My first music memory wasn’t of a cartoon or Disney movie.  It wasn’t of nursery rhythms or holiday tunes. My first music memory… rocks. My father set me down in front of the stereo with enormous speakers, put the needle on the record, cranked the volume to 10, and what I heard next has been with me ever since. The sound of a Harley Davidson motorcycle shifting through all five gears on its way to take off was shattering my ear drums.  As that bike drove off in the distance, the drums and bass came kicking in as the intro to Steppenwolf’s, “Borne to be Wild”, seeped into my soul (I was 3 or 4).

Years later at 30, I was doing an experiment with yoga, 90 classes in 90 days. I was on a quest to find out why I hated it! One of the most important findings was that yoga is extremely rhythmic and soulful, yet it wasn’t being presented that way. During class, I would hear songs in my head that would fit beautifully to the flows we were working on. I could picture and feel the room ignite if a certain song was on to whatever it was we were doing. I spoke to my teachers about playing music in class, but they were not having it. I saw a need; yoga that rocks. I never thought I would be the guy to bring it to life.  But one day I was asked by my sister’s friend to teach a class to help her get over her fear of going to a studio.

I hadn’t taught a class before, and I had only been practicing yoga for nine months or so.  I made a “mixtape”, brought a yoga mat and a jam box, and history was made! Within months of teaching Sabrina, “Yoga Rocks” was created. It has opened the door to folks across the world whom otherwise would have never tried yoga. It has inspired thousands of teachers to teach this style of yoga along with an unimaginable amount of students who went from dragging themselves to class, to excitedly going and shaking their ass. Yoga Rocks has made its way to stadiums and festivals.  It’s gone as far as having DJ’s and live music wrapped around a yoga class.

When looking at my career and all the incredible life changing experiences I’ve been a part of, none of them would have happened had I not said the wise words of Rage Against the Machine: “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”   

It wasn’t easy being insulted by students and frowned upon by peers.  But it would have been much harder being a coward and not listening to that voice inside me that said “this is what you must do”. I’m very proud to say that I have inspired so many teachers to teach with real, meaningful, kick ass music. Yet, I’m humbled by all the lives that have been touched by yoga because the music made it more accessible. I’ve been called the “Godfather of Yoga Rocks”. But I’m no Godfather.  I’m more like the OG (Original Gangster)! 

E to the mutha f^^king P.


When I started searching in earnest for a yoga studio that would serve my needs, I was disappointed to find that there was nothing out there for me .  Having overcome addiction and having practiced clinical psychology for a decade before coming to yoga, I was looking for something more than most yogis were looking for in their first trip to a studio. I began taking one “celebrity” yogi’s class after another, looking for a fit. Then I stopped looking to others and began looking within. Smile is my style of yoga.  Strange, but it was non-existent.

I want to make this the easiest practice when you open the door and walk in.  Easy as in: This is familiar. This is fun. This is relative. This is pertinent.  Instead of the sounds of harmonium, chanting, and prayers to Hindu deities, my Yoga Shelter studios blast music you know, instruct in plain English, and welcome everyone–and their baggage–to join the party.  A tight ass might be a byproduct of the Yoga Rocks workouts,  but  there is so much more.

A great body does not equate a great life.  If you only have so much time in a day, how much of it are you going to focus on this great body of yours? It’s a no-brainer!  If you’re not focusing on your body, what are you focusing on?

That’s where the critical part of the yoga practice comes into play. I take what I  learn from my teacher, Swami Parthasarathy, a Vedantic philosopher in India, and break it down into terms everyone can understand; learning to live the life we should and need to be living.  Off the mat, students need to  begin questioning everything.

I practice what feels familiar, and music is a big part of that. Yoga is about creating a silence within you.  But you do not need a silent room externally. Music can be a game changer, especially for newbies.  It can take an incredibly deep spiritual discipline and make it friendly, familiar, and less intimidating.

Rock on.  Now let’s get loud.