Friday, June 15, 2007

Almost over.

When I was 19 and in college ( a period of my life defined primarily by total narcissism and frequently employed eye-rolls) my mother returned to the career she’d given up years earlier to raise children. When I was 19 my mother became a flight attendant.
She was in her late forties. This decision required her to return to “flight attendant school” and live in a dormitory for six weeks while learning airport codes and plane configurations.
Were I a better child (a better person, for that matter) I would have been excited for her.
I was, instead, appalled. It struck me as about as lame a thing as a person could do…I was knee deep in university and hell bent on notions of coolness and success…air hostess did not, in any way, fit into my idea of who I wanted to be or who I wanted to be related to.
Additionally, I did not welcome situations where-in I was forced to regard my mother as an actual human being…someone with abilities and dreams beyond that which pertained to her role as my primary care giver. (Again, I was not such a nice kid back then…not the delightful ray of sunshine I am today…shut up…stop laughing…I am so.)

You can imagine the utter lack of sympathy and garden variety disgust that I met her voicemails with…I’d come home from school (and my pretentious ideas about life and myself) and be met with messages from my mom about her suspicions that her roommate was using her perfume…about how she was taking all the younger girls to the mall over the weekend…about how her new friend Kathy, from Maryland, had failed her CPR test and would be required to do a make up. She was giddy, my mom, liberated by a future of hard labor, moderate pay, and uniforms.
I didn’t understand at all. Had she called and announced she was going to be a tattoo artist, a philosopher, a poet, a lawyer…well, that would have been different…those are all either cool things or well paid things. Things worthy of doing…society will back me up on that.

(okay, in my defense, I have to add that when I told my parents I was coming here and doing this it was received with the monosyllabic, confused question…”why?” Not even “what” as if they hadn’t understood…but “why” as in “we totally understood what you said and still don’t get it….” They later fleshed out a heftier, more introspective question: “you’ll make HOW much?”)

Returning to my story:
The real kicker was when my dad called and informed me that I’d be required to come home for her “graduation”. Yes, graduation. From flight attendant school. For which we would be required to “dress up”.

When I arrived back in Texas for the big event, I behaved with characteristic disinterest.
My entire family ( I am from one of those clans that gather for everything) shuttled off to a conference room at DFW airport for the big event. As we sat there in folding chairs I did my best not to laugh. The soon-to-be-attendants were lined up in the back of the room waiting to individually approach the small staged area in front and have their wings pinned on their new uniforms. I was holding it together fairly well until they blasted the Bette Midler song “Wind Beneath My Wings” through the speakers. A new level of ridiculous had been summited and I feared I would urinate on myself. With that, I began violently clenching my jaw to keep the impending gales of utter mockery and laughter from escaping me.

As they worked their way up to the last names beginning with the letter “V”, my mother slowly approached the entrance.
She walked up the center aisle and stood in front of us to have her tiny silver wings attached to her lapel. She stood there unfamiliar to me. Unfamiliar because she was teeming with the pride of accomplishment…a success unrelated to anyone else, a success unrelated to anything other than the thing itself. However large, however small. And, suddenly, it didn’t matter anymore what classification of accomplishment it was. It didn’t matter what it paid or what you had to wear doing it… Suddenly, I was clenching my jaw not to hold in a terrific need to laugh, but to hold in an avalanche of emotion.

There’s just something about accomplishment that gets me every time...something about the courage that must preceed accomplishment…must pave the way for it. Probably it moves me because I admire it, because I fear I have a deficit of it. I’ve been alive for 34 evolutions of the planet around the sun and, if you ask me, I have employed painfully little courage in that time. I let all kinds of things pass me by. I have closets full of aspirations and dreams that sit, stagnate, waiting for action, waiting for bravery…waiting for a guarantee that I’ll succeed rather than fail…a guarantee that rejection isn’t right around that mysterious unknown corner. Maybe everyone feels this way in moments. I don't know.

