A conglomerate of various peoples' experiences during Yoga Teacher Training these past 6 weeks, possibly embellished for comic value. Names may have been changed to protect the identity of the subject.
03.06.2011 - 11.07.2011 36 °C
4:45. My alarm clock goes off and I realize suddendly that I'm on the roof of the yoga center. I could have sworn I had gone back to my room last night after star gazing (it was cloudy). I guess I'm a real Indian now. I decide to do some light stretching before heading downstairs for fennel tea, until I realize that Naval is across the roof staring at me. Oh, shit... yeah, my bra is totally hanging out of my shirt. Not part of the Indian dress code. I get decent, flash Naval a silly morning smile and drag myself to my room, and slip the second I get to the first landing wiping out completely. Yep. I slept through the monsoon last night.
I get to my room and pick up my water bottle, yoga mat, nasal catheter, neti pot, use the bathroom, and leave my room without locking the door. My stomach's been a bit uneasy recently and I don't want to have to fiddle with the lock when I have to run back mid-class to expell last night's dinner. By the time I get my shit together, it's already 5:25. I'm more lethargic than normal today-- guess I should take some spirulina after breakfast. Taking care not to slip on the puddles this time, I tiptoe up to the yoga hall, fill my neti pot up and grab a bunch of napkins (both my nostrils are blocked up today). There are a few other people hanging around cleaning out their nasal passageways. I make my way to the back of the balcony, not trying to make eye contact with anyone while I'm sticking tubes up my nose. Slowly, I inch the red rubber catheter I haven't washed since I got here (Note: it is week 5) up my right nostril. It wont budge. Ugh. Last week I got it up BOTH nostrils, and didn't even gag when I stuck my finger in my mouth to 'catch hold' of the other side. Maybe if I just push a little harder... eh... nope. Not possible. I pull out the meek two centimeters I managed to insert. After blowing my nose violently, I attempted the other side. SWEET! I get it in no problem, and swallow lightly to feel if the tube made it into the back of my throat yet. Oh, it's there all right. So I stick my finger in my mouth to find the other end, ignoring the fact that I'm suddendly oozing from both eyes, drooling all over myself, and immediately feel the gag reflex full on. I fight the urge to puke all over the balcony, tube dangling from my nose as my body lurches forward without my consent. Breathe, I coach myself, just breathe. I don't have the heart to give it a second shot. Plus, I can already hear the "Ohm" resonating from the yoga hall. I'm late. I cut my cleansing short, thread the tube back out my nose, blow once more for good measure, and haul my congested ass inside for class.
Sanjay is not taking it easy on us today. Mantras just ended, and we're already doing upside-down jumping jacks (don't ask, it's a yogi thing). Kevin's got it down. Everyone else has the 'are you fucking serious' look on their face. The aerobic persist for the better part of the class; my mat is just as wet as when I washed it yesterday, except today it's a whole lot saltier. Thank god Alexandra decided to turn the fans on. The rest of the class was pretty typical: Sanjay demostrated peacock pose, palm balance push ups, and a bunch of other poses those of us with girl-arms and western core strength can't do for shit, we all attempted for about 30 seconds and then resigned to child's pose in a mixture of frustration and laughter. I only realized it was 8 o'clock when my stomach started begging me for fresh fruit and muesli. Too bad today we're getting gasoline potatoes and chapati. We chant our 3 "Ohms", coming back to focus just in time to leave the hall.
Breakfast, as predicted, is gasoline potatoes and chapati. I console myself by being the first to order a lemon-ginger-honey tea. We sit around the table, all picking at our trays, waiting for G or Mani to cruise over with our beverages. The quieter of the two comes over with three glasses, placing them in front of everyone at the table except for me without a word. Before I can ask where mine is, he's already teleported himself to his corner of the dining room. Balls! Just as I'm about to go upstairs for Philosphy class, my tea shows up. I say 'shows up' because I literally didn't see it arrive. Someone also clearly went a little overboard with the honey. My taste buds are used to this, though, and I could use the sugar. So I take a few gulps of the warm soothing liquid. A giant wad of ginger makes its way into my mouth. I chew it instinctively, only to start to feel my throat... woooahhhh..... I run back to the buffet to grab another bowl of potatoes to neutralize the flavor. No dice. I fill up my water bottle as a second resort. My mouth still feels like wild ginger fire. No time to ask for milk, it's already 8:50, and class technically started 5 minutes ago. Guess I'll have to suck it up; the flavor usually only lasts an hour or so. Plus, it's good for my digestion.
