Aurora Yoga isn’t like most yoga classes. A collaboration between yoga instructor Tashi Marshall and new media artist Lazer Catcher (Seth Abramson), this yoga class is a sensory experience complete with a unique soundscape and dynamic visuals that cover the walls of the studio space.
“What makes this different from a traditional yoga class, what’s more exciting — and in some ways more accessible— is the light,” said yoga instructor Tashi Marshall. “That light feature adds a whole new level. The inspiration is the Aurora Borealis. Those aren’t just regular lights, they’re really significant and spiritual.”
Abramson reached out to Marshall with the idea for Aurora Yoga after visiting a planetarium and finding the immersive visuals displayed on the domed ceiling inspirational.
“I really wanted to do something that’s more grounded and self-centering,” Abramson said. “I wanted to do yoga inside a little planetarium.”
West Ashley’s Holy Cow Yoga Center has hosted the class since November 2020, but Abramson and Marshall have since added a live DJ to the classes.
“Tashi does still put in a lot of prep work for these and knows the poses she is going to do ahead of time, but we’re all feeding off of Tashi and the energy of the class. The DJ will raise the energy of the music and I’ll take visuals on the exhale, and melt and dissipate,” Abramson said.
“The live performance adds your senses of vision and hearing. You no longer have to focus on seeing nothing or closing your eyes and trying to eliminate any sounds. You’re actually allowed.”
Their work through Aurora Yoga redefines what it means to be in a yoga class, Abramson said. “We’re totally doing a different take on yoga and what achieving peace and synchronicity with the body looks like.”
Marshall added, “We’re not monks practicing in the forest anymore. When this practice started thousands of years ago, the belief, or the goal, was this decrease or diminishing of the senses. So, to an extent, I would say we are challenging that … using visuals, for example, to lock you in the present moment instead of trying to disregard it.”
Abramson said that this mindful work is a departure from most of his professional work, but also speaks to the importance of finding grounding.
Through Aurora Yoga, Marshall and Abramson are bringing together two worlds that often seem at odds, and they said that juxtaposition is what has made the series a success.
“What’s really beautiful is that some people come for the yoga and say, ‘I’ve never done anything like this before’ and Seth [Abramson] also draws people in who are like, ‘I just want to come and look at pretty lights, even though I don’t know a whole lot about yoga,’” Marshall said. “I think it’s a really beautiful way, whether you’re coming for one or the other, to bring people together.”
Marshall and Abramson continue to collaborate on themed series. In the past, they’ve done a series on the elements. Currently, the classes focus on chakras. The next two Aurora Yoga classes take place Feb. 15 and March 29.
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