Wireless headphones meet asana. And it's more than the next fad—it's a pretty smart fix for a variety of teaching challenges. (Psst: Join us for Saturday night Sound Off Submerge to experience vinyasa, yoga nidra and a sound bath Savasana at Yoga Journal LIVE! New York on April 22 at 8 p.m.! Sign up here.)
Ever wish you could hear your yoga teacher whispering softly in your ear? Or that you had a way to block out the sound of ambulances and fire trucks whizzing by as you try to lose yourself in Savasana? Sound Off Yoga may be for you.
What to Expect In a Silent Disco Yoga Class
A Sound Off Yoga class is pretty much like your typical vinyasa flow class, except you wear a wireless headset through which you can hear your instructor as well as deep house music mixed by a live DJ. The instructor is present in the room, but doesn't have to be amplified, because you can adjust the volume of the voice and the music, right on your headset. The noise-isolating headphones also block out ambient noise, minimizing distractions.
“It’s very cool. People say they’ve never felt so connected to the instructor before,” says Castel Valere-Couturier, Sound Off's CEO.
Sound Off uses wireless headphone technology to produce a wide variety of events, from weddings to bar mitzvahs to yoga classes. Valere-Couturier, 30, was inspired to start his company four years ago at a silent disco in Israel, where participants were using similar headsets on the patio of a nightclub. Last summer, he realized that the technology could be useful in yoga classes, especially outdoor classes.
Benefits of Teaching Yoga Through Wireless Headsets
“I reached out to Yoga BamBam in Hong Kong—they freaked out when they heard the idea. For the first class, we did acroyoga in the park as a trial run, followed by sunrise and sunset yoga sessions right on the beach, which couldn’t have amplified sound. People loved it.”
One clear benefit of the wireless headsets is they allow you to have a large-scale yoga class in an area where you may not be permitted to amplify sound; for example, on the beach. The headsets also reduce the need for electricity (Sound Off uses a portable battery pack the size of an iPhone), and allow participants to adjust the volume to their liking, so people in the back of the class can hear and people in the front aren’t “blown out.”
The headsets also have three audio channels, permitting Sound Off to produce multiple fitness events in the same space at the same time, and change colors based on what the user is listening to, so you can tell who's listening to what.
“Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, I think the shared intimate experience it creates where you’re completely in the zone is what makes it special,” Valere-Couturier says.
YJ Tried It
We recently took a Sound Off Yoga class ($20; price varies by event) at South Street Seaport’s inflatable SUGARCUBE venue in downtown Manhattan (all of the events sold out, with the exception of one overflow class) and yes, the headphones stay on, even during inversions. They also most certainly block out all ambient noise: At the SUGARCUBE event, you couldn’t hear the instructor at all until you put on your headset, due to the sound of an air compressor keeping the cube inflated. But once the headphones were on, all you heard was the teacher and the music. Pretty cool.
Find a Silent Disco Yoga Class Near You
Sound Off has a variety of upcoming yoga events in the works, in cities from Chicago to Las Vegas to Denver to Miami. Visit soundoffexperience.com for more information.