You walk into the studio before a class at Playlist Yoga and people are excitedly chatting with one another.The music is pumping. The mood is fun, friendly, and everyone knows your name. It’s a far cry from the more traditional yoga studios where toned yogis in designer workout apparel are doing perfect Instagram-worthy poses in between calm chants and serene instruction. At Playlist you’re not intimidated. At Playlist you’re a part of the family. At Playlist you’re ready to rock.
While both types of yoga are beneficial, the niche market of the latter was daunting for friends Jordan Cohen and Rob Rubano, both from the East Coast who had come out to LA for careers in finance. When Jordan invited Rob to try out a new yoga class with him Rob was skeptical. An ex-athlete, he played soccer throughout college and was starting to have hip issues. Having never done yoga before, he didn’t know the etiquette of it and wasn’t sure if he was into the whole spiritual aspect that often goes hand in hand with the lifestyle. However, as he started taking classes he found that the health benefits were transformative. He needed yoga in his life.
Jordan, who has a background in music and is never far away from his headphones, was fed up with the conventional aspect of his yoga classes. “I couldn’t stand the silence. I always thought, ‘Why does it have to be this way, why can’t you have music? You add it to every other part of your life, so why can’t you add it to yoga?’” The few places he found that did offer non-traditional offerings were not what he envisioned. He knew he could do better.
The two friends started playing with a shared idea of wanting to make yoga more of an all encompassing community practice— they wanted to take it out of that niche market and introduce it to the masses. “Yoga is supposed to be a welcoming environment, a place where people feel a sense of belonging and community,” adds Jordan. “We wanted a place people wouldn’t feel intimidated to come and try something new.” They wanted it to be more music-based, with a cooler concept.
In January of this year they opened their dream of a yoga studio in West Hollywood, right smack in the “Ground Zero” for fitness, Melrose and La Cienega.
They sought a minimalist feel. The white walls in the lobby are bare with the exception of a neon sign stating “Started from Savasana now we’re here” and a clothing section peppered with clothing options sporting cheeky song lyrics like “I’m Not A Player I Just Plank A Lot” and then of course the simple, “Savasana AF”. The lockers that line the adjacent wall to the front desk are named after famous bands and singers. (Yes, the Kanye locker is right next to T. Swifty’s.) Playlist Yoga is about the music, it’s about the fun, and it’s about the play.
The small group of instructors they’ve hired are carefully selected and are top quality. They realize they can have the best marketing and branding in the world but if the quality of the yoga isn’t good, the people won’t come back. They have an in-house DJ that makes special remixes and works one-on-one with the instructors helping them to curate their perfect playlist. They have a vast music library that they’re daily adding music to so that their instructors can keep their beats fresh. Each instructor is able to express their own personality so every class is different.
Their idea is working and now Playlist Yoga,
not even a year old, is already looking to expand. It’s become a home to not just the hard core traditional yogis, but also the first timers, the ex-athletes and the current athletes, the young and the old, men and woman, and because it’s right in the middle of one of the coolest neighborhoods in LA, it’s fair share of models, actors, and influencers. Rob shares, “Success for us is having that broad appeal.” And Playlist Yoga truly has exactly that. An hour of pumping vinyasa flow will have even the Taylor’s and the Kanye’s of the world getting along.
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. For the record she’s Team Taylor all the way. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.
Photographs by: Marielena Verdugo.