The idea of a rave before breakfast may seem strange, but that's exactly what trance trio Above & Beyond, alongside the event company Daybreaker, has made happen. All throughout the summer, from London to Los Angeles, they’ve been hosting yoga listening parties. The concept is unique yet simple: a one hour yoga session starting at 5:30 A.M., followed by a dance party from 6:30-8:30 A.M. There’s no alcohol served, and each event is centered around mindfulness and self-reflection.
At its core, the yoga listening party pairs perfectly with the latest album from Above & Beyond, Flow State, a collection of ambient and meditative tracks, combining edits of the group’s old classics like “Sun in Your Eyes” with brand new songs, including “Don’t Leave.” These events have certainly carved out their own niche, and I was fortunate enough to attend the one in LA on July 25.
Waking up before 5:00 A.M. to attend this was no easy task, but my eagerness for the yoga session helped me through. As I approached ROW DTLA, where the event would be taking place, I was immediately met with a line of enthusiastic trance fans, their yoga mats in one hand and a large coffee in the other. Several attendees were dressed in what I would describe as “floral garb,” and it undoubtedly added to the overall atmosphere. I was amazed at how many people were already in line at five in the morning, but that’s a testament to the following Above & Beyond has. After spending a modest amount of time in line, entering the event was quick and painless. The morning’s festivities would take place on the rooftop of ROW, so I shuffled into the elevator with several other excited Above & Beyond fans, and we eagerly awaited for what was to come.
Once we reached the outdoor roof, we were greeted by hanging lights and cuts off of Flow State. It was still dark out, but that contributed to the atmosphere. There was plenty of space for everyone’s yoga mat, and I easily found a spot. The vibe was relaxing, and there was a sense of calmness around the whole event. The yoga session started with the attendees lying down, and as more people showed up, gradually became more dynamic. The practice was both uplifting and strenuous, and matching perfectly with the ethereal music from Above & Beyond playing through a great set of speakers. One of the best parts about this hour of yoga was that it offered poses for beginners and experts alike. It was accessible to everyone, and that was key for an event that touted itself as an inclusive, mindful space.
When we entered the second half of the yoga session, I couldn’t help but start to really pay attention to the music. I had taken a listen to Flow State before this event, but it was in this setting, watching the sunrise from a rooftop in Downtown LA, where its beauty truly shone through. The album cycles impeccably from track to track, which allowed all the attendees to keep their concentration. The melodies are beautiful, none of the songs feel rushed, and they all build up naturally. Above & Beyond have always shown an ability to create stunning, airy breakdowns, but this album allowed them to fully show off that skill. Flow State feels tailor-made for yoga, and it is fantastic.
One hour later, as we eased out of the session, I noticed that we were suddenly surrounded by all the complimentary vegan snacks and beverages a Los Angeles resident could desire. There were so many choices that I didn’t have a chance to try them all, but my favorites were the Paleo Puffs and the coconut milk cookies. There was an ample amount of iced coffee and matcha, which was a welcome surprise to most of the attendees, who had woken up at the crack of dawn.
Only a few minutes after the yoga portion of the event had ended, the two hour dance party began. It started off with some deep house, giving off a very Anjunadeep style, and I was taken aback by how ready to dance everyone appeared. Often times it takes a while for a crowd to warm up, with most people standing around talking to each other for the first hour or so. However, that was clearly not the case here. As soon as the music started, everyone put down their yoga mats and jumped right in. The energy was positive, and there was plenty of space to dance. Thankfully the weather was mild, and being able to look out over the LA skyline was almost magical.
I left the yoga listening party feeling positive and lively, and I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t even 9:00 A.M. yet. I felt like I still had the full day ahead of me, and I can say that’s a first after any sort of dance event I’ve attended. Even though waking up before the sunrise can feel impossible, this experience was well worth it. It had all the elements you could want from going out, with almost none of the drawbacks. There’s no hangover, no ear-ringing, and I left feeling better than when I arrived. If there’s a Daybreaker event in your city, I’d suggest checking it out—you never know if this might be what you’ve been looking for.
Words By Ethan Garcia