Ben Rivet (known as BJSR in the local music community) has not stopped creating since his days as a student at the University of Dayton just a few years ago. After a bit of traveling that included performing on a cruise ship, Ben returned to Dayton and got noticed quickly with his iPhone-shot video that became a bit of a YouTube hit. After that came the release of his popular debut album Axe and Vox that showcased Ben as not only a talented musician but an able producer and songwriter. These days, Ben has returned back to something he discovered while at UD – yoga – and quickly became a well known member at Practice Yoga – a popular yoga studio on Fifth Street in the Oregon District. Late last year he took his passion for yoga to the next level and began yoga teacher training, which is how he connected with PY instructor Tori Reynolds…
Tori discovered yoga while studying psychology at Wright State, and took it to the next level by signing up to get certified in Live Love Teach training and eventually becaming an instructor at Practice Yoga. Through that program and with the support of her Practice Yoga community, she was inspired to get creative and explore new ways of practicing her craft. The connection she made with Ben eventually led to the creation of a new concept called GO W/ THE FLOW – a unique rhythmic fusion of Ben’s beatboxing and acoustic guitar along with Tori’s yoga sequencing.
I spoke with Ben recently about the journey he has taken that has blended his passions for music and yoga…
Ben: I had been working on completing my yoga teacher certification at Practice Yoga from September to April of this past year, and spending a LOT of time at Practice Yoga. I had played for a couple classes before and had fun doing it. Tori was just starting to teach a class or two at the studio and I asked her if she wanted me to play one of her classes. I think because we are close in age (24/26), have similar tastes in music, and similar ideas about a yoga practice – we complimented each other well right from the start. We got a great response and decided to cultivate it a little more.
I recorded one of the classes we held and posted it online for free to share with yogi friends, titling the track “GO W/ THE FLOW” because it was all very improvised based on the environment, mood and experience level of that class. Once it was online, word began to spread and we realized we had something worth focusing on. With the contacts Tori had through her teacher training we started making contacts and setting up classes along side my tour to SXSW music fest in Austin and the rest is history. The blog pretty much takes it from there…
DMM: What kind of feedback have you gotten from participants?
Ben: We are almost overwhelmed with how tremendous the response has been from GWTF. Not only from our friends and family, but from Yogis, instructors and fitness enthusiasts around the country. When we started, we were just trying to provide the best class we could for the yogis at Practice. But the more we worked on it, the more we realized that the music makes the class very accessible for first-timers as well as deeply beneficial for even an experienced practitioner. Tori’s goal is to teach a class that is fun and challenging for THAT group of people, my goal is to give her the best possible soundtrack to do that to. Participants walk away feeling invigorated limber and eager to do more yoga, which is the point.
DMM: What are your hopes for the future of GWTF? Do you see this as something you’ll do for a while and then move on to other things, or something you want to stick with and grow?
Ben: For as much planning as it feels like Tori and I have been doing preparing for this summer tour, we are both trying to enjoy where we are RIGHT NOW… If we stick to our guns regarding the philosophy about GWTF, we will constantly be learning and growing from the practice as we grow ourselves as yogis, instructors and musicians, and hopefully we will never get “bored” with it. We’ve always thought that GWTF was a unique experience and not something that should replace a normal yoga practice, therefore we think that it could always be something that is sprinkled into our teaching and practice in future. Tori and I also really liking traveling, so it makes sense for us to get out and do this for as many people as possible right now. I still plan on cultivating my BJSR work and Tori will continue teaching in Dayton, but hopefully GWTF will always be apart of it. It does as much for our well-being as it does for our classes.
DMM: What is your message about GWTF to those who have never done yoga before but might want to try GWTF? To those who are experienced with yoga?
Ben: Yoga can definitely be intimidating for those who’ve never tried it or only done it via a DVD or gym experience. What we’re hoping is that the music and environment that we work to create will entice people to give it a try and have some fun. Tori’s teaching is encouraging and playful and my music keeps you moving and sweating. We’ve never had anyone leave unhappy and, in fact, many of our friends who tried yoga for the first time are now adding yoga classes into their regular workout routine. There is really nothing to lose by trying… other some sweat.
For the more experienced practitioners, the classe is a power Vinyasa class that is influenced by the Baptiste and ashtanga method. It moves a lot but the real focus is on the breath! We’ve found that music really helps guide the breathing throughout the class to give everyone the best opportunity to move fully through the practice with support and energy. The steady tempo acts as a subtle reminder under Tori’s cuing to keep you focused and motivated.
On Monday May 14 at 6:30pm, Ben and Tori will be at the RiverScape pavillion helping MetroParks kick off Bike Week 2012 with their GO W/ THE FLOW “Power Vinyasa” yoga which is also the start of their two-month bike tour in conjunction with BikeBot, an Austin, Texas-based “pro-pedal movement” they connected with at the SXSW Festival earlier this year. Power Vinyasa yoga is geared for all experience levels and builds whole-body strength, flexibility and mental focus.
Bring a mat if possible; Practice Yoga will provide a limited number of “loaners.” Another independent downtown business, basho apparel, will screen-print GWTF shirts live on-site.