Friday, November 25, 2011

What I have learned from training so far...

Every teacher I spoke to before training said nothing will prepare you for training. Now I understand how hard it is to describe the experience. You really just need to go to understand it. Even my notebooks would make no sense to anyone reading them who hasn’t been through the course. (even though they aren’t allowed to read them….copyright issues again!)

Now I do understand why my mentor pushed me to not quit the 60 day challenge when I was so broken down, tired and strung out. It made Training feel like a breeze in comparison. Clever lady. I had nothing to worry about but yoga & dialogue. No housework, husband, animals, driving or full time work to deal with.

I’m sure it will take a lot longer than a few days to absorb what I’ve just been through. Even now though I can see a change in me. In the airport I was super chilled out. I wasn’t worried about being seated at the gate hours & hours early. Lining up to board I stepped aside and helped usher a family with small children ahead of me as they’d miss their early call to board. Patience & understanding at work.

I had chance to do my Karma Yoga on my way home too. I got a great seat on the plane at the back, aisle seat, baggage space, next to a pleasant, chatty person. Just before take off the Stewardess approached me and asked if I minded moving. A fellow female passenger had requested that she be seated by another lady. So they picked me. Hmmm did I look normal?? Of course I agreed, giving up my good seat to help someone else is a good thing to do. I know some women are uncomfortable sitting by a strange man for 17 hours, especially on a night flight. Turned out the man didn’t want to switch so I stayed put. (I ended up talking about the Mahabharata with my seat mate, who would have thunk it I’ve learned a new conversation topic, maybe with Indians only though!)

Learning not to judge is a new skill I’ve required. You never know what’s going on with someone so don’t start getting on their case without knowing the details. You may never know the details so tread carefully. Don’t poke the crazy! There is a fine line though in class between being lazy and genuinely struggling. Once I get to know my future regular students I’ve been told you can gauge this. If someone always rests their hands of their head between half moon and backbend or can never keep their arms out for the whole of awkward it’s time to ask why. A recurring pattern of bad habits may well be an injury or just the dreaded laziness. The latter will require gentle handling to encourage them they can keep their arms in place! Another skill, don’t be a bitch. A firm hand and encouragement go a long way rather than yelling and criticising.

Being sympathetic to others needs is one I’m still working on. I'm usually quick to be down on people who are down. I see it as a waste of energy/opportunity. I am learning not to be up in people’s faces all the time when I think they need cheering up. Give others their space when needed and stay out of drama that doesn’t concern me.

Finally saving a little energy for myself. In order to serve others better I must learn not to go around dishing out 100% energy in everything I do or I’ll crash. Then I won’t be any use to anyone. Not everything we do has to be totally selfless. Keep 10% back for me.

This is just the beginning I'm sure we will never stop learning and discovering from this. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Home Sweet Home

There is no place like home. The 8 hour layover wasn’t so bad. Dubai airport is HUGE. I had many dollars in cash left so did a little shopping, eating and found some friendly Aussies near the gate to share a coffee and a giggle with. It also gave me time to write.

I arrived back in my house about 7pm Tuesday night WA time. It wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be. I noticed straight away the cobwebs hadn’t been swept from the rafters but the rest of the house sparkled!

Retiring to bed (my bed, my pillow!) at 10pm after falling asleep watching show jumping I fully expected to be wide awake a few hours later. But no, I actually slept through till 5am when the sun and the roosters woke me. So nice to hear nature noises instead of doors slamming and planes. No jet lag? Maybe my body really does only need 6/7 hours sleep now.

I hadn’t planned on taking class today but I was up, unpacked and ready for it. It was three days since my last class, good time to rest & recover. I had a great class. I had planned on taking it easy but there was no need. It was like magic being back in my home studio. Everything felt loose, stretchy and pain free. It was like a total transformation compared to last week when I could barely move. Training really is life changing in a lot of ways. It was like having to take a step back in order to go forward. My practice was crappy and up and down through out training but a few days off worked wonders. I kicked out for SH2K both sets and held it the whole time. I even got my forehead on my knee. It felt effortless. Not everything was super, my balance was well wonky. I blame gravity for this, I need to acclimatize to the Southern Hemisphere again!!! Haha!

