As the sun peeked over the Washington Monument, the bodies on the roof of the Watergate building moved as one. A hundred-odd backs—many clad in nautical-themed workout attire, as the email inviting us all here had requested—arched in vinyasas, and 100-odd heads wearing glowing headphones dipped to the floor in downward dogs. “No one can hear you,” the yoga instructor told us, whispering directly into our ears through the headsets. “So breathe.” We all exhaled. It was loud, ugly, and unabashed. Everyone could hear everything.
We’d arrived in pre-dawn darkness to participate in a Daybreaker event, an early-morning substance-free “party” held about once a month in 25 cities across the United States. Most of them start with a yoga class, transition into a dance party, and end with an intention-setting ceremony and a performance by a local musician. Part work-out, part mixer, part meditation session, Daybreaker events are like the compression shorts of Millennial experiences: Sort of uncomfortable, but also uplifting.