What do unicorns and yoga have in common? Dana Flynn, founder of Laughing Lotus, says it’s the promise of magic. At this year’s Unicorn Ball, there will be a plethora of offerings: yoga and movement classes with tantalizing names like Flo HO, Shakti Waltz, and Flight Club. Mantra and kirtan as well as cooking and chakra-mist making classes will also be offered, and of course, dancing. Lots of dancing.
The magic begins Friday, June 12th and goes through Saturday, June 13th, when the final kirtan celebration takes place. Kathleen Kraft caught up with Flynn to find out more about this unconventional fundraiser for Laughing Lotus’ beloved teacher, Brima Jah.
Kathleen Kraft: What’s the background of the Unicorn Ball?
Dana Flynn: The last few years it’s been a reunion, a gathering of people who have left the city—graduates of Laughing Lotus, teachers and so on. It was an invitation to come back and make this part of their pilgrimage. It was, and still is, an offering to all New York yogis and the entire community. If you’re brand new to yoga, come and take a class that looks exciting to you, whether it’s Kundalini, essential oil-making, Yin Yoga, or singing along in a beautiful kirtan. Each class will be a playful ninety minutes.
KK: Tell us about this unconventional theme.
DF: There’s an Albert Einstein quote about imagination being more important than knowledge, and yoga reminds me that I can dream, and that everything is possible, and that mythological creatures like unicorns are real.
KK: You have some interesting names for classes, like Flo HO and Bhakti Bakery…
DF: Francesca Bove is teaching that class—it’s an advanced one. Some people think the name is offensive, I think it’s funny. Jeffrey Posner will be teaching a fly and balance class with lots of trickster arm balances. In the Bhakti Bakery, we’ll be making Prasad, which is an offering or a gift in yoga. We’ll share and learn how to make yummy treats, like cacao balls, and you’ll learn how to take simple ingredients and make tasty treats on the run—and make a sacred offering of it.
In the essential oils class, you’ll get to make your own “unicorn blend.” After lunch, there will also be a Bhakti jam with chanting. In an aromatherapy class, you’ll make your own chakra mist. There will be yoga-infused dancing and storytelling, and we’ll finish with a big kirtan on Saturday night with Lauren Magarelli and the BeBhakti band.
KK: In the last few years, this was a benefit event for the Lineage Project, but this year is different?
DF: Yes, we raised money to bring yoga and meditation to at-risk youth through the
Lineage Project, but this year, a San Francisco-based Laughing Lotus teacher, Brima Jah, who is near and dear to our hearts, got hit by a car. He has many serious injuries, and his life will never be the same. So we decided to support him, and we’re holding a raffle with many amazing prizes, including one-on-one private yoga classes, acupuncture and massage sessions, cooking classes, multiple gift cards, and lots of great swag.
We want to bring the love and vitality and energy of transformation to everything we do—to connect with a deeper purpose—so we worked hard to pull these gifts together to support him. He’s such an inspiration—he has a beautiful chanting voice, and a really generous, tender presence. What happened to him is shocking.
All of the money will go to him. The classes are $25 each, and the raffles are $5, and packages are available, too. They’re available online as well as at the event.
KK: It’s inspiring that you’ve put all of this together for him.
DF: There’s something that happens when we all get together as a community…
KK: Indeed. Speaking of getting together, what about the food?
DF: Lunch is free. It’s being donated by Chop’t. The say there’s no free lunch, but there is!
KK: Finally, what do people wear?
DF:Well, on Friday night at the Unicorn Ball, we hinted that the dress code is black and white. So, black and white, or black or white! Mary Dana Abbott will DJ, and Victor Colletti and I will teach the opening class. We want you to be inspired to be yourself. You can be fiercely independent and totally yourself, and enjoy the energy of community, and the spirit of togetherness.
For a full list of Unicorn offerings and to sign up for classes, click here.