I'm a bit winded on my way up the last flight of stairs when I spot the poop on the landing. I slow my pace, and after climbing each subsequent stair peer up as far as I can see to check out the situation. Sure enough, sprawled out underneath the skeleton, Roshan's anatomy prop, the culprit naps in the shade. Maybe he's dead, maybe I can sneak past him... nope. After seeing Daniel get chased around the balconies by one of these suckers there's absolutely no way I'm going anywhere near red monkeys. But I'm already late for class, today we're talking about consciousness, and since I never know what Roshan is referring to when he mentions that word I figure it's pretty crucial I attend. Okay, suck it up, just don't look it in the eye. I swallow my fear, remembering all the "Roaring Lion" poses we've done in class (*This is where you sit up straight leaning slightly forward, look up at your eyebrows and roar as loud and aggressively as you can to release anxiety), and harness all that potato-strength to propel myself up the stairs, leap across the landing, throw the doors to the yoga room open, dash inside, and turn around just in time to see the angriest looking monkey I have EVER witnessed collide full on with the glass pane of the doors. HA!! Feeling triumphant, I give it a 'showed you up, bitch!' face and then turn around to see the whole class looking at me. My expression changed instantly from combative to embarrassed. I glue my eyes to the ground, grab a bolster and quietly sit in the corner trying not to draw any more attention to myself.
"Any questions?" Roshan asks.
Jeremy's hand snakes up, "Yes, Roshan. What is consciousness?"
Roshan nods, "We will talk later. Any more questions?"
"Um, Roshan, can we please turn the fans on? " Alexandra asks from behind her row of half-finished chai masalas. Roshan flips every switch on the switchboard, even though there are only three fans.
"I think you have to turn the switch on outside," someone chimes in.
"No. I already checked that one," says Alexandra. She shrugs her shoulders, realizing the power is out and that she will just have to sweat this one out until class ends.
Class resumes without further disruption. We are talking about love all the sudden. "When my wife and I married, it was a love marriage. She went against her family. But in one year the love was gone. Now it is coming back. The wee-cle was understanding," explains Roshan. I look around the room trying to catch someone's eye to ask what a 'wee-cle' is without disrupting the class for an explanation. Dominic is sitting right next to me in half-lotus position, and I go to nudge him, but then realizing he's fast asleep. Everyone else--besides Snow who is sprawled out on her mat in the middle of the room completely passed out--is paying close attention, apparently not confused by the 'wee-cle'. I give up, accepting it as another part of the lecture that will go right over my head, and return to my notebook to copy down the diagram on the board. It says: "Matter-Earth-Body-Organs-Cells-Molecules-Atoms-Energy-Consciousness,".
Before I can get to the "Earth" part of the diagram, Roshan has already moved on. "What is understanding, but awareness? What is awareness, but....?" He waits for an answer.
I hazard a guess: "Consciousness?"
"Energy?" We blurt out without really know what the terms we are mentioning really mean. Roshan shakes his head. Shit, we're dumbasses. "Consciousness!". He writes it on the board with a circle around it. I SAID that, I think to myself. Without a word I write it down in my motorcycle notebook exactly the way it appears on the board, with a giant circle around it.
Jeremy raises his hand, "Roshan, what is consciousness?".
Roshan nods his head as he says, "We will talk later."
It's suddendly 10am. Class officially ended 15 minutes ago. No matter. "Now a story. You know the story of the crazy swami? I think I have told you before, but I will tell you again to end the class with a smile,". With this comment Daniel's eyes open and he sits up to hear about the butcher and the cow and the swami again. The story ends at 10:15. That gives me 15 minutes to cat-nap before anatomy. I curl up in fetal position on my mat, and only wake up because someone is poking me. Must be time for the "Ohms" to begin the next class. Wrong. It's 11:30. I slept through the whole class. Bummer, I was really looking foward to learning about the structure of the Reproductive System.
"Gather yourselves," says Roshan. I scramble to get myself in pretzel position, or as we call it here, 'easy position'. I would have done lotus but it takes me a while to forcefully bend my knees and even then I look retardedly uncomfortable and my feet fall asleep within seconds.
"OOOOOHHHHHHHMMMM," the class chants with abnormally different pitches. We sound like a 3rd grade choir.
"OOOHHHHHMMMMMM," most people have tried to adjust their pitches to match their neighbors, but since no one stuck to their old pitches it sounds even worse than before.
"Ohmmmmmm," says the cow outside, perfectly in tune before we can chant our third. I try to keep a straight face and prepare for the last 'ohm', but there's no holding back the laughter. My pretzel falls apart, my eyes fall open and I topple over in a laughing fit. Luckily the whole class, even Roshan, also lost composure or else I could have counted on my second moment of profound embarrassment for the day.
During the break before lunch, I decide to pull out my laptop to watch some educational videos.
Stay tuned for Part II.