Sunday, October 17, 2010

End of Week 4

Ok, so I haven't exactly been posting daily!  Here's an update after 4 weeks.

This Teacher Training class of graduates is going to be absolutely amazing.  When we're done, there will be 380 new Bikram Yoga teachers all over the world - with each teacher trained to a great job.

All four weeks so far have been spent with us taking the standard Bikram Yoga Beginner's yoga class twice a day Monday through Friday - once at 8:30 am and again at 5 pm. The class is held in a hot room - about 105 degrees, lasts 90 minutes, and consists of 26 yoga postures that anyone can do.  It might sound tough, but really, it's just "stretching in a warm room" :). 

Some of the classes have been taught by Bikram Choudhury himself.   Some by his wife Rajashree.  Bikram is a three time All-India Yoga champion.  Rajashree is a five time All-India Yoga champion.  Other classes are taught by amazing, experienced Bikram teachers who live anywhere in the world and come to Teacher Training to help train the new teachers.

The rest of the days Mon-Friday we have classroom time in the afternoon from 12:30 to 4.  And again class time/lecture time from 9 pm until at least 11, sometimes 3 am (more on that later). 

Usually from 12:30 to 4 pm we break up into groups of about 40 people.  We go one posture (again, there are 26 postures) at a time, with each of us teacher trainnees taking a turn reciting the dialogue (script) written by Bikram himself that we will use to teach each of the 26 postures.  While one of us recites the dialogue, three of us are demonstrating the posture.  And, there are experienced teachers here on staff who critique the presentation, help us improve, take notes, etc.  So, we will all go through all 26 postures, one at a time, practicing delivering the dialogue, in front of about 40 people.  So, by the time we are done we should have the dialogue memorized and have the experience delivering, ready to teach our first class. 

Now, about the night time lectures.  Bikram is a UNIQUE dude.  You really should check out the bio on his website - here.   He moved to Hollywood in the 1970s.  He has had so many famous actors and other celebrities as his yoga students, there is no way I could list them all - Kareem Abdul Jabaar, Michael jackson, Martin Sheen, Demi Moore, Richard Nixon, etc. etc.  He loves movies, and especially Bollywood movies.  If you don't know, Bollywood is the name for the India movies business. 

So.... Bikram likes to have us watch the movies with him.  We have a big tent that fits all 400 of us sitting on decently cushioned chairs.  Several times already we have started movies around 11 pm or midnight and they end around 2 am or 3 am.  Then we have to get up for our 8:30 am class.  Here's one of the better ones so far if you want to check out a Bollywood movie - Jodhaa Akbar.  Prepare yourself - it's 3 hours and 32 minutes long and it is not in English - you will be reading subtitles for over 3 hours.

We get the weekends almost entirely off.  We have a Bikram Yoga class 8 am Saturday and then the rest of the weekend free.  We basically spend that resting, recovering, and memorizing the dialogue.

That's it for this post.  Anyone who reads it - thanks for paying attention.  Post a comment if you want to hear more about the movies, the classes themselves, the yoga, Bikram, anything.  Let me know what interests you and I'll try to post about it .... more frequently than once every 4 weeks!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Day

It's Monday morning.  Yesterday was our check-in, orientation, reception party, etc.  There are about 400 trainees - the largest Bikram Teacher Training ever. 

This venue (Town and Country) seems perfect for us.  It is a sprawling resort with 3 pools, several restaurants.  Most of us are in an 8 story building with a pool in front.  Bikram set up a heated tent very close to our building for us to take our classes in.  Also another tent next to it for us to hold meetings for all 400 of us. 
One of the pools at Town and Country.

Bikram's wife Rajashree led the orientation.  She spoke eloquently and was very inspiring. 

There are people here from all over the world and everyone is so into this yoga.  We are all on the same mission - to survive this 9 weeks! :).  Some of the people I met yesterday, who are all so interesting - Josh, Ritz and others from Melbourne, Donna from Honolulu, Daniel from London (very funny, but then again, with the British accent how can he not be), Chuck and Alex from Vancouver, Fergus (sp?) from Ireland, Jeanne and Raf who practice in Manhattan. 

Before checking in at Town and Country I took a class yesterday morning at Bikram San Diego.  Wow - what a great studio - and very hot.  Any yogi who visits San Diego should check it out.  It is owned by Jim and Emma Kallett.  They opened the studio in 1998 after attending one of the early teacher trainings.  They don't call the room where you do the yoga a "studio", it is a "classroom".  And the fees paid to take classes are always called tuition.  All that emphasizes that this yoga is not about "getting a work-out".  It is so much more.  It is really all about learning - a study on a path toward self-realization.

More updates after we make it through our first class later today with Bikram.      

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Many Attendees at Teacher Training

Rumor is there will be about 350 trainies/recruits/crazies (take your pick) attending the Teacher Training.  A few dedicated souls set up a facebook page for all of us to share our thoughts, ideas, plans as we get ready for training.  Here's the link:

Monday, September 13, 2010

My first time leading a class through a posture

One of the hardest things about Teacher Training is learning the dialogue.  Bikram Yoga classes are 90 minutes long and the instructor speaks to the class throughout the 90 minutes, delivering a 90 minutes dialogue.  Every Bikram Yoga class consists of the same 26 postures done in the same order each class.  Some people might think that it would get boring to so the "same" class over and over again.  Not so.  In fact, doing the same 26 postures every class is a thing of beauty.  It allows the yogi to meditate.  It allows one to feel a sense of accomplishment each and every class because you can feel yourself make improvements each class.  And, it gives the student a feeling of calm going into each class knowing that the instructor has been trained by Bikram himself and that the instructor will be delivering the "Bikram dialogue" they learned in order to be able to lead a class. 

This morning I was a student in the 9:30 am class at my home studio in Yorktown Heights.  The owner and instructors have been so supportive leading up to my going off to Teacher Training - it has been wonderful.  They are giving me confidence.  In the class this morning I switched places with the instructor, Delores, for one of the postures (Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Pose) and I led the posture for the class.  It is so different to be up on the pedestal leading the class.  I was inspired by how attentive all the yogis were and by how hard working they were.  Even though I was nervous and it was all I could do just to speak the dialogue correctly, afterwards I felt a sense of gratitude towards all the other yogis in the class for us to have that time together. 

Four more days and then I am off to San Diego Friday.  I'll take classes between now and then; pack up; tighten up loose ends here in Yorktown Heights, and then it's off to Teacher Training.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

17 Days To Teacher Training

Rich Pike here.  I am about to embark on an insane trip - Bikram Teacher Training.  I am going to post on this blog to keep people up to date on how things are going and also in order to vent.  There's that whole theory pushed by all the psychologists that it's better to express your emotions than keep them bottled up - and from what I've heard I'll be experiencing a lot of emotions throughout the nine week teacher training. 

The official start date is Sept 19.  I fly to San Diego on the 17th.  I am going to stay a couple of days with my fabulous, generous in-laws.  Tracy thank you for "voluntering" to take to get my supplies of Power Shakes, Fruit Cups, etc!

I'm busy now getting mentally prepared for the training as well as starting to learn the dialogue.  It is *very* difficult to memorize every single word of a ninety minute dialogue.  But I am committed to memorizing it - basically because I am frightened to death of public speaking so I figure if I have the dialogue memorized that will somehow help get me through the first classes I lead.

I'll post some as we get closer to training and I'll post a lot from training.  TTYL.