I spent my first week in India studying Yoga at a college where they study Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a science dating back 6,000 years! And it has proven that every illness, from the common cold to cancer, can be cured with simple, organic herbs that come from the earth. I trained for 7 days with the villagers, learning yoga postures to help people who are sick.
One day, at the end of my studies, my teacher, Dr. Sunitha, took me into a large sunny room where all the students and other teachers were sitting on the floor in a large circle. They were sharing plates of fruit and passing around a microphone, singing songs together! I sat next to a pretty girl who sang a classical Hindi song in a high, clear voice. We all applauded her performance – and then Dr. Haridas came out. Dr. Haridas was the head of the Department of Yoga at the college, and he was a tall, serious man with a raspy voice. He had been reluctant to let me study, even for that week, because I was the first foreigner to attend the college! But today, he took the microphone and, speaking in Malayalam, he introduced me to the whole group and told them that I was an American yoga teacher interested in learning Ayurveda. He also told them that I could act and sing – and he handed me the microphone. Everyone clapped and cheered and asked me to sing! Of course I didn’t speak Hindi or Malayalam, so I shyly asked them, “English?” into the microphone – to eager applause.
So I sang ‘Losing My Religion’ by REM to a clapping group of fellow yoga students.