LOCAL Houston | The City Guide May 2017 - Page 55

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE FLOWING TO THE BEAT JOHN TRAN'S SPIN ON YOGA By Lindsay McClelland | Photography by Sofia van der Dys If you’ve ever been to an outdoor yoga class in Houston, you’ve experienced the music of JOHN TRAN . This local DJ has established himself as the yoga DJ. And through music, he's helped make yoga more accessible to the masses. As Tran puts it, “Adding music turns a yoga class into an entertainment event that has the possibil- ity to reach more people than a studio class. It gives them a little taste so they can get enticed and discover the practice for themselves.” Listening to Tran describe his love of yoga and his passion for providing music at outdoor events like Revolution Studio’s Yoga on the Avenue or at Discovery Green, you’d think he’d been doing this for a long time. In fact, he’s only been in the yoga community for a few years. Tran’s yoga journey began in 2014 at Burning Man in the Nevada desert. It was there that he was introduced to a lifestyle completely different from how he’d been living in Houston. Up until that point, Tran had been working late nights at clubs around town playing music. At Burning Man, he met people who did yoga, meditated and used music to find spiritual connection. As fate would have it, when Tran came home from the festi- val, a couple of friends independently invited him to a yoga class. Turns out, it was more than just a yoga class. It was one of BIG Power Yoga’s bi-annual 40 Days challenges. He jumped right into 40 days of meditation, mindfulness, healthy eating and, of course, yoga. Through the process, he learned that yoga is much more than the physical poses. Tran said, “It was then, during that 40 Day challenge, that I fell in love with all aspects of yoga.” His love of the practice was seen and noticed immediately. And when BIG Power Yoga was planning its party to celebrate the finishers of the challenge, they approached Tran to DJ the yoga practice. He put together his first yoga “set” for an hour-long outdoor practice and that set everything else in motion. From there, studios and yoga teachers across the city began approaching him to put music to their yoga classes and events. Now, early morning sunrise yoga sessions have replaced the late-night club music of his past. 4.12.2017 11:47am And, Tran wouldn’t have it any other way. His goal in provid- ing music to accompany yoga is to help people deepen their practice and find inner peace through the music. “Our lives are pretty busy and filled with so much hustle and bustle. I try to choose songs that sound like what your body movements are going through. I look at the students and try to complement that vibe,” Tran explained. He also uses his personal practice and knowledge of yoga to inform what music he should play. As his practice evolves, so does the music. While yoga is something that Tran is newer to, music is some- thing that has been in his life since sixth grade when he was first introduced to percussion, which he’s played ever since. Being a DJ came later, as a student at St. Thomas University. But ultimately, becoming a DJ evolved from his desire to create music with his hands. Tran still plays the drums and, through his travels and discovery about yoga and music, has learned about Tibetan singing bowls and steel drums that enhance meditation and yoga by creating healing frequencies. He’s also a member of The Anjali Project, a yoga-inspired group that plays its own original music to classes and in meditation sessions. Through his work as a DJ and musician, Tran has found a more profound way to combine the things he loves – music, people, connection and yoga. What’s next for Tran? You’ll find him all over town this summer at outdoor events and every Thursday night at BIG Power Yoga. But beyond being the yoga DJ, his 2017 goals are to complete yoga teacher training and develop Houston’s first conscious festival, the YOUniverSOUL festival, featuring yoga, meditation and music. may 17 | L O C A L 55