Bikram Bootcamp?

I have gotten into quite a little routine over at my Bikram yoga studio. I’ve shared parts of my life with certain teachers, and have gotten used to their style of leading the classes. While much of the class is scripted, the words sound different when different people’s energies say things like “bend beyond your flexibility,” or “struggle harder, don’t give up.” Two of my favorite instructors (one who happens to own the studio) have this subtle sense of humor that they infuse into the sessions, and I enjoy when they point out both things we’re doing well and things we can improve on while we’re doing our asanas.

So, much to my surprise, I showed up at my most recent class and there was a teacher I hadn’t yet met. Somewhat disappointed, I made her acquaintance, and headed on in to the studio. I figured, that just like all the other instructors I had experienced, that this class would be pleasantly challenging with a twist of humor.

But I was wrong. Sure I got used to it by the end of class, but her method of delivery was rapid-fire fast and more like a bootcamp drill seargent than a mild mannered yoga instructor. I had heard about bikram’s bent toward a more Crossfit/bootcamp/competition bent, but had yet to experience that in this studio. I’d always felt challenged, but not stupid. And while the instructor never called me out (either good or bad), it was the subtle comments like “party’s over” when we were supposed to be done with the first water break, or actually saying “no water now Amy,” to a woman who was taking a sip right before camel. Good intentions, and a warning I’ve heard before (because it can induce vomiting), but the delivery style felt grating and harsh and shaming.

I didn’t like it.

It’s not enough to keep me from going, though I’m praying that she won’t be scheduled as the regular Thursday Night instructor. While I’m sure I would learn something about myself, my body, perseverance, determination, etc., I’d prefer to do it in a room with a little more humor.


Teaching Feels Different this go-round

I successfully finished my first week as a second year teacher. Technically I’ve taught this course 6 times already, so I shouldn’t be nervous, but there’s always the first day jitters when I meet my fresh crop of students and realize “oh God, I’m going to have to get to¬†know them.” And then I meet them and they are such delightful people in their teenage dysfunction, that I can’t help but smile and then turn around and kvetch with my co-instructor.

This year feels much more relaxed. I haven’t been ‘raging against the machine,’ and have accepted the fact that I am getting paid X amount of dollars on my advising days to be available to advise students. Which translates to getting paid X amount of dollars to sit in my office facebooking. And that I might not make huge structural program changes, but I can get involved in professional development and meet some more faculty on campus that can contribute to my overall development as a teacher. It’s exciting.

One professional development that I’ve gotten involved in is on Coursera, which is a MOOC (massive online open community) where I’m taking a course on being a teacher. And by taking a course I mean I’ve logged in a few times and gotten some good ideas, but haven’t actually done much of the work at all. I’m trying to let my perfectionistic student attitude go and just get some info that’s helpful to teaching my students.

I love standing in front of my class feeling relaxed and like I have enough time to go through my materials, while also getting to know students or going with the flow in class. Current event discussion in my afternoon class went a good 15 minutes, rather than 5. Yay! Meant less time for lecture and that we’ll come back to this material on Tuesday, but so be it, that’s going with the flow! If the students are engaged with the material, they are learning. If they are just sitting through a lesson so I can get a lesson in, then that is boring and lame!

I’m tired at the end of the week, but I am also excited and feel even more invested in teaching this course this time. I am actually having to hold myself back from checking my email on my day off, or grading the papers that I could grade on Monday. That energy is so unusual for me!