Photo Credit: Anthony Shkraba
Namaste Meets Electronica At New York City's Deep Beats Yoga
If you didn’t think Downward Dog and Deep House music went together, guess again. Yoga classes are typically done in a quiet space to induce peace and relaxation, but Deep Beats, founded by DJ George Faya, is where “namaste” meets electronica. It adds a sensual and fun element to traditional Vinyasa Yoga, adopting the hashtag #shakeyourasana.
Is it possible to relax in a Deep Beats yoga class? In a roundabout way, yes. That said, you’ll be sweating in minutes, and you’ll learn very quickly that Vinyasa Yoga can be just as challenging as any other fitness format. When combined with Deep House, the result is ethereal. Unlike other variations of electronic music, Deep House is known for being moody, atmospheric, and textured.
Some tracks Faya plays for his classes have vocals, but arguably, the ones without them pack the biggest punch.
Over the last few years, Deep Beats caught the attention of The Huffington Post, Time Out, and Yoga City NYC, among others. And for good reason. It offers a platform for yogis and House heads to join forces and rock out together. Here, there’s a symbiotic exchange of energy between DJ and everyone else present, which is really something special.
What spawned the desire to combine yoga with Deep House? Faya got into the genre in college, starting as a music director at the radio station. There, he got to know DJs who introduced him to Deep House music from the 90s. This, along with Trip-Hop from The United Kingdom, and the techno scene, which was explosive at the time, had an indelible impact on his own sound and music education.
“I got into yoga by way of a girlfriend who was training to be an instructor, and it was her idea to have a practice class with some friends,” Faya explained. “I’d play some deep tracks to go along with the flow, and it was a great vibe – everyone loved it! Truth is, I never really pursued it as time went on, until I was working at a club in Brooklyn with these amazing sound, lighting, and projection systems. So, on early weeknights where we had nothing scheduled, I started organizing a series of classes on the dance floor with guest instructors and DJs. The combination of immersive visuals and music with a room full of people all flowing, breathing, and moving in unison under the mirrorball was simply incredible.”
Prior to the pandemic, Deep Beats hosted classes on rooftops, in parks, and at the Verboten nightclub. Classes were also held at House of Yes, another Brooklyn club, visible for its colorful facade in an otherwise cold, industrial looking neighborhood. Participants were usually Millennials and Zoomers, with a few spry older folks sprinkled in. Locals and international people made their presence known, hailing from various parts of The United States, Europe, Australia and elsewhere to shake their asana on the glittering floors of one of the most legendary clubs in New York. Classes were held on Saturdays, with the odd Sunday thrown in, and you had to make sure to grab your tickets early because they always sold out.
On entry, you walked past the bar and into the main area, suffused with heady incense and purple and pink lights. On the second bar off to the side were various snacks and Kombucha, which you could help yourself to at any point. There were several yoga instructors on rotation, but most classes were taught either by Spring Cooper, recognizable for her vibrant attire and enviable flexibility, and the equally fantastic Jen Diaz. Each teacher brought her own flavor, while still honoring the core fundamentals of Vinyasa Yoga.
This ancient style of yoga consists of a warm-up and a series of constantly flowing poses that become more dynamic as time goes on. As One Flow Yoga explains, “no two Vinyasa classes are ever alike. As a philosophy, Vinyasa recognizes the temporary nature of things. We enter into a posture, are there for a while, and then leave.”
Hoping to check out a Deep Beats class in New York? Follow deepbeatsyoga on Instagram. You can also check out George Faya’s hot Deep House mixes on SoundCloud at www.soundcloud.com/georgefaya