60 Minutes of Downward Dogs, Biggie Smalls & Erin Falls

Music in general has always been an integral part of my life. I listen to it any chance I
get … while I’m working, in my car, exercising, while I’m cooking, you name it.
Recently I started to realize how much more carefree and happy I feel when I listen to
music I love, and noticed that there were a lot of parallels between the benefits I receive
from listening to music and the benefits I receive from my yoga practice.

To name a few, both music and yoga have the ability to change our moods, get us
outside of our cluttered minds, focus on the present moment, chill out, move, reconnect
to ourselves, and connect to others.

And while I love so many different kinds of music – I really love some hip-hop. You may
not guess that I love hip-hop as much as I do if you saw me dance, but thank goodness
Snapchat wasn’t around in my early 20s when I used to go to Suite with the ladies on a

There is just something about an old school hip-hop song that makes me forget about
my surroundings for the time being, channel my minimal-responsibility middle school
self, and want to crank it up to the loudest decibel possible and jump around. I am
laughing as I type this, but I am 100% serious. It just gets me going, and it has been for
about the past 20 years.

Also, I really love making playlists. Before playlists, it was mixed CDs. And before that it
was mixed tapes. I actually insisted on making the warm-up tapes for my grade school
basketball teams every year because I wanted to make sure it was “hype” enough
before “game time.”

Here’s another tidbit – I used to hate exercising in general until I found yoga. But it was
a specific type of yoga that really struck a chord with me. I did not start practicing yoga
until 2009, and I can still remember my very first class at Y2 Yoga with instructor and
owner, Tanner Bazemore, because he started blaring Biggie Smalls halfway into class
when I was about to have a heat stroke. It brought me back to life, and I was also so
confused because I never knew that yoga could be so much fun and “so gangster.” I felt
like I was in a different world – my kind of world. I wanted to bust out some of my
moves, but instead I played it cool and busted out some warrior poses instead. I most
definitely had some type of spiritual hip-hop meets yoga experience that day, and I am
convinced it was no coincidence. From there, I was hooked and some really awesome
worlds collided.

Years later, it all came full circle. I became a yoga teacher, my dream of teaching at Y2
became a reality, and I get to share my love for music and yoga with my students.

With that being said, I’ve always wanted to take my love for music and yoga a step further, so last December I created the first annual Hip Hop Holiday Yoga class to benefit Humane Society of Charlotte. Witnessing yogis come together to bust through Warrior 1s and 2s while bobbing their heads to Biggie, Missy, Busta, and Snoop-a-loop was by far the most exciting, kind of comical…but still AMAZING thing I’ve ever seen in my yoga teaching history thus far.

Not long after the event, I kept receiving messages, emails, texts, etc. to do it again, but I knew I needed to change it up a bit. So I reached out to Grace of SweatNET to see how we could put a different spin on things. I knew she would come through with something incredible because she is a chick of a million and one ideas. Within literally a week or so, she got back to me with the idea to do a Hip Hop Yoga event outdoors at the Metropolitan with DropSound headphones to zero in on just the flow and the beats with all of the things – a braid bar, healthy giveaways, and bottomless mimosas after class. My hip-hop-loving yogi heart exploded.

If you aren’t sure if this class is for you, no diggity, no doubt – it is! The flow will be slower paced with your favorite old school beats, and will last just under an hour. What could be a better way to let go of your week and loosen up for the weekend?