Today, I was discussing with some fellow teachers about what music to play in Savasana. Some liked to play mantras or soft music to block outside noises, but I have always preferred sitting in silence at the end of my practice. It doesn’t make much sense to me that I would play some louder noise to distract from the already present noise. Isn’t it a greater practice of surrender if we just listen to what’s going on around us at the moment? If I can’t sit in peace when a truck drives by or when a high-heeled lady stomps down the hall, what hope is there for me to have peace ANYWHERE?
My teen class I teach is held at a dance studio in a gym, directly adjacent to a football locker room. Everyday, as I am beginning my “Yoga as Meditation” class, the football team is getting dressed for practice. They like to play a little rap or dance music to get psyched up. Usually, they are done by the time I am five minutes into class so it isn’t really disruptive to me or the students. Today, as usual, the music came and went, we finished class, and began to rest in Savasana. I start to talk about my conversation I had earlier about silence. We hear noise, interpret it as something that shouldn’t be there, and it creates stress. To have the belief that we have to be in a perfectly quiet room to be at peace means to have the belief that peace can only be attained under certain perfect circumstances. If we believe that, peace can never come from within; it can only be granted by some other party upon the few lucky ones. It’s a pretty dismal view, and it’s surprising how many of us believe it. How many times do we place contingencies on our own well being? We need more money, the right friends, a better partner, more time. Yeah, when we get all of THAT then we will be at peace.
Suddenly, this song begins blasting in the next room. Dr. Dre. Full on, explicit lyrics version, bass vibrating the walls Dr. Dre. I stifle my laughter at the irony of the situation, and I look around the room expecting to see fifteen teenagers cracking smiles. They were all silent and motionless. Okay, I’m pretty sure 30% of them were asleep, but they looked peaceful. This is why I keep practicing and teaching yoga. It isn’t about getting flexible or trying to get into handstand. It can turn something previously felt as annoying into an opportunity to be the calm in the storm. Being calm while loud, unexpected music is playing doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can transfer into every aspect of your life. You don’t need the perfect circumstances for peace. You don’t need the right job. You don’t even need the perfect partner. You don’t even need the right time. It’s always here. Peace isn’t granted; it’s practiced.