The Bikram Trainee Experience First Hand | Let's See What it Takes!

A while back we wrote ablog post about her 1st week of being at the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. Today, we are lucky enough to have Annie share her journey to becoming a Bikram Teacher!Over the next 9 weeks, Annie will be blogging about her training experience.Meet Annie!

Annie Diaz
Annie Diaz

Who am I?

My name is Annie Diaz and here is a little about myself:

  • Surfer girl at heart.  Here is a glimpse of my life in the water: http://freedomridinghawaii.com/team/annie/
  • Born in Miami (Cuban).
  • I lived in Hawaii for 5 years (North Shore, Oahu).  I moved to Newport Beach last summer.
  • I fell in love with the hot room 3 years ago and made a personal goal to attend Bikram Teacher Training some day.
  • I'm a studio owner in progress!  My long-term objective is to open my own Bikram Studio.
  • Adios corporate ladder, but thanks for teaching me about business!  Pharmaceutical rep to Bikram Yoga Instructor.  I want to spread Yoga, not pharmaceuticals.
  • I LOVE yoga, the ocean, being FIT and life.

Corporate Suit vs. Hot Yoga Shorts

Structure.

I turned 30 last August.  So, what have I done in the past 10 years?  I earned my degree in Marketing and Advertising from F.I.U.  My academic passions were more in line with “exercise physiology” or “nutrition,” but I went after the most promising paycheck—a business degree.  I’ve have held some sort of well-paying, structured, stressful job since I was 19.  Like most 2nd generation Cuban families, everything you have comes from a lot of elbow grease.  There aren’t any trust funds.  Success was my top priority in my early 20’s.  I became a pharmaceutical sales rep at 21—a dream come true at the time.  I began building the structure in my life, which was very important to me.

Freedom. 

This is on Oahu, HI near one of my favorite body surfing beaches (Sandy's).  Standing bow is not as easy without a warm up and the hot room!  I am determined to completely lock out in standing bow by the end of training.  Let's see how I do!
This is on Oahu, HI near one of my favorite body surfing beaches (Sandy's). Standing bow is not as easy without a warm up and the hot room! I am determined to completely lock out in standing bow by the end of training. Let's see how I do!

It wasn’t long before I started seeking the Freedom element of my life.  I started surfing in Miami around 12.  There’s nothing I love more than the ocean and surfing. Miami is just about the worst place for any surfer to live because it’s usually flat.  At 25, I asked for a job transfer to Hawaii.  Hawaii would allow me the structure of my corporate job in an environment that was easy to maintain freedom and passion through surfing.  I surfed before and after work every day—and that was the ultimate dream (or so it was at the time).  Hawaii led me through endless lessons about nutrition, purpose, happiness and the bigger picture.

Passion.

Once again, I wondered if I could make my life even better.  What if I found a profession that I had Passion for?  As news about the pharmaceutical industry unveiled a very ugly side of prescription medications and over-prescribing, I became less interested in persuading physicians to prescribe my drugs.  Quite frankly, I just didn’t feel right about the whole thing.  I felt that my job was completely self-serving and directly contributing to a big monster (people feeling that they need medications).  How was I making my mark as an individual?  Where is my purpose?  Did I really want to be a pharm rep forever?  How could I design a profession that gave me freedom, purpose AND high income?  I spent 5 years contemplating those questions.  Yes, it took me FIVE years to get here.  What a process it has been—and still will be.  In December 2011, I finally made the decision to register for Spring 2012 teacher training.  Two weeks ago, I resigned from pharma.  In three days, I begin a journey that is fueled by passion, purpose, intention, hope and $20K to my name.  Sound scary?  You bet it’s scary.  But it’s also the best thing I could have ever done for myself.  I am sure of that.  I won’t make the income I’m used to this year, but I am ok with that.  I might not ever make the same amount of money, but that’s not what this is about.  I’m following my passions.  Just maybe…success will follow.

Does this girl think she’s all that?

