We were right in the middle of doing some nice yoga poses, when all of a sudden, this loud blaring music from downstairs at the community center started thumping. It’s not the first time I’ve been in the middle of teaching that this has happened, so I wasn’t overly surprised, but this music was insanely loud. Like, the floor was vibrating and I could barely hear myself speak. We kept going, doing our yoga, sort of being silly and grooving to the beat. I laughed, thinking, “Oh, that person down there has no idea that we are peacefully doing yoga up here, I’ll go down in a minute and let her know that we’re here.” It was only 8:45 in the morning. I was not just teaching yoga, but teaching an Art of Living course, which is a three day program, that was a few hours each day. Yoga stretching was just one part of the class.
We finished up our yoga poses and while everyone was laying down and resting, I walked downstairs to find the source of the noise. Once downstairs, I saw a slightly overweight, middle aged lady wearing a floral print sarong tied around her waist. She had a flower in her hair and a HUGE amplifier for her music to play though.
“Hello!” I said with a smile, “We’re just upstairs doing a yoga and meditation course. The music is so loud, would it be ok if you turn it down a little?”
She did not smile in return. She did not turn the music down. She pursed her lips and then said, “NO! I’m about to have an exercise class and the loud music is part of the class. We ALWAYS have the music loud, if we didn’t have it loud then the class wouldn’t work.”
Wait, hold on while I pick my jaw off the ground… “Are you serious?” I replied “This is a community center, it’s a communal space, I think it’s only fair if we find some way to compromise. I mean, I can’t even hear myself speak!”
Nope… she wasn’t going to turn the music down. She said, “We booked this space and we payed for it, so I’m going to run my class how I always run it.”
“But, I also booked this space and payed for it!” I said. It was no use. She was stubborn as a mule.
I went back upstairs, hoping that maybe she would change her mind. She agreed to reduce the sound until her class started at 9, so we had a few minutes of peace. Then… 9 o’clock and the music started again. Loud, pseudo-Polynesian/island drum music.
We had to do something. It wasn’t just sound in the background, it was impossible to hear the person next to you speaking!
This time, we ALL went down stairs. There were about 5 or 6 woman in her class, all dressed in hula sarongs, swaying their hips to the Polynesian music. They could have easily swayed their hips in the same way, with music that was half of the volume. We all stood there, waiting until finally the song was over. She turned to us, clearly showing us that she was annoyed we interrupted her class. She failed to see the irony that she was actually preventing our class from continuing.
Could you pleeeease turn the music down just a little?! We discussed some more ways that maybe we could find a compromise. One of the ladies in her class looked at me with a stone cold face and said, “You’ll have to take this up with the director, this is not our problem!”
Agh, I was so angry at this point! My blood was boiling! I couldn’t understand how people could be so unwilling to compromise even a little! I felt like saying “People like you are what’s wrong with this world!” haha, oh, but I didn’t.
“But, the director is not here!!! It’s the weekend and we should be adult enough to be able to sort this thing out.” I said. I heard one sane lady pip up in the back of the class, “Oh, can’t we just turn down the music?” But, her voice was overpowered by the other grumpsters clad in hula skirts.
The stubborn exercise lady would not budge. Eventually she said, “Ok, I’ll turn it down a fraction, not that it will make any difference to you!” And that was that.
Oh… what could we do, short of taking her ipod and throwing it off the cliff? We had to make the best of the situation. We took a long toilet break, had a chat, did some activities that were sort of ok with loud thumping music in the background and eventually, her class finished, the peacefulness returned and we finished our class uninterrupted.
I’ve been doing yoga and meditation for 12 years now, and what’s so great about it, is that you really learn to be dynamic in those types of situations. I wasn’t just going to sit there and let her play her loud music and be all la-de-dah. I had to step up. But, once I realized that there was nothing worth fighting over and that this lady was being so stubborn, then I let it go, just like that. If it had been something really serious, of course, I would not have backed down. But, for this, there was just no point in fighting any more. The anger was gone almost as fast as it came on. Just because you mediate every day doesn’t mean that you don’t ever get mad, but it does mean that when you do get upset, the feelings don’t hang around with you for as long. And, for that, I am grateful. I mean, who wants to waste their day being pissed off at a middle aged lady wearing a sarong. Not me!