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Annie Evasick: “My hope is that everyone leaves my events high as a kite on those magic happy hormones”

Yo Yo Yoga is a Seattle-based company that marries fitness events with the underground techno/house community. Annie Evasick, a professional event promoter and yoga instructor who has been working in the music, events, and fitness industry her entire life, founded Yo Yo Yoga 10 years ago at the infamous Electric Tea Garden (ETG). It has continued to be a staple at multiple venues and music festivals around the world. In 2020, due to the pandemic, Yo Yo Yoga was forced to radically reinvent itself and is now coming at you both online as well as in person.

EG caught up with Annie Evasick to learn more about Yo Yo Yoga, wellness and mental health, her personal connection to music, yoga, and much more.

EG: Hello Annie! It’s a pleasure to have you here with us today. How have you been? Where are you right now?

Annie Evasick: Hello! I am so happy to be here with you today; I love everything you guys do. I have been fantastic, and I am currently in my hometown, Seattle, WA, visiting family and working on some exciting upcoming projects.

EG: Thank you for your kind words, Annie. How’s the Yo Yo Yoga Project coming along? Could you explain the concept behind Yo Yo Yoga to us?

Annie Evasick: Yo Yo Yoga Project is hanging in there, shapeshifting, adjusting, progressing, and keeping up with ever-changing times. Last year, we teamed up with Abracadabra Twitch TV and started producing yoga/live DJ shows using a green screen and live visuals. That was a trip at first; it felt like we were on the set of ‘Wayne’s World’. “Party on Garth!” Yo Yo Yoga Project is a Yoga/Live DJ collective advocating for mental health and wellness in the music industry by producing fun, creative yoga events held at nightclubs and music festivals. It brings the community together, brings awareness to balance, and introduces new health and fitness tools to partygoers and performers. Focus on harm reduction by taking care of ourselves and the community by being more mindful ravers!

EG: And it’s been running for over 5 years now, right? How did it all start?

Annie Evasick: Yes, we have actually been doing yoga live DJ events for over ten years now. Yo Yo Yoga Project was founded in 2010 at Seattle’s infamous underground nightclub, Electric Tea Garden. At the time I was working with Shameless Productions as a party promoter and doing artist management for the Decibel Festival. I went pretty hard in those days and was addicted to hot yoga as a tool for recovery and balance. I went to this really cool yoga event that my friend Emily Griffin (Griffingrrl) DJ’d at and it inspired me to start offering yoga with live DJ performances before all of our parties. We already had the venue and all the gear, just had to get a wireless headset and a yoga instructor, and boom, the rest is history. The worst part about it was coming in early to mop the nasty rave floors from the all-night party before, LOL!

I will never forget that, but that is true dedication to the dream. When the vision is there, no obstacle is too big. It took a while to get the word out and lots of promotion, but that was something I was already good at, and since I was so passionate about it, the concept became very popular, very fast. In 5 years we went from a DIY yoga/Live DJ performance to holding a successful weekly rooftop residency at The Monkey Loft; producing yoga events featuring guided meditations from the legendary Mr. C (Superfreq) (who was a big inspiration and supporter of Yo Yo Yoga since day one); teamed up with the incredible Emilie McGlone, director of Peaceboat and founder of Parties 4 Peace for yoga events in New York City supporting climate week; programming workshops for big music festivals like Lightning In A Bottle, Dirtybird Campout, and traveling around the world to perform in Berlin, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Barbados.

EG: Very nice. Is it a complication in general to lead a wellness project in an industry that is somewhat devised to lead to excesses?

Annie Evasick: Good question, as it seems like wellness and raving could be oxymorons. It can be a contradiction at times for sure; there have even been times that our whole team has shown up to the workshop after a sleepless night to host the workshop. I don’t think pausing to take a breath and connect with yourself is ever a bad idea; we are very cautious about making all of our offerings appropriate for all levels of experience and states of mind. We also team up with healthy food and water sponsors to hand out electrolyte tabs, coconut water, juice, protein bars, etc. Even if you can lie there, have a hydrating beverage and snack, chill to the music, it’s all good. We come from a place of love, no judgment; come as you are, meet yourself where you are in the present moment, do what you can, learn something new, and leave feeling better than before. That’s our goal.

