“I love the yoga scene so much because the people are so sensitive to what you play and they are in it until the end. There’s so much more focus and appreciation from the crowd. Music gets heard and the frequencies are felt!” – Rire Norman
You started practicing mindfulness and clean living at a young age as a result of the teachings and lifestyle of your parents. How do you think that helped you discover a deeper sense of what this world has to offer? What drives you to strive to share that deeper sense with others, and why did you choose music and yoga (together and/or respectively) to do it?
My parents were pioneering hippies of Waiheke Island New Zealand, we moved as a family over to the island on a little sailing yacht and my dad built our house out of materials he found lying around. It was humble beginnings that made me appreciate the simple things in life growing up, nothing was ever a problem, we just got in and did it! I enjoyed being a bush baby and since then have always had a strong connection with nature. Our childhood was spent making huts, cutting tracks, climbing trees and cliffs to reach cave dens and so on. It was nothing short of a magical upbringing, way back when Waiheke was sparsely populated. This, as well as my mum and dads spiritual path meant that we were surrounded by the knowledge that peace is something you find within, not without… So on reflection when I found Yoga it became the vehicle to offer people an opening to connect to their own inner peace and true nature.. And music – well.. Dad always had a large collection of devotional music. I loved the melodies and general uplifting feeling of it.. I also started to drum and play guitar at the age of 10.. He had many instruments lying around the house including a sitar, which inspired me greatly about its deep mystery and Indian linage. Coming back to yoga… Well – It’s just so much better with music.
Your main project right now is Yoga Rhythms, which is currently touring Australia and New Zealand and focuses on creating a space for realization, liberation and dance, do you feel like you accomplish that?
Yes, and our tribe continues to morph and change shape with line up and flow… One thing remains the same: we come together in sacred space to facilitate a journey that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Each journey includes a grounding series, a peak-state and a sound bath with closing circle.
As a DJ, how does it feel to watch people connect to your music, to one another, to the space and to this earth from the DJ booth? How does the room feel energetically to you when people truly let go?
There’s nothing better on earth… As a DJ you learn to read vibe like a book… Watch it soften, strengthen, ebb and flow in and out of an array of ‘states’ based on the music you play, the sequence you drop, and the intention you put behind it. I fell in love with DJing again when I gave myself the opportunity to create sound journeys for yoga and ecstatic dance journeys. This is why I love the yoga scene so much because the people are so sensitive to what you play and they are in it until the end, there’s so much more focus and appreciation from the crowd. Music gets heard and the frequencies are felt.
You are also a highly respected and praised vinyasa yoga instructor. What is it about this form of yoga that speaks to you most profoundly?
Vinyasa is all about flow linking breath and movement. Stress binds us where flow-state frees us. This is why I’m such a strong advocate of flow & rhythm. Everything alive on this planet is flowing and moving. Everything. Breath, tides and blood all moves with rhythm. In our Yoga Rhythms Sessions we teach “Sahaja” which is described as an immersion into the divine current,
transforming our ordinary limiting experience into a fluid expression of the moment. To be in ‘Sahaja’ is to be in natural communion with a deeper source, to recognize what comes naturally to us and to literally dissolve into rhythm. The beauty is that anyone can do this. You don’t have to be a trained dancer or a yogi, you don’t have to be flexible. You just have to let go and let the rhythm of life move you with ease.
You have the incredible opportunity to connect with people through two powerful mediums, music and yoga. Do you feel like people access similar parts of themselves on the mat and on the dance floor? How does your connection with them change when you power a dance with music versus leading a vinyasa?
Most definitely! As a DJ and a yoga teacher I am holding space in the same way, except in one way I am using my voice, and in other ways I am using the flow of tunes. This is the one thing that I’m aiming to melt – asking people to consider there is no separation between the two, we are seamlessly blending music and yoga which also translates to union and connectedness on the dance/studio floor.
One of the best feelings as an artist is finding someone who’s art truly coheres with your own. Tell us a little bit about Franko and why you two vibe so well?
