Deciphering Culture

Yoga-Tainment for the BlackBerry Generation (@ East Bay Express)

with 3 comments

Yoga-Tainment for the BlackBerry Generation

A plethora of events highlights music’s growing role in yoga.

By Jeffrey Callen


Doug Boehm

Late night in the Mission, the class begins with the sound of kirtans accompanied by slowly pumped chords on the harmonium. The class members respond hesitantly, repeating back the unfamiliar sounds chanted by the teacher. The call-and-response chanting subsides and the teacher announces the first asana as tinkling sounds from a kora replace the languid chords of the harmonium. For the next two hours, the class moves forward with the musical accompaniment of the kora and manipulations of its sounds through a small array of electronic devices. It’s not the background music typically heard in an American yoga studio, but it’s not quite foreground either. Solidly in the middle, it works sometimes, fitting perfectly with the slow movements; other times, it seems distracting, an extraneous element unconnected to the physical activity.

Every Friday night since October 2007, the Midnight Yoga class at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in San Francisco’s Mission district has offered live music as accompaniment to yoga. Developed by the yoga center’s parent studio in New York City, the class features various genres and musical configurations: kora and electronics; freestyle guitar, bass, and keys; cello, voice, loops, and percussion toys. Yael Kievsky, who has taught the class since December, says that live music to accompany yoga is simply an extension of the use of taped music as background that has been a part of yoga classes in the United States for decades.

But the addition of live music changes things: The class becomes an event — a “full-on experience”…  (to read more go to East Bay Express)


Written by Jeffrey Callen

April 27, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Posted in East Bay Express, Journalism

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. No thanks…don’t want to do yoga with yuppies


    April 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    • it does make for a different experience — it’s no longer people doing yoga, it’s “yoga people” and “yoga hipsters” trying to get a “yoga butt”

      Jeffrey Callen

      April 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm

  2. Hi Jeffrey. Just wanted to drop you a quick note regarding The Studio in Danville. We opened in December and are trying to spread the word.
    We have a free “class pass” on our website –

    Hope you’re having a great day.
    The Studio

    The Studio, Danville

    January 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

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