I have put off writing my Yoga Story for ages now. After coming out of The HotTT at the end of November 2014, I felt too raw to write about it. But here goes:
My first hot, sweaty, mind buzzingly intense Bikram class I ever took? 4th October 2011. I remember it vividly. ‘They’ say you always remember your first class. You do and I loved and hated it in equal measures. Signed up for the 30 days intro, then brought a 3 month unlimited class pack. By the time I’d been practicing regularly for 3 months I started to think about teaching. I knew by the time I’d been practicing regularly for 6 months, I wanted to be a teacher. The timing for a Teacher Training just had to work. The other thing ‘they’ say? The teacher appears when the student is ready. I was all set to go to the traditional Bikram Teacher Training in LA. Then I read Hellbent. I quickly put the Teacher Training out of mind. Friends went, trained, came back, they’d survived and damn it they were teaching! I just needed to go. However, I was getting a lot of resistance from home about being away for 2 months, in LA, in what was perceived to be a seething den of iniquity and yoga – more iniquity than yoga. The timing had to be right. Then, planets aligned and the Universe presented The HotTT to me; or maybe Evolation just launched The HotTT and it appeared on my Facebook feed. Either way I liked what I read, it resonated, so I spoke to Mark and my studio owners, but I was still hesitant: Would it be ‘as good’ as the Bikram Teacher Training? Would it be ‘accepted’? Would I match up to the other trainees coming back from Bikram’s Teacher Training? ‘Would my classes be different?’, ‘Was the dialogue the same?’ So, I booked on the Bikram Teacher Training in Thailand for Fall 2014. I ignored Mark’s calls. I felt nervous. Excited. Ugh. Undecided. I fired off an email to Mark:
“If I come on your training, when I come back will I be able to walk into the studio and teach a Bikram class and be no different from all the other teachers who have been to the Bikram Teacher Training?”
His reply: “No, when you come back from The HotTT you will be different from all the other Bikram Teachers. You will be able to walk into the studio and teach a better class and you will be so much more besides.”
I signed up to The HotTT
That first week at Teacher Training in Santa Barbara? I was planning on leaving and coming home early. Everything about the training, the schedule, the house, the studio, the yoga, the other trainees, the people, the teachers, the food, EVERYTHING was freaking me out. And then the spark of light appeared and I LET IT GO (yes please do sing Frozen tune here), I opened up my mind, swept away the preconceptions, expectations, compartmentalized everything at home and gave myself up to it. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t love it and hate it in equal measure. Just like my first Bikram Class. I learnt so much. So much more besides. Yes, there is a lot of yoga. Go figure. Yes, the Dialogue is a b**** to learn. Get over it. Yes, the days can feel relentless and you WILL be tired. And you WILL get pissed off with the other people. And then you WILL love them again. And you WILL complete the most amazing 8 weeks and it WILL change you forever.
My tops tips:
• Try and learn as much dialogue as you can before you go
• Work out how you learn best
• Be opened minded
• Really give yourself up to the experience.
• Resistance is futile.
• Get your sleep. Or learn to survive on very little. You can.
• Enjoy the yoga. It is your saviour.
Sam was born in New Zealand. Spent last 15 years in the UK. Right? Left global corporate life, to do something worthwhile. Yoga found her and she found her thing. No longer defined by what she’s done, but by what she does now, today. The time? It is now.