So it begins! This is the beginning of my first 100 hours to become certified to instruct at Addicted to Yoga. (The second 100 hours are to become certified to teach yoga worldwide.)

A quick breakdown: the training cost $850 and consists of 40 lecture hours, 20 hours of personal practice, 20 hours of mentoring and 20 hours of personal study.

Cast of characters:

Lindsey R: My original mentor; yoga instructor; graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Mathematics. A gift from God, her insistence and grace has largely compelled me to dive head-first into the world of yoga and never look back!

Derek B: Yoga instructor; personal trainer; senior at Cal Poly studying Philosophy. My first yoga instructor. There is a peculiar, magnetic, non-erotic connection I feel with this man when I stare into his eyes. Hahahaha!

Rhema F: Yoga instructor; mother of three (?); African-American; my primary instructor throughout this first 100 hours of teacher training. Another person I feel a connection with.

(You can get metaphysical with this connection and say these people are guiding angels sent from God, where both they and I serve as catalysts towards each other’s spiritual path, or you can look at it from a more grounded point of view and say we simply share many similarities. I look at it from both perspectives. Yin and Yang, bitch!)

Janus: Yoga instructor; middle-aged with tattoos; hardcore.

Bryan: Yoga instructor; front-desk clerk; a peer, likely no older than my own age of 23; significant martial arts background.

Dave & Polima: The co-owners (along with Rhema) of Addicted to Yoga.

Jazmine: Front-desk clerk; yoga instructor; African-American; 21 years of age, senior at La Verne; significant dance background.

Day 1:

Sunday, September 30

It was the first day of our lecture hours so it was typically chill. I am glad I chose Rhema to lead the training! She is full of energy and I feel a lot of similarity between us.

The best part? Free unlimited yoga! Derek Black, here I come! Ashtanga yoga 3-4 times a week! YOGA YOGA YOGA PILATES YOGA!

This has been a stressful week, but Ashtanga never fails in renewing my spirit.

Day 2:

Monday, October 1

My first time taking Janus‘ Ashtanga class! It is 90 minutes, the longest class I’ve taken to date, and is quite strenuous. Somehow she knew my name! Good sign.

At first I was a little taken aback at her style. For the first 30 minutes she said little and practiced with her back to us. I am used to Lindsey and Derek’s gentle prompting throughout the routine. But Janus’ expertise became apparent as we got into the Primary Series.

In Ashtanga the first two series of poses, the Surya Namaskara A & B (the Sun Salutations) and the Standing Sequence, are all preparation for the Primary Series. (There are five series in total in Ashtanga.) More specifically, every pose is preparation for the next pose; it is a sequentially arranged routine that builds on itself.

The poses in Primary are ground-based. There are modificiations (A, B and C) to almost every pose depending on what level you are in your practice, and Lindsey and Derek do the easier modifications and, in many cases, skip entire poses due to time restraints and/or health concerns. Janus’ class, however, is a lot more hardcore.

Therefore I received much-needed introduction to these more advanced poses!

Day 3:

Tuesday, October 2

Ashtanga with Brian!

To my great dismay Derek Black was nowhere to be found! Brian quipped that the time frame (9am to 10) conflicts with his school schedule, so Brian teaches his Tuesday and Thursday class. Derek does teach a class Friday in the evening, although I planned to take Dave’s morning class in Rancho.

I will probably do both!

No disrespect to Brian (on the off chance he or anyone else at Addicted to Yoga reads this!) but he is not Derek. Indeed, Brian was the worst instructor I’ve had heretofore. Ashtanga is ashtanga, however; it is my practice, so it is perpetually amazing because I deem it so.

I feel a little sore and drained riding my bike today. Sure, it is 102 degrees right now, but it goes beyond that. Fortunately both bike riding and yoga are low-impact; I do not feel like burnout will be much of an issue in this realm. I’ll see soon enough!

Day 4:

Wednesday, October 3

OFF

Day 5:

Thursday, October 4

It’s Bryan with a ‘y!’ Go figure.

This was the first session where I began to feel ahead of the curve! I had a strong sense of the sequence, instead of wondering what came next. My endurance felt very good — not quite at my peak of a few years ago, but close enough — and could feel substantial improvement even from Tuesday’s session.

But wow, that girl — is it Tiffany? — across from me is so distracting! She always has this revealing mid-riff that is the sexiest little number. Why dress like that for yoga class?! It got me thinking — I should stop there; no thinking in yoga! — about the differences between men and women, or maybe just me and everyone else. To a lot of people, consciously or unconsciously, this is a preening opportunity, a subtle display of social status. There is a significant chance of meeting like-minded people, even a mate, and thus it is important to look your best. You are nowhere as likely to meet someone who shares your passions than at a studio where you are honing them!

And yet here is little old me in his broken down Vibrams and nondescript black basketball shorts and black wife-beater. On one hand I care, and as with anything I care about, the breadth and depth of my caring would startle those unbeknownst to my inner dialogue; on the other hand to allow my caring to affect my behavior, my neutrality, my focus, my adamant left-brain that sees clothing as superficial and needy would go against too many principles. I could wear more palatable shoes, but who would I be serving? Not myself but my insecurities. I know my brand-new KSOs are being exchanged for a non-defective pair, likely in the middle of America via FedEx Air. Even if they weren’t, so what? I know my value and self-worth is not tied up in clothing, and that if you cannot gather the gall to look past that then you likely lack the temerity to weather the might of my personality.

The only way to win is to not play the game. I have vowed, for now at least, to not play the Game. So I do not glance at Tiffany (I think that’s her name; let’s roll with it), do not allow my mind to be seized by any distraction, particularly when engaged in a distraction-less discipline such as yoga. There are things I am improving about myself that I am insecure that I have not gained such and such degree of competency, but my insecurity about that cannot be manifested through a submissiveness of social order, no matter how established and evolutionarily indoctrinated.

Yes, re-reading You Just Don’t Understand by Deborah Tannen has been a fine decision. The dichotomy between the former book and The Beginning of Infinity! And, more specifically, my interest between the two subjects. Linguistics, rhetoric and communication gets me tumescent, while the phallus-filled balderdash of institutionalized science and physics literally induces drowsiness.

Day 6:

Friday, October 5:

Drained. Janus really cracks the whip. (Online the schedule said Dave, but it’s Janus teaching the M-W-F morning in Rancho.)

My body felt like wet cement for the first 30 to 40 minutes. It was unfortunate I wasn’t feeling it, because I worked harder than I ever have. And Janus is constantly pushing your boundaries to get you to contort in the next series of poses. That is a good thing, especially when compared to the other instructors I’ve taken, who rarely push my limits. But for now I am tired. And it’s only 12:40 pm! I still have to lift and do chores.

Day 7:

Saturday, October 6:

Holy shit I’m tired.

Polina’s class was the best one, though. I am too tired to put any enthusiasm into this, but suffice to say I advanced my practice about as much as possible in one 90 minute session. I have heard a lot of gossip about Polina, but the bottom line is she knows her shit. Not a class to be missed!

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