Do you want the long version or the short version? Haha.. Well, we’ve been friends for over a year, however after deciding to do a mini tour to Australia in October 2016 which included Wanderlust Sunshine Coast, we simultaneously shed-skin after a powerful Aries full moon that ignited and activated our souls in the most insane, unique and yes I will say it – life changing way – we have a mystical way of being each others muse, support pillar & inspiration, where 2 parts make a whole and we’re synchronistically snowballing in the same direction – in a purely platonic way! It’s the coolest friendship I have ever experienced and now we get to tour the world together, work together, and look out for each other along the way. We’re super fortunate to have found each other actually. Together we are stronger, for sure!
You’re involved in (and performing at) a beautiful retreat in Hawaii in August. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, this is the Back To Roots Retreat in Kalani on the Big Island! I’m absolutely fizzing to get over there for the first time. We will assist the crazy-cool yoga goddesses Lara Zilibowitz ॐ & Brooke Elliston from Sydney, Australia to create unforgettable Yoga soundscapes, Ecstatic Dance journeys and Sound of Yoga immersions.
So many gems to share on this adventure – including Waterfall Walks, Volcano treks, Treehouse Accommodation, Clothing-Optional Pools, Delicious Local Cuisine, Yoga, Meditation & more **.
What else do you have coming up between now and then that is bringing you joy and excitement?
So much! Both Franko and I are doing Rainbow Serpent, Luminate Festival (NZ), Wanderlust (NZ), Byron Spirit Festival (NSW), NZ Yoga Festival in 2017, and I’m popping over to Bali for the Ecstatic Awakening Retreat in between all that! It’s going to be the most epic summer ever! Check out our partnering events at our new online platform www.MySpirit.co
A little birdie told us that YogaRhythms is considering heading our way this summer… and we’re so excited! Can you tell us where in the states we might find you and Franko in 2017?
Yes! Well we’re in Hawaii as you know in August and we’re planning to tour in Canada, and California.. We’ve got our scope on Burning Man as Franko has never been and we’re keen to awaken hearts and spread the love with Yoga-Rhythms all over the playa! We’re open for shows in June & July 2017 on the west coast so we’d love to hear from any studios, or ecstatic dance promoters out there who’re keen to engage with us! Franko is also a talented yogi, kirtan artist, guitarist and facilitator, so together we have some good tools in our workshop arsenal.
Obviously yoga and music are two lifelong loves of yours, do you have any others?
My family, and horses! I’m a sucker for horses. When I’m at home on Waiheke Island, NZ I help out on my friend’s horse trekking farm and am in love with all the animals. I will always strive to have horses around me no matter what. I aim to retire on land where I can offer healing with horses one day! There are divine, spiritual and sentient beings. They can teach us so much about ourselves. Well, all animals can if we offer them the opportunity, love and respect. My family are my rocks… Love them dearly!
Lastly, do you prefer to shower in the morning to be fresh for the day, or shower at night to wash the day away? Why?
My morning routine is always: wake, lemon water, shower, teeth, oil up entire body, Yoga, meditate, and then get onto working on world liberation! Ha – Yesss.
** If you’re interested in the Back 2 Roots retreat, the dates are August 19-24, 2017 💕 You can contact Ria directly for more information or go straight to the link: http://www.back2rootsretreats.com/hawaii-2017/ to book. We’d love to have you.
Check out DJ RIA’s gentle and restorative offering, ‘Luna Shakti,‘ on YogiTunes:
About DJ RIA (Rire Norman):
RIA is a high-vibing, genre-slaying, yoga-teaching DJ whose infectious energy flows through her lovingly selected sets to light up any venue. With more than 15 years’ experience tucked beneath her belt, including high calibre festivals such as Burning Man, Splore, Prana, Sundaise, EarthBeat, Byron Spirit Festival, Splendour in the Grass and Wanderlust, she is a pro in every sense of the word. RIA’s unique gift is to combine her own great loves into something coherent and deeply cool: bringing together elements of yoga, ecstatic dance, meditation and general good vibrations in her transformational YogaRhythms events. Journeying through world-fusion grooves and rhythms to mantras and melody, RIA embodies the new conscious movement toward connection to self.