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Yoga Raves, A New Sensation?

What do you think of when you hear someone say something like: “Man, there’s this killer underground rave tomorrow night at that abandoned warehouse—yea, it’s going to be dope.”

Ok, well maybe you’ve never heard anyone say that exactly, but here’s the definition of a rave by Urban Dictionary:

1) n. any gathering of people centered around listening to and dancing to electronic music, as played by a set of live djs. Originated in 1989 in the UK as underground, often illegal gatherings in abandoned warehouses. Often characterized by the positive, psychedelic atmosphere, influenced often (but not always) by drugs and casual sex.

2) n. An organized underground party involving music and dancing. Raves typically involve one or more DJs playing electronic dance music such as techno, trance, breakbeat, jungle, and ambient. Usually starting after dusk and lasting through ’til dawn, drug use at raves often runs rampant; particularly the use of Ecstasy and LSD. Raves can vary greatly in size and scope, hosting from dozens to thousands of guests, and lasting from one night to a few days. Classically, ravers have maintained a strong community spirit and have promoted an ideal called PLUR, an acronym for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. These values have unfortunately faded somewhat since the onset of a newer generation of ravers unfamiliar with these concepts so elemental to the original scene.

Last week, a new kind of rave—a “yoga rave”—took place in Manhattan, and it has effectively brought on a whole new meaning to the term. It was meant to provide an alternative to the normal drug and alcohol fueled, smoky hazed club scene. Pretty cool, right?

The brainchild of the Art of Living Foundation—an organization who has spent the last 30 years promoting peace through yoga and meditation—it’s conception has been a work in progress, starting out as house parties, for the last five years.

We scoped this from the New York Times. The piece was written by contributor Kate Taylor who attended the event:

Shephali Agrawal, a lawyer and a volunteer director at the Art of Living center in New York, explained the connection between the foundation’s mission and a club party.

“Meditation is really discovering the love and the bliss that can be inside, and dancing is such a natural expression of that,” she said. “Just connecting to the pulse, to the music, it allows that energy that’s inside to explode outside.”

Unlike the usual club party, this yoga rave started at 7 p.m. When I arrived at 8:30, a group called Bhakti Band was onstage, singing yoga chants over a deafening rock beat. Some people were dancing; others stood around eating Indian food or drinking nonalcoholic cocktails. The crowd seemed to be people mostly in their 20s and 30s, with many casually dressed, but a few others in business clothes.

By the time the crowd had been led through a brief, guided meditation, and a group from Buenos Aires, the So What Project!, took the stage, people did seem ready to explode. They jumped up and down to the beat of what the band called its “rock mantras.”

The two men of the So What Project!, Rodo Bustos and Nico Pucci, came up with the idea of the yoga rave five years ago because they wanted to offer their party-happy friends an alternative to the smoke, drugs and alcohol of the club scene. They held house parties at first, then moved to larger sites.

“We realized that so many people want a different place, want a different orientation to have fun,” said Mr. Bustos, who is an Art of Living instructor, in a phone interview.

At the Pacha event, which is part of a seven-city tour of the United States, Tom Silverman, the founder and chief executive of Tommy Boy Records, marveled that such euphoria was being produced without drugs.

“They’re acting the same as they would if they’d taken a bunch of pills,” he said of the crowd.

Mr. Silverman saw potential.

“I could see this being 10,000 to 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden,” he said. “There is no alternative like this where you can go and not drink, and still be in bed by midnight.”

Actually, out in the bohemian refuge of Bushwick, Brooklyn, a group of 20-somethings recently offered a similar alternative — though on a smaller, mellower scale — to their friends in the D.I.Y. music scene.

We think it sounds like a damn good time, and hope it catches on. Not only would it be great to offer people an alternative to the unhealthy norm of the club scene, but it’s another great way to spread peace through yoga, bring it to the masses.

What do you think? Do you dig it or not so much?

Read the full NYT piece here.
Photo Cred: The New York Times



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