Week 7 round-up: Just keep swimming

Exhausted does not even cover it. I slept 11 hours last night and that still was not enough to allow my body to recuperate fully. Apparently there’s a sleeping bag that someone has designed that will actually make you look like a hibernating bear, and I have decided that it is the only thing I will need for the rest of my life. I miss sleep. We were such good friends before all of this. I feel like a fool for leaving it. I promise, if it will take me back, that I will never be unfaithful to it again.

I don’t necessarily think that week 7 was physically any harder than previous weeks have been. We still had our standard two yoga classes per day, and the latest we were kept awake was 12:30 AM. I just think it’s the cumulative effect that 7 weeks of extreme physical exertion and very little sleep has had on me. I was waxing and waning all week in yoga class, going from a really strong class on Tuesday night, to a class so bad on Friday night that I spent final savasana in the foetal position. Seriously. My roommate almost had to call someone to help carry me out of the room. It wasn’t so much that I was dizzy or nauseous, it was just that my body had decided it had had enough, and my muscle strength basically gave out on me. It started with a pins-and-needles sensation in my left arm after Camel pose, but I didn’t want to allow myself to sit out any of the rest of the postures for fear of getting yelled at by Bikram and of making everyone else’s class that little bit longer. But I definitely paid the price for it. I just felt really, really done.

Luckily, however, not all of week 7 was quite so miserable. In fact, I had quite a few highlights this week that definitely helped speed things along a bit. Bikram was away Monday and Tuesday, so left us in the hands of a senior teacher of his from Mexico named Ulises. Ulises taught the evening classes on both Monday and Tuesday and, although I started out not liking him very much (his pacing during class wasn’t exactly what I would call “snappy”), I ended up really valuing his input by the time Bikram returned. He tends to approach this yoga from a more spiritual perspective, which I something I found really refreshing and comforting at this stage in the training, when things have started to feel a bit soulless and institutional. Ulises lectured us on Tuesday in the afternoon and the evening, and ended his evening lecture by playing a chanting track and allowing us to meditate for about 15 minutes. Monday evening was even more special, though, as Manali (who is basically the headmistress of Bikram Yoga TT) chanted part of the Bhagavad Gita whilst we all meditated. It was such a special and beautiful experience, and it offered us some peace, which I really think we were all in desperate need of.

But, just as quickly as he had left, Bikram returned once again. And he returned with a vengeance. His classes were hotter, his yelling was louder, and it seemed at times like he was on a one-man mission to steal our peace. He has become quite enthusiastic about accusing us all of being stupid, and about giving people corrections that they don’t actually need, seemingly just for the sake of being intimidating. And while I continue to enjoy his classes because of his almost infectious energy, I was getting too tired this week to be willing to make an effort for him anymore. The fact that we were forced to watch yet another two episodes of the Mahablahblah on Wednesday, and to listen to another one of his “lectures” on Thursday didn’t help my feelings either, and just served to put me in even more of a shitty mood. However, for all you future trainees out there, fear not! I have come up with the following, just for you…

Watching the Mahablahblah: A helpful guide

-The subtitles are not in grammatically correct English. I know this is annoying, but it’s not worth getting frustrated over. Choose to find it funny.
-When in doubt of what the fuck is going on, just assume that the kingdom of Hastinapur is in some sort of danger.
-Contemplating whether the costumes were made out of spray painted plastic or aluminium foil is a fun way of side-tracking yourself when you get bored.
-Whilst watching the Bhagavad Gita section (which is a 3 episode long conversation between Arjun and Krishna), ignore the subtitles and make up your own ideas for what Arjun and Krishna are discussing. Our ideas included, but were not limited to: The best places to shop for jewellery, the benefits of colonic irrigation, and whether they would rather shag Sofia Vergara or Megan Fox.
-Make up your own sound effects for when people start beating each other up in the big battle scene. My personal favourite was the doing sound I made every time someone hit someone else over the head with an oversized Christmas bauble. (You’ll see what I mean when you watch it.)

Seriously though, if you don’t do something to make light of the situations you get put in here, you could quite easily go mad. You really have to fight in order to stop anything from disturbing your peace, and having a good laugh goes a long way in that battle. A lot of what we do here is ridiculous. When I tell people back home what an average day here entails, they tell me they think it’s insane. It is. But there’s no point getting frustrated. We’re here for another two weeks yet, and I’m noticing more and more that peoples’ success here is very highly dependent on their attitudes. Those who go with the flow and stay in good humour are having a much easier time than those who have become more cynical. So try to avoid taking things so seriously. Whinge a little, sure, but laugh a lot, and enjoy spending time with so many wonderful people.

Just like Dory in “Finding Nemo”, we must all just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. Because, lord knows if we take our eyes of the ball and start flailing about, we’ll all fucking drown.

Lynn Whitlow, who is one of Bikram’s senior teachers who is currently visiting us, and who lectured us on Friday evening, said something that really struck a chord with me. Whilst discussing the merits and draw-backs of running a studio with very hard and fast rules, she explained to us that, for the majority of our future customers, coming to yoga is something that makes them happy and that helps them to love themselves. Really, that’s what this yoga does for all of us. So what is the point in taking it so seriously to the point where you’re making people miserable? We come to yoga to feel good, to fall in love with ourselves. And it is so much easier to do that here at TT if you just laugh, love, and focus on the positive. Even when there are negative things bubbling up around you, it is important to keep in mind that paying attention to them will not serve you here.

The name of the game is to get through these 9 weeks alive, in one piece, and (somewhat) happy. And we are so close now. Those certificates are within our grasp, many of us have already scheduled our first classes, and we are preparing to go home. So on we charge into week 8. Tired, sore, but determined as hell. Put on your war paint, people. Let’s do this. x

Yoga classes completed to date: 76
Hours of the Mahablahblah watched: 8.5
Current position in posture clinic: Camel/Rabbit
Latest bedtime this week: 12:30 AM

P.S. Here is a still from the Mahabharata. You can tell how sophisticated the special effects are, can’t you?

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