The drinks will be sans alcohol, the food will be organic, the dance will be combined with connective partner yoga, and the band, Bhakti, will play dance-rock Sanskrit chant fusion. No, it’s not the weirdest East Campus theme party ever. It’s actually Columbia’s first Yoga Remix event.
The event, which is described on the Facebook as a “mind-body dance party” is being presented by the Art of Living Club at Columbia, led by president Zoe Lepage, BC ’13. The club, which is one chapter of the national organization, provides free yoga and meditation classes every week.
“Often when people party they lose themselves and escape consciousness, and this is about being conscious in yourself,” Lepage said. She attended a Yoga Remix party last summer at the New York chapter of The Art of Living Foundation and was inspired to hold one on Columbia’s campus.
“It was so cool to be in a room of people that are interested in being conscious and so much fun to let yourself go and be caught and captivated in the music. So, after that I came back to campus in September and told my board, ‘We need to do this,’” Lepage said.
The event will commence with a “Happier Hour” from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with Indian food, fresh fruit, and non-alcoholic drinks. After that, Jivamukti Yoga instructor Jules Febre and Lepage will lead a partner yoga class.
“It’s really about creating a fun atmosphere. You don’t have to know how to do yoga—it’s going to be fun,” Lepage said. “Connective partner yoga is a nice way to break down our barriers and connect with people in the room. You’re holding hands with someone across from you, or you’re taking a twist and doing it back-to-back with someone else. It’s really about letting go and being present with the person you’re with.”
When the yoga portion is over, the party will break down into music and hip-hop asana, which is “more of a dancey thing—a blend of dance and yoga,” Lepage said.
One of the event’s main features will be the live band, Bhakti, which plays Sanskrit chants to a rock-pop beat. Bhakti’s lead singer, Manish Tandon, BS ’04, Tandon grew up listening to Sanskrit chanting but found it boring. He met the other members of his band through the Art of Living Club in New York City.
“We put a little twist on the ancient chants,” Tandon said. “The beauty of them is that Sanskrit is a language of vibration, so every sound has an effect on the nervous system. We make them much more mainstream, much more accessible, a lot of fun. It’s pretty revolutionary to bring this ancient practice into parties.”
The Art of Living Club was able to convince the Interschool Governing Board to fund the event.
“I think the Columbia ‘community’ is such a big buzzword and something we’re really trying to build on campus. I convinced them an event like this will show the students that the university really wants to support them, and they [the IGB] were really receptive to the idea,” Lepage said.
Lepage also hopes that the event will spark interest in the Art of Living Club’s other offerings.
“One of the main things that our club offers is the Yes!+ board, which stands for ‘Your Enlightened Side,’” she said. “We all have this inner nature that’s full of creativity and energy, and it is all about tapping into that. We’re going to have a course starting on February 27, and we really hope that the Yoga Remix serves as an introduction for people and that they will be excited and sign up for it.”
She urges everyone to attend the event, regardless of their yoga experience.
“It’s really the spirit of yoga, it’s not about can you do this or can you touch your toes,” she said. “It’s about can you connect with your breath, can you be present.”
Singing along to the chanting “has a very healing effect on the system,” Tandon said. “It’s coming to a place of release and playfulness and joy, but from a very conscious place.”
Yoga Remix will take place on Friday, Feb. 15 in the Broadway Room of Lerner Hall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 advance purchase through Ticket Information Center or $8 at the door.