Note to the 30 day challenges. One week to go and you may be feeling like you’re set in cement. Honestly just you wait, it may be a few days or a few weeks but a transformation/shift/change has happened. Trust me, you will be stronger in many ways.

It was also great taking class when I wanted to, just for fun, not because I was required to. Still had to sign in though ;-)

Two more days to study now till my mock class. It’s been great reading my fellow graduates posts today. So many of them have taught their first class before I’d even landed, some have even taught more. We are teachers.
I’m very happy to have a few days to decompress & integrate back into the real world. Friends couldn’t wait to come over to say hi and we ended up throwing a impromptu bbq last night. (sadly jet lag did catch up with me & I ended up not eating any of it!)

If anyone has any questions I have a shiny new blog email address. See ‘About Me’ section on the left. Once I have digested this experience I will be writing some posts that may be helpful for future trainees. Especially as it’ll be based at the LAX Radisson again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Photos to finish with

The Hot Yoga Girl taking a 'Peep' inside my Peep Show jacket!

Demo team busting out their Standing Bow's!

Boss arrives at the Graduation dance party

Group 7 study pals!

Champagne super nova with the Brit pack

Likes & Dislikes

What I liked about my stay State Side:

Meeting a wide variety of people from different countries (26 to be precise), backgrounds, cultures and religions all brought together by yoga.

The food. I don’t think I had a bad meal out. I did eat a lot of the same food because it was so good. Most meals I took home left overs, bonus, in a proper box that doesn’t say ‘not for human consumption’ on it like in Australia when you ask for a doggy bag. Red velvet cupcakes, cheesecake & Cold Stone Creamery mmmmm. The best meal was our Team Australia meal. My organic Wagu burger was divine.

Trader Joes and Whole Foods. Kitsch graphics, organic fresh produce and interesting pre packed snacks. A good range of fare trade clothes and Toms shoes too. I will miss the hot food buffet and cakes at Whole Foods.

The OTT festive spirit. The decorations for Halloween were on par with Christmas, awesome! As soon as Halloween was done, Christmas trimmings went up.

Of course the shopping. I didn’t do much but what I did I liked a lot. Big stores, friendly staff and lots of choice. Some bargains to be had but it wasn’t as cheap as I thought it would be.

Las Vegas. Nuff said!

What I won’t miss about the States:

The money. Yuck so dirty and smelly. I miss my Aussie waterproof dollars, gawd knows what germs are festering on those green backs. The coins were tricky to understand too.

Calling the god damn toilet a ‘potty’. WTF how old are you 2?! I know there is that whole embarrassment thing going on but I was more embarrassed when a 30 something said they ‘needed to use the potty’. Anything…loo, bog, shitter, restroom, toilet but not a freaking potty unless you are currently a three year old being toilet trained.

Taxes. Why not just had it on from the start? I’d pick something up and then when it came to check out it costs more! Don’t get me started on tax in nicer restaurants, add $10+ to your meal.

I’ll get booed for this but tipping. I know, I know, minimum wage is rubbish so service people rely on tips. I tipped everyone without hesitation but some days I felt I was dolling out dollars like lollies. Having to make sure I had small bills on me at all times gave me extra to think about. It took me a good few weeks to figure out the etiquette surrounding tipping. I faux pared at the day spa, I didn’t give the therapist the money directly. It was a fancy place so I thought they’d add it to the bill or have envelopes at the desk like the hair salons do. My hotel maid was awesome, so cheery. I tipped her every weekend and left her a big tip at the end. She never minded if I needed her to come back to clean and always gave us eight fresh towels twice a week. 

Driving on the right. I never drove, I didn’t need to but I was also to scared too. LA roads are mental, never mind being on the wrong side. It would have been nice to have hired a car and got out but it was way too complicated.

I won’t miss getting to bed after midnight. I have a feeling that it will take me a long while to readjust back to WA time zone and my usual 8:30pm bedtime! Even on Friday I couldn’t get to sleep till nearly 1am & I we have the night off.


