We chatted with Nikki Krause, our CorePower musician of the month on her love of music, advice for future yogi DJs and her event at The One Love Movement this Saturday 8/19!
Where did you take your first yoga class?
It was freshmen year of college. You know how you have certain courses you need to take for undergrad? I did yoga for my PE credit. It was Claire Elkins, it was a Hatha based class for a semester long. It was really boring at first, but over time my body started to feel differently. I’ve always been an athlete since high school. The one thing I’ve always loved since I was a kid was running and I did track and field. I pulled what I thought was a ligament in my left hip.
I was racing the last 100 meters for a 1600 – I was never fast so I would do the longer sports. I thought I pulled it to a place where I thought I would have this injury for the rest of my life. But it was with that yoga class, I started to feel my hips open up and my body started to heal from old sports injuries which was a benefit and then the psychological shifts that started to occur was really nice.
I started to feel less anxiety. Throughout college, I put a lot of pressure on myself, I’ve always been an overachiever, just hard on myself. Especially in college where I was going to school, having an almost a full-time job, paying for everything and with that comes stress.
Yoga just helps – hey you just take it one thing at a time. You can’t force your practice and I started to apply the tools of yoga to my everyday life and that kept me coming back.
Fast forward down the road where I wanted to teach — one thing was not the physical but the psychological tools.
Who do you enjoy teaching?
My favorite population to teach is young adults. I have a really special place in my heart for 20 to 25 year olds, just because at that time – you’re in control of your life, but we don’t always have the tools to cope with life. I think that’s why so many teenagers start drinking, start doing drugs or they get habitual negative thought processes because they don’t know how to deal with stress. So it was neat to all of a sudden have these tools to practice with and give to that particular group.
That populations almost needs that love and help more than others. Okay you’re 20, 21 – go figure life out, all the social media comparing yourself to others — it’s important to have something like yoga to get people in touch with yourselves.
You hit it, how many sports or activities are we constantly connecting with others but not connecting with yourself?
What kind of relationship are you creating with yourself? My favorite part of running cross country was when there would be no one around, maybe the last ¾ of a mile as a taste of that solace and being alone. That time was that reflection time to be alone.
Even though I teach group yoga and I usually practice as a group, you’re so much in your own space with yourself. The gaze is inward. The people around me are there to hold space and support.
So tell me about music, I know you DJ, how’d you get into that?
So my love and passion for music started as a very young kid. I can remember my dad would turn the music up on the weekends so loud and be dancing around the house full of joy. He’s this harsh german man and he loved UB40, which opened my ear to the reggae sound. My mom loved Van Morrison, so she would bust Van Morrison and I could just see her energy elevate. We would sing together Madonna, Michael Jackson and my brothers were into heavy metal. My brother Sean he laid me down on his bed in his tiny room and blasted Metallica for the first time and I was like ohhhh this is going through my entire body. It was the levitation that music brought to me. Metallica was not my cup of tea but I loved seeing my brother transformed by it.
I started getting into house music during the 90s ravey days. Was that before your time?
I remember the rave days, I went to a few raves back in bay when I was around 16 – 17. I used to go to Love fest every year, me and my friend jumped on stage with Dead Mouse once haha.
It was around that time.
I didn’t have any desire to do drugs. It was so much about how deep house music just overtook my being. There was this thing called BMG and it was like a penny and they would send you 3 CDs and I got these deep house CDs when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Fast forward to when I was 17 it was about the rave days, but it was minimal because I was really into school and there was a negative association, but I would go and absorb the music.
When I was 19 my good friend Marissa got me my first diamond needle turn-tables and introduced me to festivals. With festivals, I was out in nature and it was a lot more in alignment with my beliefs. There was music, dancing, being outside in nature and good energy.
Yeah feeling good with good people, even with Metallica and seeing how your brother felt. I think that really transcends in festivals with everyone having their own experiences similar to yoga. They’re all taking in this energy and feeling it.
Exactly! To be similar to a yoga teacher where I’m holding space for 15 to 75 people in a class and all I’m controlling really is the environment and the rest is experience through the controls of music choices selected. Just like a DJ you can feel when the energy shifts and when they’re not feeling it and you have to respond to keep that high vibe and keep the energy moving. It’s such a collaborative experience when you’re co-creating and that’s when going to festivals was like how can we integrate all these elements.
It started when I was 21, my family and I had gone to vegas and my friend gifted my that turn-table. I started DJing house parties, festivals and when I moved to San Diego, I got really into the wellness scene. I came here at 26 and started going to Lightning in a Bottle.
I still haven’t been, I need to go!
It’s such an incorporation of music – real bass heavy, mix of many elements of music plus yoga – there’s the wellness side, so many other festivals, people seem so depleted and this was a nourishing festival plus there’s workshops so there’s the community building aspect is there and building through education is such a part of putting those aspects together.
When I took my first yoga class at a festival that’s where my love for DJing came back. It was actually during a DJ Drez class and he taught under a teepee and we came to take a class and he dropped a song and it was paired perfectly during an asana. It was perfect.
We talked a lot about music and yoga and former rave experiences. I actually don’t know the last time you DJed, do you want to talk about that and what’s next?
The last time was a year and a half ago, but it comes back naturally. DJing for me is just spinning in the moment. I listen to so much music that I know good transitions with my songs. For events I want to do, I’m not looking at it as a profession, it’s support for events that I want to be apart of.
Can you tell me more about the event your apart of?
It’s for The One Love Movement San Diego, it’s this Saturday, August 19th. Kim Bowman is a peer of mine and fellow yoga teacher that I met 7 years ago. She has been doing One Love San Diego for 6 years. It raises money for her non-profit, she goes to orphanages all over the world. I believe it started with Off the Mat in India – she would go and help the orphanages. She goes and puts on yoga classes, she’s had different various artists at each one. This one is going to be Dub sutra – they’re going to be doing the class and I’m DJing the beer garden with Katie B, another awesome yoga teacher. It’s from 11AM – 3PM. It’s gonna be at Waterfront and all the proceeds go to One Love San Diego.
What’s Some Advice that You Would Give to an Aspiring Yogi DJ?
First, get in with what you love. It makes things flow so much better and your people will come to you. I would always recommend yoga DJs to Nāda yoga – the yoga of flow and sound. My Ah-ha moment was when I was learning Serrato. The serrato system is based on colors and the chakra system is also based on colors and in serrato the base heavy resonate the color of red and that’s the root chakra. It’s really easy with pairing music with what asanas you are doing. Take classes where music is intertwined. Fine tune what you’re experiencing and you can incorporate that into a similar experience that you’re having on your mat. For instance, a song that’s ripping your heart out and you are having an emotional response like wanting to cry when doing your heart openers and your practice will that help elevate your students experience. Just pay attention how music is affecting your soul and how you can incorporate that in your teaching.
Where can we find YOU?
I teach at CorePower yoga and my website is OrganicNik.com – that has all my events and I teach a LOT, so if you want to find me the best place is at the studio. Come take one of my classes. Reach out and let me know what you’re up to and I’d love to come take your class!