Fitness

Neon Leggings Optional

Lululemon Athletica brings Yoga Raves to the Steel Yard

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Although they were quite popular at the time, I wasn’t one to attend raves back when I was in college. I was actually more apt to head to the gym on a Friday night than dance to loud music in a dark room lit by glow sticks. (I, unsurprisingly, usually had my pick of the treadmills.) The idea that one could combine fitness and raving never occurred to me, but as I recently learned at my first Yoga Rave, blending the two actually makes for a fun Friday night.

The ladies of Providence’s Lululemon Athletica hosted the Yoga Rave. This was my first indication that it would be one rocking workout, as they frequently bring their spirit and style to local fitness events. It took place on the outdoor lawn of The Steel Yard, an arts and cultural organization in the city’s Industrial District. Local yoga legend Debbie Valois, whom I’d heard other yogis – ahem – rave about, would be teaching the class, and I was looking forward to seeing what she had in store. We were encouraged to break out our neon, so I put on a bright pink Lululemon top with my yoga pants and hoped I was Yoga Rave-acceptable.

Since I was among the first to arrive, I set down my mat and watched my fellow ravers come in. Some people had gone all out, donning glow stick necklaces and bracelets, and I wished I had done the same. About 75 people filed in, and while the large number in attendance surprised me at first (where was this Friday night workout crew when I was in college?), as soon as Debbie arrived, I understood why the space was packed. Dressed in a neon top and purple leggings, her long blonde hair dip dyed pink, Debbie’s energy was contagious. This was a rave, after all, so she kept music bouncing from the speakers as she led us through a series of Vinyasa flow yoga poses.

I loved the variety of the yogis in the group: men and women of all ages and levels, from basic to intermediate to how-does-she-twist-herself-like-that advanced. I remembered why I used to love those Friday evening workouts in college – flowing from pose to pose cleared my head of the busyness of the week and got me in the right mindset for the weekend ahead. We ended in shavasana as the sun was setting, and I lay there with my eyes closed, soothed by the sounds of the city around us. It hadn’t been a crazy, hours-long dance party, but I had raved. It was an experience I’d like to have again – but next time I’m not forgetting my glow sticks.