New Year’s Day Yoga and Music at the Youniverse
By Mia Lardieri
Dorota Ellington, the owner of Yoga Youniverse, embraced the parallels of transitional flow between art, yoga, and the New Year with the New Year’s Day Yoga and Music Extravaganza. Yogis of all ages and experience greeted 2015 with an exclusive hot yoga class led in tandem by Ellington and a fellow Youniverse instructor, Lea Antolini. The hour and a half-long class was accompanied by live music performed by the world–class jazz trio of Don Braden, a soulful saxophonist whose many award-winning credits include the theme music of TV’s ‘Parenthood’, multi-talented musician Brandon McCune on the ivories, and Sparta High School freshman and young percussive prodigy of Karl Latham, Evan Roque on the drums. The funky rhythms produced by the trio evoked smiles and head bobbing despite sweltering temperatures and challenging yoga postures. One gentleman even mustered the strength to snap along while resting in child’s pose.
During a light reception following the class, Don Braden confessed to a student, “I’ve played many gigs in my career, but never one quite like this. This was truly something special.” Ellington, a writer and artist herself, has nurtured the local arts scene over the past decade through her involvement with the Sparta Arts Committee, and she continues by organizing Yoga Youniverse special events including in-studio art showcases and community classes in the park. She is overwhelmed by the success of the Extravaganza, and plans to coordinate future classes that fuse the restorative properties of music and yoga.