Jeanne Heaton: First dispatches from Bikram teacher training

Jeanne Heaton, all smiles early in Bikram teacher training!

“Hey Guys!” They say that a lot around here. We are all “Guys,” whether you are one sexy mama or not, we are all GUYS.

This morning I woke up, my official 15th day here at the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training 2010, and panic struck my heart. I had this horrible nightmare that my dog Jack was run over and killed by a car back in New York. They say that when you dream, the main character is always you. It pretty much sums up all the stress and fear I am feeling at this point, with what is going to be expected of us over the next seven weeks. I know it’s only a feeling. I only FEEL like I am going to be run over by a car, and destroyed, and left for dead lying outside that enormous yoga tent, heated to the ridiculously humid 120 degrees, with me in either an over-hydrated or under-hydrated coma… At this point, who can really tell the difference anymore? But I know feelings aren’t facts, because look! I am not dead yet, guys.

The yoga tent here is huge!!! Imagine doing yoga with 380 people, side by side! What an overwhelming, powerful experience. And the crazy little Indian, standing on a stage 10 feet in the air screaming down to all of us to LOCK THE KNEE over and over again. A huge part of me, if you can believe it, is totally in heaven! I know that dream about my dog is only coming out of my deep fear of so many things, but the biggest is not being able to learn the dialogue. It is literally like learning an entire new language… and then I think about the other 49 different countries represented here at this training, who don’t even know how to speak English, and I am instantly restored to how I CAN DO THIS AND WILL!!!!!!! Boy, do I have a new-found respect for all my teachers at BYM back home! OMG! I love you guys! But I am also aware of how I might be trying a little too hard right now to be so perfect… so I thought it best to fall back a little, take a little break and write to you all back home about how incredible these first 2 weeks of Bikram Yoga TT 2010 really have been. Every time it gets hard, I return to my gratitude of what an awesome, amazing, life-changing experience this whole process is going to be.

The first day, I got to personally speak with Bikram and thank him for my scholarship. And then he promptly helped me push my hips back toward the back wall during Awkward in front of 380 people. And in giving me the correction, he also made me demonstrate the correction! Oh boy. He immediately, the very first class, called me by name, and knew my weakness. He could see how my lower left spine, where I had had a bad fall 7 years ago and fractured by back, was not strong. And how did he know? I didn’t tell him. He is Bikram. He zeroed in and gave me the correction, because he is a magician/healer/guru of our time. They say he will go for your weakness and keep picking and picking until, through the posture, he helps you and makes you stronger. In that moment, I was certain I was going die. But when I finished executing the correction, everyone applauded with such compassion and love.

On my 4th day, I thought I should check in with the medical tent to just to let them know a little about my physical condition. The nurse, Liz Wynfield, mother of the 2010 Bikram Yoga Champion Brandy Winfield, told me that I will physically be fine here, but that emotionally it is probably going to be very tough for me, because I am going to have relive and go through a lot of the abuse and pain that my body has endured over the years. More layers of the onion skin being ripped and pulled and then repaired and rejuvenated. Yes. The only way out is through. And she is proving to be right. I am physically doing great, BYM has trained me well. I am really good with the heat, I haven’t sat down once, and have of course never left the room.. YET! On Monday last week, over 1/2 the teacher trainees were outside during the standing series. Los Angeles and San Diego had record high temperatures, so the inside of the tent was over 120! Raphaelle and I were in the front row, with Bikram killing us! We never sat down or sat out a posture, let alone leave the room. By the way, Bikram is pointing to our very own Raphaelle’s beautiful poses, (like three times now – no lie) But Liz was right! I am reliving many incidents in my life of grave emotional pain, and so yeah, I am emotionally breaking down in the room, having a couple good cries, while remembering to forgive myself and love myself back to health along with the tears.

Team BYM: Jeanne and Raphaelle

The second week here was really tough. Bikram kept us up every night till 3 a.m. with the infamously bad Bollywood movies, and there is also a really bad cold going around which Raphaelle and I have both come down with. I haven’t been sick in three years, but there’s no way of avoiding this one… And so it goes.

I have been wanting to write to you all long before this, but didn’t have Internet access, and now I am finally hooked up! But the bigger difficulty is having time to do it. So please forgive me for not getting this out sooner and future forgiveness for there is so little time during the week with the schedule. I am attaching lots of pictures for you all to experience this vicariously through us! Raphaelle and I have become quite the little team. Two of the pictures are of us delivering Half Moon Pose in front of Bikram. We both rocked it! She has been helping me lots with my dialogue too. Miss you all so much and love you! Thanks for this awesome experience BYM! Even when I am breaking down and cursing Bikram to the heavens, I know “This too shall pass!”


A note from Raphaelle:
Jeanne is such a wonderful spirit. I met her through BYM doing work study. I used to work Sunday evenings while she would do Monday mornings. We eventually began to both work on the same day; her Friday early afternoon and myself late afternoon. That is when I started to get to know her better but never as well as I got to know her now… I applied for training about two months before Jeanne did (I actually wanted to go to the Spring training but wasn’t able to) and I was delighted to find out that she would be there with me. So here we are and boy am I glad she is here! She brings some much needed comic relief as we discover not only each other but ourselves on this crazy journey. I have a lot of respect for this woman as well as admiration for her determination and great spirit. “The only way out is through” is one of the most inspiring words I have ever heard… Ones that I think we can all relate to one way or another, if you are a fighter. Thanks Jeanne, you are a true lady. Raphaelle

A happy smiling face!

Raphaelle, showing off a new stretching pose

And another!

This is stretching, at the pool

And with help from a friend

Jeanne and Raphaelle on stage doing Half Moon dialog

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5 Responses to Jeanne Heaton: First dispatches from Bikram teacher training

  1. Rachel says:

    Beautiful post! What rockstars you guys are already. Keep up the awesome blogging, yoga-ing, and enthusiasm. It’s inspiring and I will be following your story!! XOXO

    -Rachel @ AliveintheFire

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Jeanne Heaton: First dispatches from Bikram teacher training « Bikram Yoga Manhattan's Blog --

  3. Katy says:

    It is great to hear and see your experiences at the training. I am going this Spring, so I will be following your posts. Congratulations on such a successful start!

  4. Pingback: Embracing the difficulty: a new way to think about Bikram, or anything « Bikram Yoga Manhattan's Blog

  5. pat watkins says:

    It’s the Cowgirl reaching out to you to say “God bless you, surround you and give you a tight squeeze!” I am so happy to hear that you are well and on walking on your path with such strength and purpose. I have thought about you so often and wished to find you. What a wonderful thing to have Doug Moser call me today and turn me on to the article and video. You look wonderful! Love to hear from you….

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