Yoga Begins


Week One  

September 17


The Teacher Training begins in a few days. I am nervous as hell, possibly more than I have ever been nervous in my life. I am not even sure why. Perhaps because I know it is going to kick my ass. I played football in Jr High and High School and I remember those hellish 'Two-A-Days' we had in August in Texas, before school began, in 95 degree heat and 95% humidity. It was awful. I suspect this might be even more difficult. We'll see. I also suspect I am nervous because I feel so not like a yogi -- sometimes I feel silly for deciding to do this. Who am I kidding? At the same time, though, I am excited; I love Bikram Yoga passionately and can't wait to find out more about it, its origins and all the added information we will receive about the postures in general.

Something great has already occurred. Given I live in LA, and have a guest room, I contacted the wonderful Shelley, who coordinates the potential teachers, and told her if someone was looking for a place to stay, I had a room. She hooked me up with Adam Croce, a 24 year old from Rhode Island who placed 25th in the National Yoga Championship last February, is the lead singer in a hiphop band, is 6' 4" and yet weighs about half what I do. He is a great guy, erudite, solid, grounded, knows a ton about a lot of stuff including all kinds of music (we've been playing all kinds of music back and forth). He's more mature than I am in some interesting ways and we are having a great time. I've been feeling kind of cool and not so old, given this kid is enjoying hanging out, we've been laughing a lot and just really getting along. It's been terrific. It is going to be a huge help to me to have someone around, to be accountable in the mornings in terms of getting out of bed, someone with whom to study dialogue, someone who can drive home some nights if I am beat to death.

Of course, for a 41 year old, there can be an occasional drawback to living with a 24 year old. We have been swapping info and stories back and forth, of course. And in the car today we ended up talking about dogs we'd had, so I told him just a bit about Gardner, my pound dog of 16 years who died about a year and a half ago. Tonight, in the kitchen, he was looking at all the pictures on the fridge and asking me about them. He looked at this one picture and then he said, 'So what kind of dog did you have?' And I said, 'Oh he was a mutt,' getting up and moving to the fridge where he was looking at the picture of Gardner and me from Telluride oh so many years ago (about ten years ago).

'Yeah, that's him,' I said, pointing to the picture at which Adam was looking.

Long beat.

'That's you?' he said, in a rather surprised voice.

Sometimes I don't sleep nights. 

Here is said picture, by the way (I think I may need to take it down now)


You can check out Adam's Bikram Training blog here:


We start in full tomorrow, but today, Sunday, we had an orientation. 
Orientation was good, it was pretty cool to see 300 + people in the big yoga room, which from the first time I saw it in 2002 I dubbed in my mind 'the airplane hanger, it's so huge. It is a little heady to realize all 300 + of us will be in that room tomorrow starting at 115 degrees, finishing 90 minutes later at God knows what temp. (Adam, by the way, is extremely fired up that of the 300+ people there are 250 women.) Over 90% of the 300 seem to be from outside LA. Which makes me realize that when this experience gets brutally tough for me, all I will have to do is think of most of these people, who have been grouped 5 strangers per two-bedroom apartment at Oakwood on Barham. I, on the other hand, will get to come home to my own bed every night, and will also have the chance on weekends to connect with friends, if there is time. That alone is going to make this easier for me than them. It's hard to imagine diving into this in a strange city away from my family and friends, sans automobile, dependant on van drivers to shuttle me to and from the Yoga College.

As some friends are aware, I fell down the stairs last weekend - you know, typical life with Tom - and when I hit the floor, I thought my ankle was broken. I lay there thinking through the pain, 'Please, God, no, please, no.' It took a few minutes through the pain to realize it was just incredibly sprained. I went to the doctor, who said it was severe. He was not particularly keen on my doing the training. But there is no way I am going to miss at this point. The ankle is still purple and swollen, but I did Yoga twice this weekend for the first time since I fell and though there are things I cannot do, it seems to be doing all right. I just look a bit gimp-ish in the large brace I am going to have to wear for the next few weeks. So much for looking like a stud in class.

I will do my best to keep in touch and post once a week. If you are up for praying, do pray that both Adam and I stay healthy, that as hard as it gets we maintain a good perspective and have a good time, and that we keep our respective reasons for doing this forefront in our minds when it does get tough. I think the hardest part of it is actually going to be less the twice a day 90 minute yoga classes and more the sitting around we have to do each day. This first week, each of the 300 people has to get up and intro themselves, and then each of the 300 has to teach the first posture in front of all the other 300 and Bikram himself. People apparently freeze or start to cry, etc, so just those two things are probably going to fill up this first week. As I said, the sitting around will be most difficult for someone as fidgety as I am.

Thanks for the prayers and the encouragement of the last few months. I promise not to become a health nazi -- give up coffee, red wine and martinis?? I think not -- but I do think this yoga is about as good a thing as one can do for the body and physical health, and I'd love to get to a place where I can teach it.

Week One