30 Bananas a Day!

I'm seeing something happening here on 30BaD that makes me nervous...

I am a certified Bikram yoga teacher. When I got my certification 7 years ago, Bikram was just starting to really super-emphasize "the dialog," the written script for teaching his classes. Most of the senior teachers who led our teacher training had never had to learn "the dialog" in order to be certified, and they taught us how to be creative and spontaneous within the dialog, how to use it as a tool, and how to adapt it to the needs of the individual students we had in our classes. When I got home and taught my first class, the studio owner came out of the room afterwards and said, "Babe, that was great! Now forget the dialog and start to teach."

During the past 7 years, there has been more and more emphasis on the dialog in teacher training. Many of the older teachers no longer come to teacher training, or they have now become so converted over to it that they demand no less than 100% perfect dialog, as though reading it, from new teachers in their own studios, and so they teach 100% perfect dialog in teacher training. New teachers coming out of training pride themselves on how accurate their dialog is in the classroom, and continue to teach 100% dialog well into their teaching career.

Bikram himself has said, "anyone who is still doing 100% dialog after 1 1/2 years of teaching is a f____ idiot." He is not ALL ABOUT THE DIALOG, and when he teaches new students, or injured students, or people who need advancing, or people who need more help, he doesn't stick to his own dialog, nor does he expect his teachers to.

The problem is that the new devotees take the information, become blinded to outside influences, and become more hard-core than the teacher, in an effort to emulate the teacher. But the teacher requires compassion, requires a lot of patience, and requires the understanding that people will struggle, they will falter, and they will need guidance outside of the set box.

This is what I'm seeing on 30BaD. The "rules" of 811 are flexible, as they have to be, because everyone needs their own journey. The "teacher" of 811, Doug Graham, is very flexible and looks to work with people one-on-one and makes allowances for everyone's transition. He even makes some allowances for himself!!

Let's not become more hard-core than the teacher. if you want to live more hard-core for yourself, that's wonderful, go for it, and be the light and the inspiration. But when it comes to advice, guidance, teaching - be the light, be the inspiration, and know that everyone has their own journey. It's a fine line between discipline and judgment, and the line is where you stop making it personal. you love the person you are working with, even if their behavior has disappointed you. You don't judge, you don't put your life super-imposed onto theirs, and you just keep supporting them. it's not easy, but it is essential.

I'm writing this in response to how sad I am that RGG has left the community. She was a light and an inspiration, and will be greatly missed. It was both her success and her struggles that made her such a joy, not how hard-core or how perfectly 811 she could be. The fact that she found ways to make 811 work for her that were not "perfect" or "hard core" showed the rest of us how we could be flexible during our transitions. her honesty about dabbling in drugs, alcohol and cooked food showed a huge vulnerability that we could all relate to. I myself have been more than dabbling in cooked food - I have been using cooked food like a drug, like alcohol, and I have been struggling harder than ever to quit. But I have to recognize that cooked food is part of my journey and that my struggle is part of my journey. Every time I struggle, I hope that whatever I learn from it may someday be of value to somebody else.

The rules of 811 are pretty simple, and yes, they do apply to everyone. Our dietary needs aren't different. But our paths are different. What we need emotionally, what we need mentally, how we process information, that's all different. It makes our journeys different. So it makes our transitions different, makes how we do these simple rules vastly different. Our excuses are different, our obstacles are different, and how we get to the end goal is going to be different, even if we're doing the exact same thing. So let's not focus on doing the exact same thing, but on loving each other on the way to the goal.

Come back, Neety. We need you here.

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Comment by Nic on November 23, 2012 at 7:45am

just saying: Bikram is a complete and utter asshole (now). I'm aware that, in previous years, he was a good person, very spiritual, blah blah. but now? nope. he's completely homophobic, racist, sexist, and anti-vegetarian and anti-health. a few relatives and friends did the teacher training, and let me tell you...it was AWFUL. also, one of the women is trying to sue Bikram because she was kicked out for being black.  Bikram has really gone bonkers recently, so whatever he's saying about the dialogue could be, well... some crazy talk. just a heads up! 

Bikram is a bad, bad person. I love the yoga, but not the person. 

Comment by Anne on September 7, 2009 at 9:28am
Well said. RGG was always inclusive of everyone here, the same respect is owed her.
Comment by Kait on September 7, 2009 at 6:27am
this is all so true, raw is the new yoga in many respects.

Because of the general attitude of many raw leaders and pretentious people within the local community, many people have this image of what all raw vegans are like, and how closed-minded and judgemental they are of SADers. It's pre-emptively isolating to both parties. I've always considered 30bad to largely be the exception to this attitude, offering a welcoming environment and non-judgemental advice for those just starting out.
I just hope we can all strive to keep things here as open and as real as I know this community to be!
Comment by lille mango on September 7, 2009 at 1:21am
Very well said! Thank you! I hope Rgg will read this!
Comment by Laurie on September 7, 2009 at 12:28am
Perfect, Rebecca--very well put.


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