Brisbanites will be able to practice their downward dog while they listen to Snoop Dogg at this New Farm yoga studio.
Can you kick it? Yes, you can, at new studio Yo! Yoga’s hip hop yoga classes, set to launch later this month.
“Hip hop yoga comes from the ‘Happy Yoga Movement’ started by Steve Ross,” explains Yo! Yoga founder and studio manager Leisa Leon.
“This guy used to be a guitarist with Men At Work and even travelled the world with Fleetwood Mac in their band, until he gave it all up to become a monk in India, as you do. He currently owns Maha Yoga in LA, and has done for nearly two decades.
“He started playing loud hip hop music in his classes a long time ago and found that his students responded really well to it. Basically, he thinks yoga should just make you feel happy, and so do we. The spiritual stuff is a bonus if it happens, but it’s not something we’re about.
“I studied my teacher training with Steve, through yoga 213, the hip hop yoga studio in Melbourne, so he would be considered our ‘guru’.”
You might think booming hip hop beats would make it a little difficult to concentrate on yoga positions, but Leisa insists the tunes actually help.
“The music only adds to the experience of our students,” she says.
“It shouldn’t detract from the yoga itself. Think of it this way — when you go to the gym or go running, you often play music which pumps you up to make you get more into the workout, right? It’s the same thing for our yoga classes — it should make you walk away feeling happier, more relaxed, and like you’ve worked hard!”
Leisa says Yo! Yoga’s signature will be its 60-minute-long and strong Vinyasa flow classes.
“You’ll sweat, move, and groove your way through your flow,” she says.
“Don’t be surprised if you’re so into the tunes you forget how hard you’re working. This isn’t a place to worry about what you look like; it’s a place to let go, have fun, and push yourself.
“Warning: There may be a swear word here and there. This is hip hop, after all. We aren’t shy at Yo!”
Leisa admits it may be difficult for beginners to keep up at first, but she’s confident they’ll be posturing like an OG in no time.
“The class is fast-paced and a lot of fun. For beginners it may be a baptism of fire, but generally they will pick it up quite quickly as it is based around a core set of postures.
“We will be running a beginner series soon after the launch for our complete newbie yogis to attend and feel more comfortable in the classes.”
Whether or not you take to yoga like a natural, one thing is certain — the playlists will be fire.
“I can’t speak for all of my teachers but on my playlists I usually have A$AP Rocky, Yeezy, Drake, Biggie, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. Wale is another favourite! Beyonce and Jay Z also feature heavily.
“Basically our favourite hip hop artists span from the golden era of the ’90s to the current stuff. Yo! Yoga will feature a favourite song of the week every Thursday and that will form part of our weekly playlists. We’ll also take requests from our students to play the stuff they want to hear in their classes.”
Yo! Yoga will open on Sunday 22 May (coinciding, not so coincidentally, with The Notorious B.I.G.’s birthday). The studio will operate seven days a week at Suite 1, 5 Lamington Street, New Farm, with over 33 classes on its schedule. Casual, weekly, monthly and unlimited passes will be available.
To welcome everyone to the studio, Yo! will be running four free hip hop yoga classes on Sunday 22 May at 9am, 10.30am, 4pm, and 5.30pm. For more information, visit yoyoga.com.au.