“Ohm Away From Ohm”: Part 5

Five: The Throat
The fifth chakra controls communication, including our speech and knowledge. It is where we express truth.

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The Indian monsoon was due in July. Us wishful travellers arrived to a hot climate, with a cool mountain breeze, and absolutely clear skies everyday. Perfection. By the middle of June, dark ominous clouds that looked out of an apocalyptic film rolled in, and the temperature dropped overnight. The monsoon rain was different than English or American rain. It was loud, constant, and demanded to be noticed. All the buildings had tin roofs, which smartly amplified the pounding rain. Only an issue when I couldn’t sleep or we were trying to listen to a lecture. The village lost electricity almost once a day. Our teachers romantically taught us by candle light, and comically had to shout over the rain. These dark mornings were strangely some of my favourites; we put on layers, hung our wet socks to dry, huddled under Tibetan blankets, and sipped hot chai.

One day I was reflecting on the whole India experience, especially my struggle at the beginning. Sat against the cool wall of the yoga studio, I told Sareet I had a really tough time adjusting and was just now starting to feel okay in India. She replied, “But this isn’t really India? So what are you really struggling with?” I had no idea if this village and our school was truly India. But I could see immediately that she was right in a sense; our paradise in the mountains had so little of the Indian madness down below. What I saw glimpses of in Mcleod Ganj. And the place was a mecca for spirituality, a perfect place to come, to question, to re-find one’s self. I was forced to admit my struggles had always been more about myself than about India.

The time had come to prove what we had learned at school. I nervously prepared to teach, choosing basic poses and trying to add some exciting things to stand out. But teaching was surprisingly hard. My heart was beating so fast, standing in front of everyone, waiting for me to tell them what to do. It was especially difficult to keep a calm voice. I was, after all, teaching yoga; it’s meant to be somewhat relaxing. But I passed, we all passed. I received lots of compliments on my class – that I shyly accepted, but didn’t quite believe. And that was my own journey as a teacher; to try to ignore my ego when it’s being mean, and trust in what I’ve learned.

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By Madeleine Kelsey Levine