Anyhow, I recount that queer event from my queer life because, at that time, I was certain of nothing save the fact that I would never be my mom. I’d never find myself in a dorm, with a roommate, as a grown woman, learning airport codes, with the promise of practically no money.

I am in a hotel, with a roommate, as a grown woman, learning dialogue, with the promise of practically no money.

I was home last year for Christmas and I opened this drawer in my mother’s dresser.
It was jam packed and overflowing with letters passengers had written to her company about the great job she had done. Seriously, there were hundreds.
And its not like she single handedly saved someone’s life or helped them secure a million dollar deal…she probably procured their beverage of choice…made sure they got their pre-ordered kosher meal…she just did the job she was put upon to do really well and with a genuine interest in the person she was doing it for.
My mom will probably never do hatha yoga. It would mess up her hair. But hatha yoga is only a small part of yoga. Its just the physical part. The deeper practice, raja yoga, is the mental practice…the fulfillment of one’s duty. It is contributing to the collective human experience with one’s singular devotion and talent.
And when it comes to raja yoga…my mother is a master. I might have to get her some speedos and a head set.

So, today will be a big celebration of accomplishment.
I don’t mean to be overly simplistic. There are any number of question-marks in our student body. Not all of us will be great yoga teachers. Some will suck. Some won’t even really try (some haven’t really tried here). Some will be okay at it.
And some will be fantastic. Fantastic.
Right now, its anyone’s guess which group any of us will fall into. I suppose, ultimately, its whichever of those things we, ourselves, decide to be.

I feel pretty sure that some of these kids will be my mom.
The hard part of anything isn’t doing it…the hard part is doing it with a modicum of heart and modesty.
The hard part is doing it again when you didn’t do it so well the first time.
And it is statistically improbable that any of us will do it well the first time......

Anyhoo, enough with the sappy soliloquy …we have a graduation ceremony today. An actual graduation ceremony.
From yoga college. And we are required to dress up. Rumor has it that some of the cute yogis have actually been out shopping for formal wear for this event. Like fancy gowns and such. I’m laughing and loving it already.
And while I have grown and matured since my college days…I didn’t have a lobotomy…I’m still me. I will still—mark my words—be cataloging corny jokes and slight observations in my head about the entire blessed ceremony! I’m pretty damn sure it will be ripe with comedy. How could it not be? And lest I sound unmoved by the experience...please know that 'funny' (in the thesarus of my life) is a synonym for 'beautiful'.

All week, as we slowly gathered for our remaining evening lectures, they've been showing old tapes of Bikram when he first arrived in the States..first began to introduce this 26 asana series to the Western world.
In each talk show clip or dated news story...he is stunningly himself...exactly as he is today...the mannerisms, the impetuosness, the brashness, the enthusiasm, the perfectionism.
It is almost surreal. Spellbinding.

And its really lovely, these small windows into the beginnings of this yoga that we all love and want to's easy to forget that it predated our introduction to it. It is impossible to view these clips without feeling the gravity...the feat of what one person managed to do in the span of only a few decades.
Thousands upon thousands of people do this cultures for whom yoga is a relatively new concept.
Thousands upon thousands of people are made happy by it.

One of the videos is of an old show called "That's Incredible!!". It was a program that featured daring physical acts and shocking physical abilities...a youthful Bikram was on an episode having someone ride a motorcycle over his chest, unharmed...they would always end the program by having the audience, in unison, shout, "THAT'S INCREDIBLE!"

And I agree.
It's incredible.

Monday, June 11, 2007

No she di'int

We finished posture clinics two days ago. On the one hand, I’m ecstatic…I’m relieved to finally be done with all the memorization and recitation. On the other hand, I’m petrified. That’s it? I can teach a class now? Oh, I don’t think so….clearly there’s been a terrible mistake…let’s go back and start again…from page one.

