Ruby is a British lifestyle writer and the celebrated creator of the blog The Numinous. Best of all, Ruby will be our feature writer for the lululemon blog. Here she learns what it's like to do it in the dark with yoga ambassador Goldie Kaufenberg.
Based out of Boston, MA, lululemon ambassador Goldie Kaufenberg’s black light yoga classes have gained cult status. Describing her flow as a ‘sexy, sweaty, deep’ vinyasa, she uses music to help her students ‘feel’ into the sequence. But what are her signature moves, and what kind of experience is she really hoping to create?
what makes for a 'sexy, sweaty, deep' vinyasa class?
In short; the atmosphere. Generally, this class is sold out on the amazing energy the good humans create. Add black lights, heat (generated primarily from the bodies around you), deliberate movement and some really sick beats and you've got a pretty sexy room full of moving bodies. It's kind of epic, and it's one of the highlights of my week.
what are your signature sequences and moves, and why do you go back to these?
Most who know me would say I'm a pretty active person. In Ayurveda I’m a ‘pita’, which means I crave the adrenaline push or the inversion kick, and order to balance this I try to stay grounded, literally. That translates into movements such as skandasana, or what I like to call ‘ninja’, malasana, goddess, and any forward bend where my hands and feet are grounded. I teach these poses regularly because they are great for opening up both the inner and outer leg line, as well as requiring strength/stability from both the anterior and posterior muscles surrounding the spine and core intelligence.
you describe BLY as an 'experiential' class - can you explain in more detail?
Refer to question #1 with this addendum: I usually put a large emphasis on anatomy, alignment, proper form etc, however in BLY I do less of this. I do not break down how to do a specific arm balance, or work into challenging, more advanced binds that might require a strap (we all know grabbing a strap underneath your body is cumbersome enough to do when the lights are on!) It's too dark, and I've created this class to be one that flows with no breaks. I encourage those who want to learn some of the more advances asanas to continue to take my other classes, and come to BLY with the expectation of flowing with ease and grace. I also encourage students to move outside of the boundaries of my sequence if they are craving a variation of what I'm offering.
how do you want people to feel after a session?
Can I say the word ‘orgasm’ on here?! Basically, like they've just had the longest one of those of their lives. After BLY I want people to feel like they're floating. Like they've just left planet earth for 90 minutes and returned a better, calmer, more patient version of themselves.
how do you go about sequencing to music - is this something you plan in advance and is each class different in this respect?
I always plan! It makes me a better teacher and it also allows me to entertain my creative side. Every Monday I prepare for the week ahead by spending a handful of hours creating a sequence, which first consists of me deciding on a peak pose or theme, and then turns into me rolling around my living room floor making something creative, fun, and smart to offer my students. After the sequence is in the books, I decide what energy the jams should provide based on what I'm teaching. I spend a lot of time searching, buying, and organizing music.
how do you feel the music enhances people's understanding of the asanas?
Music, in my opinion, doesn't enhance people's understanding of the asana, but instead allows people to feel more. I'm not interested in arguing whether or not music should be used in yoga for X,Y,Z reasons. If chosen with thought, music can enhance the entire experience. As many of us know, listening to music releases dopamine; a feel good chemical in the brain. Try doing eight Sun A's with no music. Then try doing eight Sun A's with an incredible song of your choice. They're both right. You decide. That's the beauty of choice.
how do you conceptualise your play lists?
The vibe of BLY changes based on the music tempo. Some play lists are much more chill, electronic with less beats per minute, while others are much louder, have more dub step remixes, and more bass. It varies weekly, but the formula behind the creation is constant. Stick with a tempo theme. Start chill, build, peak, and then eventually come back down. Remember...orgasm.
how do you find new music?
Everywhere! iTunes genius, youtube music channels (specifically ‘majestical’), hypemachine, Pandora, my boyfriend's old school records and advice on what's hot. Also, students often email me with their fave jams. I always appreciate that.
finally, what works best and what definitely doesn't work?
What works? Refer to all of the questions above. What does not work? Teaching intricate, advanced poses in the dark with a play list that is all over the map with no rhyme or reason. Plan. Execute. Repeat.
Want to try out Goldie's infamous class? See her schedule and book it: do it now do it now do it now!