This journal is funny. Reading back over it, every single time I comment that I've hit some kind of wall, or that I want something to happen - in almost every case, the very next journal entry has some kind of revelation, some kind of breakthrough. And this one's no different. My last entry was whiny and despondent and complaining that nothing is different, it's all the same. Yesterday and today have answered my prayers.
Yesterday we had a lecture from Rajashree in which she began to go over each pose in detail, specifically focusing on the short and long term medical benefits of each posture. With each posture, she asked the class if there was anyone who was really excellent at the poses. First half-moon pose - there are several people in class who can side bend below parallel to the floor with apparent ease and backbend down all the way until their fingers touch the floor. It's mildly frightening. Rajashree measured the spines of the people in the posture as they bent one way or the other - in some cases the spines were lengthening or shortening by more than ten inches. It was cool. After half moon came awkward pose - I have different degrees of skill at various poses, but my awkward is 99% perfect, particularly the second part. When she asked for volunteers, my hand SHOT up. Amrei, one of the wonderful girls in our training, got up with me. We faced each other, sideways to the room, and then went into the postures while people took pictures. When it came time for second part, I lifted my heels up as high as I could, sucked my stomach in, dropped down thighs parallel to the floor, and smiled while we just held the pose. It was great! People clapped and cheered after we had been in the pose for more than thirty seconds - I saw one of the pictures of our poses and they were great! Backs totally straight, arms perfectly parallel, and we held it! I felt so, so proud to have come this far in the training - to go from a point where I didn't think I would even survive to a point where I got to demonstrate a pose for the whole class and do it really excellently. I never thought my life would have these kinds of moments involving my body, it's so encouraging! For the first time, I started to feel like a TEACHER!!! Now I'm feeling cocky and thinking of challenging Craig to an "Awkward 2-off". I'd probably lose, but it'd be fun... And the feeling of starting to feel like a teacher seems to have completely changed my experience here - yoga class isn't a nightmare anymore, my mind is thinking about what parts of each pose I like and might derive enthusiasm from to share with students. And posture clinic is SO MUCH FUN!!! All I have to do is imagine all of my friends in class and how they might be doing the pose, and it totally calms my mind.
Bikram has confirmed, multiple times, that this is the very last teacher training to occur in Los Angeles, and the next teacher training will be held in a luxury hotel on Waikiki beach on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. He has also confirmed (and Rajashree has substantiated) that the World Headquarters will be moving to Hawaii as well. In our yoga class this morning, Rajashree announced that this is her very last teacher training - she may come to future ones as a guest speaker, but will not be involved on a continual basis. For some reason, hearing this felt like a punch in the stomach - I was so incredibly sad. Rajashree also said that Emmy will probably not move to Hawaii, though other staff members are already making moving plans. I just can't imagine how different this experience will be! I'm incredibly excited about returning as a teacher to future teacher trainings in HAWAII, but also saddened by the thought of a teacher training without Rajashree or Emmy or maybe even Craig. They seem like such important parts of the whole picture. Rajashree seemed very sad and reflective this morning in class - she was talking about the very first teacher training, which had only five students and was six months long, how early teacher trainings had everyone living together in one big rented house, how they learned what worked and what didn't. She has invited us all to her and Bikram's home in Beverly Hills this sunday for a pool party - I can't wait!!!
Finally, FINALLY, some mental calm in classes. The panic is starting to leave. I had to change a number of things - most importantly how I do pranayama breathing, but I can also feel that my mind is calming down, in general. Those icky noises are still there, only not as powerful. Muffled. I keep thinking about how I have to be an example for my students - how if I am doing my postures in an undisciplined or unfocused way, I'll erode my ability to demand discipline and focus when I teach. Weirdly, this is making things easier, not harder. I'm actually starting to enjoy class. There's a girl, Bridget Ann (BA), who smiles gently throughout the WHOLE class. I look at her in the mirror when I'm struggling and remember to smile, and it has totally changed the struggle aspect of class. I'm not quite able to do it the whole class myself, but I'm getting there. My poses, with the exception of Awkward and Triangle, are not really all that advanced from where they were when I got here - some are even less deep, but I rarely fall out of any posture anymore, and my strength and focus lasts through the whole class, instead of just to the end of the standing series, like it used to.
There have been a lot of discussions in the last two days, spearheaded by Doug, about life after training - how we should really appreciate the time we have with each other, because we'll never have an experience like this again, we'll never all be together again, and we'll never have to total immersion in yoga like we do here. I really started to feel emotional and incredibly connected to everyone I've met - I felt an urgent need to get to know the people I've just crossed paths with and to not take anybody here for granted. My life really has changed, already - I was too busy looking for the change to notice it. I have new lifelong friends, that I didn't even notice I had made! People to meet at burningman! And I'm part of this wonderful worldwide FAMILY now! They really do take care of each other, all of them! It's the most wonderful thing I've ever done for myself.
Today I performed THREE postures in posture clinic - Fixed Firm Pose, Half Tortise Pose, and Camel. I did fantastic on all of them, but I totally TOTALLY rocked Camel, and I only had about twenty minutes, COLD, to memorize it and had never said it out loud when I went up there, and it just FLOWED out of me, effortlessly. I really think that it's the feeling, the very new feeling, of almost being a teacher that's changing it. When I get up there, I really feel like I'm getting up in front of students in our studio in Wellington. It felt GREAT. So much fun, so much energy, I could barely contain myself. And now I get to love doing Camel pose in class because of it!!! YAHOO!!!!!!
I thank everyone who helped me get here for this magnificent gift. Thank you Anika - thank you Taisuke, thank you Clodagh, thank you Stef, Jaya, Dagmar, Jaguar, Erik, all my teachers, and all my friends... from the bottom of my heart.