The journey to Zen and internal harmony can only be helped by lying on your mat, gazing up at the wispy clouds dotting the deep blue sky and feeling your muscles fall into sync with the low, steady beats of DJ Kirby K.
By the end of Friday’s Yoga + Beats class with Kirby and Yvonne Schwartz at Lorissa’s Kitchen Yoga, half of the participants were simultaneously holding tough poses and grooving to the soundtrack. And dancing’s not easy in boat pose.
For Schwartz, who owns Yoga Off Broadway in Eagle and who earned a degree in Music Therapy, music, especially live music, brings yoga to a new level for a number of reasons.
“Live music allows you to get into the physical body in a different way,” Schwartz says. “It establishes a pulse to the class.”
Schwartz says when she leads a class to DJ Kirby K, she does not rely on a plan but allows the rhythm to guide her instruction intuitively.
“I believe music has the power to heal,” she says. “It brings the practice to a new level.”
DJ Kirby, a yoga practitioner himself, also taps into the pulse of the class to determine what turns out of his table.
“I aim to emulate the human heartbeat,” he says. “It’s a selection that leads to centering and awareness.”
Some practitioners, like father-daughter duo Mike Wheeler and Chloe Vasquez-Wheeler, can’t imagine yoga without music.
“I prefer yoga with music because it allows me to be more present,” Chloe says. “It takes me away from the chatter that can start in my mind – thoughts like, ‘how much longer do we have? What do I need to do today?’ In classes without music, I’m not as present.”
A yoga class becomes an subtle act of choreography when music is involved, although it takes a unique talent to successfully pair rhythms with poses.
“You can tell that Yvonne studied music and that Kirby does yoga,” Chloe says. “It’s not easy to link music to movement. When it’s done well, you feel it.”
by Shauna Farnell
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