Yoga Rave

Photo+by+Chris+Ayers.

Chris Ayers

Photo by Chris Ayers.

Photo by Chris Ayers.
Photo by Chris Ayers.
A new movement is spreading throughout the Salt Lake valley. Mixing the popularity of trance music with the power of meditation, the Yoga Rave made it to the U campus Wednesday. The idea behind this fusion of techno and Eastern philosophy is to create an awe-inspiring experience without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Drugs have become synonymous with the rave scene and with raver hubs such as The Great Saltair and The Complex. The electronic dance movement has exploded in Utah over the last eight years.
Wanting to take part in a trend that attracts thousands of young people, the Art of Living Foundation instigated the Yoga Rave in 2012. Two years later, this concept is in full swing. In fact, Salt Lake City’s Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple has adopted the idea of a drug-free dance party.
Now, the list is growing with an extension of the AOLF. Founded by Siddarth Kaboor, the U’s Art of Living Student Group aims to spread the foundation’s mission statement that says, “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace.”
When Kaboor participated in his first Art of Living workshop, he was worried it would carry an array of religious sentiments. However, the AOLF aims to provide a spiritual experience without the restraints of a religious organization. This is an idea Kaboor hopes to bring to college life.
“The Art of Living is not a religious group. It’s so much more spiritual. It’s about living life and has nothing to do with religion,” says Sunita Yalamarty, the AOLF volunteer who planned the U’s first yoga rave. “So we have people from all over the world, from all the religions, even LDS. It takes them deeper into whatever they do or whatever they believe in.”
Hoping to attract a number of students to the U group founded two weeks ago, Kaboor headed an Art of Living signup booth at Wednesday’s Yoga Rave. To Kaboor, this event was the beginning.
“We are planning to have yoga sessions or meditation sessions every month,” Kaboor says.
The launch of the student group came in the form of a party. With techno and live music, dancing opened the Yoga Rave. With hopes of attracting a student crowd, the event had an eclectic mix of Eastern culture and Western music.
Of the many sub cultures present at Wednesday’s Yoga Rave, rap was at the forefront. In contrast to the inappropriate and profane language used by today’s chart-toppers, hip-hop artist Daniel Moss, who raps by the name B-Still, belted out rhyming messages of peace and encouragement.
“I got into meditation at the same time I got into hip-hop, and I just merged them. I rap a lot about my experiences in meditation and in teaching and practicing yoga,” Moss says. “For me, one of the core parts that I rap about a lot is that we are what we are looking for.”
To Moss, happiness comes from within. It is not the product of earning love from someone else, nor is it the outcome of gaining worldly possessions. This concept mirrors the practice of yoga.
Shortly after dancing, a session of yoga was led by Santosh Maknikar from Yoga for People. To Maknikar, yoga raves are the perfect outlet for him to spread the Yoga for People message. This non-profit organization takes yoga to those afflicted with illness, addiction, and depression. Providing a free service to people who would otherwise go without the experience of yoga is important to Maknikar.
The college setting fits in with Yoga for People’s ploy to end addiction. Drinking and drugs go hand in hand with the wild parties often found at the college scene and the stressful lives of students. Yoga for People and the AOLF want to highlight the power of sobriety through yoga. The two organizations also hope to show that the alternative practice of meditation is a way to release anxiety and have fun.
Following dancing and yoga, the night ended with meditation. And rather than stumbling home and waking up sick from drinking, party participants walked away with clear minds and happy attitudes.