Using music as a catalyst for more precise movement and a clarity of focus is the norm for cardio, Spinning and, of course, dance, classes, but yoga has been slow to pick up on it, Beres said. “You may not be thinking about the music, but your brain is picking up on it. It’s affecting you chemically, even if you don’t realize it,” he said.
Popular Equinox EarthRise Yoga instructor Derek Beres and three-time Grammy nominated musician, remixer, composer and producer Philip Steir, both based in Los Angeles, joined together to blend the latest developments in yoga, music and neuroscience to create a yoga class that would exercise the mind and the body by playing music that evokes certain emotions.
There’s a world of science behind the way a certain beat, lyric or melody can affect your heart rate, pain threshold and concentration when you’re sweating it out, says yoga instructor/DJ (yes, both!) Derek Beres. After spinning for the past 13 years, Beres and colleague Philip Steir just launched Flow Play, a music-centric yoga class being unrolled at Equinox locations throughout the country.
Flow Play, a new Vinyasa class at Equinox, features a better mix of tempos. Based on research about music and the mind-body connection, it pairs a soundtrack of world beats with increasingly challenging poses to help you flow at a steady pace.
Sure, many yoga classes have an element of music, but the new trend in yoga is the concept of marrying music and meditation to learn how the two affect our brains in a strong yoga flow practice, like in Flow Play at Equinox. The result is a continually evolving practice that bolsters brain power while getting in a sweaty and fun workout.
DAILY FRONT ROW
Now that fashion month is over, you’ll have a little more time on your hands to do something besides perusing show photos online. May we suggest getting your tail back into Equinox and trying out their new class Flow Play?
What should happen, no matter what song is playing, is that your practice will flow seamlessly to the sounds around you, invigorating or relaxing your body and mind in unison at all of the right moments.
Even yogis have to mix it up sometimes, and Flow Play’s constantly changing sequences of positions and playlists (Tibetan, techno, Indian folk, and more) keeps the experience fresh. And music and sound can have spiritual, emotional, and inspiring effects.
At an Equinox on the Upper East Side, Derek Beres brings his own brand of music to class. A yogi, D.J. and music writer, he has teamed with the producer Dave Schommer, known as “Duke Mushroom,” to create EarthRise SoundSystem. (Their full-length album is titled “The Yoga Sessions.”) The idea was to reinvent yoga music, which they do by drawing overwhelmingly on global rhythms that are heavy on percussion.
“Let’s all take a puff,” said Equinox yoga instructor Derek Beres to the students at the beginning of class. In unison, they inhaled from vape pens by Bloom Farms, a San Francisco–based medical marijuana company that also sells pre-rolled joints, and settled into mountain pose.
“While I’ll always suggest movement over not moving, chronic movement without regeneration is also damaging,” says Derek Beres, a trainer at Equinox Hollywood who helped devise the Higher Healing workshop.
“The whole plant healing lotion enhances active recovery and is non-psychoactive,” reads a release about the class, which will be led by instructor Derek Beres.
The Top 50 Hottest Trainers in America. We went on a major manhunt to find the finest looking men of fitness from around the nation (plus a few Canadians we just couldn’t bear to cut.)
NY1 recently stopped in at Pure Yoga where the practice picks up a few extra beats with “Hip-Hop Yoga.” With a background as a music journalist, DJ, producer and instructor Derek Beres combines a global mix of hip-hop as students ease, twist, and bend into position after position.
EARTHRISE WARRIOR FLOW DVD
“EarthRise Warrior Flow by Derek Beres is a modern yoga exhibition featuring immense physical power and control performed to the groovy soundtrack of EarthRise SoundSystem.”
“This open level yoga practice is jam-packed with poses and offers sophisticated sequencing that any flow-based yoga instructor looking for inspiration will love.”
In a rebuff to the New Age soup into which some “yoga music’’ degenerates, these songs subordinate electronic effects to the live instrumentation, which is thick on bass and rich with traditional percussions and complex rhythm schemes that reward repeated listening.
New York studio musicians Derek Beres and Duke Mushroom seamlessly mix Thievery Corporation-style dub beats with original guitar, violin, and tabla recordings into something far beyond the syrupy mess that typically passes for “yoga music.” By deploying traditional Sanskrit chanting alongside Hebrew vocals, they call to mind pioneering world music groups like Dissidenten. Even if you believe that yoga should be done in monastic silence, this is still a great chill-out soundtrack for after practice ends.
