Apparently the zumba class room was likewise out of order as the zumba class was also setting up in the gym, separated from the yoga class by a vast curtain that ran, floor to ceiling, down the middle of the gym. So we had our half and the zumbas had theirs.
Now, for the uninitiated, zumba, as far as I can tell from the snippets of classes I've peeked in on while hanging around the Y, is an aerobics workout to music with a fast and conspicuous beat. The morning zumba classes at the Y are always pretty crowded with of a mix of young working-at-home moms and golden-ish gals like myself, shaking it up, down, and all around, probably burning calories to beat the band.
We of the yoga persuasion, on the other hand, prefer to slowly expend what calories we may to the softer rhythms of Indian chanting and sitar music.
But it's all good. Except, as it turned out, when we have to share space.
No sooner had we rolled out our yoga mats and started our first asana, sitting cross-legged on the floor, eyes closed, arms resting on our knees, our hands forming little mudras circles, when our soft, peaceful mood music was blasted away by the loud booming of the zumbas' rap music.
I think it wasn't so much that their music, loud as it was, was ear-shattering - I'd say it was a good one or two decibels short of painful - as that the vast acoustics of the gym caused the sound to expand, amplify, and reverberate off the floor, walls and ceiling, engulfing the whole place in a roiling sea of rap music. Which I guess is how the zumbas like it.
Me, I felt like my ears, eyes, nose, and teeth were filled with noise. I couldn't hear our yoga teacher's instructions and I certainly couldn't think.
And then it hit me: Hey, I can't think ... which means I'm finally doing what I'm supposed to be doing in yoga class: not thinking!
Yoga is meant to be a meditative experience, in which lies a good part of its benefit...provided one can shift one's mind into a meditative state, which I never can. No matter how I try I can never flip the "off" switch in my brain, not even during yoga class, at the beginning of which our teacher tells us to put our minds for the next hour between the last thought and the next thought. Those of my yoga classmates who can achieve the state of non-thinking say they come out of it feeling refreshed, as if they've gone on vacation for an hour.
And now here I was, finally not thinking, not able to think, all my thoughts blown away by the zumbas' rap music.
And yet my mind, though thought-free, was not empty. My brain-space was now being occupied by the image of a rapper, complete with sunglasses, diamond earrings, gold teeth and jewelry, a backwards baseball cap, low-slung gym shorts, hit-top sneakers and a turned-around baseball cap.
While the zumbas' music blaired I took visual cues from our teacher and flowed through my sun salutations, chatarungas, warrior poses and down-dogs, blissfully thought-free, the rapper in my mind singing and moving to the music and making those hand gestures, you know, with the two middle fingers bent.
Then a song came on with a solid boom, boom, boom beat, and the rapper was now marching through my brain spaces banging on a big bass drum.
When a samba song came on with a fast boom-chaka, boom-chaka rhythm my rapper started dancing a samba and his rapper-dude clothes transformed into a frillly-sleeved, bell-bottomed satin samba-dancer's outfit, complete with a Carmen Miranda turban piled high with grapes and bananas.
About halfway through the class our mild-mannered, gentle-natured ex-football-player yoga teacher left our class and entered the zumba class. A moment later the volume of their music dropped so drastically that we in the yoga class were once more enveloped in our soothing Indian music.
My mental rapper disappeared and I started thinking again.
But about five minutes later the zumbas must have decided to stand their ground, as the volume once more soared and the strains of "Zoot Suit Rocker" blasted to the stratosphere.
And here was my rapper again, now dressed in a checkered zoot suit with a fedora hat, gold watch and two-toned shoes and jitterbugging the thoughts out of my brain.
And so it went for the rest of my thought-free yoga-zumba class.
Now, this whole experience for me begs a question which I'd like to pose to my sister Romaine who is pursuing a degree in counseling:
Is there such a thing as noise therapy?