The way things are formatted here, we learn the postures (one by one) and deliver the dialogue in front of fifty classmates and a team of judges/jurists (the visiting teachers and studio owners).
Meaning we only recite each posture once. One time. One shot. One round of feedback. And were that not terrifying enough…we only do first side, first set. So, it is conceivable that I might possibly be capable of getting students through, say, half moon pose on the right side…but the left side is a mystery to me, an enigma…as is the second, condensed set.
I imagine the kids in my first class walking out of the studio doors approximately 42 minutes before class is supposed to end—and visibly unbalanced—because their moron of a teacher only led them through 26 poses on the right side of their bodies…
It could happen. It is not a stretch.
Students might incur astronomic massage and acupuncture bills after taking just one class with me…
I might be the best thing that ever happened to the chiropractic community…

The mere suggestion that I will be able to string all of this together into an actual 90 minute yoga practice makes me laugh out loud. It seems utterly impossible. I deal with my uncertainty the same way expectant mothers must deal with the looming fear of delivering a baby…it does not sound like something a person could survive…and yet there is countless evidence that they do…so maybe it will be okay. Maybe.
One must remind oneself that, time and again, people have done it. It might be bloody, you might not want photographs of it, and you might not speak for days after it happens…but people have taught first classes.

Friday was a big day.
First, the end of posture clinic.
Second, the talent show.
Or as it was officially titled, “TALENT QUEST 2007”.

Much of teacher training feels like an odd hybrid of substance-abuse-program and after-school-special.
We spend inordinate amounts of time sitting cross legged on worn down carpet, nursing paper cups full of cold coffee, and standing in front of one another speaking and freaking out.
A talent show, naturally, fits right in.
When the sign up sheet was set out for the big production they requested you put your name, talent, and what you would need to facilitate your act.
One girl wrote that she would be playing the harp…and that she needed a harp…
Apparently, the double digit budget wasn’t large enough for a harp, so they played a c.d. of her music as we gathered at the start of the show. It was, in fact, a beautiful c.d. I’m sorry they couldn’t afford the harp.

As previously reported, this training is awash with emotional outpourings and break downs.
(The after school special thing really comes into play when you hear the repeated platitude, “you can’t break THROUGH until you break DOWN…”. )
My friend Leslie and I haven’t really been in the thick of the crying jags. We’ve been frustrated, tired, overly sensitive, etc…but we haven’t been sobbing through this training. Perhaps because we are slightly on the older side…perhaps because we’ve both had enough painful real-life experiences to put this into perspective…perhaps because we are uptight unfeeling cold people….whatever the case may be…we simply haven’t been hording the island’s supply of Kleenex.
And, hey, if you make it to the end of week eight without busting up, you’re home free.

Or are you?

With no small amount of shame, I am here to confess...
I broke.

The stress, I’ve managed.
The exhaustion, I’ve taken in stride.
The merciless work, the daily confusion, the boiling hot classes…I kept a smile.

One guy doesn’t touch his nose, another guy poses for a photo ….and I crack wide open.
True story.

Friday afternoon, at the official end of posture clinic, each of the twelve groups sent a representative to deliver the dialogue for the final posture, spine twist, in front of the 310…rock star style…a top the gigantic podium, headset on, and with a group of students gathered into a mock class in front of them.

Our group sent this guy, Govert, to represent us. Govert leads our group cheer. We love Govert.
He is from Holland and he touches his nose. A lot.
We all have our nervous tics, and that’s his. So, from day one, he is getting criticism after criticism for this nose-touching thing. During the first dialogue we delivered, weeks ago, he probably touched his nose four thousand times. By the end, he was down to seven (maybe eight) nose touches a posture…but, still…a lot of touching of the nose.
And, of course, we all have our issue…our stances, our voices, our inflection, our rate, our memory, our volume, our personalities…they feel insurmountable, these problems/these habits/these quirks…they feel like thin, but critical, walls lodged firmly between us and our ever being a halfway decent yoga teacher.

