India: Yoga Week 4

I made it! After four weeks of four-hour-a-day yoga sessions, numerous downright insanely boring lectures, meditations, moldy hair, fungus between each and every toe, skin like that of a sixteen-year-old movie theatre attendant, multiple binges on smuggled peanut butter cookies, and, ironically, a loss of approximately 10 pounds, I MADE IT! I am an official yoga teacher!

Cooking lessons from Mrs. Mandlik. Posted by Picasa

After our much-needed evacuation from the hurricane in the hills around the ashram, we returned last Tuesday afternoon to weather the storms and make it through one more week. The weather had not necessarily improved, but at least we had power and running water. Wednesday was our final exam on our advanced asanas…I was pleased to learn that I placed 5th place out of the forty other students. Thursday and Friday were the trial lessons to prepare us for our final examination…to teach a one-hour yoga class. Chris decided last week that he wanted to leave the course early because of a job position in Korea, so after conducting his lesson early Thursday morning, I gave him a big hug goodbye before he headed off the Bombay. My Japanese roommate, Yuri, also left that morning, and as Cecilia had gone into town, I had the entire bungalow to myself to plan for my trial lesson.

Friday afternoon I conducted my trial lesson to my group of seven others…I thought it was absolutely brilliant, and was shocked to discover that I scored a 138 out of 200…I got the highest score of anyone else in my group, but all the other groups were scoring at well above 150 or 160. It did not take long to realize that our examiner was way too tough. When I asked him about it, he said, “We are not making good teachers, we are making perfect teachers.” Allrighty, then…can’t argue with that!

Some of the staff at the ashram. Posted by Picasa

I spent Saturday afternoon in town, checking email and enjoying a final day off before my final exam. Sunday afternoon was spent planning and preparing, and I gave my lesson at 4:30. This time I thought I was complete crap, but the examiner said it was “much better”. Whatever. At any rate, I knew I had passed, and it felt amazing to know that I was finished!!! Sunday was the final day of lessons, and Monday was spent packing. That evening, we had a graduation ceremony in the main yoga hall. We all received our certificates (I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to put my photo on the certificate!), and after a painful speech from the Guru-Ji himself, we imbibed in a special buffet dinner prepared by many of the students. I ate until I nearly burst, and after an hour or two watching some dance performances, I headed to my moldy bed for a final, restful sleep.

This morning Hayli, Sarah, Cecilia, and I had a cold breakfast of last night’s leftovers before catching a taxi to the train station. After discovering with dismay that our 10:00 am train would be delayed until 12:30 pm, we hung out in the ladies’ waiting room, playing cards and reading until our train arrived. I only discovered as we were boarding that our train tickets were “Waiting List”. I told ther girls to jump in whatever coach, which turned out to be a fine example of bottom-class sleeper, floors and seats complete with ankle-deep water, all types of fruit juice and rinds, and curious Indians. Five amusing hours later, we arrived in Bombay to heavy rains and flooded streets. We will be here only until 11:00pm tonight, when we board a train bound for the beaches of Goa. However, we will be getting on that train with satisfied tummies, as we have made dinner reservations at a swanky restaurant in Colaba…I am looking forward to a rich meal, wine, and dessert! And I am really looking forward to being at the beach in less that twenty-four hours!!

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