Instead of lighters, concertgoers may be whipping out sun salutations at several upcoming shows. Yogis are always practicing to some kind of soundtrack, whether it’s Top 40 tunes or their own breathing. But recently, the connection has grown stronger. “I see that yoga has crashed into the music world and music is crashing into yoga studios,” says MC Yogi (aka Nicholas Giacomini), who’s made a career out of performing hip-hop inspired by Hindu philosophy. He notes that Bonnaroo and Wanderlust, two of the country’s largest summer concert festivals, also feature yoga. And he’s found fans through a now-common practice: students asking yoga instructors for their playlists. His concert in D.C. this week is just one of a few notable upcoming events blending music and yoga.
The Sports Club/LA is pairing up recording artists and yoga instructors as a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. The first D.C. class (there have already been events in New York and L.A.) features the R&B stylings of Lalah Hathaway and a flow sequence by Mimi Rieger. Rieger is a music buff, so although she’s never choreographed to songs before, she was psyched for the challenge. “The album has a varied scope. Some songs are mellow and soulful, others are upbeat,” says Rieger, who adds that every time she’s practiced in the presence of live music, “the energy is completely amped up.” Participants will take home Hathaway’s latest CD as well as Rieger’s companion yoga sequence booklet. Today at 6:15 p.m.; $25 for members, $45 for non-members; The Sports Club/LA, 1170 22nd St. NW, 202-974-6600, Thesportsclubla.com
When he teaches his classes, MC Yogi is both instructor and DJ. “I make sure tracks are in the pocket,” he says. Challenging misconceptions of what yoga music is (“It’s not hippie chanting”), he’ll play a few of his own songs, but students can expect to hear mostly other artists — and little English. If you can understand the words, it can take you out of your practice, he says.
Stick around after class on Thursday for a concert of his music in an atmosphere unlike anything at a typical club. “There isn’t a lot of posturing — except yoga posturing,” he says. He’s excited to introduce his new album, “Pilgrimage” (dropping June 19), a blend of hip-hop, electronica, dub and dancehall. “Music has the ability to carry the traditions of yoga,” he says. Thu., class at 6 p.m., concert at 8:30 p.m.; $20 for concert, $50 for concert and yoga class; All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard St. NW, Mcyogi.com/tour
Shiva Rea’s Yoga Trance Dance
Shiva Rea visits Washington regularly, but the renowned instructor has never led one of her signature trance dance sessions here before. That’ll change over the “Summer Solstice Regeneration Weekend,” when she offers a two-hour workshop explaining the history of ecstatic movement and giving participants a chance to feel the release that comes from this very different kind of yoga. “It’s all music-driven. There is no trance dance without music,” says Jessica Lazar, a local senior prana flow teacher. The experience begins with Rea cueing collective movements, such as lifting arms, crawling and jumping. “There’s something about doing the same thing that takes away pressure to bust out the best steps,” Lazar says. When students get comfortable in the rhythm of the dance, there are short spurts of free movement, giving them the chance to connect with their creative sides. June 23 at 7:30 p.m.; $50; All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard St. NW, Flowyogacenter.com