Admit it, you saw the words "yoga" and "rave" and thought they were two mutually exclusive propositions. One involves healthy living and the other...uh, drugs and baby pacifiers is the first thing that springs to mind there. That thought has certainly crossed the mind of enterprising local rapper Will Glass a/k/a Intrinzik. We've profiled his musical exploits before in New Times, but what's never appeared in print except for a few blogs and Facebook posts is Glass' immersion into yoga and healthy living.
For the past two months Glass has been teaching yoga classes at LifePower Yoga and has recently signed onto this joint venture with lululemon athletica's Tristan Gandolfi, Jaqlyn Collier (The Madison Improvement Club), Max Cohen (Camelback Village Health Club), and DJ Joshua Quintero to host Shake Your Asana, a unique free yoga rave taking place Friday , April 13, at 605 E Grant Street.
Glass is still in the hip-hop game (he'll be one of the performers on the bill with Tech N9ne at the Celebrity Theatre on Saturday, April 14, but the introduction of yoga has significantly changed how the game is being played. We talked about his company, Underground Hustlin, that specializes in artist representation, CD replication, and compilation CDs of unsigned bands with celebrity hosts, about Madonna and her big mouth and what music makes it on the yoga mat. Also on hand to answer questions about the event was Tristan Gandolfi of lululemon athletica.
Up on the Sun: Will, how did you get from juggalos to yoga? That's a pretty odd trajectory.
Will Glass: I was running and doing stuff at the gym, hurting my body, so my Mom said try this. I've always done it at the Y or LA Fitness but it's not the same as a studio. I kept hurting myself. My hip would hurt, my knee would hurt. I found this nice studio and I instantly fell in love with it. You get such a high out of it and then a year later they said to me "Why don't you get into teaching?" So I took the training course and graduated in December and I just started teaching. Two classes into it, my teacher started suggesting me around, then Tristan heard about me from Jaqlyn Collier. And they said well we're doing a rave so I said yeah.
Is this the first event of its kind in Phoenix?
Will Glass: It's the first event they've done here, yes. I think they just want to do something different. Lululemon sponsored it and they're like the Mercedes Benz of yoga apparel, it's in a warehouse, two DJs will be spinning. Three teachers each doing 45 minutes.
Tristan Gandolfi: Of this size and shape yes, but I've planned things before. This is the first time I've done anything like this. Every Sunday on this lawn (The Biltmore) we have 170 people come to out yoga class, all lululemons have a class on Sunday, from 10:30 to 11:30. I came from the Chicago store and we did something called Yogapoloooza there and it was a full day of yoga instructors. I modified it and made it for Phoenix, used only Phoenix instructors.
How did you meet Will?
Tristan Gandolfi: I had the idea of finding someone who was a really good yoga instructor who was established in the Valley, so we got Max Cohen who helped open At One Yoga Studios, a staple in AZ, he's a part owner of Spiritual Gangster which is a yoga clothing company, normal t-shirts and stuff and Jaqlin who helped open this lululemon store three years ago. She ran this store and now she's about to open The Madison, which is opening here in June, and it's a Yoga and spin studio (cycling). It's an old historic building called The Madison Improvement Center and now they're changing it to fit with the times. Will, I've been sampling every flippin' teacher in the Valley trying to find somebody no one's tapped yet he ended up subbing a class for Alex and got rave reviews.We loved his playlist we loved that he was present with us and working in the moment.
What's your yoga playlist like, Will? Glass: I've got a lot of Mike Patton in there; you have to be conscious of your audience. I don't know how much Mike Patton you follow, the Mondo Cane stuff, I do like Rhianna and Nicki Manaj, Patrick Stump, Fall Out Boy, and I throw in some underground, Scott Russo, Unwritten Law, Prozak, I even threw I him in. So I'm trying to throw in some underground with a positive message because a lot of it's so negative, Faith No More, Micheal Jackson..
Gandolfi: Micheal Jackson...that's always a big one.
Glass: The yoga you think of and the yoga that's big here is all hip hop, techno, dub step. I don't like the dub step, it's like you're in a meat grinder, but then you play Justin Bieber or AC/DC I throw George Michael in there, like "When's the last time you heard this song?" As long as there's a reason why that song is there, then you're cool. You can throw a Backstreet Boys song in there then you make a joke about it.
What I was taught form Alex Austin who was my mentor is that when you're doing yoga your heart is open, everything is open and nutrition is not only what you put in your mouth but what you put in your ears or eyes so you want positive uplifting messages so you don't want the bad words, you want people leaving the class really happy and by throwing in the F-word the N-word -- a lot of teachers do that, how I was taught -- Michael Jacksons' "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Easy Like Sunday Morning" for a Sunday Morning class, happy light uplifting music. You don't really want Adele in there cause it's depressing music. It's beautiful but a bit of a downer. So I play a perfect mix of the '80s what's current now and what I like.
So in what ways would this be like an actual rave?
Glass:It's not like a rave; a lot of people are asking "Are there going to be a lot of drugs there?"
This yoga rave happens to be hitting at a time when Madonna's making a lot of headlines for making an ecstasy references at the Ultra Music Festival and incurring the ire of electronic dance music stars like Deadmau5 and Paul van Dyke, who are trying to distance their music from drug associations and here is Madonna naming her album MDNA, one letter off from ecstasy.
I'm sure she does yoga, but that has nothing to do with raves. Her music is techno. I don't follow Madonna really. But when I'm advertising the event, people are like "Isn't yoga rave an oxymoron?" I guess but the yoga scene out here in this part of Phoenix and Scottsdale is huge. We'll have mikes, DJs, the warehouse is sweet. They've got nice bathrooms, there's gonna be lasers, strobe lights and smoke machines.The appearance will be like an actual rave; usually in classes there won't be strobe lights. I don't know how strobe lights will affect people's balance (laughs). It's from 6:30 to 9, so it won't bean all-nighter. Women with kids can go home at a decent hour.
Is this the first time you've ever come out and done something mixing yoga with music?
On Twitter I'm real big about it, on Facebook I've mentioned stuff but as far as press, it's the first time. I'm sure there'll be hip-hop fans who'll see going vegan, eating raw foods and doing yoga and dismiss it out of hand or whatever, but then other people will say "Well, he's always happy and he's in shape maybe I'll try it." It's a big risk for the hip hop thing to put it out there but at the same time, Russell Simmons! I started reading his book and said, "Why don't I just do everything he does and see what happens?"
The hip hop for the most part everything's so negative, superficial, alcohol, drugs. People are listening to what I say, so at least I'm planting a seed in their heads. I grew up listening to hip hop they were telling me to do drugs and sell weed, it was all about what kind of car you have.
So how do you square healthy living with the music you put out on your Underground Hustin' compilations? It can't be all positive messages: You're up to Volume 40.
I still listen to a lot of negative music due to the business I am in... however I have been exposed to new music I probably wouldn't have found if it weren't for yoga. As for my own music.. I try to make every song as positive as I can or stick to story telling songs. I find myself gravitating towards more positive music lately... but sometimes I just have to throw on some Brotha Lynch Hung or Eminem.
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Intrinzik is scheduled to perform Saturday, April 14 at Celebrity Theatre with Tech N9NE.
lululemon athletica is hosting SHAKE YOUR ASANA on Friday April 13th at 605 E. Grant St. The event is free to the public, just B.Y.O.M. (bring your own mat).