I’m on the beach at Kovalam watching the sun set on India for the final time. I recognise a middle-aged couple from the Sivananda ashram standing in the shallows watching the sun too. They both wear silver om necklaces and look sun kissed.
I walk towards them and they welcome me like a long lost friend. We didn’t speak once at the ashram. They say in broken English that they speak no English. I tell them that I leave for London tomorrow morning. They leave for Berlin in two day’s time.
She mimes singing and points at me. They must have heard me leading a chant during satsang. “Sing… engel” she says pointing at me. She points to her forearm and mimes what can only be goosebumps. “Singing… engel” she says again. She beams at me and touches my arm tenderly.
I thank her for such a wonderful compliment and we part. I continue to walk along the beach letting each wave wash over my feet. Tears spring from my eyes. India is beautiful. Whatever you offer to Her, she returns it ten-fold.
I walk further along the beach. The glamorous girl who played terrible Russian pop music in the dorm is sitting on the beach watching the scene. We wave to each other from afar.
Groups of Indian boys throw sand at each other and boldly ask me how I am. Young couples in love take photos of one another. Indian women in drenched salwar kameez sit on sun loungers waiting for their daughters to finish playing in the water.
Stephen from the ashram is throwing a frisbee in the air, trying to catch it. He goes to the Putney Sivananda Centre from time to time and lives in Plymouth. He talks enthusiastically about how yoga saved him from an unfulfilling life down the pub. “Pubs contain such dark energy, don’t you think?”
Thinking about my time away since July, my goal was to practice and increase my knowledge of yoga and I certainly feel like I’ve achieved that.
From my five weeks in Koh Samui with Michel Besnard and the gang, I learnt so much about Ashtanga yoga, my own body and about other types of yoga such as Yin and Acro. My teaching will never be the same again.
The Absolute Yogis
I learnt what it means to be ‘yo-glam‘ on Koh Phang An, and I can now give Thai Massage based on the time I spent in Chiang Mai.
Koh Phang An gang
Thai massage girlies
I was also glad to have the opportunity to catch up with my yoga buddy Sherylee and her husband in Sri Lanka.
Three on a motorbike: with Sherylee and Brett
During the two months I’ve been in India, I witnessed the madness of Osho’s glitzy ashram and felt Amma’s love through her ‘darshan’ or blessing. In Goa I was barked at for two weeks doing Iyengar and I got to see the big man himself in Pune.
Hangin’ in Goa
I’ve had a go at learning the harmonium and gained insight into the daily life of an Indian family courtesy of Babaji and the Dhabolkars in Arambol, Goa.
And I ended it all back where it started in 2009 in the Sivananda ashram in Kerala. It was wonderful to share some of it with my Mum and Dad and my sister.
With Mum and Dad in Kerala
With Kaths in Thailand
The sun has set and it’s time for my final meal. I feel sad but happy and blessed to have had this entire experience. I know I’ll be back. India does that to you. The yoga helps too. It certainly brings people together.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog while I’ve been away. Thank you for all the comments, encouragement and the personal emails prompted by my witterings.
From next year I’ll continue to write about yoga related things. Have lovely Christmases and New Years and remember to stay positive and follow your dreams.
Hari om tat sat.