So on the big day, Govert acends the podium, slips the headset on, gears up, and launches into spine-twisting-pose…and he’s fabulous…wonderful…delightful…he's a teacher.
And his hand never even nears his nose.
Not once.
Not one, single time.

The only words I could manage between sobs were “he…didn’t touch…his nose…he…didn’t…touch his…no-ho-ho-hose.”
I cried in the audience. I cried on the elevator. I cried taking off my pants. I cried putting on my shorts. I cried when someone said hello. I cried again when they said goodbye.

And then I headed down for TALENT QUEST 2007.

I have to rewind eight weeks here and write about this one kid. From the get go, he sort of broke my heart. I don’t know anything about him—but I used to see him, early on, walking around by himself. He was perpetually alone, vaguely adrift. He seemed painfully shy and slightly ill suited to this environment. Some people just bear the residue of sadness and history on them. You know? Its hard to explain.
There’s something about the way he walks…slowly and with his lower jaw in the position of defeat…that just breaks me up. It breaks Leslie up too. We’ve been worrying about, and rooting for, this kid from day one…and we’re not certain why…he just has this affect on us.
Maybe because teacher training is rich with huge personalities and bravado, so his modesty and quietness are stark in opposition.
His seeming discomfort stands out against the backdrop of gregariousness and immediate intimacy that everyone else slipped into so naturally, so effortlessly.

As I’m walking into the talent show Friday night, the first thing I see is this kid handing a camera to someone to take a photograph of him with one of his classmates. She’s this cute little blonde girl. They had both dressed up for TALENT QUEST 2007. He was wearing a colorful shirt. She wore sparkly eye shadow.
He had his arm around her shoulder…she had her arm around his waist…and they were leaning into one another, face to face, cheek to cheek, for this little snapshot...this preserved moment of aquaintance...maybe even friendship.
And when it was over he grabbed someone else to get a photograph with them, too.

Were I not pathologically dehydrated, I might have never stopped crying. I’m not kidding.
I don’t even know why exactly. I’m not aquainted with this person in even the most fragmented way. But I swear that I love him. Actual love.
Seeing him mingle with everyone else…comfortable, light, and at ease…slayed me. It slayed me.

As is always the case, my emotional reactions are never in line with the rest of humanity…so it never fails to shame me when these moments hit.
I can’t be the person who wails with the group. God forbid I be normal in any capacity.
The collective outpourings are always at the end of a torturous class…after a difficult posture clinic…post inspirational lecture.
On those days, I might be touched or somewhat moved…but, mostly, I’m just tiptoeing my way around the group hugs and spontaneous therapy sessions. I figure everyone will have to stay in the studio a bit longer until the crying subsides…which means I might actually get one of the first elevators!!! I’m simply not, in general, a sentimental fool. I am many many other kinds of fool, but not sentimental.

Ergo…I find myself, at the tail end of this obstacle course, standing in a room full of happy, giddy, decked out yogis…with an uncontrollable need to lie down in the fetal position and drain my body of all of its remaining fluids. Govert didn’t touch his nose! The lonely kid is going home with film to develop!!! Why isn’t anyone else crying, for God’s sake????

Suffice it to say, it is wildly humiliating--this character trait of mine.
It gets looks, sideway glances. People tend to slowly back away. Things are never quite the same after an ill placed cry.
It is embarrassing, sometimes, being me.

Naturally, I cried half way through the talent show too.
I was on a roll.
The Texas guy is a good guitarist! Waaaa, waaa, waaa
The sweet German girl sings!!! Sob, sob, sob
A poem! That rhymes!!! Sniffle, sniffle, sniffe.
Everyone else is laughing and applauding.
I'm shaking and quivering, like someone who's pet is about to be put down.
I feared the grief would know no end...

Then the entertainment took a decidedly provocative turn and my sorrow quickly morphed into shock.

