• Yoga jam: remixing Kirtan in the Art of Living

      Jacobs, Stephen (University of Toronto Press, 2017-03-17)
      Yoga Jam are a group of musicians in the United Kingdom who are active members of the Art of Living, a transnational Hindu-derived meditation group. Yoga Jam organize events—also referred to as yoga raves and yoga remixes—that combine Hindu devotional songs (bhajans) and chants (mantras) with modern Western popular musical genres, such as soul, rock, and particularly electronic dance music. This hybrid music is often played in a clublike setting, and dancing is interspersed with yoga and meditation. Yoga jams are creative fusions of what at first sight seem to be two incompatible phenomena—modern electronic dance music culture and ancient yogic traditions. However, yoga jams make sense if the Durkheimian distinction between the sacred and the profane is challenged, and if tradition and modernity are not understood as existing in a sort of inverse relationship. This paper argues that yoga raves are authenticated through the somatic experience of the modern popular cultural phenomenon of clubbing combined with therapeutic yoga practices and validated by identifying this experience with a reimagined Vedic tradition.