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Breakdancing yogi Anya Porter wants you to get a little more down in your dog


New York City has its first yogi breakdancer—or breakdancing yogi—in Anya Porter. The energetic founder of this modern style called Breakti is helping New Yorkers get onto their hands—and the beat.
Anya Porter yogi breakdancer in one-handed handstand
The awesome Anya Porter (Photo: Sam Hollenshead)

New York City has its first yogi breakdancer—or breakdancing yogi—in Anya Porter. The energetic founder of this modern style called Breakti (formerly Yoga Spanda) is teaching a workshop tomorrow night at YogaWorks Soho on how you too can get a little more down in your dog, and several more in August and September and beyond. No experience required! Don’t worry. You’re in good hands.

While earning her dance degree in college, Porter would spend summers in Philly learning popping and locking, and she performed her serious breaking skills with several companies. Yoga came afterward as a healing adjunct to the competitiveness of the dance world and back pain. But during her teacher training the idea of merging breaking with yoga just broke on through, says Porter. “So many things in yoga, like the arm balancing and deep core principles, are similar. And I thought, how cool would it be to have a DJ in the studio? How great would the light-heartedness feel in class versus the competitive side of me?”

As a vinyasa teacher now, Porter noticed that her flow students would stop moving for inversions and kind of stand around nervously. “Breaking makes trying balances way less scary for some people. When it’s fun, they’re willing to take a chance. Breakti can be a new approach to feeling overly serious about our yoga practice or feeling scared and filled with the idea that ‘I’m never going to get this,’” she says.

In the three-hour Breakti workshop at YogaWorks, expect an asana portion that emphasizes accessing the ab wall, safely “cathedraling” or rising the back body, and balance transfers. “Then we’ll move the mats away and learn how to move from a bridge to just one hip and one shoulder and then the other side and how to hold freezes AKA elbow or arm balances,” says Porter. (Check out the video, below, for visuals.)

Porter then teaches a dance sequence and leaves you with moves you can take to the club. Another thing some yogis need, she jokes. “There’s a tantric concept that everything is created with pulsation and vibration. It’s a very affirming concept that says, You’ve got the music in you already. It’s just a matter of peeling away the blocks.” That’s the soul of Breakti. —Melisse Gelula (Updated: December 1, 2010)

For more information about Breakti and workshop dates with Anya Porter, visit www.anyaporter.com