Namaste on the dance floor
Celeb yogis and mantra MCs take on the Texas Yoga Conference
This weekend, over 1,000 yogis will descend upon University of St. Thomas for a three-day yogasm of 72 workshops, live music and good vibes. It's all part of the second annual Texas Yoga Conference, running Friday through Sunday.
"It's a community event that we hope will show that Houston is a mecca for yoga," Jennifer Buergermeister, the director of CuraYoga and the event's founder, tells CultureMap. For Buergermeister, the city is a perfect fit for yoga enthusiasts.
"We have these amazing medical professionals," she says. "Also, Houston really is a diverse, cultural city. Every language on the planet is spoken here. It's the unity among all of these cultures that allies with yoga."
With this sentiment, Buergermeister arranged for a lunch with other yoga leaders in the city over a year ago, from which the first Texas Yoga Conference spawned.
"We were in a private room at Miyako, 11 or 12 of us, all sitting in lotus position," she recalls. Their discussion led to the 2010 conference. Now in its second year, the event has already doubled in capacity.
This year's rendition, held Friday through Sunday, is themed "Yoga is for Everybody!" While the conference will attract an international audience, local yogis will recognize a few familiar names among the instructors, such as Robert Boustany, Misha Laird, Julie Byrd, Amy Garratt, Ann Hyde and Catherine Allen. Also making a cameo on the red yoga mat carpet is Yoga Journal's November 2010 cover model and Texas native, KK Ledford.
While there will be scores of practice sessions, there's also a focus on fun. Participants will enjoy the talents of a belly dancer, massage therapist and henna artist. On Saturday, there will be a live performance by MC Yogi, a full-time yoga teacher and performing artist, who fuses his knowledge of yoga with a passion for hip hop music.
"He's pretty famous in our world of yoga," Buergermeister says. "He's really hip."
Also on tap for live music is a Friday night engagement with Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band, following a Laughing Lotus yoga class with Dana Plynn and DJ Hyfi in the St. Thomas Jerabeck Athletic Center's Scanlan Room. Houston-based DJ Sun will spin live during one of the asana practices, and NYC's DJ Hyfi will take a turn at the turntable as well.
While the introduction of beats to the yoga studio may sound like a novel idea, the convention's organizers suggest that modern mystics, truth seekers and urban yogis are increasingly receptive to mantra music mingling with the mainstream.
Tickets to the conference, ranging from $80 to $290, are available at texasyogaconference.com. Tickets to just MC Yogi are available for $25.