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Showga: An Interview with Katie Colver

March 21, 2012

Does yoga appeal to you, but its accompanying new agey music does not?

Showga is a weekly live music yoga extravaganza curated and instructed by a small tour de force named Katie Colver.  Featuring up and coming Bay Area musicians, Showga  has been building and thriving in Oakland since Summer 2011. With the debut of Showga’s new weekly San Francisco installment on April 3rd (with experimental instrumentalists Silian Rail), we decided to ask Ms. Colver a few questions about this awesome new take on yoga.

What was the inspiration for Showga? Showga ultimately stemmed from a few places. The idea was brewing for a couple years at least, as I had been contemplating how to combine my passions for yoga and music in a unique and accessible way.

In summer of 2009 I co-founded East Bay Community Yoga (EBCY), a collective that provides donation-based yoga classes and workshops in Oakland. I am also a musician and in these past few years I have become connected with many music communities. Many of the students in my EBCY classes were people I met at shows. Particularly, at first, a lot of folks from D.I.Y., punk, and queer communities were coming regularly. It was radical for me to experience a new yoga culture, so different from what I’d been immersed with at yoga studios over the past 10 years.

One day last spring I was discussing my idea to start a class with different live musicians with a friend of mine, Alejandro Archuleta (of Psychic Handbook), who designed the Oakland Showga logo. He informed me of a similar event happening in Denver, CO, where he used to live. It was called Showga, and started by instructor Piper Rose. We asked Piper if we could use the name, and she was excited for us to do so.

How did it get started?

It was actually at the C.A.M.P. music festival last summer that I led the first showga event (we called it ‘Noise Yoga’ at the time), at 9 am in a big meadow, with Matt Bernarding playing beautiful music. Then, in September, I decided to ask my friend Adam Hatch (owner of Hatch Gallery) about starting a weekly Showga event at his new space, Starline Social Club. Now, 7 months later I have curated 26 different musical acts for my Monday night classes in the Starline Ballroom and we will continue every week, now twice a week with the addition of the Tuesday night San Francisco Showga class staring April 3!


When did you start practicing yoga?
I started practicing yoga 10 years ago as a senior in high school. I was, like so many of us, struggling a lot at that time in my life, for me with depression and addiction issues. It was actually in a treatment center that I got turned on to yoga.

How has it influenced your life?

There was an incredible instructor there, and in his classes I learned the yoga principles of non-attachment, non-judgement, contentment, and the deep joy that comes from simply being present in the moment with whatever your current experience may be. Right after I graduated high school I got a job at the front desk at the original Yogaworks studio in Santa Monica, and immersed myself in the practice, having access to some of the top instructors and senior teachers the country. I did my first teacher training that year, at Yogaworks with Maty Ezraty and Lisa Walford. Since then, yoga has influenced my life in far more ways than I can describe. The practice has truly saved my life and the ways in which my relationship with yoga evolves over time continues to surprise me.


Who should come check out Showga? (Is there a target audience?)

Anybody and everybody! Music lovers, yoga lovers, trippers, those who might feel alienated or turned off by studio yoga culture, which can often have a pretentious, corporate, cliquey vibe, not to mention just may not be an option for some people financially, with drop-in classes averaging $20 these days. I am committed to Showga being affordable. Oakland Showga is sliding scale $5-15, and San Francisco Showga will be sliding scale $10-20.

Your first SF show will be held at The Center, what’s the connection there?

Michael Latronica (manager of the Convent) is a friend of mine. When he informed me of their new space next door to the Convent, the Center, and the big yoga/dance studio with bamboo floors they built there I knew it would be a good option for SF Showga. It is beautiful and I am so excited to see how this event takes off there.

Do participants need to bring anything? Is there a cover?

Participants should bring a mat if they have one (but we have mats at the space as well). There is a cover of $10-20, sliding scale.

Memorable moments / Favorite bands to work with?

There have truly been so many amazing musicians and bands that I’ve worked with. I suppose one of my favorite Showgas was when 3 very talented female Oakland musicians, Colleen Johnson, Rosie Steffy, and Isobel Marcus (from bands Twig Palace, Upside Drown, and Pine) collaborated with synths, banjos, percussion toys, amazing drone-y harmony vocals, and looping as the musical performance for the class. Another memorable Showga was when Winston Goertz-Giffen (Ted The Block) put amps around the whole room for a ‘surround sound’ effect. There is a short video of this Showga by Luke Judd:

Future plans for Showga?

I am just stoked to keep it going right now. Curating 2 bands a week (for the Oakland and SF Showgas) will be a lot of work. I just hope to see more and more people from all walks of life coming to check it out. I will definitely be leading at least a couple Showga classes at this year’s C.A.M.P. And a future tour would be really fantastic.

SF Showga #1- Silian Rail, 4/3/12

Tuesdays, 6:30-8pm, weekly

The Center SF (The Convent)

548 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA 94117

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