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Om this way: Inside the Texas Yoga Conference with hip-hop MC Yogi

Om this way: Inside the Texas Yoga Conference with hip-hop MC Yogi

Mc Yogi
MC Yogi brings the beats to yoga.
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More than 1,000 yogis are expected at the second annual Texas Yoga Conference. That's a lot of arms raised. Photo by Marci Gilbert
Yoga Conference baskets
The Yoga Conference is being held in the University of St. Thomas gyms. Photo by Marci Gilbert
Yoga Conference arms up
Soon MC Yogi and his wife would lead the entire class around the gym in a freestyle dance romp. Photo by Marci Gilbert
Mc Yogi
Yoga Conference Third
Yoga Conference baskets
Yoga Conference arms up

Over 1,000 yogis are gathering in the gyms of the University of St. Thomas for the second annual Texas Yoga Conference this weekend. There are 72 classes of various yoga styles. Major names in the Houston yoga circle like Albina and Roger Rippy of Yoga One and Joy Winkler of Joy Yoga are leading classes all day Saturday and Sunday.

Yoga celebrity and instructor, MC Yogi, is the Saturday night concert rounding out a yoga lover’s idea of a zen good time.

I attended the Saturday morning 90-minute “Asana and Yogi Grooves” class led by MC Yogi and assisted by his wife/yoga instructor Amanda Giacomini. Packed with over 100 dedicated yogis, we sun salutationed and flowed our way through the class. Both natives of California, MC Yogi and his wife travel the country sharing their music and art to yoga conferences.

The first hour of the 90-minute class was traditional with warrior poses, sun salutations and heart-opening twists. It is always an extra fun treat to attend a yoga class with so many dedicated yoga lovers sharing energy through breath in tight spaces of mats next to each other and on all sides of you. (If that sounds cheesy, try it and see!) At the hour mark of the class, MC Yogi, a full-time yoga instructor and music performer with a love of hip-hop, asked if the class liked to dance and warned he was going to lead us in something that makes no sense without balance or logic.

His wife proceeded to lead the 100-plus people in a freestyle dance around the gym to tunes MC Yogi chose from his handy iPad. He finished the class with a heartfelt lecture of always being "here" and trusting yourself to overcome obstacles. 

The practice of yoga is great for all body types and ages, and the classes throughout the weekend cater to everyone. There is a prenatal class, a slow moving explanation of the sun salutation (a large part of the practice of yoga), and a yoga class for runners focusing on hips, hamstrings and a good stretch. There is also Yoga for Youth and classes focusing on back bends or twists.

This is the second year of the Texas Yoga Conference, sponsored by Cura Yoga and Yoga One in Houston. Tickets to tonight’s MC Yogi performance are $25, a half-day pass for Sunday is $80, and a full day is $140. The complete schedule can be found on the conference's website.

Editor's note: Don't miss Steven Thomson's story on the St. Thomas yogasm.