Arts Desk

Bluebrain’s Ambient Yoga Show

Since the soundtrack to most yoga classes consists of sitar jams and songs in the vein of Dido, the Bluebrain-accompanied yoga gathering on the National Mall Saturday already had a competitive advantage over any other midmorning practice in D.C. due to novelty alone.

Plus the weather was nice! And the class, led by Lululemon's Alison Adams, was challenging and enjoyable, despite its inclusion of my nemesis, crow pose. But the real star of the morning was the ambient, occasionally heartbeat-flecked sounds from Bluebrain. Brothers Hays and Ryan Holladay were stationed to the back of the Sylvan Theater's stage, behind a sea of local yoga instructors, and heartbeats were an aural through-line for the entire hour-long class. The beats were gleaned from a heart-rate monitor attached to Adams during a trial run of the routine she planned to lead, and Bluebrain used it to inform the tempo of their piece. The soundtrack of most yoga classes consists of several disparate pieces of music, each song usually by a different artist. Ingenuity of the music's creation aside, having one artist provide the soundtrack to an entire class was cohesive, charming, and yet another example of Bluebrain using music to improve an already-cool experience.

During Shavasana, the calming music was temporarily undercut by the roar of a plane flying out of Reagan and sirens emanating from Independence Avenue, a reminder that the ambient cocoon Bluebrain created, just like yoga's spell, was ephemeral. There's always clapping at the end of Lululemon classes, a practice-ender that differs from most studios I've attended. Purists find this a little weird, but this time the applause seemed natural. Bluebrain, and the hundreds of people doing yoga to their music, put on a hell of a show.

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