Vancouver yoga instructor brings glow sticks and dance music to yoga.

Written by: Linzay Logan

If you have always said yoga is not for you because it’s slow, boring or just not an intense enough workout, an up-and-coming trend in yoga might make you think differently. Yoga rave, yoga that reflects an upbeat, loud and crowded rave rather than the typical tranquil yoga studio, has emerged in Vancouver, B.C. — and if we’re lucky, it will branch out to the U.S. soon.

Yoga instructor and co-owner of Semperviva Yoga in Vancouver Gloria Latham collaborated with popular athletic ware manufacture Lululemon to put on the Dec. 9 Yoga Rave at the old Storyeum building. Nearly 500 yogis wearing glow-in-the-dark bracelets got together for some not-so-typical sun salutations to house music under the glow of black lights.

“I think we’ve coined a new term,” Latham said in reference to yoga rave. “It is certainly a different kind of practice.”

Drawing from traditional Kundalini yoga, which focuses on body awareness rather than concentrating on holding specific poses typical of traditional yoga, Latham encourages her students to have fun and connect with themselves and their community rather than worry if they can get into a difficult pose. “Kundalini doesn’t fit in the box. It’s a different practice,” Latham said. “It’s not about doing the perfect posture. It’s about getting together with a group of people, breathing deeply, feeling better, relaxing and being with each other.” When yoga students break down these walls and let themselves go is when they can have fun with it and find the most benefits, Latham explained. Kundalini “gets people to relax. It’s very freeing,” Latham said. “You can move blocks [in your life] and unload so much stress, and at the same time it’s incredibly strengthening.”

The students in Latham’s classes understand how freeing and fun her classes can be and Latham admits some of her evening classes can get a little crazy. “Girls were coming to me saying that it’s starting to feel like a rave in here,” Latham said.

However, when Lululemon approached Latham with the yoga rave idea she had skepticism about it. “I wasn’t sure because I take yoga very seriously and when you throw in the word rave, well, I didn’t want it to diminish what we do,” she explained. Yet, teaching a little less traditionally is what Latham is known for so she decided to give it a try as a way to bring the Vancouver yoga community together.

Ramping up the class up a little more, throwing in the glow sticks and then inviting hundreds of yogis to take part in the yoga rave, Latham took yoga to a whole new level. “We had a lot of fun,” Latham said of the event, showing how anyone can have fun with yoga. “We want it to be for everybody,” she said. “I have five year-olds in my classes, 85 year-olds and every where in between. As long as you’re moving and breathing you’re doing yoga… and releasing your innate joy.”