Originally Published October 20, 2008

Its funny, I have been teaching 5 yoga classes a week for the past several months and it seems as though my time to practice has been quite limited. I have made a point to practice in the yoga studio (alone) after my Wednesday morning class. It always seemed like a good idea…there were no classes for at least an hour and a half after mine and the yoga room at Soho is beautiful….its funny how challenges in coexistence can occur even in the most unexpected places.

My first time practicing in the room, I was uninterrupted…so I thought…this is brilliant! Great space, no distractions, music and the great sounds system! What more could I ask for than this?…much better than my tiny living room in which my mat can almost reach from wall to wall.

Second week comes around…I noticed a new maintenance guy vacuuming the tile while I was teaching my class (annoying because the sound is distracting to the students). OK so I say something after class at the front desk and that problem seems to get resolved fairly quickly.

Third week, this is great, until said maintenance guys storms into the yoga studio immediately after class with his shoes on and iPod blaring.

MG: “Excuse me miss, but you are going to have to leave so I can clean the room!”

TM: “But I always practice after class and no one has made me leave before. the next class starts at 10:30!” (surely my tone wasn’t as yogic as I would have hoped…he still was not biting)

MG: “I’m sorry but you are gonna have to move when I start mopping and you need to get out of the way so I can straighten out the mats.”

OK a little disgruntled, I move my mat so he can do his job…which is all he was really doing anyway, right? I try to stay present and focused while he is humming and whistling away. Try not to get distracted as he rips open the curtains that hide the mirror and turn yoga sanctuary into something closer to a gym room. Shoot…now I am checking myself out in the mirror and fall out of my headstand.

Fourth and Fifth week roll around and I find that I am losing my level of irritation with this man who was just doing his job. I start talking to him nicely and respecting his space. He is not so irritated that he can’t mop where my mat lies.

Sixth and Seventh week roll around, “hey miss, I am always amazed at those poses you do” (meaning the advanced asana, etc.), “I can’t believe you can actually do that!” My response always, “years of practice.”

Eight and ninth week roll around and he is waiting for me (not in a creepy way) but “hey, you weren’t here last week”. I start to look forward to the test of calming my mind and avoiding the distraction of his blaring hip hop and hard core rap on his iPod.

Now, many weeks into the scenario, I have learned a huge lesson in coexistence. You see, this man was just doing what he was supposed to be doing, his job. Even though it didn’t fit into my plan of what worked for me, together we learned that by respecting each other and finding some way to communicate, whether it be through a smile, a hello or a gesture, that we can both do what we need to do and coexist pleasantly.

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