Week Four

So, so sore 

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Week Five 

October 15

 (Our class: SEPARATE LEG STRETCHING)

So apparently, when my WEEK THREE email hit your mailboxes last week, my beloved friend Frances yelled to her husband, John, ‘How many %#@$ weeks are there??”
 
Thanks, Frances.
 
I guess I will try to make this short. If it isn’t, sorry, Frances.
 
Last week, I said that physically, I was sore. This week, I am even sorer, but what would sum up week four best for me is I AM SO TIRED. The people coordinating the training have been remarkably adept at alerting us to just how we will be feeling; they’ve been through it enough to know in general what will happen to us mentally and physically. We were warned that weeks four and five might be the toughest, as this is when our bodies will really be breaking down and starting to change. All I know is that Mon thru Wed I was just exhausted. Tuesday especially it was a struggle just to get through anything, particularly the actual classes. While during the first three weeks, I felt really alive and fired up in the twice a day classes, even when they were brutal; this week, at least until Thursday, the classes were really tough for me to survive.
 
During every 90 minute Bikram class, the first 50 minutes are the standing postures. You are on your feet the entire time. Then, for the last 40 minutes, you do the floor postures. Between each floor posture, you lie on your back in Savasana, ‘Dead Body Pose’, where you just lie there, completely still, for about 20-25 seconds, getting rest and letting your body absorb the benefits of what you have just done.  Often this week, I actually would fall asleep during those quick seconds, I was so tired, each time waking up when I heard the clap that meant ‘Sit up’ for the next posture. Thursday and Friday were better for me; my muscles seemed to get a bit looser (my ham strings have never felt so tight as they did this week) and I found I had more energy. Still, I have slept much more this weekend, trying to catch up. I am not expecting it to be any different this week. I just hope it doesn’t get much worse. I was also quite grumpy a few times this week. You definitely have these moments where you get all grumpy and want to bark at everyone and you sit and wonder just what the hell you are doing taking this training. At those times I just sit there and be quiet and try to let it pass. Usually, all I have to do is look around the room at this group of such remarkable people and it will perk me up. They continue to be such an inspiration.
 
One thing I should note, as it has caused a slight bit of confusion:  we use the word ‘Bikram’ in a number of very distinct ways. One refers, of course, to the man himself: ‘Bikram lectured us last night’ or ‘Bikram just drove up.’ Another usage refers to the yoga in general: ‘I practice Bikram.’ And also it can refer to a specific class: ‘I went to Bikram last night’ or ‘We do two Bikrams a day during the training.’ I’ll try to word things so the usage is clear!
 
We did not see Bikram himself much during weeks two and three, as he was traveling quite a bit. He returned Monday afternoon, however, and was back full force. He taught us the 5 o’clock class three times this week. He is well known for his tough classes, but I really enjoy them. He pushes us and at times can be a bit abusive to folks, but the occasional mean comments generally don’t seem to hold much weight and he is quite funny and engaging in class. I tend to push myself fairly hard in his classes, which I like, as I am still wrestling with my lack of mental discipline problem. (Adam has come to believe during training that mental discipline is the true key to getting through a Bikram class.)  So it was nice to have him back…until Friday night!
 
We have heard many times over about his infamous lectures that can go on until all hours of the night. I guess I did not want to believe it. Friday was a good day for all of us: Rajashree (RAH-jas-ree), his lovely and remarkable wife taught us the 9:00 class in the morning, we had an excellent lecture in the afternoon by another remarkable woman, Anne Marie Bennstrom, and then we had a great class with Bikram himself at 5:00. Everyone was happy it was Friday, people seemed energized, and the day had been a nice break from Posture Clinic, which really kicked into high gear this week as Anatomy is over and Monday through Thursday anytime we were not practicing Bikram, we were doing posture clinic, afternoon and night. Friday night we knew Bikram was going to do his first real lecture to us. I was looking forward to it, as it was on the origin of yoga and the specific types of yoga. We’ve heard him talk a lot before, anytime he has a chance, he loves to talk. And the first week, as we introduced ourselves and taught our first posture, he was there the whole time and told many, many stories about his life and views of life and experiences around the world, as well as with the movie stars with whom he has worked. (He loves being in Beverly Hills and teaching celebs.) Well, the lecture began at 8:30 and finally ended just before 1 AM. I thought I was going to die. And we apparently were lucky, as he has been known to go until 2 or 3. We have a number of these lectures coming up and I am really going to have to get a better attitude to make it through. It is just part of the experience.

