To all of my fellow yogis, or those looking to give this physical and mental practice a try, I highly recommend attending a Bender event. Bender Yoga is a one-of-a-kind studio located in Downtown Los Angeles that “blends yoga and wellness with music, art, and culture; therefore, repositioning fitness as recreation.” They also hold their yoga sessions on the rooftop of the ROW so you can take in the beautiful skyline views as you flow through your practice.
This past weekend on Saturday, April 7th 2018, Bender hosted the SkyFlow Festival, a day full of yoga, meditation, music, dancing, fashion, yummy food, sunshine, and relaxation. The event kicked off at 1pm, and the festivities continued all the way through sundown at 9pm.
To start the day, Bender offered six different yoga and meditation classes between two separate rooftops, which allowed attendees to pick and choose their own schedule. I opted to begin my day with a meditation session hosted by Kathryn Schiff from The Den. The Den is a meditation studio located in both La Brea & Studio City, and they offer an array of courses, from Breathwork to Reiki.
Kathryn herself is an amazing Energy Healer, Spiritual Minister, and Intuitive Teacher. My decision to attend the meditation class with Kathryn was definitely the perfect way to ease into the activities ahead! We began the class by placing large wireless headphones over our ears, which were connected to Kathryn’s microphone. This helped us to drown out all unnecessary outside noise and distractions so we could truly focus on her powerful words and voice.
This session in particular, which lasted about 45 min to 1 hr, centered around the theme of Manifestation. Kathryn had us close our eyes and physically imagine clearing our mind, body, and soul of all negative energy, and replenishing them with positivity. To follow, she asked us to visualize a sphere in front of our eyes and place our goals and intentions into this sphere. We were then told to fill the remaining space within the sphere with positive energy and gold light and to release it into the universe to allow for our goals and intentions to come true. Once the session came to a close, she had us take a deep breath and slowly open our eyes. I walked away feeling extremely rejuvenated, relaxed, and refreshed!
The next stop on my schedule — a yoga session titled Namasdrake. This class was dedicated to…you guessed it…Drake! T.J. Petracca (DJ and event promoter) and Paul Schneider (DJ and yoga instructor) are the masterminds behind this unique experience. Namasdrake is an hour-long Vinyasa style class set to a Drake playlist; appealing to the young, hipster yogis of LA. The class was a great workout and also an absolute blast! Throughout the session, people were dancing, taking pictures, cheering, laughing, and singing along. The overall energy was indescribable. The camaraderie also helped to ease any first-timers’ fears or anxieties about giving yoga a try.
To close the session, the instructor, Paul, had us take a few moments in Shavasana (corpse pose) and then sent us off with some words of wisdom: “Open your hearts and minds like Drizzy does on every single track. Namasdrake!” Visit www.Namasdrake.com for their upcoming classes, like May 12th, 2018 at Union Nightclub.
Before heading to our final yoga class, my friends and I decided to grab a quick bite to refuel for the last session. Bender provided an array of complimentary snacks and drinks from Kevita, Core Water, Harmless Harvest, Kite Hill, and Redd Bar. They also hosted two food trucks: Poke 2 Go and Sus Arepas. After much contemplation, my friends and I decided to give Sus Arepas a try. The menu included a number of different options, including the Original (black beans, fried plantains, shredded cheese, and spicy green sauce), the Rumbera (pulled pork, pickled onions, shredded cheese, and Sriracha mayo), and the Reina (avocado chicken salad with spicy green sauce). We decided to share the Rumbera, along with a side of garlic yucca fries. Wow, was it absolutely delicious! The pork inside the arepa was extremely tender, and the Sriracha mayonnaise added a slight kick to the dish. Also, the garlic yucca fries were incredibly addictive and a great compliment to the arepa. After finishing our snack, we were off to our final yoga session.
Our last class was Deep House yoga, hosted by instructors JQ and Alissa Jo. As a Deep House lover myself and a passionate yogi, this class was a perfect fit for me! This session though not only focused on great music, but centered around connecting with our fellow yogis. As we flowed through our practice, the instructors frequently asked us to place our hands across our neighbors’ backs and shoulders, thus providing ourselves and our neighbors with mental and physical balance, strength, guidance, and support.
As the session came to an end, the DJ cranked up the music, and the yoga class transformed into a rooftop dance party! It was a great way to let loose and mingle with others at the event. Before sundown, we were led downstairs, where the dance party continued in the courtyard. Learn more at Deep House yoga.
Between 5pm-8pm, Bender threw a wonderful Sunset Party. We danced, sipped yummy cocktails, and shopped around the various vendors. In regard to the vendors specifically, Bender carefully selected those that truly align with the core values that yoga represents. They also hosted a number of different LA-based artists and designers to showcase the amazing talent within our local community. Some of the vendors included Coast by Coast, Auragami Photography, and Skova.
Bender then closed the evening with a beautiful electronic sound bath hosted by Torkom Ji, a Sound Healer and Electronic Music Producer. The Skyflow Festival was truly one of the most amazing events that I’ve experienced thus far in Los Angeles. I walked away feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually uplifted and fulfilled.
If you are interested in attending a Bender event, they are hosting Flow + Flavor // Rooftop Yoga at Smorgasburg x ROW DTLA on April 15, May 20, and June 10. Flow through a yoga class, then brunch with 50+ delicious vendors at Smorgasburg.
Hope to see you there!