Over the last nine months, I’ve completed three different yoga teacher trainings while holding down a full-time day job – the 200-hour Hot Power Fusion Teacher Training at CorePower Yoga, the 5-week Extensions Program through CorePower Yoga and the WASUP Yoga Teacher Training. I feel really good about everything I’ve accomplished so far. Last week, I started my most anticipated yoga teacher training of the year, Bikram Yoga Teacher Training at Sealevel Hot Yoga in Seattle. For nine weeks, I’ll be taking seven Bikram Yoga classes a week, memorizing dialogue and geeking out on Bikram Yoga 12+ hours every weekend.
Have you ever gone hiking alone? If someone had asked me this question a few months ago, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. A female hiking alone in the woods, all by herself? Are you nuts? Now that I have four solo hikes under my belt, my only question now is, “Why didn’t I try solo hiking sooner?”
I realized a very valuable lesson this week: Preparation Is Key…especially when teaching SUP Yoga. Confession Time: If I have to do something I’m not 100% comfortable doing, I tend to stress out about it before having to do the damn thing. I’ll even lose sleep over it. Once I’ve had a chance to practice and prepare for whatever it is I’m getting ready to do, I’m able to relax. Last week, the To-Do List item that was making me nervous was the SUP Yoga class I was scheduled to teach on Sunday morning at Greenlake.
Thankfully, yoga is something I really love doing and teaching yoga has turned out to be really fun once I get going in the class. It’s the anticipation beforehand that gets me all jacked up.
For me, I’ve always been a fan of the 6AM Bikram Yoga classes and it’s not because I’m a morning person. No way. Not even close. Trust me, getting up at 4:45AM for a 6AM yoga class is extremely difficult. Getting out of bed and into the studio is the hardest part about yoga for me. There’s a lot of pep talking that’s involved. You know how many times I’ve talked myself into staying in bed and skipping class? Countless!
Why do I prefer to get up so early to practice yoga? There are so many reasons.
When I think back to when I took my very first Bikram Yoga class back in 2010, I remember practicing in an uncomfortably crowded, carpeted studio in San Francisco as I sweated my way through class wearing cotton tank tops and cotton running shorts, all the way in the back row, in the far corner. I also remember quite vividly the constant battle during the floor series where either my head or feet would dangle onto the damp carpet underneath because my yoga mat and bath towel never seemed to be long enough.
So many things have changed within my own yoga practice over the last six years. I’m no longer living or practicing in San Francisco. My current home studio doesn’t have carpet and isn’t overcrowded. I have more pairs of yoga pants and yoga bootie shorts than there are days of the week. I still love practicing in the corner, but only if it’s in the first row. Nowadays, the whole back of my car is always loaded with a variety of yoga mats designed specifically for hot yoga.
When you practice any form of yoga over a number of years, you tend to learn a few things along the way – the postures, your favorite teacher’s cues, what clothes you feel comfortable practicing in, the spot you like to set up in for class and even the type of mat you prefer to use. Over the last six years of practicing Bikram Yoga off and on, I’ve learned how to make a tough activity like this enjoyable for myself. Let’s face it – sweating uncontrollably for 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity is no easy feat. Here are some things I’ve learned that have helped make any Bikram Yoga class enjoyable for myself: