By Get Lifted
I can see similarities between modern day yoga and modern day hip-hop. It is a scary analogy, but one that cannot be ignored. Growing up on the Southside of Chicago and being a developing teen during the late 80’s/early 90’s I was blessed with the ability to experience hip hop in its natural form, at its full blossom. True hip-hop greats graced the microphone with their experiences and the things they saw on a day-to-day basis. No exaggeration, just the straight, hardcore truth. And like the truth, the picture these artists painted were not always pretty to the naked eye.
For decades, these untold stories lied within the minds of those artists and finally they had a voice, they had the ability to share, to release, to let go, to let every kid out there going through the same thing know that they were not alone. For me, in the lyrics, I found comfort, for others, it appeared to be stories of violence and degradation of women. And yes, I do understand that viewpoint but these artists were just sharing what they saw everyday. This was their truth, their voice, their release, their Yoga.
Over the years, hip-hop has developed into something of which I would not say is the most positive thing in the world. It has put emphasis on drugs, sex and money. The true focus of the art has lost its essence. Has Yoga done the same? The ancient form of the Yoga practice had one focus… Samadhi, the point in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object.
Have we drifted too far away from the true purpose of the Yoga practice, Samadhi? Do the Yoga students of today even know the true purpose of Yoga? Has yoga become a key advertisement for sex and money? Have we let our egos get in the way of sharing the true purpose of Yoga with the world?
I am really blessed to have crossed the path of teachers who “kept it real” as they say. These teachers did not let their egos get in the way of the age-old tradition just as the hip-hop artist that truly opened his heart and mind through the lyrics. Both have allowed me to embrace who I am as a person and walk with my head up high.
I couldn’t help but to ask myself how far away is modern day yoga from modern day hip-hop? Have we taken a tradition that started as a way to connect with oneself and packaged it for the masses to accept and consume at rates to make millions? Those are good questions to ask yourself as you teach, practice and spread the word of Yoga.
Remember life is not about the individual, it is about the world around us, it is about recognizing that the truth is not on the mat, the truth is within. The mat is just a vehicle to get down the road of the true Self. The truth is best served cold, so give it; they will listen when it becomes truth to them.
About the author: Get Lifted is a Chicago area yoga instructor with ten years of background and experience in both practicing and teaching yoga. He has traveled the world practicing and studying with teachers deeply rooted in the ancient forms of the art, philosophy and science of the practice. His over 1,000 hours of yoga teacher training has been with instructors with combined yoga teaching experience of over 100 years; passing down the tradition of kriya, puja, pranayama, mantra, samyama, yoganidra and asana.