22 May, 2016

SELFRIDGES MEETS: Yung Club

East London yoga duo, Alison and Rebecca, are bringing their one-of-a-kind, multi-sensory yoga experience to Selfridges London. Intrigued? Get the lowdown here.

When did you both start yoga, and why?

Rebecca: I was Woody Harrelson’s PA in 2005 when he worked in the west end, starring in Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana. He practised yoga religiously before he went on stage. I observed how brave and focused it made him under extremely stressful conditions. I was fascinated and drawn by the magical power of yoga and mediation.

Alison: I used to be a journalist in Canada and so was my best friend Falice. In 2006, we heard about a new gym opening in an old nightclub called Heaven with a gorgeous cork yoga studio and a steam room. I was sold. My first teacher had us roar like lions, on all fours, three times at the end of a class. I was hooked.

Describe the Yung Club philosophy in a sentence. 

Alison: We believe that exercise is better with art. We create immersive yoga experiences with projections, sound-reactive animations and DJ playlists. 

How did Yung Club first come about? 

Rebecca: We are both ambitious culture vultures so fate bought us together in 2014 at the Proud Archivist where I was teaching Pop Yoga (a blend of ashtanga, kundalini, music, projections and aromatherapy). Alison started to trade premium marketing and cultural branding consulting for yoga classes, and after just days of knowing each other, Alison joined me at Farm Fest to run Pop Yoga classes and the YUNG CLUB dream was born. 
Alison: We co-founded YUNG CLUB in 2015 by adding propriety, planetary projection technology and commissioning artistic collaborations to create branded, immersive artistic experiences. A series of grants helped to commission the premiere immersive visual animation collection, build the Machine prototype and launch YUNG CLUB in 2015. 

How do the audio and visual stimulants change the overall yoga experience? 

Rebecca: We use the same technology to create sound-reactive visuals that DJs use at concerts when they sync music to visuals. When we combine our premiere animation collection by The Great Nordic Sword Fights with playlists from London’s best DJs, the results are euphorically immersive. It’s like a festival only you’re getting fit. As humans our tribal behaviour is influenced by light and darkness and the focus is taken away from you and other people in the room, reducing negative comparison and feelings of self consciousness. 

People say it’s exciting and transportive, like they’re inside another world.

What’s the creative process behind the different experiences? How do you go about selecting the music and visuals?

Alison: YUNG CLUB may be a fitness brand but we are simultaneously a collaborative art brand. Our seasonal creative process begins with a brief to animation artists. The Great Nordic Sword Fights won our pitch because they have such dynamic, playful and imaginative craft. We asked them to take our four themes (Dream City, Wild Child, Spaced Out, Deep Sea) and create moving worlds that take you on an arc journey from calm to energetic and back to savasana. There’s nothing like this in the fitness world.

Rebecca: For me, music is the highest art form and because I hop around the decades, there is so much to choose from. I spend hours making playlists and make sure all our DJ playlists take you on a journey. I know they’re right when I can see people’s faces light up. The playlists compliment our themes with feelings. For example, in the Deep Sea experience we want the audience to feel refreshed and calm, where as in Spaced Out, we want them to feel tenacious and powerful. 

What’s been the feedback from ‘regular’ yoga-goers to the Yung Club experience? 

Alison: People say it’s exciting and transportive, like they’re inside another world. The low light and projections relieve the audience from the pressure to preform. So, ultimately they let go of the stress and banality of every day life.

What has it been like launching the Yung Club space in Selfridges? 

Rebecca: It’s a funny feeling when your dreams come true. You can’t believe it’s happening, but the reality is that this collaboration with Selfridges has been almost a year in the making. We’ve had the patience and adaptive designs of our award-winning architects OS31, and the support and expertise of the most visionary and experimental retailers, creatives, event managers and producers ever, all under Selfridges roof. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. We can’t wait.

It’s a funny feeling when your dreams come true. You can’t believe it’s happening, but the reality is that this collaboration with Selfridges has been almost a year in the making.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in taking up yoga for the first time? 

Rebecca: Yoga is the secret to well-being, self esteem and youth. You should feel like you are unlocking a secret. It’s also one of the most beautiful solo fitness activities there is. You spend a lifetime practicing, not perfecting, yoga.

If you had to pick a favourite yoga move, what would it be and why? 

Rebecca: Power pose because it changes the chemicals in the body raising the testosterone and lowering the cortisol taking you from feelings of stress to confidence and calm.

Alison: This may sound boring but I find downward dog to be infinitely adjustable, like a design or a piece of writing. If you want it to be more strenuous, pike up, lower, just walk it out. Having a particularly hard day, hold it longer than anyone else, as long as you need to. 

What would be your go-to brand for workout gear? 

Alison: I rock as close to athleisure in the daytime as I do for nighttime classes. Silk, striped leggings and trainers. Leather and lacy sports tops. Brand wise, I will always have a soft spot for adidas Originals as they were my client for two years, but I like to mix shiny and stretchy pieces in from American Apparel in just for fun.

What's your favourite food – healthy and treat? 

Rebecca: I like a smoothie with fresh banana and frozen berries which is filling and tasty and the perfect temperature. For naughty treats I love a good a doughnut but I try not to go there too often. They are addictive!

Alison: Hummus. Not just any hummus. There’s a brand called Aphrodite sold, amusingly, only at my corner shop. And treats? I really like jelly snakes and Hello Panda Japanese cookies. Snacks should be fun, just like yoga.

BODYWORK with YUNG CLUB runs from 25 May - 10 June at Selfridges London in the Ultralounge, LG. Classes are £15 for 55 minutes. Showers, lockers and drinking water are provided. Please bring appropriate clothing, towels and a reusable water bottle. 

 

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