nightclubbing yoga: yoga jam montreal at stereo

The empty dance floor at Stereo - imagine this full of people on yoga mats! (image via Yoga Jam Mtl Facebook page)

I love any opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. And I’m glad that I can now add “practicing yoga in a nightclub” to my ever-growing list of accomplishments.

Yoga Jam Mtl at Stereo (one of Montreal’s preeminent after hours clubs) sounded too interesting to not check out. The 90 minute yoga class, at 7pm on a Wednesday evening, was organized by Montreal yoga teacher and girl about town, Line Trépanier. The Facebook event promised a “multimedia/multisensorial trip” – and the class was all that and more.

So what happens in a yoga class in a night club? Well, obviously there’s a DJ, spinning chill electronic music on Stereo’s world class sound system. I don’t know a lot about electronic music, so I can’t tell you what genre it was. But I can tell you that it wasn’t clichéd “yoga music” (Indian-inspired, Sanskrit chanting, or whatever) and yet it fit the practice. The music complemented the pacing of the asana sequencing, and combined with light shows, periodic blasts from the smoke machine and the giant disco ball above the dance floor, it was definitely a multisensorial experience!

Line shines below the disco ball (crappy iPhone pic by me).

Line lead the 50+ participants through some sun salutations, a short flow practice and a couple of partner poses to get everyone touching each other and connecting. Then things got tribal: we did some spontaneous air drumming and broke out the dance moves (we were, after all, in a nightclub!). We cooled down with a slow sequence, and then watched a multimedia presentation on the chakras. Everybody left with big smiles and bright eyes, on a natural high – not the regular high people usually have when they stumble out of a club.

With a personal mission to get people moving, Line brought a lively playfulness to her teaching. She called the asana practice “body mantra,” which is an interesting phrase and suitable given the nightclub context. She has a contagious energy which filled the whole room and was palpable even above the beats. According to a pre-class informal poll, about one-third of the participants were doing yoga for the first time (I actually saw a guy with a newly purchased yoga mat still in the plastic wrap).

My own practice lately has been very solo and serious. As I’ve been working with a back condition, I’ve been practicing at home, by myself, and only doing a limited routine which serves my physical needs. In this nightclub, doing a bunch of ridiculous things that I would never do on my own, beneath the sparkling light of a disco ball, I realized that my practice (and whole approach to asana, actually) has become too cautious and lacks joy, spontaneity and fun. There is an energy and connectivity in big yoga classes that can’t be replicated on my living room floor.

Yet, large-scale yoga classes (especially classes like this, with one teacher and one assistant) always bring up safety concerns for me, especially with so many newbies. One sequence (lunge to side plank, switch around – not sure if there’s a technical name for that – repeat on other side) was particularly confusing to people. I saw sickling ankles, awkwardly placed hands and jerky transitions, and I was worried about people’s safety (especially delicate ankles, knees and wrists). I also saw one woman slipping around in socks on a towel on the wood floor. While the atmosphere of the class was light, I did see people getting frustrated at times and just sitting down.

But you know what? Nobody got hurt. Nobody walked out. Even when we did that quintessential partner pose – nobody fell on their head, nobody broke their neck. The class was a welcome opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and remember that a yoga practice can be fun.

And, for possibly the first time in my life, I left a nightclub sober.

Line is planning further yoga jam adventures. Join the Yoga Jam Mtl Facebook fanpage to be informed of upcoming events.

  1. my two great loves…together! shake yo ass + stretch yo shizz. heaven.

  2. i spent many late nights and early mornings at Stereo while a McGill student… i remember opening night. yoga class there would definitely be more healthy; I’d like to check this out the next time i’m in town.

  3. This looks like so much fun! I wish they had an event like this in San Francisco. It’s actually a little inspirational…makes me wonder what other clever events I could plan that combine fun practices in an unusual setting. Anyone for a nightclub knitting circle?