In all the years that I have been attending her class, she has never used music. She explained that some of her students had made the request, so while she didn't love the idea, she was going to practice "flexibility of spirit." Having attended many yoga classes over the years (with and without music), I didn't have a strong opinion about the matter -- that is, until one of my worst nightmares came true while I was in downward-facing dog!
Yoga is a time for me to take a break and get centered ... to calm my mind and challenge my body ... to get a mental vacation from my fast-paced life. So when that horrific excuse for a song, "You're Beautiful" -- by that greasy-haired rat James Blunt (who somehow managed to seduce many hot celebrities) -- flooded over the speakers, I shuddered. But I was determined not to let his whiny voice and the pedantic lyrics disrupt my Zen.
As I flowed through the asanas, I tried to focus on my breathing and not think about that revolting interview I read wherein Blunt bragged that he'd lied to multiple women by telling them that they had been the inspiration for his song ... just to get them into bed.
I felt disgust rise up in me as Blunt whimpered, "You're beautiful, you're beautiful, you're beautiful, it's true ...." I noticed my feelings of anger and tried to breathe out forgiveness as my body flowed through the yoga poses. But I couldn't stop thinking of that stringy, slimy skank as a symbol of everything that is wrong with the male species. And why oh why, I wondered, would my seemingly cool and feminist yoga teacher put this wack song by this creepy dude on her playlist?
"Stop thinking," I told myself. "Release your rage. Breathe."
Then the unimaginable happened: The woman doing yoga next to me began to sing along to the song. Loudly and off-key. God help me.
I considered my options as I heard her squeaky voice merge with Blunt's pathetic warbling to create a nauseating duet. My instinct was to scream, "Shut the f*ck up!" at the top of my lungs, but I figured that probably wouldn't be the most mindful act of compassion. I considered bolting, but dammit, I'd earned my spot! If after all these years of practicing yoga I couldn't change my focus and remain calm, I might as well throw in my yoga mat and take up spinning.
I couldn't resist glaring at the woman as I flowed into Warrior 2. But she was lost in her own fantasy world -- undoubtedly making passionate love to this metrosexual freak on some sandy beach as they both crooned, "I saw your face in a crowded place ...."
Suddenly the instructor bellowed, "Who is that singing?" She walked over to woman standing next to me and scolded her, "Nikola, is that you? Stop singing! I'm flexible, but not that flexible."
Nikola (who shockingly was not a prepubescent girl but a middle-aged woman) sheepishly smiled, unfazed and unashamed -- despite the fact that she had just been publicly humiliated for singing karaoke during a yoga class.
Her eyes were glazed over, since she was still caught up in the fantasy of her rock-star boyfriend passionately embracing her while crooning, "You're beautiful ..." in her ear. And who was I to disrupt her Zen?
But next time, sweetheart, sing silently to yourself. Or, if you have to belt it out, save it for the Beastie Boys or Nirvana!