As is often the case when you gather many young people with flat, exposed abdomens into a room…things got seductive.
The skits and musical acts veered into a noticeably sexy direction…and at a few different points, members of the audience rose and joined the performers on stage in interesting dance numbers. There was a lot of gyrating, a lot of girl on girl moves…and as testament to how very lame I am, I just sat there looking over at Bikram, across the ailse, and thinking, “Oh. Oh my. Oh goodness. Okay guys, I know he’s the self proclaimed Beverly Hills yogi and all…but he’s still in his sixties…he’s still Indian…this is still a quasi educational setting…maybe we should tone it down a notch...”

And as I heard the queer reverberations of my own thoughts pounding through my head, I was once again faced with the reality of how embarrassing it is being me.
If Bikram is the ganster yogi,
I am the grandma yogi.

The night ended with a proposal…yes, a proposal…a visiting teacher had Bikram propose to a girl in our class for him. They’ve been dating a while and he decided to pop the question here, in Hawaii, during her training. She said yes, all is lovely in the world. I was mildly concerned I would descend into the waterworks again…and then the guy took her hand and promised he would “Keep a nice tight grip…(he) wouldn’t lose the grip!!!”
And that, my friends, qualifies as exactly the sort of sentimental goo that makes everyone else weep.
Which meant I was guaranteed a dry eyed escape from the night, not a tear in sight.
People are such saps……

Sunday, June 3, 2007

this used to be a place you'd want to live...

Things are definitely lightening up here at the Ilikai. The end is near and everyone is chilling out.
We are down to learning only a few more postures, we’re significantly better at delivering the dialogue, and the rash has cleared. ( Okay…that last part was only in reference to me.)
Save the fact that I’m pretty sure every tenant, guest, and employee at this place hates the sight of us…the mood is improving.

I wasn’t joking when I said that this hotel is a delicate balance of yogis and the elderly.
Apparently there is an unwritten code that you can’t check into the Ilikai without some sort of floral one piece swimsuit or a walking device.
We all boarded planes thinking we were coming to a swinging island get away. Its more of an assisted living facility near water.
I love the old folks, don’t get me wrong. They make me feel much better about my body than most of my hottie classmates…so, my hat’s off to each of them…but we’re an unusual mix. They are accustomed to lounging by the pool in a quiet Hawaiian landscape…and we now routinely run directly from class into that pool and do theatrical cannonballs straight into the water still dressed in nasty yoga shorts. Why rinse off or put on appropriate swim gear when one can just sprint fully clothed into the deep end while, at the same time, tossing our sopping mats up into the air…careless about where they fall of who they hit and mame…

The elevators (as previously mentioned) are the worst. Our breaks are short and we pile 23 people into spaces meant for 10, maximum.
The first week or so, we’d stand back if an elevator was full or wait to be invited in.
We now enter the already packed space by screaming “MOVE!! I’LL FIT!!” and force our way in, knocking our bags and mats against the current occupants. Its not pretty. I have now seen, on more than one occasion, people return to their suites when they see us gathered in the elevator bank. A nice couple will approach, gussied up for an evening out with the grandkids….and then immediately turn around and go back to their room when they realize we’re on our way to class. They'll see their family another night. Maybe they'll just send a card. We aren't worth fighting. We outnumber the older kids and we’re getting physically stronger by the day.

Were a resident to fall and break a hip in their bathroom…they’d be smarter to tie bedsheets together and scale down from their balcony than wait for the paramedics. The emergency relief team might never get an elevator… not if we have anything to do with it.
If you’re in a wheelchair and on the 25th floor….well, fine, stairs aren’t an option…but if you’re only using a cane and on the 25th floor…you should really just try walking’ll be fine…you have one free hand…don’t worry...we’re sure you’ll make it…the exercise will be good for you….namaste.

