We recently had the opportunity to connect with Keri Perkins at one of her We Are Boogie Sound yoga sessions at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, London. The class began with a SUBPAC sound bath to help the participants get mentally prepared. During the session, music was provided by Bert Gilbert to keep everyone in a tranquil frame of mind.
We had the opportunity to ask Keri more about We Are Boogie Sound and why music was so important during her classes:
Could you tell us a bit more about how We Are Boogie Sound got started?
I used to work in PR and it was pretty stressful, running big campaigns, deadlines, late nights and I was travelling all over the world... I loved it but my brain was fried. A friend told me about the Jivamukti yoga practice at a music festival in Austria. So when I got back to London I tried it and it was the combination of the dynamic practice and focusing on my breath that made me feel so calm, connected but also energized - it was the first time I could remember in a long time I was only focusing on what I was doing in that moment. I understood later why they call yoga a moving meditation. It’s not really like any other physical exercise. The other reason I loved the Jivamukti style of yoga that my friend “Andy” introduced me to is because music or Nada (yoga of sound) is a key principle of the practice. Jivamukti teachers play great music which only enhances the yoga experience. Fast forward a few years and I decided to do my yoga Teacher Training in Jivamukti and quit my job to become a yoga teacher. It was really important to me that music became a fundamental part of the yoga I teach - because sound has such a profound effect on us; it can be so healing. Yoga has such amazing benefits for the mind, body and soul and if you put it with the right music - you can experience something pretty euphoric. So I launched We Are Boogie Sound, teaching proper yoga, not dumbing down the practice, respecting the ancient teachings and my teachers but also teaching it in a modern way to suit the people that come to my class. Most We Are Boogie Sound sessions have a live music or sound element - it could be electronic DJ’s, percussionists, classical musicians or a SUBPAC sound bath. I think the music aspect of the practice attracts people to yoga who might think it’s not for them or have a perception you have to be able to do a handstand or be advanced at yoga. If they love music they go ok I’ll give it a go!
Was there a stand-out experience with music that made you want to explore the therapeutic/relaxing world of sound?
I’ve always felt that music was more than the backdrop for good times. Thinking back to when I used to go clubbing, music had this element of connecting people and had a deeper impact on my soul. When I first started to practice Jivamukti yoga , the combination of the physical practice, linked to the breath and music had an amazing impact on the mind, body and spirit. I felt this natural euphoria and definitely more connected to myself and everything around me. I also noticed that the way I dealt with things began to change positively.
Do you have a preference between beat driven music or more ambient pieces for your sessions?
Ambient music can really help when you are feeling stress and anxiety. It really calms the nervous system down. However uptempo music can be just as effective it’s about creating a musical narrative that's suitable. So what mood I’m trying to evoke, what time of day it is, what I’m trying to teach through the moment of the Asana (yoga postures) and movement to breath. In Jivamukti there is always a focus of the month, a sort of spiritual guidance and it’s up to the teacher to decide how they teach it. For instance it could be given by way of something they’ve read, a teaching from yoga scriptures or a personal experience and often it can be expressed through the lyrics of the song or the mood a song evokes.
Top 3 recommended tracks to get in the zone?
This is hard so many good tracks! Can I have 4?
I think ambient wise:
And something uptempo feel good new band:
Anything else that you’d like to mention?
Yes, the foundation of meditation or yoga is the breath.. so if you want to try something and feel yoga or meditation is not for you right now or you think you can’t meditate because you can’t stop thinking (that’s not it by the way you, firstly you need to just stop being hard on yourself) then just take some long inhales and exhales to some chilled music (maybe try some ambient music from Gas). So try this, choose your relaxing track, get comfortable, back straight, feet grounded, gently close your eyes and breath in for 4 and out for 4 through your nose and see how that feels. You can do it any time! Put your headphones on, close your eyes; on the bus, at your desk, in the bathroom at work. Do it for 5 mins, you’re activating your parasympathetic nervous system, getting more oxygen to the blood, and releasing happy hormones... You can really change your perspective in these moments and they help in stressful situations.
Have a story about how music has helped you? We'd love to hear about it! Feel free to reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography by: S.Snooks