Bindi, Bandha, Bad Student

Well, I’ve done it. I chanted in front of our entire class (under duress, SOBER!!!), pissed off my teachers, almost pissed myself laughing, and had my yoga-mates in stitches.

This was in no way intentional, but man did it ever hit the spot. Bull’s eye.

For the past two weeks, in groups of three, we’ve had to start off the yoga day (before sunset, in front of 30 + classmates and our teachers) leading hour-long choreographed chanting, breathing and meditation routines.


When my turn came, I managed to get out of the chanting bit by leading the meditation segment, but that’s where my luck ended. I’ve mentioned my visceral aversion to chanting in previous posts, so no need to revisit the topic.

I’m tonedeaf and apparently have allergic reactions to choirs. Let’s leave it that.

Last week we began our practicums, teaching groups of eight or nine of our peers, while the teachers evaluate and give us constructive feedback. (All of them except Lalit, our Hindu Hitler master monk / teacher, but that subject deserves a post of its own. Stay tuned).

I loooooooove the practicums, and am itching to get back and start teaching real classes.

At the end of our practicums, we have to make our students chant a mantra, and that’s where my boner dies.

I’m okay with 3 ommmms and 3 shantis, but that’s where I draw the line. Having tried (and failed) to get out of the actual cucumber chants (see earlier posts), I did attempt to read the words I can’t pronounce or understand off a sheet, only to start a chain reaction of giggles (initiated by me)….

They were warned. No good could come of this.

So, fast-forward to Saturday afternoon, after a particularly torturous end-of-week philosophy class when people were falling asleep…

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…contemplating quitting yoga….


…and just wilting away from heat, boredom and exhaustion…

All of a sudden, it’s time for the closing headliner/chanter!!! We all looked around (myself included) to find out who the next victim was…. Apparently it was me! I had no idea, and I was completely unprepared.

Thankfully, Stacy gave me her chanting sheet with all the Sanskrit words written out phoenetically, and up to the front I went.

What happened next is kind of a blur, but one of my friends had sharp instincts and a quick iPhone thumb, so you can see for yourself.

I went to the front and I sat down to do my penance…


…I started chanting (more like croaking), and I started cracking up…


…I tried really, really hard not to laugh…


…and (clearly) failed. Soon I was laughing and chanting so hard I was crying…


…my yoga peers joined in, as did the philosophy teacher sitting next to me (look closely at the pictures, and you’ll see her trying to stay centered and serious, and obviously failing as well).


When it was over, I namaste’d them through tears,


…went back to my seat…


…and we were released for our 1.5 day weekend.


The Indian teacher at the back of the class (supervising our postures) was PISSED and was throwing dagger stares at the lot of laughing yoga inmates , but by this point no one could stop laughing. She could do nothing. She lost control of us, and was none too pleased.

The reactions of my yoga inmates was amazing, and I got many thank-yous, high-fives, and congratulations. Apparently it was a memorable moment in yoga school history, and it released a whole lot of something in most of us.

Probably because this place sucks all the fun out of yoga, and they expect us to be so serious and sombre all the time. It’s like we’re in a monastery, which also explains why we run away from the compound every chance we get.

I felt so fucking good afterwards, like all the tension that had been building up over the past few weeks was suddenly set free, and I felt, well… LIBERATED!!!! And somehow, much lighter. Chant-purged, if you will.


And, finally my question from two weeks ago was answered: what would it take to send me over the edge and make me cry?

Turns out it wasn’t the carbs after all. It was the fucking chanting. Hallelujah!

Or should I say, namaste?

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