James Hardy hated yoga when he first tried it in high school. Now he and his fiancée Shazzy Tapias lead Salt Lake City yogis through flow yoga routines while covered in glow paint, listening to a singular artist’s repertoire.
The idea started while Hardy was in yoga teacher training and found himself blasting Led Zeppelin while practicing. In 2011, he was about to lead others in this practice when a friend asked if he wanted to incorporate a black light. The entire glow-in-the-dark idea grew from there.
This weekend, One Love Yoga held the now-nearly-monthly event at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, a venue Hardy’s company has been using for about a year and a half.
“I liked the yoga studios, but I could never quite control the environment like I wanted to,” Hardy said. He said the glow paint really gets to pop since they use a black box theater.
With the dark environment, One Love Yoga instructors said it allows newcomers to feel more comfortable and outgoing.
“It’s very intimidating walking into a yoga studio,” said Shazzy Tapias, co-founder of One Love Yoga. “Here, I feel like people can feel it’s more open because it is going to be black, it’s glow-in-the-dark so you have the freedom to be silly.”
The darkness that the yoga routine features draws in attendees from all yogic experience levels.
Janie Franks, a Salt Lake City resident who attended Saturday’s 5 p.m. glow yoga event, has been doing yoga for eight years.
“I love yoga, and I really loved the idea of doing it in the dark, with the paint [because] everyone is kind of like, faceless but it’s their artwork that really stands out,” she said.
Hardy was proud to say that they “always have first-time yogis” attend their event. Tapias agreed with him.
“We bring in so many different people from different walks of life,” she said. She and Hardy said people who have never practiced yoga before have happily made a glow yoga event their first-ever yogic experience.
Hardy explained that he initially hated yoga when his mom made him try it during high school, but he gave it another attempt during his second year of college at UCLA. He was quickly hooked. Yoga helped Hardy recover from back problems, and it provided a boost in confidence that could benefit all college students, he said.
“Yoga was huge for me in college, and I love being a resource to that community,” he said.
Franks also said she believes glow yoga is an event that welcomes “anyone who wants self-exploration through movement.”
She said that yoga as a whole has acted as a gateway for finding herself, and Hardy and Tapias hope One Love Yoga’s events can help anyone in their journey to find themselves.