Rocking the Counterculture Movement
A Life of Activism with Denise Kaufman
Get ready to go on a wild ride with Denise Kaufman, a social justice activist, musician, and yoga teacher, as she takes us back to the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s. From her involvement in the free speech movement at UC Berkeley to her time with the notorious Merry Pranksters, Kaufman shares personal stories that will leave you spellbound. But that's not all! Kaufman also reveals the secret to a healthy spine and shares simple exercises that can alleviate back pain. This episode of "Mind Body, Health and Politics" is not one to be missed. Tune in for a captivating conversation about movement, social activism, and leading by example.
"I was having deep experiences of connecting to a oneness that was so much deeper and more potent than anything I had ever experienced before."
Denise Kaufman: a true renaissance woman and an original member of the Bay Area psychedelic rock scene in the '60s. Born in San Francisco in 1946, Denise has had an adventurous and exploratory approach to life, dedicating herself to social justice causes and counterculture experiences from a young age. Her journey includes being arrested during the Free Speech Movement, touring with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, and founding San Francisco's OG all-girl band, the Ace of Cups, who opened for musical icons like Jimi Hendrix, The Band, and Janis Joplin.
Denise's commitment to community and spirituality also extends to her work as a trained yoga teacher, whose students have included Madonna, Sting, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Quincy Jones, and Jane Fonda. Her teachings focus on slow, deep stretching practices that encourage mobility, fluidity, and an expansive, open spirit.
In recent years, the Ace of Cups reunited and released three new albums that have garnered critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, Billboard, and NPR All Things Considered, among others. Denise's passion for music, yoga, and organic farming has led her to divide her time between Venice Beach and Kauai, where her family runs a small organic farm. At 76 years old, Denise continues to learn, channel inspiration, and connect with those around her, embodying the free-spirited, community-oriented ethos of the counterculture movement she helped shape.
The free speech movement, LSD, and the Merry Pranksters
Life on the Merry Pranksters bus
Kool-aid Acid Tests and their influence on the evolution of rock concerts
Exploring consciousness without psychedelics
Getting committed and playing music
The all-girl rock band The Ace of Cups
Denise’s little slice of heaven
Making choices that do less harm to your body
The importance of mobility and stretching
Got back pain? Try yoga!
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