I am your yoga instructor. Still sounds a little surreal. I received my certificate on Saturday night along side 398 fellow students, class of Fall 2011. The ceremony was, as expected, long. We sat in our posture clinic groups which made the long wait more bearable. I never want to sit in a brown/black/white bone hard chair again. Myself and the Brit pack ladies toasted our success with champagne & pizza in a dorm style celebration in Lucy T’s room afterward. We passed on standing in the long line for the Indian buffet that had been sat warming for hours as everything was running late. (as usual!!!) Dancing followed as the Ballroom was transformed into the party room complete with disco ball. Bikram dropped by to bust some moves till 4:30am word had it. I shared a few hours grooving with the man who invented Disco!! I retired at 1am, tired, a little tipsy and exceptionally grateful to have had this experience.

The final week at training was fun. The last class on Friday night was exhausting. The energy was all over the place. We decided to keep up tradition & all drink Coke at Party Time. I kept mine in my ice tower and boy did it taste good. But I regretted it 30 seconds later in SH2K. Coke & practice does not mix for me but somehow I drank the lot. It was mayhem afterward, sweaty hugs all round.

We lucked out on late nights. Our training definitely broke the norm. We had 7 out of the 9 Friday nights off as well as the Halloween pizza party. Only one night we were kept till 4:30am. I know they say it every year but they did say we were the best class ever. This maybe true as Boss went easy on us as far as late nights/movies were concerned. We were praised for leaving both the yoga room and lecture hall litter free. I know this sounds very high school but apparently the Spring mob weren’t so clean. We did lose points for the constant use of smart phones during lectures (myself excluded as I don’t have one!) & chatting like naughty cows on the left side of the room.

I carried on working on my dialogue with my gals despite posture clinic being done. We will never stop studying the dialogue. I have six days now to get it tight (solid, concrete, one piece!). It was a good excuse to get out of my room too.

Oh the room. I still have no clue what happened there. One minute I thought I had a friend for life with my roomie, the next, around week 5/6, she dropped me like a hot rock and went sour. When she was there she barely spoke unless I forced it & had ear-phones in most of the time. Even after questioning to see if I could rectify the situation I still was no wiser to what I’d done. I seriously considered getting a single but changed my mind & stuck it out. Instead I went to Vegas, money better spent!! She practically moved out the room anyway as she teamed up with someone who had a private room.

I can understand we had polar opposite experiences of training. Read her blog. This may well have built a wall. At the end of the day I probably wouldn’t have been friends with her in the outside world, apart from yoga, we had very little in common. Our energy clashed. I am a typical social butterfly & love making lots interesting new friends, I give everyone a fair go, (good old Aussie way) my Christmas card list is testament to that! I some how manage to find the good in a bad situation, whilst others muse in doom & gloom. Like attracts like after all. Just to note probably about 80% of people had roomie/hotel issues at some point. One girl went through three room mates. So mine wasn’t an isolated case by far means. 

This I feel was my challenge. I had a cruisey time at TT so I needed something to mix it up. Don’t get me wrong I worked darn hard in class & posture clinics. It did help that I knew nearly all the dialogue before I arrived. Dealing with being ignored, excluded and living in an atmosphere was my challenge. I can draw from this and I know somewhere along the line I will be able to use what I have learned from it. It’s funny because in week one someone told me that the person you room with at training you will never speak to again after. I laughed this off as I 100% thought I’d got a good one (there I go again finding the positive!). Things change so much on this crazy course.

On the upside I found my true friends. Friends which I know I will see again because the geography is right!! They even gave me the sweetest bon voyage card which really tugged a cord. I still didn’t cry. I don’t need to, I have finally accepted that. I didn’t have a major breakdown of any kind. It wasn’t necessary. I know a lot of other people didn’t either & a heck of a lot who did. 

Hanging out by myself was also a nice escape. I was nervous of being alone in LA at first. However you’re never too far away from other yogi’s especially on a Sunday at Manhattan Beach. I even turned down numerous invites on the last Saturday morning as I really wanted to have one last breakfast at Uncle Bills Pancake House before having my hair done for graduation. I’ve never felt more comfortable sitting up at the counter by myself enjoying French toast, crispy bacon and scrambled eggs. 

