When a yoga teacher turned out the lights toward the end of one of her classes in Britain this week, her hope was to encourage peaceful relaxation.
What followed could not have been further from her intention.
Soon after the class was over, a “mass of police sirens” shattered the peace as officers raced toward the venue where the class was being held.
They were responding to a call from a member of the public, worried there had been a mass killing at the studio in the small English coastal resort of Chapel St. Leonards.
Millie Laws, who runs Unity Yoga, was teaching the class at the North Sea Observatory in the village, which also doubles as a community space, art gallery and exercise studio.
Seascape Cafe at the Observatory described the incident on Wednesday evening in a Facebook post, writing: “If any one heard the mass of police sirens in Chapel St Leonard’s at 9:30 pm last night then please be reassured.
“They were on their way to the Observatory after someone had reported a mass killing in our building. Having seen several people laying on the floor… Which actually turned out to be the Yoga Class in meditation.”
Yoga teacher Millie Laws said it was “surreal” that somebody called the police after mistaking her class for a mass killing. (Millie Laws/Unity Yoga)
“Dear General Public, please be mindful that the Observatory has lots of Yoga classes happening in the evenings. We are not part of any mad cult or crazy clubs,” the post continued.
In a separate Facebook post on the Unity Yoga page, Laws said that the call to police was triggered after “some local dog walkers mistook the scene for a ritual mass murder.”
In a phone interview with CNN Friday, Laws said that five police cars showed up at the venue soon after she and the seven other class participants had left. She was told about the episode in a phone call from the venue manager.
“I was very shocked,” she said. “It was so surreal and I didn’t quite believe it was true.
“I have spoken to most of the people who took part and they have just said how mad it is.
“They were all participating in a beautiful deep relaxation and it could have never run through any of our minds that it could be taken in this way.”
Police confirmed the incident in a statement emailed to CNN Friday. It read: “A call was made following concerns for the occupants of the North Sea Observatory, at Chapel St Leonards. Officers attended, we’re happy to report everyone was safe and well. The call was made with good intentions.”