Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gratitude Found

Hi all,

I'm blogging from my cell phone, so please excuse any typos. :) (My cell signal is much more reliable than the internet here, hence the cell phone post.)

This week we started anatomy and posture clinics.

Anatomy is heavy, but our teacher, Dr. P, makes it fun. He is a board certified doctor who works in the ER in Vegas. He's also an anatomy professor, a chiropractor, a massage therapist, an ex-college cheerleader (go cheer!), and a Bikram Yoga practitioner. He is dynamic. We are so fortunate to have a teacher so knowledgeable and passionate about the human body and how Bikram Yoga affects it.

If anatomy is heavy, then the posture clinics are gravity itself. In posture clinics, we break up into groups of about 40 and take turns "teaching" the posture of the moment to three "demonstrators" while Bikram's instructors and staff provide feedback on and record our every move. We are critiqued on everything from how well we've memorized the dialogue to our tone, pace, pitch, volume, inflexion, body language, and posture.

Each posture is approximately 5-8 paragraphs of tongue-twisting Bikram English. The dialogue is like its own language. Until you master it the words can sound arbitrary and awkward. And on top of the BSL (Bikram as a Second Language) challenge, there's the nerves. Each of us is shaking in our yoga pants as we take the floor to deliver the dialogue.

I received some good and challenging feedback on the first two postures of the week: breathe and be more animated.

Breathe. Really. I blazed through Backward Bending and Hands to Feet so quickly and with so little breathing that i was dizzy after. I didn't miss a word, but who cares when you sound scary?

Be more animated. Ouch. Translation: You might be so boring that it's embarrassing. And the worst part was that I was actually trying to be energetic. But I think the trying is the problem. I was trying to sound like a yoga teacher, instead of just being me and doing something I love and believe in.

For the next posture I spent a lot of time focusing on how happy I am, how much I love this yoga, and how proud I am to be sharing Bikram Yoga with the world. I thought back to the time spent on the beach at June Lake leading new friends through the standing series, the office yoga shared with my coworkers at my office sendoff party, and the long conversations with friends on SoHar Island about why yoga is good for the world. I spent time drilling down into the core of my yoga love.

My theory: If I am overwhelmed with yoga happiness when I teach, then the delivery will be nothing but good and happy too.

It worked. My feedback on Eagle Pose: Something along the lines of, 'Wow, what can I say except keep doing what you are doing.' And even more exciting: I felt like myself--like my best self--teaching the posture.

And then on the same day as our Eagle delivery, the posture clinic leaders announced that we were moving on to the next posture, Standing Head to Knee, right away. This was a shock to everyone in the room. Until that day, we had only covered one posture per day. No one had prepared to deliver the next posture. I was one of the few who had memorized it ahead of time, but I certainly hadn't reviewed it since I'd arrived here three weeks ago. And I certainly hadn't practiced my delivery of the posture.

I sat reviewing the dialogue for about 10 minutes while a few brave souls delivered the posture first. When finally no one else would volunteer to go next, I took the floor.

It was over before I knew it. I turned to my posture clinic buddy and asked if I got it--he said it was flawless. I celebrated with a quick fist pump and a signature 'woo!' And the feedback from the leads: 'Wow. Again, keep up the great work. I can't think of anything negative to say!'

This was the biggest success of my TT experience to date. I was overwhelmed--with relief, reassurance, and gratitude. I realized quickly that if not for the support and effort of my home studio and, most of all, Mike, I would not have been prepared at all to succeed in this scenario.

As I took my turn demonstrating for the next three students' deliveries, I grew more and more aware of the love it took for Mike to spend so many evenings quizzing me on the dialogue, demonstrating for me while I delivered the dialogue, listening to me (or tuning me out) while I recited the dialogue aloud repeatedly, and taking care of things around the house while I spent more and more time at the studio. I felt so much gratitude for all the work he did and is doing so that I can be here. And I started to really cry for the first time here. I've been grateful since the day Mike and I decided we could make this happen, but this feeling was bigger than that. In the yoga world, I think they call this 'finding your gratitude.'

I was a bit emotional and shaken for the rest of the week--by the strength of Mike's love, the blessing of his support in preparing for TT, and the quickening speed of the posture clinics.

A visit from my parents, a day and a half of studying, and an afternoon near the ocean have me feeling on top of it again and ready for week 4. But I know this week is going to be beyond my expectations (as if I had any!). Bikram's been out of town all week, so things are bound to go up a notch just with his return.

Thank you all for the comments (and sorry for those who can't post to the blog, btw! I'm not sure how to fix that...), emails, texts, Facebook posts, and care packages. They make me feel loved. <3 Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers this week!

With yoga love,

1 comment:

  1. Darci-such an eloquent and inspirational account of your experiences! Your words are as beautiful as you are, inside out, from the bones to the skin...! I feel blessed to have met you on this incredible journey we've all undertaken. Thank you for reminding me that I can learn and grow so very much when I open my heart, mind and soul to those the universe puts in my path. Namaste-Cameron