Updated: Jun 22
A story that has nothing to do with current events. A story strictly for entertainment purposes. A story that I hope will give you a giggle or two, god knows we all need it.
Here it goes…
I did not fall in love with yoga after my first class. One of my closest friends Mary Margaret took me to my first yoga class back in 2008. I definitely didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t really get it either. I should probably mention that it was a Bikram Yoga class, so there was that element as well. But my darling friend who was also now my business partner can be a persistent S.O.B. and she kept hounding me to go back and try it again. (We worked together, so we were basically together all day, every day, so when I say hounding, I mean the unbearable kind).
After about two months of listening to her go on and on about how yoga would make it all better, I caved. “I’ll do whatever you want” I said. “Just shut the fuck up already!”. Needless to say, she was thrilled. We made an agreement that I would commit to 3 classes a week for a month and then decide whether or not I liked it. If after the month I decided it wasn’t for me, she was never to mention yoga again. EVER.
We shook on it, and that evening into the sweltering hot yoga room I went. In my first week I survived four classes and that’s all it took. I was hooked. Mary Margaret was 100% right, yoga did seem to make everything a bit better. I adopted a five to six day a week practice and I never looked back.
About a year later she suggested I open my own yoga studio (I was smart enough by this point to listen to her when she made suggestions). She had been running hers for almost a year and it was fabulous. So, I signed up for teacher training and two weeks later I was on a flight to San Diego for the infamous Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. Nine weeks living and breathing nothing but sweaty hot yoga. I was nervous and honestly pretty reluctant to go, (even though at this point there was no scandal around Bikram) but the yoga was such a game changer and I knew I could run a studio with a welcoming vibe to give people the same opportunity to experience what I had experienced.
So, I went.
I kept a journal while I was there, and I thought it could be fun to share bits and pieces of it now for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy!
*a bit of background on the training so you have a visual:
It was 9 weeks in a hotel in San Diego. 2 yoga classes a day, 6 days a week. 400 trainees attended. We didn’t know Bikram was a total maniac yet.
“So, by the grace of a God I am now not sure I believe in… I got through week one. Let’s start with the fact that I was so nervous that I broke out into hives the night before I left. I took a Benadryl to try to calm it down and ended up slurring my words all the way to San Diego.
I met a wonderful German girl named Deike about 30 minutes after arriving. We were both waiting for a train to head to Target to pick up some essentials. Somewhere in the home furnishings department after I had peed my pants from laughter, we decided we would make great roommates. We returned to the hotel and requested to have our rooms switched so that we could stick together.
About 30 minutes after she moved all of her stuff into my room, she nonchalantly mentions that she is a bit of a sleep talker. And sleepwalker on occasion. Information that could have been a bit more useful about an hour ago. Ok, I think, how bad could it really be?
My roommate is now shouting in German and running around the hotel room. Whoever invented earplugs is an absolute genius.
(I have to mention that 10 years later, Deike and I are still the best of friends)
I quickly find out that applauding is major part of this training. Every time we see Bikram we have to applaud. There are 400 people here at $7000 a head…I feel like he should be applauding for us. After giving my 100th standing ovation, you can imagine my mood. I had almost lost all faith until I looked up and saw the tattoo of the girl in front of me. She had “Fuck Ya’ll” tattooed across the backs of her legs. I cannot even describe the sense of relief I felt in knowing that there ARE in fact people here that share my same philosophy.
Without having ever have been to India, I imagine this is what a car auction there must be like. Bikram is yelling at us at 100 mph to lock our knees, point our toes, and get our bodies down. Every once in a while, in between leg up, leg up, leg up, leg up, leg up, he throws in “Girl in Pink! Get your leg up!”
There are 400 of us in this room, at least 100 of whom are wearing pink…who the fuck is he talking to?!
Highlights of week 1:
I now have 8 weeks left instead of 9
They were holding a sci-fi convention at the hotel this week and I personally witnessed three people dressed up as dragons, holding plastic laser sticks, talking about how weird WE were. Priceless, and at the same time a wonderful visual of what the people here look like.
Fergus is an Irish man in his late 40’s who has really been struggling these past few weeks not only with the physical yoga, but also with the teaching. He has the permanent look on his face like he just shit himself.
I was fortunate enough to be in his group Friday night when he had his first breakthrough. He was finally able to get the words out and teach the posture wonderfully. The whole room erupted in applause (that’s still happening) as if the Rolling Stones had just finished their best show ever. As the “judge” was praising his improvements, you could see that he was starting to get chocked up. Then she says “Fergus, you are going to make a great yoga teacher one day”. Fergus is now crying, which in turn causes me to completely lose it. I got so emotional over his success (keep in mind I haven’t pooped in 2 weeks) that I now spend the next two hours staring at Fergus and giving him the thumbs up every time our eyes meet.
I couldn’t pull it together.
To make a long story short, Fergus now avoids me at all costs. That about wraps up week three.
One evening before class there was a robbery at the hotel. While the cleaning ladies were in a room, some guy came in, pushed them aside, stole a laptop and took off running.
In comes Chuck.
Chuck is here for teacher training. He’s in his early 40’s, stands about 6’5, and is built like a brick shit house. He was on his way to class when he saw the whole thing go down. Being the small-town guy that he is, it was natural to jump right in and help. Chuck throws down his yoga mat and takes off running after the thief. That fact that Chuck was on his way to class means that his 6’5, built like a shit house frame is dressed in nothing but a speedo. The banana hammock kind. Not even shoes on his feet. This naked yoga cowboy proceeds to chase the thief right into the middle of JC Pennies (there is a mall across the street from the hotel). You can imagine the surprise of this burglar and everyone else in the store for that matter, when this giant, speedo sporting man catches the guy and gets the laptop back. A. Mazing.
A definite highlight of the week.
I have now done 54 yoga classes since I’ve been here. Now I know what you’re thinking…my body must be amazing. Totally ripped. Best shape of my life.
First of all, I am so stiff from overuse and dehydration that I can barely touch my toes. Putting my shoes on takes 10 minutes. Due to all the food going in, and lack of shit coming out (excuse my French), I look similar to a woman expecting twins. I’m pretty sure I’ll be coming home fatter than I came. My welcome home banner should read as follows:
“Welcome home Fatty McButter Pants”
And there you have it! Some of the highlights from my journal during teacher training. I hope you enjoyed, laughed a bit, and most importantly got a mini break to lift your spirits!
You can follow along with my adventures in Patagonia on the Gram @thesantuarioretreat