Bikram Yoga Manhattan student Raphaelle Romana, along with Jeanne Heaton, are in the middle of nine weeks of Bikram teacher training in San Diego. Raphaelle shares her experience so far:
We are now at the end of Week 6 and I cannot believe we are approaching the end of this beautiful adventure. It has been a journey of self discovery — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and so much more. It is actually quite difficult to find the words to pay justice to this whole experience.
After 66 classes, I am proud to say that I have not left the room once nor have I sat out any postures and I can honestly say that I owe it all to all the fabulous teachers at BYM for making me a strong practitioner and emphasizing the importance of not leaving the room, staying focused at all times and pushing beyond my limits. Every single one of them have been in my thoughts at one point or another in classes: Raffael telling me to smile, Byron telling me to push my hips forward, Rachel reciting dialogue with me, Rupi deepening my Standing Bow Pulling by telling me to kick my knee straight back, Pam telling me (very nicely) that I can absolutely wait until end of class to go to the bathroom, Upkar screaming in my ears, Paola ending my love affair with water, Amanda making me touch my forehead to my toes in stretching pose, Derek’s loving words… I could not have found a better studio at which to start my Bikram practice and prepare for training.
The other person I am grateful found her way to BYM is Miss Jeanne bear! I have found a true friend, inspiration and a whole lot of (much needed) laughter in this less-than-ordinary environment. She has been such a great support in so many ways. It has been such a pleasure to get to know her on a much deeper level: on the mat freaking out, sweating, laughing out loud, getting angry, getting happy, getting sleepy in lectures, watching Bollywood movies until the wee hours of the morning, feeling uplifted and delirious at the same time. She is a very special lady who I will always carry in my heart, my teaching and my practice.
This will definitely go down as one of the most influential experience of my life, so many memories, so many friends made, so much love and inspiration in one place.
My personal highlight was to be called on the podium by Bikram to demonstrate Standing bow Pulling. I was bending forward, readjusting my towel when Bikram said, “She goes down the best in the room, she needs to come to podium…Miss Tattoo?!” (I have no idea Bikram is pointing at me) “Miss tattoo!” (I finally look up) “Yes you! Come here.” I could not hear the cheers and screams from my fellow trainees as I was completely caught up in this amazing moment. I did the right side on my own and released and Bikram said, “She can do better, she did better down there,” and asked me to do the left side. I went down left side and Bikram got up from his chair to barely touch my arm and leg so I did not get scared (I was dangerously close to the edge of the podium). I fed off his energy and brought my body down and he said, “See how far her body goes down.” (I felt my upper body beyond parallel to the floor and my right leg lift to the sky like it has never before, I know I must) “…lock it, lock it, lock the knee.” And for the first time in a year and a half of Bikram practice I went down and locked my knee and came into a full split! It was only for a few seconds but they were the most intense and invigorating seconds of my life. A moment of enlightenment.
As I wore the biggest smile on my face and thanked Bikram, I finally became aware that 400 people have been cheering me on through this surreal moment and that their energy has carried me through my best Standing Bow Pulling yet. I finished that class and that day on the biggest yoga high.
I cannot deny that it was a flattering request but I was more moved by the loving words from people I know and do not know following that class. People were telling me they felt inspired and motivated to try harder for their second set, telling me that to see me do the posture finally made them understand what bringing your body down meant… I feel emotional writing about it right now… Being referred to as inspiring is one of the most beautiful compliments, as a person and more importantly as a teacher.
Although I never doubted it, I knew that day that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing at this exact moment in time.
Love and peace,