Recently, I was in attendance at a very small class. There were four or five of us plus the instructor. All of us were experienced, and so we asked the instructor if she wanted to practice with us and do a silent class. She agreed and ran out for a second to put some different clothes on.
While we waited, someone asked if everyone would be ok with playing music. Two people agreed playing music while we practices was fine, but I said no. I explained that I had once taken a class at another studio – about four months ago – and they played music there (not a Bikram place). I had not enjoyed it at all. The two students who wanted the music asked me some questions and said they understood what I was talking about, but this would be different. They said it would be more new agey music with no lyrics and nothing contemporary (for the record, in the class I took with music we listened to a range of styles including U2).
I still said no. I said I didn’t like the music, and I didn’t want the music. And even though one person told me I was passing judgement when I hadn’t experienced music in a Bikram class (and also that I was being very rigid in my thinking). I still said no.
Hey, you asked me if I wanted music. I answered honestly.
But here’s my overall thinking on this whole let’s listen to music in Bikram when class is going to be silent:
(a) first, by silent class I mean that the instructor practices with us and calls the postures. there is no dialogue.
(b) Bikram doesn’t have music. That’s not how it’s intended. Of course, it’s also intended to have dialogue, but we all agreed to the no dialogue thing for that class. So if we had all agreed to the music thing then fine, but we didn’t. I didn’t come to class to listen to music.
(c) for me, a huge appeal of a silent class is silence. I know, crazy, right? I want to be in the silence with myself. Silence can be unsettling. I am not saying that is why people wanted music. I just recognize that silence forces me to engage more with myself. If music is on, I can use the music as a distraction. If I am uncomfortable in a posture then the music can be something for me to focus on. I don’t have to engage with any type of discomfort if I don’t want to. This can happen in any class, but I think the music adds a layer of distraction that is not normally present. I don’t need additional layers of distraction added.
That’s really the reason why I didn’t want music. Of course, I could not articulate that at the time. I figured it out once we got into class. All I could articulate was that I didn’t like it. But I used the silence to reflect on why I didn’t like music, and what I wrote above is what I figured out. So it’s not about being rigid or judgey. It’s about my right to come to class and engage with my practice without a layer of distraction on top. And I think that’s what the music would bring.
What are your thoughts on music in class?