We had an awesome opportunity to interview Annie Evasick of the Yo Yo Yoga Project. She is the mastermind behind Seattle’s yoga dance party scene. Born and raised in Port Ludlow, Washington, Annie came to Seattle and found her true calling. She wears multiple hats that include managing the Yo Yo Yoga Project and working at Shameless Productions and Shameless Audio. Annie also owns a dog walking company called Little Bubba’s k9 care. Can we agree that Annie is an entrepreneur?
We asked her a few questions to learn more about her past, present and future. Here’s what she had to tell us:
#1 What is Yo Yo Yoga? What does it offer and how often is it held?
ANNIE: Yo Yo Yoga Project is a Seattle based collective of yoga instructors and DJ’s working together to offer fun yoga classes and events at various venues including yoga studios, night clubs and music festivals. In the winter season, we offer about 2-3 events each month. In the Summer, we have about 2-3 events per week.
#2 Tell us about Yo Yo Yoga and how it all got started?
ANNIE: Yo Yo Yoga started 5 years ago at the infamous Electric Tea Garden (ETG). At the time my business partner, Shameless Productions and I were hosting a weekly night there called The Shameless Social. Everyone in our crew loved yoga and we had access to some of Seattle’s best DJ’s, so we thought it would be nice to do a yoga with a live DJ before our party each week. We called it, Shameless Presents Yo Yo Yoga- “Stretch then Dance”, it was a $10 – $20 donation. If you came to yoga you got into the party free! It was a very small audience at first but started growing about a year into it. Sadly ETG closed but it gave us the opportunity to move to a DIY event space in an old theatre in Belltown. It was an awesome, funky space and certainly a DIY project. I used to literally cut and paste together the flyers by hand at this little copy shop by my apartment.
We started gaining momentum and our community was starting to grow, but of course that building was very old and also got shut down. After that we decided to take a break and focused on launching our record label Shameless Audio, which has been an absolutely incredible experience. I love my team and we’ve been able to release some incredible music, work with some very talented artists and have lots of fun!
About a year later, I met Datza Uldrike. She was full of fire. I fell in love with her yoga teaching, we had an instant connection and I asked her to help me bring Yo Yo Yoga back! That summer, Shameless Productions was offered a residency at the Monkey Loft called Deck’d Out. It was a dance party every Thursday on the roof top deck from 6-10pm. The owner agreed to let us do Yo Yo Yoga beforehand. We were back and better than ever!
Through our successful events at the Monkey Loft, we were approached by multiple venue owners and music festivals to showcase Yo Yo Yoga that summer! We hit it hard, put in everything we had and here we are!
#3 How much behind the scenes work goes into each event?
Annie: Each event is unique and different so there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into them. We use many different types of venues. Often times we use warehouse buildings which means hauling in our own sound system and doing all of the sound, lighting, decor and heating. We are very lucky to have a wonderful crew and a large family of volunteers.
We believe that life is art and all about expression. We try to think outside the box, get creative and bring fun new ideas to the table for each event. For example, at our last event we had Brandy Gray (Decibel Festival) present live visuals during the session followed by a guided meditation with Richard West (AKA Mr. C of The Shamen fame).
#4 What can someone expect when they come to one of your events?
Annie: If you come to a Yo Yo Yoga event, you can expect to do yoga with some of Seattle’s most talented instructors such as Datza Uldrike, Audrey Dohm, Joe Burley and Emily Denton in unique venues throughout the Seattle area. Additionally, you’ll experience live DJ sets through quality sound systems during each session. We play everything and especially dig our popular underground local DJs like Recess, Joe Bellingham, Eddie Cuscavage and Sharlese Metcalf. As a result, we’ve attracted a diverse following of yogis from both the music world and various studios around the area.
#5 What is your favorite thing about organizing these yoga events?
ANNIE: Yo Yo Yoga is my dream come true so everything is my favorite! What makes me the most happy about throwing these events are building community through love of yoga and music and watching my favorite yoga instructors and DJ’s collaborate on sets together to create a unique experience.I love being able to create fun music power events in club settings that support a healthy lifestyle. By bringing the yoga pre-party to music festivals, we’ve created an element of mindfulness. The entire event sets the tone of the day AND evening! Stretch then dance!
Long story short, Yo Yo Yoga combines my my two true loves: Music and Yoga. And with that I am stoked for life!
#6 Do you have a mantra?
ANNIE: Our Mantra is “life is art” & “stretch then dance” through music and mindfulness we find our truth.
#7 What are your aspirations for Yo Yo Yoga in the years ahead?
ANNIE: In the next couple years, I plan on having more events in the Seattle and abroad. I’d like to bring the Yo Yo Yoga Project to music festivals all over the world, host a quarterly full moon retreat in some of my favorite countries, and…open up our own yoga and dance studio.We would like to thank Annie for sharing her story with us. Her ability to create a community where yoga, music and dance are combined into a contiguous art form is truly inspiring. It is reflective of the person she is and who she wants the world to experience.