Madwa and Chytmaya: Yoga Instructors
Bittersweet. That’s the feeling as I write my last blog post from Agonda Beach. This is the culmination of what has undoubtedly been one of the best months of our lives. We have made the best friends, eaten the best food, discovered a deeper level of peace and happiness, and completed the first step in our journey by becoming certified yoga teachers.
On Wednesday we took our final exams and were officially initiated into the yoga teaching community. The first day of class we had a fire ceremony to initiate us into the course. To close out the course and initiate us as yoga instructors we had another fire ceremony, bringing our experience full circle. With everyone looking radiant dressed in all white, we chanted one of our morning mantras (the mantras may sound religious but yoga and religion are separate) and made our offerings to the fire.
Om tryambakam yajamahe
Mrtyormuksyia ma mrtat.
(We offer our worship to the three-eyed Lord Siva who enhances prosperity. May he liberate us from the bondage of death like the watermelon (which effortlessly separates from the vine); may he not let us turn away immortality.)
With the conclusion of the fire ceremony, we were called up one by one to receive our certificates and learn our Sanskrit names from Keshava. We all provided Keshava with our given names, birth date, location, and time and he discovered what our traditional Sanskrit names would have been (I’m not sure about the complete method, just that it incorporates astrology). Everyone’s Sanskrit name has a profound meaning, like eternal bliss, peaceful one, or contentment, but it is hard to top mine. For I am Madwa: sustainer of the universe. And Gabe is Chytmaya: full of consciousness. (Tara’s is Purnavidya, which coincidentally sounds like porn video, a perfect fit for her.) We all cheered as out fellow friends accepted their certificates with beaming smiles and headed to the beach for pictures.
A graduation calls for a major celebration and Gabe and I know how to throw a helluva party, so we rented out our favorite restaurant Rama for the night to host the ensuing shitshow. Armed with fireworks, a bonfire, guitars, drums, speakers, and an array of alcohol, we met up for a buffet style dinner. With alcohol flowing like the Ganges, everyone let loose and strutted their stuff on the sandy dance floor. Surrounded by beautiful girls (both inside and out) eager to share a dance, we lost ourselves in this waking dream. The dancing proved infectious as the teachers, locals, and even two adorable little girls joined our dance troupe.
The two little girls, Jane and Jessica, took a liking to the hand drums we had brought so I showed them how to play and added my rhythm to the music. The little girl Jessica followed me around to the bonfire where we sat and playfully pretended to be gorillas and had a slow motion kung fu battle, which ended with me succumbing to a lethal Austin Powers style cheeto chop to the throat. The two little girls partied hard but just weren’t quite on our level, eventually calling it a night passed out on Jess’s guitar.
As the night evolved, I found myself skinny-dipping in the sea with my good friend Christina. It was her first time ever skinny-dipping, a fact that blew my mind coming from a university where skinny dipping in the river was a weekly activity. Gazing up at the stars, rising and falling with the tide, listening to the music coming from the beach, I was lost in a trance that lasted all night. With all these beautiful people around in the special location that is Agonda beach, it’s hard not to end the night well.
There’s a grooving song by the Knocks called “R.O.Y.L.” with a hook that sums up the night better than I ever could: “I promise you that you’ll remember tonight for the rest of your life.” I most certainly will.