So that’s all folks. I did it! My goal was to stay in the room for every class. Apart from the medical emergency nose bleed where I left (but went back in once it stopped!), I stayed in. There were three classes I should have left, got some air and came back in to do something rather than lay there flapping like a fish out of water doing nothing. I think my ego kept me in there….double edge sword. I didn’t throw up, came close a few times. I signed in every time so no Team Saturday make up class. I kept my head down, went under the radar to the point of obscurity with the staff and generally stayed out of trouble/drama. 

I have 5 hours waiting in Dubai airport so I may well write some more. Thanks to everyone who has followed along, I appreciate the comments and the well wishes. Hopefully I’ll find time to keep writing & let you all know how my next new journey unfolds back in Australia.

Monday, November 21, 2011

We did it!

Hi I'm Kat & I'm your yoga instructor

Group 7 we all did it, with two special awards to boot!

Team BYJ!
There we have it, I graduated from Bikram's Yoga College of India, 20th November 2011. Who would have thunk it 12 months ago I would be standing here a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor. I was only just completing my first 30 day challenge after 4.5 months of practicing. Dreams can come true....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

photos of week 9!!!

before the last class with our cokes ready!

my super bendy friends!


team Australia dinner!!

We did it!! Sam & I after the last class!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Photo, photo!

Vegas Vixens

Sin city bright lights

Group 7 you rock!

Week 7 & 8

One week to go here at BYTT Fall 2011. It's nearly over. Apologies to my one reader for not posting last week (Hi H, hahaha!) I skipped town & went to Las Vegas. Posture clinics wrapped up so I took advantage of the fact I wouldn't be chained to studying to go visit with my friend Liz for some R & R, tea & sympathy, shopping & a show. After an hours conversation on Sunday night I woke up and just knew I had to go. 

It was great. The desert is a very powerful place to be. I left a lot of things in the crator and came back refreshed and ready. I got to see my idol Holly Madison live in her awesome burlesque extravaganza 'Peep Show.' I shopped till I dropped and had some much needed 'me' time. It may seem weird going from one artificial bubble to the next but it worked out easier to jump on a plane to Nevada than try and get around LA by oneself. I needed to get out of here. Don't get me wrong I have loved my experience here, the yoga, even all the lectures haven't been as grueling as I thought it would. The only thing that I have let get me down are the people. 

I don't want to go into details but it has saddened me that friends I thought I'd have for life I am now doubting. It might just be my raw emotional state but I  the past two weeks have left me feeling like a 'tag along' only being asked out because of obligation or actually not being asked at all now. No drama. We're all adults here. It has made me go out and find people on my level. With nearly 400 of us I shouldn't be restricting myself to the same people, so many people to know, so little time. Only yesterday I met another Aussie girl who I didn't know existed. These are the people I feel I need to bond with for future connections, after all there is a great chance we can help each other out with classes/couches when we get back down under.We have team Australia dinner tonight so we'll get the chance!!

Dialogue has not stopped. My posture chicks and I have worked hard this week stringing together 4-5 postures. One set both sides. It throws you. Especially when you're faced with a 20 second savasana and your mind goes blank as to what is next!!! I can't wait to get back to teach. I feel ready to give it a go, I need to start the next phase of teaching, teaching, teaching. 

Our studio director Miss Jo dropped by last week and brought BYSB's director with her. So great to see them. We had a team Perth dinner and caught up on the gossip. Apparently the 'parallel universe' of training and the weird and wonderful things that go on happen every training. You have to be here to understand. 

Body wise I have got progressively stiffer and more sore as the weeks have gone on. Sitting down crossed legged is near impossible. I even thought the plane seat last week felt like bliss compared to the lecture room chairs. How sad is that.

I will definitely miss my posture group #7. We had an awesome night out on Saturday and shared hilarious stories of each of our different experiences. I know I have friends for life from this group. We also have three of our group in the demo team for graduation!!!! Go Neda, Liz & JJ. (Also Aussie Kaz!) 

I'm off, my last Sunday and I'm spending it with my Brit pack gang down Venice beach. This time next week I'll have my certificate in my hand and be packing my bags to get the hell out of here and back to The Man. I'm allowing myself now to miss him and I need to get back to the farm & out of the city asap!