Live Be Yoga ambassadors Jeremy Falk and Aris Seaberg are on a road trip across the country to share real talk with master teachers, explore innovative classes, and so much more—all to illuminate what's in store for the future of yoga.
These days, the emerging hybrids of yoga are plentiful enough to fill a newsfeed. Yoga is tacked on to just about every special interest. I personally find a lot of them to be capitalist marketing schemes, although as a yogi I have to admit that, yes, anything can be yoga if it is done with awareness, breath, and intention. Even so, when a class called Yoga Vibe(rate) lands on our schedule, I carry a cautiously raised eyebrow along with an open mind all the way to Flight Room in Seattle.
Walking into Flight Room, I notice silk ropes hanging from clips in the ceiling, and it seems like an appropriate place to engage with alternative movement disciplines. Below the ropes, five boards are lined up in a row and plugged into electrical sockets along the wall. They look like a futuristic version of the equipment from step aerobics. But today we are practicing yoga on these vibrating devices. The class is only scheduled for 30 minutes; I wonder, is it really going to be that intense?
I begin to roll out my Jade Yoga Mat because I feel like their “buy a mat, plant a tree” program aligns well with the good vibes about to take place. But our instructor, Richard Guevara, tells me and Aris that it’s between us and the boards today. As we get to talking, I find out that he’s studied under the anatomically wise Annie Carpenter, and my faith increases in what we’re about to experience. Richard turns the vibration plates on, and the room is buzzing. We start lying on our backs and with our hamstrings over the board so they receive a gentle massage.
This brief but pleasurable moment comes to an end after a few minutes, when Richard instructs us to get up and get moving. We arrive in Down Dog with our feet on the boards, which are elevated about six inches off the floor. I can’t get my heels down as far as I’m used to, but I can feel a tingly sensation and muscular contractions up and down my legs. We move through vinyasas, and in Up Dog I can feel all the muscles in my body. At first it’s a little disorienting, but I start to feel a greater awareness of how everything is connected.
We work through Side Planks with our hands on the board, which is monumentally more challenging than practicing it on a mat. I can feel my whole body calibrating with the vibrations and realize how great this is for improving stability in the joints. But the real concentration kicks in when we get to Warrior III, standing on one leg—on the board. I start to notice with greater precision where I need to engage my body in order to maintain balance.
“It’s a fun way to learn how to fully engage,” Richard tells us. “This will wake up your thighs and show you what needs to be working, or what doesn’t work so well.”
At this point I discover that Yoga Vibe(rate), thankfully, is more than doing Down Dog while rocking a tank top that announces “Good Vibes Only.” It has actually surged in popularity over the years because it’s a valuable tool. Physical therapists use it to help rehabilitate injuries, while personal trainers say it offers a time-effective workout solution for any body. Some experts say that standing on a vibration platform causes every muscle of the body to micro-adjust and contract. You can perform a variety of exercises and movements on it that, proponents say, ultimately result in more strength, flexibility, balance, and tone.
After practice, my whole body is buzzing. This often happens after yoga, but this time the feeling is more palpable. If you’re an anatomy nerd, athlete, biohacker, or someone who wants to optimize how you use your body in yoga, than I highly recommend giving a vibe board class a try. Did we go deep into the philosophy of yoga, guided by the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, or open with a chant to Ganesha? No, this isn’t the yoga that moves in that direction. But it did deepen my understanding of my body, which is fundamentally tied to the essence of yoga.
Plus, it’s not totally devoid of anything deeper than muscular contractions and joint stability. If you don’t relate easily to the energetic aspects of yoga, this makes a great pathway to heighten your awareness of the sensations of prana (life force) in the subtle body. Just make sure you’re not too wobbly to make it out the door.