Matt and I hiked The Narrows in Zion National Park last year.  The river was frozen in most parts.  We rented dry suits, so we could hike through the freezing water temperature and snow.  There wasn't a single person there on the entire trail.  It was closed due to avalanches, so we had to sneak in (not so bright, I know).  It was an amazing adventure
Matt and I hiked The Narrows in Zion National Park last year. The river was frozen in most parts. We rented dry suits, so we could hike through the freezing water temperature and snow. There wasn't a single person there on the entire trail. It was closed due to avalanches, so we had to sneak in (not so bright, I know). It was an amazing adventure

I call it a curse.  I’m obsessed with business ideas.  I’m sure it can be annoying for friends to listen to me blab about my newest “Zuckerbergian” idea (Mark Zukerburg—the genius who invented Facebook).  But sometimes, it works out quite well—like my affiliation with Mika. I'd like to thank you Mika for providing me with the opportunity to do this guest blog series and providing me with my outfits for the training!

I want to make something clear—I am NOT the best Bikram yoga trainee.   I’m “okay” at yoga.  Flexibility is not my forte, but that’s exactly why I NEED yoga in my life (and why I like a very hot room…lol).  I am, however, extremely passionate about yoga and making the best out of this life.  I am just like any other Bikram trainee.  We are all going to training for unique reasons.  No one is better or worse.

I want to hear from YOU!

I’m apologizing in advance for symptoms of yoga brain over the next 9 weeks.  Updating this my blog once a week (on Sundays) will be a great outlet for me, but I know I will be incredibly fatigued at times.  It’s my goal to provide useful information that’s somewhat entertaining to read.  If you like me, hate me, want me to write about a particular topic or just have questions about training, please feel free to contact me directly anytime.  I love new friends on facebook and I want to hear your stories too, so don’t be shy (search Annie Gloria Diaz).   I’m very open, so ask away.

What has helped me so far

The facebook forum for Bikram trainees.  There is a ridiculous amount of information exchanged on this forum.  It’s also been a great way to meet other trainees and teachers. Finding a roommate.  The facebook forum was the best tool for this.  I wrote to a few people that looked like a good match for me.  We asked each other questions like, “Do you snore?” “Are you clean?” “How old are you?” “Do you have kids or are you married?”  It’s easy to get a feel for someone by the photos or interactions they have on FB.  Amy Bergen is my roommate and she is AWESOME.  LOVE her.  I feel like we are already very good friends. Room alone?  I thought about getting a room all to myself, but I think the roommate factor is a very important component of the experience. Dialogue.  My best advice is to learn it before training.  I can’t say that I’ve taken my own advice though…lol.  Some people know the entire thing already and some haven’t memorized a word.  I am almost finished with the standing series.  It has not been sinking in easily with the whirlwind of personal changes going on.  I know it will be easier when I’m around 400+ people reciting dialogue in their sleep. Talk to as many people as possible.  That’s pretty much my go-to rule for many things I want to learn more about.  Pick out people you look up to and ask them to mentor you.  Before each yoga class, ask the teacher to keep an eye on you and welcome his/her critiques.  Some people will help and some won’t.  Bikram can be a little competitive. We are all going to be searching for jobs when we graduate, so that’s how it goes. Remind yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place.  It can be easy to forget the initial excitement if you’re giving up a lot (like a career). Talk to people that are positive and supportive about your decision.  Do you know how many times I’ve heard, “Why would you quit your job to become a yoga instructor?  There’s no money in yoga.”  Everyone has a different set of values.  When you surround yourself with people who are supportive, you’re going to love your decision that much more. Read every blog you can. This was the most useful list I’ve found (from Steve Havner, Bikram teacher): https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=323692637690402Don’t overstretch.  I’m just getting over two injuries from pushing it too hard, too soon (pulled groin and strained knee).  I am naturally muscular, tight and extremely competitive.  I’m starting to learn how to listen to my body and breathe into my practice (rather than using strength).

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We want to wish Annie & all of the trainees the best of luck... you are all in for an unforgettable wild ride! <3 & Happiness being sent your way:)