After suffering through a horrible back injury, musician/composer Krishna Venkatesh of River Edge turned to yoga to seek relief. And from there, his love affair with the practice began, leading him to start the borough’s first hot vinyasa yoga class at , beginning Sept. 10.
"Around the same time just before my injury and getting into yoga, I scored the music to the film 'Enlighten Up' and I had never done yoga before the film," Venkatesh said. "The film interviews some of the most famous master yogis around the world and little did I know it would become a catalyst to my journey."
'Enlighten Up - A Skeptics Journey into the World of Yoga' is a popular yoga documentary feature film, where filmmaker Kate Churchill sets out to prove that yoga can transform anyone including skeptic Nick Rosen. Rosen is immersed into yoga from around the world, all of which is set to Venkatesh's musical score of jazz, electronica, symphonic, metal, and traditional Indian music.
His passion with yoga began with the Iyengar practice and he later branched out into Ashtanga and Vinyasa along with various other methods before immersing himself in the work of Charlotte Stone, owner of the in Teaneck.
From there, longtime friend Evette Halligan who teaches yoga at FMA already, invited Venkatesh to run the hot vinyasa classes following his certification.
"Unlike traditional hot yoga which is the same postures every class in 105 degree heat, my classes will be held in a 90 degree room," Venkatesh said. "Also no two classes would be the same as the postures will be on a rotation basis."
And as someone who sought yoga as relief from an injury, Venkatesh is mindful of his future students and their needs. Anyone who enters his classroom with an injury would not do any specific postures that might aggravate it.
Each class will also tie into his other career - that of a musician and composer - as he will play his musical creations to his students. His 26-year career in music has taken him across the country with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Joe Strummer of The Clash, and the Blue Man Group.
His compositions have been heard on commerical and TV credits on MTV Networks, HBO, Miller Beer, Budweiser, Pontiac, Maybelline, TLC and many others. He relies heavily on his experience and training in jazz, electronic music and other eclectic forms of music. In February he released "Urban Renewal" a 12 track urban/hip hop collection for Manchester Music Library.
"I hope that anyone who comes to the class will be able to not only become more flexible and stronger but also feel more relaxed," Venkatesh said. "Monday nights for the class made sense because it's not a normal heavy yoga night for the other studios in the area and it's the start of the work week."
He currently teaches power flow and hot yoga core fusion at the Stone Center for Health and Wellness in Teaneck and will be opening a kid’s class in the fall; he also teaches vinyasa at the Ojas Center for Yoga in Edgewater.
River Edge classes will begin Sept. 10 and will be held every Monday, 7:30pm at Family Martial Arts. Each session will last 75 minutes and cost $12 for any walk-in. The class is included in the Family Martial Arts plan for its members.