Blonde, bubbly Lori Steele looks like she’d be equally at home at a rock show and a soothing session of yoga. That’s probably why she’s pioneering a new movement to combine the two.
Electroga, a mashup of the phrase electronic dance music (often referred to as EDM) and yoga, is a new-agey take on beat-inspired fitness. If Jazzercise is the music-driven movement of Generation X, Electroga may well prove the Millennial generation’s equivalent.
Actually, Steele’s main crowd is even younger. She explains, young girls, teens and tweens, comprise her primary market, though older “electrogis” are more than welcome.
“I created Electroga and its group based program “Be a True HOTI: Hot on the Inside” with young girls in mind, to help them with their self-esteem, to encourage them to try something new,” she says. “To help them find their purpose, to understand their values, especially when they are going into the teen years where they can be influenced negatively by the media, influenced by a lot of peer pressure. It helps them to understand who they are as a person and that they matter.”
Steele draws girls in with an eclectic mix of EDM, yoga and eye-popping 1980s-inspired fashion. Her background as a musician helps her write songs especially for her program, which she’s designed very intentionally.
“I really have it geared more towards the tween demographic,” she explains, adding that her goal is “to inspire young girls to be better, to know who they are, love who they are, love their bodies, and be comfortable in their own skin.”
Dave Stringer, a pioneer of kirtan music in the West and a veteran of the same Folsom Prison stage where Johnny Cash famously played, agrees that yoga put to music has a unique ability to free both body and mind.
“To hear probably 500 inmates singing back He Shiva Shankara, He Maheshvara in pursuit of setting themselves free in a way that transcended the walls of that place was a mighty force,” he told the Rhythm Divine.
Steele accomplishes this welcome freedom in multiple ways: bright colors, loud music, dance breaks throughout class where girls can cut loose and get to know one another.
In order to to create girls’ programs that can offer Electroga to a wider subset of the population, Steele says she’s in talks with multiple big-name companies – Nike, U by Kotex, Always and Lululemon’s young girl line, Ivivva – offering pop-up classes singularly and as part of larger events, as well as implementing workshops with school districts.
For now, Steele is more focused on making the program as strong as it can be and reaching tweens she believes will benefit from it, rather than franchising or getting people to buy products.
“My heart is truly in helping young girls, playing music and teaching yoga,” she says. In response to a question about how she’ll build the program from here, “If I have the opportunity to affect the lives of young girls in a major way, and get to play music at the same time, that for me is great.”