Serenity Now

September 19th, 2011

Wanderlust Williamsburg Music and Yoga Festival – Music Hall – September 17, 2011

Countless poses have no doubt been struck onstage and off at Music Hall of Williamsburg, but perhaps none as unique and powerful as those demonstrated during the two sold-out yoga classes taught by masterful teachers Elena Brower and Schuyler Grant during the Wanderlust Williamsburg Music and Yoga Festival on Saturday. The entire venue was transformed, with revelers more likely to be sipping a smooth chai shake (from the Shanti Shack) than a foamy beer—and toting yoga mats while sporting sweats instead of jeans and motorcycle boots.

Brower and Grant taught two yoga classes during the day before the space was reclaimed as a music venue at night, with performances from Forro in the Dark and Karsh Kale. For their second class, the two teachers centered the practice around the mantra “I am my highest self.” As the class wound through a series of poses, Brower and Grant continuously returned to this concept, encouraging practitioners to push themselves to their fullest potential, their highest self.

In between tadasanas (mountain pose) and utkatasanas (chair pose), musician Garth Stevenson provided beautiful ambient music from his upright bass, at times spare and alternately quite lush, in order to accompany the rhythm and flow of the yoga. Later on, Karsh Kale stepped onstage behind a set of turntables, DJing the remainder of the class with a fusion of traditional Indian sounds and electronic beats. After emerging from savasana (corpse pose), yogis and yoginis rolled up their mats and got ready to sweat even more at the impending dance party. By the night’s end, Music Hall of Williamsburg may have returned to its original purpose, but hopefully imbued with some new energy, thanks to Wanderlust and the power of yoga. —Alena Kastin