If you think you're perfect or you want to be perfect...
this studio is not for you.
Electric Soul Yoga is a community of people pursuing health, authenticity, joy, and truth. It's not about getting your foot behind your head so much as getting your head out of your ass! What we mean is we practice yoga to connect with our authentic truth. To practice yoga at Electric Soul is to join a community of seekers on the journey back to themselves. You'll get a kick-ass workout on the way there too!
For those of us that already have a connection or are just joining in for the first time, the name says it all! It is our tribe. We are electric; alive, awake, powerful and radiant. We are Soulful; wise, boundless, limitless and heartfelt. The sweat, music, laughs, love and our intentions light up the room. We are Electric Soul Yoga! Plug into your greatness!
Two weeks of drafts, lots of reflection and still there is no way to tell the story of how Electric Soul Yoga was brought to life without getting a bit long winded...I guess we are no different than any other creation that has come to be. It hurts giving birth. It hurts bad. Our story is personal, emotional, and painful. It is interpersonal, intellectual and joyful. Our story is full of tales from all over the world, and from all walks of life. It lives in the streets of India. It died in the suburbs of Michigan and was re-born again. The lies, cheating, and selfishness over the years have nearly killed us. However, like any great story, love, honesty and bravery kept us walking in the "light".
My Electric Soul was awakened on January 24,1986. Nearly killed by my own doing, I came to life by listening to a stranger tell his story. He shared his pain, fear, loneliness and shame. Every word he shared shook my own truth to the surface and I woke up. Thirty days later we both left the treatment center, with my life just beginning and his over within days. He died because he could honestly share, but he could not be honest. Truth does not kill us, lies do.
In 1998, I completed my first yoga class. Several years before I tried a yoga class, but left after 15 minutes... Again, I could not stand the class, but this time I made a 90 day commitment to go to 90 classes. The teacher spoke in a strange language and acted like I should understand it. The students pretended to be quiet. I knew many personally and knew they were extremely agitated, including me! There was flowery, meaningless dialogue and a hierarchy that consisted of those people doing it "right". Although the "layout" was not to my liking, I was smart enough to to know I was standing in judgment and needed to look at myself.
Everyday for 90 days, I watched myself struggle, play mind games, try to run, shut down, suppress, cling, hope, and fantasize during class. It blew my mind. I thought no matter how bad the class is I should be at peace and I was not. Now I am a rare bird. Most people would never spend their money to be tortured like that. So that became my mission; creating a yoga you and I could both love.
Within two years, I owned two studios (Center for Yoga) and the dream was becoming a reality. After teaching Ashtanga and traditional Vinyasa yoga out of the gate, I quickly changed gears. My conversations with students were all about the physical aspects of yoga and I wanted to talk about something more profound; ourselves and life!
In order to build a community of people who are raw, real, honest, and courageous, all the while being a bit fu€*ed up, I had to be the same. This meant throwing out what I had been brainwashed to learn in training and simply teach from the heart.
On a hot, balmy night in July, 2000, Yoga Rocks was born. It was classified as a workshop because my partner, at the time, did not believe music should be part of a yoga class. Yoga Rocks was not only a hit, it has become a world wide phenomenon. Suddenly yoga classes became relatable, relevant, fun, and engaging. I pulled all level systems out, dropped using Sanskrit, and spoke to students as I am; one of them, not someone above them.
The door had been blown wide open and people of all ages, sizes and walks of life were talking about yoga and now coming to class. This came at a price, and for the first time in my "yoga" life, I had to choose between comfort and success or uncomfortable and truth. I left Center for Yoga.
In 2004, I opened the doors to Yoga Shelter. I realized then the enormous responsibility I had in leading the community. I knew I needed help. I had no teacher, yet I was teaching thousands of students a month. It felt dishonest to me. I had searched the yoga world, but kept finding, at best, people like me; charismatic, smart and full of shit. I needed a teacher! Through some pretty incredible circumstances, I met Swami Parthasarthy in India that year; www.vedantaworld.org (details in the long version).
My relationship with yoga, myself and the world was forever changed. I have since dedicated my life to the study of Vedanta and have molded a mobile community around it as well. I am not the last stop of someone's spiritual liberation, not if you want to go all the way. I now had an entire community to share with those people that wanted more than I could give. I felt honest, safe, and was ready to fly.
Eight studios were built, several of them as franchises. Many teachers were trained and over a million students have been served during the next eleven years. While I kept growing as a person and as a professional, many people in the company did not.
What once was a Shelter, was no longer safe. The intentions behind the scenes had
changed. Yoga Shelter could not hold a space any longer for those who were evolving. However, nature always can, and with one death, comes another birth... Electric Soul Yoga.
Electric Soul Yoga has preserved what we have always been: a “motley crue" collection of souls. We come together at our best and worst and have committed to growing up no matter what the obstacle or cost. We fight to ensure no lies fool us and no fears rules us. We study, we sweat and we play.
Electric Soul Yoga was born through a revolution that creates evolution. Therefore, we
are never the same, always growing and never stagnate. We have new classes and have some refreshing twists on the classes that have made us known throughout the world. We introduce Electric Soul with great gratitude and humility and some bragging rights.
In 1999, this journey began and between then and 2015, we hold two world records (Longest yoga chain, Yoga Journal Conference, Estes Park, CO, 2012; Yoga Rocks Ford Field, World’s largest indoor yoga class, 2014). We created standards such as free yoga, introductory packages and monthly memberships. We introduced mainstream music in all of our classes. We made yoga meaningful, life changing and fun.
In short, studios all over the country have "popped" up in our likeness and thousands of teachers around the world are sharing our style, many claiming it as their own. I say this to honor all of our teachers, family, friends and students who have inspired me. I have created nothing. We, together, have created a worldwide movement.
A special thanks to Caren Paskel, who is not only my sister, but my best friend. Our
stories are forever intertwined and her contributions to the mission are countless. She is her own person and her inner beauty is even more profound than her outer. She carries the torch at Electric Soul Yoga, Royal Oak, Michigan.
We invite you to plug into your greatness, your Electric Soul!