My classmates and I will go straight from a long lecture about service and humility and karma—exchanging subtle glances across the room and congratulating ourselves on this noble/gentle path we are embarking upon-- and then jimmy our way in front of someone on a scooter and knock them out of line for the elevator.
A few of the better natured residents will force a smile and ask about this crazy “exercise program” we’re on…but most of them just address us as the new section 8 neighbors the government has forced into their once classy neighborhood.
They’ve never heard of a thing called ‘sign in’. They get normal amounts of sleep. They simply don’t understand.

On Memorial day I saw a few of the elder gentlemen dressed for the ceremony being held at Pearl Harbor. They appeared to be veterans…medals and pins shining from the lapels of the sports coats. I paused and wondered who they were, these people living down the hall from us, these familiar strangers. I assumed they’d served in World War Two and imagined what they’d been through. Maybe we should be nicer to them….but then I remembered how long I’d been forced to hold triangle pose that morning.
War, Triangle. Potato, Potahto.
It’s every man for himself at the Ilikai.

Occasionally a well meaning student will offer up some token of courtesy and make small talk or, better still, suggest they try the yoga. Which is hysterical. If someone who looked like me after class...came up to me...and suggested I try things their way…I’d laugh out loud.
At first, I admired the gesture…now it just strikes me as pointless. The jig is up. Stop pretending we’re decent people. Everyone at this joint knows we smell and we’re selfish…why bother with formalities? Let’s just continue pretending each other doesn’t exist until this seminar wraps up.

Apparently, someone ( a yogi someone) was actually caught peeing on a wall here. We had to have a meeting about it. You can’t reverse that kind of reputation…even if you, yourself, always urinate in a seated position behind a closed door.

In another humiliating story…the Ilikai staff reported that a student had stuck their hand into a vat of cold lemon water set out for the guests and taken out a chunk of ice with their sweaty palm.
Its not exactly genocide, but its not exactly couth either.
We had to have a meeting about that too.

And its criminal because we loved that water. It was the best water. It had not only lemon but mint leaves in it. The mint leaves are key. People could actually be overheard still talking about the water hours after drinking it. Leslie, in particular, adored the free refreshing beverage. She’d get weirdly excited about walking over to get a cup during bathroom breaks. Her face would light up. The last time she went a receptionist boldly stood between Leslie and the pitcher and firmly declared that “this water is not for you people anymore.”
And you could just tell she’d been waiting all week for the chance to say that.
It was her big moment…her chance to finally stick it to the assholes stinking up the elevators. She probably gathered her coworkers around during a cigarette break and boasted about how she’d drawn the line with “those yoga animals”, how she wasn’t going to take it anymore. She was probably the staff hero that day…the envy of bellmen and housekeepers everywhere. Someone bought her a drink that night. Mark my words.

The water isn’t even out in the open anymore. They hide it behind the front desk now. You have to ask for it…and if you’re wearing anything made of lycra, don’t bother wasting your time…the water isn’t for the likes of you. The water is for the seniors, the modestly dressed, the people who know where one should, and should not, relieve their bladder.

Last night, Friday night, was built up as this fabulous deviation from the norm…we would be getting out of posture clinic early! It was official! It wasn’t just a rumor! Someone holding a microphone had said it! You can’t imagine how stuff like that makes us happy. And we did get out early. We were released at 10:45 pm instead of 11:00 pm.
Which meant an extra fifteen minutes of sleep before our 8 am yoga class. Well, assuming you chose to use it for sleep. I chose to use it to bitch about it only being fifteen minutes.
Cuz, you know, I’m mature like that.

