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Ohio State students ditch drugs for yoga rave

Daniel Chi / Lantern photographer

“Yoga” and “rave” might not be two words that usually go hand-in-hand, but they did Sunday for Ohio State’s first Yoga Rave, held at the Wexner Center for the Arts Performance Space, from 8 p.m. until midnight.

One-hundred-and-seventy-four people attended the alcohol- and drug-free party, which began with yoga and light meditation, followed by live music and dancing.

Nicolas Pucci and Rodrigo Bustos, members of the band, the So What Project!, created the concept of the Yoga Rave dance party in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The first party began in Bustos’ living room two years ago with 15 friends. The last concert the So What Project! played in Argentina was to a crowd of more than 20,000 people.

“We both began as music producers and DJs,” Bustos said. “So we were used to the whole scene with getting drunk and taking drugs. We were looking to make a different kind of party.”

The band is taking its raves around the world. It played throughout Europe, South Africa and South America in 2011 and is touring in the U.S. for the first time.

Columbus was the fourth stop along the seven-city U.S. tour, which also includes New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and Seattle.

Mary Noakes, a second-year in human nutrition, became involved in the event through the Art of Living Club, one of the event’s sponsors.

“I remember seeing a video of the rave online and thinking, ‘This needs to come to Columbus,'” Noakes said. “Everyone seemed to be having an amazing time without the use of drugs or alcohol. I think it’s important to show people better ways to party and have fun. Drugs and alcohol can give you a high for a little bit, but then there’s this fallout when your body feels awful.”

The Art of Living Club collaborated with OSU Sports Club Yoga, Dollars 4 Change and Young Jains of America to bring the event to Columbus.

“It’s a unique experience and a new way to approach yoga,” said Rachel Weiler, a fourth-year in food science and nutrition and vice president of Sports Club Yoga. “It’s something that college-aged students could be into, even if they’re not interested in yoga.”

Nilam Shah, a co-founder of Young Jains of America at OSU, and a third-year in international business and accounting, agreed that a guided experience like the Yoga Rave and its no-alcohol policy is unique.

“Students have never experienced this kind of concert before because this is the first time it’s been to the United States,” Shah said. “It’s something different. You’re going to remember every part about the Yoga Rave the next day.”

Bustos said he hopes yoga raves will have long-lasting, positive effects on people.

“We want people to have a good experience, but we also want people to find out who they really are,” Bustos said. “We want people to realize that they’re not just men or women but human beings. Through meditation, yoga, mantra and dancing, they can experience a shift and learn how to live a full life, to live 100 percent.”

Not everyone was as receptive to the goals of the Yoga Rave. Chris Loyacano, a third-year in finance, was among those who did not attend.

“It’s not my cup of tea,” Loyacano said. “Yoga isn’t my thing, and neither is dancing.”

Proceeds of the event went toward Yes! for Schools, a national program that offers stress management seminars to youth. Tickets were $15 for students.


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