Tom's Bikram Teacher Training
Week Eight: The End of Dialogue As We Know It
Week Nine: Almost Over
Graduation: And More (12/26)
Greetings and welcome to my Bikram Teacher Training Journal. For those who might randomly find this journal, my name is Tom Provost. I am originally from Texas, born and raised. I went to college at the University of Texas at Austin, where I was a Plan II Major, with concentrations in English and Film. In 1987, upon graduation (I am currently 41), I moved from Texas to Los Angeles, where I have lived since that time.
I work in the film business: you can check out my production company at http://www.khartoumfilms.com
I first went to Bikram Yoga in the Spring of 2002. I was looking for some kind of challenging workout, as I am more than a bit of a slug and in general get bored, say, doing the stairmaster or jogging. I read about Bikram in an outdoor magazine I was reading on a plane, and it sounded intriguing and tough. I went to the World Headquarters on La Cienega for my very first class, a bit nervous, as I had never done Yoga of any kind and had no idea what to expect. My idea of Yoga was a bunch of weird hippies sitting in a room with incense burning and chanting with their eyes closed. Little did I know. As say most people who go to Bikram, the first class just about killed me.
When I arrived at the studio, I made a mistake and accidentally entered through the side door, into the actual yoga room, rather than through the front lobby. Though I did not realize it at the time, a class had just ended. I entered and the door slammed shut behind me. The first thing that hit me was the heat. Damn, it was hot. Incredibly hot. Surely they couldn't be serious? Then immediately afterward came the smell. It was even worse than the heat. It was like being trapped inside a rank gym locker. My eyes adjusted to the darkness and I could see all these bodies lying on the floor. They looked dead, laid out on their backs no one was moving or making a sound. What the??? I stood at the door for about 5 minutes, with my hand on the door handle, thinking, ‘No one knows you are here. No one even knew you were coming. You don’t have to stay. Just leave. No big deal.’
Somehow I sucked up the backbone to stay and I took the next class. I kind of laughed my way through the first class, actually, seeing the postures that all these crazy people were doing. ‘Yeah, right,’ I kept thinking as I watched Eagle or Standing Bow or Camel. ‘If I do yoga for ten years I will never be able to do that.’ And when the class was over and I was lying ‘dead’ in Savasana in the dark, I thought, ‘I’m going to have to call a friend to come pick me up. I don’t even think I can make it to the car, much less drive home.’ Yet in about 15 minutes I was full of incredible energy and verve. I couldn’t believe the way it felt. So I went back. And was killed all over again. And here I am, 4 years later, in the teacher training. Go figure. I guess to a degree that sums up Bikram Yoga. No matter how much it kills you, it is addictive. The health benefits alone are amazing, not to mention the mental and physical challenges that await on a daily basis. 6 months after starting the yoga, for instance, my cholesterol had dropped 80 points, I’d lost 15 pounds and the severe and very painful arthritis in my hands had disappeared. Because it has given me so much, I want to teach to try to ‘give back’ as much as I can and help more and more people discover the wonders and benefits of Bikram.
In the meantime, namaste.