No matter how you get there, being truly and completely present in one’s body is among the most fulfilling of human states. This week, thanks to a couple of envelope-pushing yogis from the Bay Area, Santa Barbarans can do so with “Droga,” as DiviniTree Yoga hosts the South Coast’s first-ever drone-yoga class. Participants can expect, as the practice’s chief inventor Alex Weinstein puts it, “one big ceremony for presence.”
So what is it? Well, for starters, it’s got nothing to do with remote-control helicopters, which is what I first thought when corresponding with Weinstein last month. Instead, Droga is a restorative form of yoga — think “pillows, blankets, pretty much just lying down,” he said — set to the soundtrack of drone music. “But it’s not the type of drone music you are used to, the flutes and prayer bowls that you typically find in a yoga environment,” he explained. “It is a guitar with a synthesizer and reverb and loopers and delays. Basically, lots of pedals.”
A classically trained yoga instructor from Oakland, Weinstein first got turned onto the potential of drone music in the most unlikely of places: a bar. “I went to this drone show and right away thought to myself, ‘This is not the right place for this music. I don’t want to be uncomfortable listening to this. I don’t want to be standing up. I don’t even want to be drinking my beer,’” he recalled. “But it did make me think about my yoga practice, how it might be able to help people reach a deeper meditative state.” After workshopping some sessions in his apartment with friends and various types of ambient music, Droga was born, and there’s been plenty of tweaking in the two years since.
Today, the class, which is now a monthly staple at Weinstein’s studio, is a 90-minute experience with the drone soundtrack played live and intermingled with meditations and ramblings from Camu and Lao-Tzu, among others. “It has been a lot of fun developing,” said Weinstein. “I’m really looking forward to taking it on the road.”
Droga goes down at DiviniTree Yoga on Friday, April 17, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15/presale, $20/door, which includes a juice/elixir tasting. See drogayoga.com or call (805) 897-3354.