Review: The Future Sound of Yoga
Somethingyousaid.com’s Sonia Clarke attempts to navigate her way around a “Yoga Rave”. Yikes:
O Sydney, you glossy harlot! Resplendent in sand and harbour, glittering and glistening in obscene sunshine, filled with the beautiful and trying-to-be-beautiful. If New York is where you go to make it big, surely Sydney is where you go to make your body small – and toned, and tanned, and polished, and altogether more fitting with socially accepted norms of beauty. The city has a deep-seated commitment to aesthetic concerns, from an alarmingly high ratio of beauticians to unkempt civilians through to a general female nightlife code of attire which amounts to shorter, tighter, shinier, brighter (part of Daft Punk’s little known alternative hits shortlist, fact fans).
Perhaps most strikingly to the new resident is the city’s love for an fitness fad. As someone who would go to almost any lengths to avoid photos of herself exercising (nothing flatters my ‘less bad’ side like rendering it bright red and covered in a thick layer of sweat), I find the predilection of many in the Eastern Suburbs to fill Instagram with their fitness efforts somewhat bewildering. From 80’s style physique aerobics, which boasts some particularly evangelical fans, to trapeze lessons and gravity yoga, you could probably try one each week of the year and still fit in a double-bill for Christmas (because that be how Bondi rolls).
Because I harbour sadomasochistic tendancies (see: climbing a mountain in a desperate attempt to stave off turning 30; binge smoking immediately prior to any major fitness endeavour, even when I have avoided the evil weed for months, MONTHS I tell you, in a pathetic and childish act of self sabotage and thinly veiled torture), I decided to give one of these a go.
You’ve heard of yoga, presumably. You’ve also heard, I would imagine, of music and clubbing and that sort of thing. Some of you might even still be young enough to consider this a crucial part of a weekend (if this is the case then I hate you. And also envy you. And sort of pity you, as I revel in eight hours of sleep and a smug cup of herbal tea. In short, lots of conflicted emotions going on).
Anyway. What you might not have heard of is Future Sound of Yoga, a yoga-dance hybrid which takes Sydney’s obsession with both health and glamorous nightlife to its logical conclusion. It’s essentially a yoga rave. Yes. I just wrote ‘yoga rave’. These are the times we live in. We must accept them or slink gently into obsolescence.
In a nutshell, the concept is a taught yoga class accompanied by a live DJ (respectively wife and husband team Matt and Angel Singmin). In a massive upheaval, what is usually my favourite part of a class – the ‘lying down at the end’, also known as ‘shivasna’ – is replaced by dance instead. A standard class begins with 90 minutes of yoga, set to a soundtrack that could span anything from house music to Radiohead. Be warned – there is minimal instruction and so it’s not necessarily advisable for beginners. You’ll generally be given a short routine of several asanas (yoga poses) and asked to repeat at your own pace to a particular track. Staying in time is certainly not compulsory, and in fact almost impossible, at least with my powers of coordination.
Having been trained via Pavlovian response to only dance when a club and drinks are involved, letting go in a roomful of strangers was an intimidating prospect – for me, anyway. Angel starts by demonstrating some simple dance moves while the room divides seamlessly into two distinct groups. The first are committed. They’re ready. They prance off without a backward glance, dancing round the room, whooping and high-fiving each other. The second is reminiscent of a school disco. They’re excited but hesitant. They may have been planning their outfit and practising their moves for months, but in front of the rest of the room they slink around self-consciously (I think you can guess which camp I fall into). After several minutes, the two groups seamlessly merge, until every-one, from the shyest to the most confident, is bouncing round the room like they’re having the time of their lives.
Like being in a club but with no drinks apart from water – or a smoothie if you’re mixing it up – what could be better for Sydneysiders who want to let their hair down while maintaining their stringent healthy regimes?
I’m sure some will criticise the very concept of fusing music and dance with yoga, vocalising disgust with the way the ancient practice has been bastardised. But to be honest – and as Angel says in the class – Future Sound of Yoga is just meant to be fun, and good for you. This seems fair enough, no?
Next on my list – I want hip hop yoga complete with compulsory sci-fi fancy dress theme. Preferably in my flat. Surely this exists – can someone make it happen please?
Find out more about the Future Sound of Yoga here.
Words by Sonia Clarke