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Shavasana under the strobe lights

May 29th, 2012
Zoë Sophos
Young people at a concert

A new type of yoga experience blends partying and stretching in an alcohol free atmosphere, according to the New York Times. This sober raving trend is not widespread but is gaining popularity in cities like San Francisco and New York.

“We realized that so many people want a different place, want a different orientation to have fun,” Rodo Bustos, an Art of Living instructor from their New York office told the New York Times. The Art of Living Foundation aims to promote peace through yoga and meditation and recently sponsored a “yoga rave” at a nightclub in Midtown Manhattan. The goal of combining partying and yoga is to strengthen the body and clear the mind while interacting with friends in an environment that “offers an alternative to the smoke, drugs and alcohol of the club scene,” Bustos said.

This sober environment is key, according to Brian Sweeny, who helped found the Body Actualized Center in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Instead of binging and harming the body at music festivals and raves, “hipsters” can come to the center for yoga, live music, discussions of New Age spirituality and “healthy hedonism,” Sweeny said.

Aside from parties in the bohemian underground, some conventional yoga studios are beginning to incorporate New Age revival and funky ambiance into their classes as well. Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in Chelsea offers a class on Friday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight with live music or a D.J., according to the Times. And Jivamukti Yoga School near Union Square frequently hosts Bhakti Band, known for their “rock mantras” of yoga chants over hard rock beats.  The San Francisco site of Laughing Lotus Yoga Center also offers the Friday night party class, according to their website.

Angelina Dreem, another founder of the Body Center Actualized, believes in the potential of party yoga to heal on multiple levels. “We want to coexist socially with people,” she said, and “to be healthy and to eat well and to not have to drink all night.”