There is always the sight of him to perk you up, however. The picture above is Bikram lecturing us on Friday night:

 

 That is actually one of his more subdued getups. He is a trip. And I do like him, torturous lectures or not.

As I said, there truly are some incredible people in this training. It’s very humbling and inspiring to be around them. I thought at times I could give you very brief looks at some of them. For instance, there is Lam, one of the most beautiful women you will ever meet, she is a doctor from Florida who did very well in her practice but has retired to focus on Bikram. Her plan is to train as a teacher, open her own studio, and then, as she has come to so believe in the health benefits, she wants to use her studio to do some intense medical studies on the health effects. She particularly wants to get a group of women with Lupus and do a study of how Bikram can affect their cancer. She is one of many people who have changed their original course in life to try to spread the health benefits of Bikram. Another person is Ken, a cyclist (apparently very highly ranked in the nation) and also a chiropractor. He is about the nicest guy you have ever met, also very funny, and is very giving of his time. Given he is a chiropractor, and very smart and talented, many people have gone to him for help and advice. Often times, at lunch or dinner or at breaks, when all of us are eating and trying to get some rest, you will find Ken talking to someone about their malady or see him adjusting someone. He has adjusted my ankle three times, which has been a huge help to me. He has been quite selfless during the training, as have many people in the group.
 
One funny thing that happened this week: one of the guys I know from my own Bikram studio who is also going to the training, Denny, great guy, had two friends come by on Thursday night to go to dinner. The Bikram Yoga Center on La Cienega is a huge warehouse looking building that has offices, locker rooms, a clothing store, and two rooms where people practice Bikram, a small room where they currently have classes for the public and then the enormous room where we do all our training (the large room is used by the public when teacher training is not occurring.) He led them in the front door, into the lobby, to show them around. Past the lobby is a long hallway which divides the large room from the woman’s locker room. They took one step into the hallway and turned and fled outside, because of the smell. We don’t notice it, as we are always in it. But we all started to laugh, realizing just how awful it must actually be. They refused to step back into the building.
 
We pass the halfway mark on Wednesday. It’s weird even now to realize it will be over before I know it. As sore and tired as I am, I continue to be glad I am doing this. It is easily the hardest thing I have ever done…and hope it will remain the hardest things I ever do! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything and I will certainly miss these people when we all spread back all over the world to try to use what we are learning.
 
Thanks as always for the support. Please, everyone, keep me posted about your lives as well.
 
 
Tom

Week Five 

tomprovost@khartoumfilms.com
 
Here are a few more natural recipes/ideas we have learned:
 
HOMEMADE NATURAL MOISTERIZER (and acne free) ‘CREAM’
 
Natural Honey (not crystallized)
Avocado Oil
Sea Salt
Water
 
Get 4 small dishes. Put the honey in one, the Avocado Oil in one, the water in one and the salt in one.
 
Put your fingers in the honey (they taught us it was the best natural moisterizer available) and rub it into your skin (circling to the center and then up)
 
The do the same with the avocado oil
 
Wet your fingers with the water, then dip them in the salt. Sandpaper your skin with the salt.
 
When you feel you have given your skin a good scrub, (the honey should come off while the Avocado oil will go into your skin, a good thing) splash with cold water and pat dry.
 
HOMEMADE/NATURAL FACIAL MASQUE
 
Buy plain quick cooking oatmeal.
Blend it into a fine powder.
Mix Natural Honey (not crystallized) and plain yogurt (no sugar) with the oatmeal and make a paste that is still a bit liquid but will stay on your face. Rub it on and leave it until it is almost dry but not quite. Then gently wash it off.
 

Week Five 

tomprovost@khartoumfilms.com