This morning’s instructor was one of the teachers here for the duration of training.
He teaches a lot. He’s, basically, in charge of us: the yogis, the wall urinator’s, the public water contaminators, the elevator jerks. In our better moments it probably feels like an important job…guiding many well intended people toward meaningful work…in our lesser moments it probably feels like glorified attempt to keep three hundred idiots from knocking a disabled person down a flight of stairs or breaking things that belong to the hotel.
And, likewise, in his better moments…he is funny and insightful. In his lesser moments…he feels like an older brother who’s been given way too much power by our absentee parents. But, you know…that’s how stuff works here. We’re all lumped together in extreme conditions for merciless amounts of time, students and staff alike…amounts of time that tend to make our shortcomings and character flaws glow and glisten for all to see. We each start off, those first weeks, on our best behavior. Eventually it becomes too exhausting to do four hours of yoga, memorize fifty pages of dialogue, catch an elevator, AND keep up the pretense that we are healthy, evolved, admirable people... so, we drop the act and start being ourselves. Which is rarely so much as spitting distance from admirable, evolved, or healthy. It is also oddly refreshing. And even a little bit beautiful in its own, different way.
We are each of us little poems. But not the kind you'd find in a pretty book or on a greeting card.
We're the kind of poems you find scribbled on the bathroom wall....surprisingly passionate and imaginative compositions considering how unimpressive the canvas...

Anyhow, this guy's big teaching trademark is that he holds the second part of awkward pose for an egregiously long period of time. I have no idea what that’s about.
And I’d really like to know. Is it just the sheer fun of watching us suffer? Was it his dead grandmother’s favorite posture? Does it have sentimental value? Did he lose his virginity to this posture? Does he fancy women with hulking gymnast thighs? What? What is it?
What on earth is this obsession with making people endlessly squat down 'as if in an imaginary chair' while standing up high on their tippy toes….??? Maybe its to prove that we are all wusses, wimps, weaklings. The thing is, WE KNOW THAT. We know we suck. We know we're weaklings.
And if the point is to make clear that we are pathetic pansies...and we totally agree that we are pathetic pansies...can we just come out already? Can we call it even? Job well done. Mission accomplished. Moving on....bring your knees together....
Originally I was a vessel of pure anger through the entire loathsome posture. I honestly can’t hold it the whole time. I fall out. Every single time. It is as humiliating as it is predictable.
Now I stay calm and repeat to myself “this too shall pass” until finally being released. And then I stretch my legs really well in the following poses to keep from getting hulking gymnast thighs.

Today a classmate was down at the beach and overhead him telling another teacher/friend of his (a visiting instructor who’d been in class with us that morning) how glad he was she’d been there…how her presence on the front row had given him energy…she replied, “what energy? The energy of my legs violently shaking???”
That kind of thing is worth the price of admission alone....

Jokes aside, it must be noted here how capable everyone is becoming. Saturday morning’s class was just fantastic. Really. The chronic sitting down and passing out seems to have passed, and the heat is either better (I suspect they took some pity on us and regulated the temperature) or we’re just better at working within it. The barkings of the instructors sound less like harsh reprimands and more like votes of confidence.

Its nice. Lovely even. Not to get too koombya…but its just different when everyone works hard.
I’d like to boast and pretend I’m one of the strong one’s leading the high level effort…but, I think we all know that’s not the case. I am, however, someone who will rally in honor of someone else’s effort. If a kid who is constantly lying down decides that, today, he’s going to stand up attempt the standing series with some gusto…well, what the hell, I’ll stay up with him and muster some gusto too. I can do that. No big deal. And, trust me, when you’ve got 297 people on their feet when its usually 235…its because a lot of folks feel just like me. Its not random. Its not coincidence. It’s a collective, if silent and sweaty, high five.

I promised I wouldn’t bore anyone on this blog with a lot of self involved chatter about my own yoga practice…and I won’t…save a few small sentences.
I have always liked Bikram yoga. Always. But I’ve traditionally been one of those practitioners who values it for what I feel after class, not during. It is, for me, a means to an end…which is fine. I consider that an acceptable reason to practice.
I am daily surprised here how much I find that I like the actual doing of it.
For the first time ever…I don’t regard the postures as crappy shanty towns to mire through in transit to a better, more luxurious destination...but as nice places to be in their own right.
I like being inside of them. 25 of them. I’m still trying to get standing-head-to-knee off the map.

Not every single class, of course, not every single day. But sometimes. And, hey, sometimes works for me. Sometimes is cool.