For those unfamiliar with world beats, Rock Beats Paper is a good introduction. Yogis looking for music that’s more aligned with the level of consciousness they want to operate on will connect with the album’s message instantly. Yoga teachers looking to fill their classes with beats that make you want to move will want to pick up a copy right away.
Let’s face it: For many of us, when paired with “music,” “yoga” is a four-letter word. That smug serenity! That bland New Agey-ness! That indiscriminate, dilettantish plundering of sounds from cultures for the sake of seeming “exotic” and “spiritual!” “Make it stop! Make it stop! Make it stop!” is not an effective mantra. Well, would you feel better with something more like this?
If you’re looking for an album to aid your Yoga practice, here is something to believe in. The Yoga Sessions, a compilation of tracks inspired on and for the mat, is the integration of Yoga and music in its finest form, especially when considering the track record of the minds behind the creation.
Listening to The Yoga Sessions has made me realize that maybe I’m just a stick in the mud and should ease up, let down my guard and accept that anything that gets our fat asses away from the TV and the computer to get down on the ground and stretch is a good thing.
Yoga lovers watch out. The music you know, love, and have ‘ohm’ed to will be shaken (not stirred) and revitalized.
Don’t let the fact that Derek Beres & David “Duke Mushroom” Schommer have called their debut album, “the Yoga Sessions” fool you. This beautiful mix of dubby global textures and soulful pop influences may very well be the perfect soundtrack for your Yoga practice (I wouldn’t pretend to know)-but this project certainly transcends any one usage.
The Yoga Sessions by EarthRise SoundSystem has mastered the balance of being able to go from yoga practice to iPod to chill evening with friends no awkward transitions. From yoga instructor and DJ Derek Beres and producer David “Duke Mushroom” Schommer, The Yoga Sessions is Thievery Corporation’s amazing Mirror Conspiracy album meets dubby electronica and global beats that has something for all your moods.
The production is “light up your headphones” stunning, with a rich fullness that sounds even better on a cranked-up stereo system with real bass. There are real instruments throughout too, not just a bunch of bleeps and beats. This is not the kind of crap your massage therapist puts on to set the mood, or something your hack yoga teacher brings in to try to make you think you’re in Haridwar instead of Houston. This is good music that fits a mood, not mere mood music.
Given his frequent emphasis on direct, individual experience, Beres would no doubt be delighted to inspire such exploration. After all, he ends his book by reminding us, “When you take full responsibility for your actions and stop letting dreams of cosmic schemes influence decisions made, there is no longer any quest for liberation. No one else can free you from yourself”.
NPR, Day to Day, 10.12.05
What does the dance club scene have in common with Sanskrit teachings, yoga or the poetry of Rumi? Derek Beres explains in his new book Global Beat Fusion: The History of the Future of Music. The book chronicles electronic music from the 19th century through to the present day, and also references writers such as mythologist Joseph Campbell and futurist Alan Watts…Beres points out in the book that the trance-like effect on the dance floor has much in common with ancient music forms such as Sufi Dervish, Native American ceremonial chants and the rhythms of Africa, a spirit Beres wants to return to…With such a diverse subject matter, Global Beat Fusion: The History of the Future of Music is not a book about music alone. It’s about a growing worldwide community that’s searching for shared experience without politics or corporate involvement. And it could fill many different slots on the bookshelf.
PRI, The World (12.19.05)
Some call it mashing-up. Others call it remixing. Derek Beres calls it global beat fusion.
This subpopulation of international electronica is the focus of Global Beat Fusion (Outside the Box/iUniverse) a new book by Derek Beres, a music journalist, yoga instructor and deejay. Beres takes a Joseph Campbell-like comparative look at various cultures, then discusses the semi-underground patchwork of musicians who are using this often-sacred music for dancefloor kinetics. He then explains why that combination is not as incongruous as it might seem at first glance…
Global Rhythm (October 2005)
Longtime GLOBAL RHYTHM readers will no doubt recognize author Derek Beres as the former Managing Editor of this very publication, and his first book reads like a culmination of his many years working in the world music realm. Global Beat Fusion is a very personal meditation on the convergence of music, technology and faith in the global marketplace. In his own inimitable style, Beres weaves these divergent strands together through a series of portraits of movers-and-shakers in the world music industry. From interviews with artists like Cheb i Sabbah, Ojos de Brujo and Karsh Kale, Beres posits that electronic musicians worldwide are creating a new global mythology by translating traditional and sacred musical forms into digital formats. His interviews with various managers, publicists and bookers build up a portrait of the industry as it is today, while prognosticating what the future might hold in store, both for world music and, quite possibly, for the music industry as a whole.