with an "L" in the entire dialogue except the correct word. Instead of doing what it's supposed to do, my brain is in la la land, making up definitions for the acronyms. According to WENDYPEDIA...

LPMIAC (pronounced "LIP-ME-AHK"): "To agressively smack one's lips together in an attempt to create an attractive noise that entices a member of the opposite sex that is twice one's age."

Used in a sentence: "An engaged Paris Hilton sparked fierce rumours when she was caught on cellphone video Lpmiacing George Clooney at the Whiskey Bar in Hollywood."

We can also use LPMIAC as a noun, adjective,.....oh the possibilities. I will stop and take this as a hint that I should drop the studying and watch a nice movie.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lazy "Summer" Days...


Seattlites must have done some good deeds lately. We were rewarded with two full back to back days of 70 degree sunshine! When I watched Jeff Renner's weekly forecast (because when you are jobless, you have time to chart weather patterns) I was like, "NO WAY! It just snowed LAST WEEK!" Boy was I wrong. Now I know that weather guys (and gals) don't get paid to lie.

As I emerged from my winter cave with pale, ghostly skin and dark under eye circles, thoughts of summer preparation raced through my mind: "Gotta hit the tanning bed!" "Bring out the summer gear and donate the sweaters!" "Break out the BBQ!"

Sammie, my Maltan (not to be confused with Martian, although fitting since by relation he also resides on Planet Jobless) had one thought in mind: "MUST find best sun spot and lay in it all day!" Thus, the photo. Now, that's what you call "Dog days of summer!" I wanted to join Sammie but he wouldn't make room for me. I'm so jealous that he got a strong dose of Vitamin C, not to mention a stunning tan. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be a dog sometimes...

The two days of sun were great, huh? My body was not used to receiving warmth naturally from the sun. Typically, my warmth is generated from a ginormous heater at the yoga studio. To my surprise, going for a short walk outside produced beads of sweat on my forehead. For a sec, I almost broke out in a toe stand. :D

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Voted Off the Island!

Oh, why do the days go by so fast when one is "in between jobs?" Could it be because I wake up in time for the second meal of the day instead of the first? Or is it because my days are occupied with activities that 9 to 5 workers can't normally engage in when they are chained to their desks, like...getting free samples from Costco during the middle of the afternoon (say, 2:00pm) without having to wait in gigantic lines...or going to the dog park and having acres and acres of land to ourselves, as if we rented it out for a private party (dogs only, please). I look around and think, "Am I the only person on planet jobless?" I surely am not, given the state's 8.4% unemployment rate. How did I ever become the girl in the plastic bubble (which btw, is my favorite flick w/Jake G.)?

For one, it could be because I was the only one in the office whose position was eliminated due to a restructure, despite over 8 years of slaving away in a cubicle. The votes were in...I was to be casted off the island. There was only one small problem with this scene - I wasn't prepared. I didn't get a chance to pack! So I found myself on a second hand row boat with no shoes, clothes or food. Just me, my paddles and my vacation check.

On planet jobless, I found myself enjoying the serenity of freedom (what does this word mean?). Getting a good night's sleep...watching the Ellen show (live!)...greeting the UPS guy...making french toast for lunch...this freedom thing is awesome! BUT as quick as I typed the last sentence...a poisonous snake named "Anxiety" slithers its way around my neck and I realize that I HAVE NO JOB! yikes. Holy S! I better get on it! Hurry! All the good jobs will be taken! Start looking cuz everybody is saying (as they shake their heads) "Good luck, it's a tough market out there!" I get online and apply for jobs left and right. All of a sudden, in my head, I can be an expert in watches, a creative travel writer, a PR director...sure, I can do it! No experience? No problem! You can learn how to do anything by going online now. Like googling, "How to become a successful VP with morals for a Fortune 500 firm." Someone must've written cliff notes. Every day, I diligently check my phone and email for a fresh and exciting email that says, "You are what we have been looking for all along! We would LOVE to meet you ASAP!" Unfortunately, that hasn't happened.

OK, now what? The days are whizzing by (why? see beginning of blog) and I feel more and more unwanted by corporate america or any company that is actually hiring bodies. I decide to hold off on applying for the physicist position and do some soul searching. This is where you decide whether you want to make a hobby into an actual profession, which is frightening because for most people, there is a reason why a hobby is a hobby in the first place - something along the lines of, "Don't quit your day job!" To make a long story short (not that you have been reading a blog that goes forever), I've taken a huge, huge plunge and enrolled in a 9 week training session to become a certified Bikram yoga instructor. Holy S! Like an exercise you would do in middle school, I weighed the pro's and con's very closely...

PRO'S:
*it would be 1,000 times more fun to be a yoga instructor than it would be glued to a chair in a cubicle eating pringles all day.
*i would actually have a skill that is more exciting than Excel.
*i could teach anywhere in the world.
*i would have a good excuse to go to lululemon (that's for you, Jen!).
*can you say, palm springs?!
*...and the best pro....i would be learning about something that i actually love and be able to teach the practice to others.

CON'S:
*the cost (pretty much my right arm...but that's what credit cards are for, right? ha!).
*time away from my boys (human and canines)
*it's too hard! (3 hrs of yoga practice, 7 or so hrs of clinics/lectures 6 days a week!)

So, as you can see, the pro's outweigh the con's. (Right now, I'd like to give a shout out to my man, whom convinced me that I should do it and "it won't kill me"). I actually checked and nobody has died going through this training, just some minor stuff like barfing during practice, fainting, gaining/losing weight, and severe skin rashes.

I will be writing about my preparation for the training on April 26th. Even better, I'll do my best to keep you abreast about my action packed adventures from the Springs (like what I'll be eating, etc).

Now I have a compass to guide me and my row boat to our next destination. Chips Ahoy! :)

Until next time,

-jobless in seattle (get it? like the tom hanks flick!)