“When the vision is there, no obstacle is too big. It took a while to get the word out and lots of promotion, but that was something I was already good at, and since I was so passionate about it, the concept became very popular, very fast”

EG: How much preparation goes into every event? You have to adapt to the available surroundings, right?

Annie Evasick: Depending on the event, most of the preparation takes place ahead of time, sometimes several months in advance. I do a lot of coordinating with event producers and clients, communicating with DJs and yoga Instructors, working with venues to make sure we have the right sound equipment; and in some ways, it’s more complicated because we need a suitable mixer for our wireless mic for yoga instructors, since they are technically performing live vocals with the DJ. Then there is promoting the event, working with sponsors, day of event sound check and set up, etc., so yeah, I’d say there is a lot of preparation for each event, especially since we need to adapt to new surroundings often. One time we had to haul speakers and yoga gear across the ocean in a small boat for an event in Mexico. Most recently, I teamed up with Sean Fischer of PlampHaus Studios to film all of our live streams for Abracadabra’s ‘Self Love Sunday’s’ and the amount of preparation that goes into that is next level as is my gratitude for Sean’s patience and support.

EG: What would you like visitors and attendees to leave Yo Yo Yoga with?

Annie Evasick: I would like visitors and attendees to leave with a new perception of health and wellness being fun and accessible to everyone. New tools for recovery and a sense of connection with the music event industry balance.

EG: What parallelisms can we find between music and yoga?

Annie Evasick: I find so many parallelisms between yoga and music. Creative expression, emotion, creativity, healing vibrations bring people together, community, therapeutic benefits, mind-body connection through body movement and sound. Most importantly, they both naturally produce HAPPY HORMONES in your body like serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine. My hope is that everyone leaves my events high as a kite on those magic happy hormones. Vibing high on your own supply yo!

EG: What would you say is the main problem that people come to Yo Yo Yoga with? What is that most people seek to find from joining Yo Yo Yoga?

Annie Evasick: Most people come to us when they already love yoga and music and are curious about what we are offering. Maybe they are feeling stuck in unhealthy patterns, seek balance, have body pain, anxiety, stress, depression, feel disconnected, tired or drained. They could be seeking a stronger mind, body, or spiritual connection. I think deep down we are all seeking similar things, inner peace, human connection, strength, love, personal growth, transformation, and that natural high.

“I find so many parallelisms between yoga and music. Creative expression, emotion, creativity, healing vibrations bring people together, community, therapeutic benefits, mind-body connection through body movement and sound”

EG: What else can we expect from Annie Evasick and the Yo Yo Yoga Project in the near future? What new milestones are you looking out for in the coming months?

Annie Evasick: You can expect me to keep bringing the heat, LOL! In the coming months, Yo Yo Yoga Project has more live streams on Blond:ish’s Twitch TV channel Abracadabra. The next one is streaming Sunday, March 20th at 11:11 AM EST. We are also teaming up with Datza’s Studios in Seattle and local art museums for a monthly trauma-informed yoga series benefiting mental health resources. Plan on working with Emilie McGlone and Parties 4 Peace for more incredible events around the world. Hopefully, we will be booked for some in-person music events as well. Fingers crossed. As far as Annie Evasick’s milestones, I have joined a start-up, and we plan on launching at the end of March. I’ll be releasing more information about this exciting project in the coming months.

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Annie! We wish you all the best for the future!

Annie Evasick: Thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk to me about integrating health and wellness into the electronic music industry and all its events. It really means a lot to me as it has been my mission for so long. Hope to see you guys in ‘down dawg’, ‘dancing tree’, or ‘savasana’ (nap pose) at one of my events soon! BIG LOVE!

You can learn more about Annie Evasick and the Yo Yo Yoga Project, here.

Follow Annie Evasick: Instagram
Follow Yo Yo Yoga Project: Facebook | Website | Instagram

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