Blacklight Yoga

An instructor teaches yoga under black lights on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at the YMCA in Twin Falls.

TWIN FALLS • This yoga workout will not only leave you feeling centered, but you’ll be glowing.

The class is called blacklight yoga or “glowga” as it’s called in some cities, and it’s a new trend in yoga that is illuminating fans in the Magic Valley. Kim DePew has been teaching the class at the YMCA for a little more than a year. About 20 people take the class every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

After the lights were turned off, participants sat on mats in the darkened room Thursday. Wes Gill of Twin Falls would have been barely visible from across the room, if it were not for his bright yellow shirt. His 13-year-old son Dregan Gill also stood out in vivid white shorts and a lemon yellow shirt.

“I like this a lot better,” Gill said. “It’s dark and people can’t see me.”

Yoga instructors across the country are adapting the idea of blacklight yoga to fit client needs. Some studios offer similar classes that feature techno music, DJs and live bands. A recent Self Magazine article followed a writer as she tried a Sound Off Yoga class in New York City. The class combined house music with yoga poses to form a dance-like experience on a mat.

DePew strives for a work-out experience. She experimented with techno music in the beginning, but doesn’t play it in the class anymore.

“I just felt like it didn’t flow. It would make me breathe too fast,” DePew said. “I try to use everyday songs. The music controls a lot of how you feel.”

As the song “Just Breathe” by Anna Nalick flowed from the speakers, DePew guided the class through several poses. She was luminous in a white tank top and orange and white socks. She plays all kinds of music from 80s to hip hop. She likes to start the class out slow and then work toward more upbeat songs.

“People like it because it’s in the dark,” DePew said. “They are not as intimidated by someone bending and doing all these poses. Most people are not like that. This is breaking down walls and bringing it to real people.”

DePew started practicing yoga nearly six years ago and has taught for three years. She began yoga after her doctor recommended it for her back pain.

“It’s been the best thing for me,” she said.

At the end of each session, participants lay in the “shavasana” or “corpse pose” with their arms at their side. DePew likes to put an essential oil blend on them after the workout to help them relax more.

“Being in the dark makes me feel comfortable. Rather than being distracted by other people and what they are doing,” said Angie Gilbert of Twin Falls. “I really do like the music fast paced. Other classes are about zen and relaxing, but these are a workout.”

Starting June 8, DePew will teach two new workout classes — Hot Fusion and Hot Hula Fitness — that are becoming popular. Anna-Rita Sloss created the workouts in 2009 and there are now more than 2,000 trained instructors throughout the world.

Hot Fusion combines old school hip-hop dance moves with weights. Hot Hula Fitness is a workout inspired by Pacific Island dance set to the sounds of Polynesian drum beats and Reggae music. Participants don’t use their upper body, but instead target their hips and lower belly in the workout.

“It’s really popular in Utah and Colorado,” DePew said. “What I like about it is that it’s so different. It’s tough, but it’s fun.”

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