Yoga of Bass

Yoga of Bass

Of all the things on offer at Rainbow Serpent Festival, Yoga of Bass is something you may want to keep near the top of your to-do list. For those unfamiliar, Yoga of Bass is an ongoing discussion and a series of workshops by Darin McFadyen (aka DJ FreQ Nasty) and Claire Thompson on the intersection of music and spirituality. We spoke with Claire to find out a little more.
I believe it’s not your first time at the festival, is that correct? If so, do you have any fond memories from last time? Also, what sets Rainbow Serpent apart from other festivals around the world?
Last year was my first trip to Rainbow Serpent, and it may be my favourite festival in the world. I like how balanced it is between really solid music line-ups of different genres and well-developed, well-attended workshop and movement programs. Plus great art, clothes, and AMAZING food, and last year I really appreciated getting to experience the Aboriginal cultural offerings as well.
Plus, Monday daytime is the best – feeling the upswing of energy instead of the sad packing-out energy that usually prevails on Mondays at festivals…
Your workshop incorporates music, dance and spirituality with the aim to bring festival bliss into our daily lives. Sounds incredible! Briefly, what will punters experience?
We are offering two parts of our Yoga of Bass workshop. The one at the Chill Stage (Saturday at 8:30 a.m.) is a yoga asana, mediation and movement session with a full tweaky, dubby bass-heavy DJ set from Darin – getting into our bodies and off our heads at the same time, haha. We love offering the yoga at a festival stage with a proper sound system as people feeling the full frequency range of the music is really important to the experience.
Then we are doing a talk in the workshop area (Sunday at 1:45 p.m.) about how your creativity and passion can be expressed in both your art and life. And I am leading Sunday morning yoga and a Partner Massage class on Saturday afternoon as well!
I understand you’ve been practicing yoga for a number of years. What drew you to this ancient teaching?
It started as a way to keep my body healthy while doing long days of massage therapy. Then I learned to incorporate meditation into yoga, and studied Sanskrit and the core texts of the Hindu and Buddhist yoga traditions, and yoga became a mind/body/breath practice that I could go to for balance no matter what was going on.
Combining the more classical aspects of yoga with music and free movement or dance as we do with Yoga of Bass adds a light-heartedness and fun that can be missing in many studio environments.
I read you also trained as a classical singer – quite a combo. Have you worked this skill into the program?
I feel that the Yoga of Bass project is all about combining movement and meditation with sound. I use my speaking voice in an intentional way during my classes to help people drop into the energy of the moment, whether it is grounding and surrendering, or calling up fire or fun. So I think my classical singing training helped with that.
Your partner on this mission is Darin McFadyen, aka FreQ Nasty. How does he complement the session using his deejaying experience?
For this project, of course, he brings his depth of musical knowledge in both the heavy bass and classic dub-reggae genres, but this project has also given him the impetus to explore types of music that he loves but doesn’t play out as FreQ Nasty – well-produced tracks with great low-end that are a bit more mellow, experimental, or world-music influenced. And he is an expert at bringing people along a musical journey, as we do in the asana class.
He also has practiced yoga for over 15 years and has a great understanding of meditation and the yoga philosophy texts, so he brings that to the talks that we give together.
You are both part of Dub Kirtan All Stars. Does any of the music crossover?
Often you will find a Dub Kirtan All Stars track in a Yoga of Bass set – and then often we will do a Dub Kirtan set right after to keep the dancing going, like we did at Rainbow last year and will be doing at Wanderlust Cockatoo Island this year. The philosophies of the two projects are very much in line!
By the way, we’re excited to announce that there is a Dub Kirtan album coming out around March or April!
Forte has featured different artists on the festival bill – who are you looking forwards to seeing and why?
Thank You City, whose live sets I’ve enjoyed at other festivals, Thugfucker – I’ve been listening to their sets on SoundCloud all year, Opiuo and Spoonbill, who I don’t get to see play much in the States, Beats Antique Live for a great dance around, and this talk by Damion Brown that sounds fascinating called Dancing About Architecture!
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
We are doing a Yoga of Bass three-hour workshop at Rubix in Brunswick, Melbourne on Sunday, Feb 15, from 3-6. More info on everything at yogaofbass.com
When&Where: Rainbow Serpent Festival – January 23 to 26
Photo by Aaron Dorr