India, 20th Aug 2011
Yoga and youth dance culture that rocks
When you can just be yourself, where you can express your own unique voice, your own style, creativity and happiness, and just dance and sing, that’s Yoga Rave.
So what can one expect at a Yoga Rave? Yoga poses stretch the body and are uplifting and empowering, giving a natural high in a celebration where there is no need for any drugs or alcohol. Rock and electronic dance music calls the spirit to dance. Antariksh and Da Ultimates, bands from Gujarat, performed a mix of devotional songs, called bhajans, set to their own electronic music beats. For the 500-strong audience gathered for the Yoga Rave night on August 20, 2011, it proved to be a very unique night.
Yoga comes calling
It all began when Art of Living volunteers, alongwith another NGO, Pathshala, began to sense a need for yoga raves. When a 13-year old youth in her neighborhood died in a scuffle after visiting a smoke bar, Dr. Rita Billimoria decided that youth needed another sort of high, and she knew a good replacement. “I practice yoga, and no high can match that high,” says Dr. Rita, who’s a dentist and an Art of Living volunteer. “Then I got to know that there was a Yoga Rave concept that already existed abroad. We thought, why not in India?”
An experience of the UK version of the Yoga Rave was what caught MBA-student Koushal Rathi’s interest. Back in Surat, he founded an NGO Pathshala, which teamed up with The Art of Living to launch Asia’s first Yoga Rave. “We wanted to bridge the gap,” Koushal says, “Youth are familiar with The Art of Living. They know it is good for them, but they think it is for the elderly. We want to change their perspective and make them experience meditation.”
When the word got out that the Yoga Rave was being planned, the organizers were flooded with enquiries. In the days leading up to the event, the information hotline for Surat’s Yoga Rave was jammed with callers, staying busy for hours. It was becoming clear that Surat’s youth had been waiting for an event like this one.
Yoga rave: merging the ancient & modern
Dhiraj Dhoot, one of the musicians that played that night with his band Da Ultimates, helped to organize the event. Describing his experience as “amazing,” Dhiraj says, “We were able to launch our band that night, and during the whole event, the crowd was singing our bhajans.” The members of Da Ultimates are youth actively involved with the Youth Empowerment Seminar or YES!+, a youth program of The Art of Living.
After the music performances, the crowd performed a series of rejuvenating yoga poses. Yoga and a guided meditation gave an uplifting boost of energy to the crowd. Patriotic songs reflective of the youth movement against corruption were sung and dance performances took place on the stage.
Reflecting on the event, Dr. Rita says that youth are looking for positive change in their lifestyle. “Yoga Rave, I personally feel is going to give them that push rather than something that pulls them back. They are going to recognize something which is there inherently. Yoga is there, it is a part of them. The Yoga Rave presents our culture beautifully merging with the modern global lifestyle.”
Here’s to peace, love, unity, respect through yoga. Rave on!
Yoga Rave has been active holding youth party events in countries such as Argentina, where it began, South Africa, and Sweden. For more information on Yoga Rave, visit www.yogarave.org