Anatomy was cool, even if the chairs in the lecture room were incredibly uncomfortable when you were stuck in them for four hours at a time. And yes, I breezed the tests, thankyouverymuch.
About three or four weeks in (I forget exactly when because seriously, the whole thing kind of blends into one long yoga experience) we began posture clinics. This was basically a continuation of the half moon stuff we did earlier where we’d stand up in front of our peers and present the dialogue for individual postures, but rather than do it in front of all 400 or so trainees we were spilt into groups of around 20. Two random groups would then gather together in the cabanas round by the pool (this sounds way sexier than it actually was) and a couple of teachers, either visiting volunteers or staff teachers, would give you feedback on your presentation.
I was part of Group 11, and if you went to training and you're reading this, I'm sorry but Group 11 was THE BEST GROUP. And if you're going to the next training and you're in the next Group 11, shiiiiiiiiiit … You've got a lot to live up to. Every member of my group was a star in their own right and we were universally supportive of each other whenever one of us jumped up to present a posture. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people.
|The legendary Group 11.|
• Thinking I'd cocked up a posture and talking to the lead teacher afterwards. She assured me I'd done a great job, told me she'd love to take my class, then much to my surprise invited me to teach at her studio in New York. I discovered later that she is Lady Gaga's yoga teacher and I fully intend to take her up on her offer.
• Presenting word-perfect dialogue for full locust pose one Friday evening with such gusto that my group were literally applauding me before I'd even finished. It was one of my personal defining moments from training where I thought ‘yeah, I can do this and I'm actually pretty good!’
• Finishing delivering dialogue for a posture (I forget which one) and turning to face the teachers, a married couple. The guy looks at me and he says “Wow. First of all you have a sexy accent…” I can't really remember what the rest of his feedback was, but it was definitely positive. Me and my sexy accent were well chuffed.
• Beginning dialogue delivery one evening by saying “my name's Tim and I'll be your yoga teacher tonight.” My feedback in that clinic was “you're not a yoga teacher tonight: you’re a yoga teacher.”
• A little dog running into the cabana and one member of my group who was in triangle posture shouting “Ah! A rat!”
|The darling little posture clinic infiltrating pooch.|
• Being told by a teacher at the beginning of posture clinic one evening “you all need to look presentable. If you don’t, I won’t let you present your dialogue. Wear appropriate clothing, do your hair, make yourself look nice.” And that's how this happened.
|Well, at least I did my hair.|
It had been my intention to learn all the dialogue before going to LA for training, but in the end I actually only learnt the first four. In hindsight I don't regret this. In the words of Bikram: “ask me why!” Well, I found learning dialogue under pressure to be far easier than when I had all the time in the world. Sometimes I literally only learnt postures an hour before I was due to present them, which sounds a bit unprofessional but it worked for me. And before anyone accuses me of being slapdash, I'm still going back to the dialogue now to strengthen my knowledge of it, and will continue to do so for as long as I'm teaching.
The suggested way of learning the dialogue was in small groups, either doing round robins where each person said a couple of lines or saying it out loud while other people performed the posture so you could get used to working with bodies. I was the opposite, and basically did what everyone said you shouldn't; I learnt my dialogue by sitting quietly in my room on my own and just reading it over and over and over, line by line. Occasionally I'd practice with other people just before going into posture clinics, but for the most part the first time I worked with actual bodies was when I jumped up to present. I know, I'm a rebel - what you gunna do about it? Anyway, if you're reading this and thinking about going to training my advice to you would be to listen to everyone’s advice then find what works for you, even if it flies in the face of what works for others.
|Practicing Standing Separate Leg Stretching dialogue just minutes before presenting it, ably assisted by the brilliant Dayna.|