When Gangsta Rap and Yoga are the Good Sh*t

Yoga is more than downward dogs and soulful salutes to the sun. It’s more than mornings on your mat, inhaling the aroma of a new day’s optimism. Sometimes yoga is an explosive dance, a shit storm of shake-it-off motions that give you the balance you need to stay crime free after a day from hell. I’ll be the first to admit I’m attracted to yoga because I need the release. I also enjoy the uniform (spandex suits me fine, thank you). And while sometimes I OD on the zen of lit candles flickering in the face of life’s chaos, other times I enjoy a less peaceful experience.

Sometimes a Bit of Gangsta Rap is Good for The Soul

Let’s face it, life isn’t always roses and rainbows. Sometimes the coffee’s weak and your kid’s got more wine (whine) than a liquor store (just go with it–puns can be fun). When I find myself in the throes of a bad hair day, with sleep deprivation and other annoying side effects of a hectic life, I appreciate the other offerings of yoga: the strong, powerful feeling I find on my mat. And that’s when I crank up the gangsta rap, and let the world know I’m “Straight Outta Compton.” If you haven’t tried it, you should.

If I had to choose one attribute of yoga to boast about, it would be its versatility. It’s not a cardio run on some treadmill or track, with each foot pounding in repetitious motion. Not to bash running. I do it regularly and it is exhilarating. But yoga offers light when I need a soul lift. And with various poses, I can also test my balance, challenge my fears, or find grace in my practice. I take what I need, when I need it. So if you thought yoga was all hatha all the time, think again. Yoga can be “Hammer Time,” too (now there’s an oldie but goodie).

And isn’t that the point? Your practice should feed your need. So when life feels out of control, take back your power, tap into your badassery. Turn up the gangsta rap and get it, girls (and guys)!

Mantra: Believe in your flyness. Conquer your shyness. ~ Kanye West

What kind of music do you work out to? Tell me your favorite song…

30 Comments
  • Faye
    May 17, 2016

    This is so true! I am more of a runner myself, and each run’s music completely depends on my mood. Sometimes I want to be more introspective, and I turn on the Coldplay or Tori Amos or U2. Other times I want more raw energy and crank up the Snoop (Dogg? Lion?) and Jay Z. And sometimes I’m just in power/dance mode and want some Timberlake or Prince. Most times, I play a mixture of all three!

    • Rica Lewis
      May 17, 2016

      That sounds awesome, Faye! I could totally jam with you!

  • Anna Palmer
    May 17, 2016

    Your descriptions of yoga are so robust and go so far beyond the breathe of optimism. I love this. Power. Flexibility. Versatility. As for working out. I pretty much just jump around to Prince’s I would die 4 u. Which is a lot less upbeat for me than it used to be…

    • Rica Lewis
      May 17, 2016

      Omg yes, Anna! And you must also jump around to “Jump Around” by Cypress Hill. Let’s have a dance party!

      • Jennifer
        May 20, 2016

        Or by House of Pain! My favorite power yoga teacher blends rap and kirtan that turns me into a sweaty blob of mush by savasana. I’m also partial to MC Yogi, not a gangsta rapper but I love the way he’ll blend Krishna Das’ Hanuman into a rap.

  • Gary Mathews
    May 17, 2016

    I’m not nearly flexible enough to attempt this thing called Yoga, but get me some Eminen (Marshall Mathers I can spell that) going in the earbuds and I’m walking with a purpose when I go on my daily stroll!

    • Rica Lewis
      May 17, 2016

      Yeahhhh buddy! Funny you should say that, Eminem is bumping in the background here. My teen is working out to “Rap God” as we speak 🙂 Thanks for stopping in, Gary.

  • Bethany
    May 17, 2016

    So much yes!! “when your kid has more wine…” dead. She really does though!

  • Linda. Hobden
    May 17, 2016

    I put one of Apple music’s playlists on when I work out – which one depends on the mood I’m in – but usually something rock or pop based. 😊

    • Rica Lewis
      May 17, 2016

      Music really is a motivator, isn’t it Linda? Thanks for reading!

  • Silly Mummy
    May 17, 2016

    I think I’d enjoy doing yoga to Eminem! & obviously I think EVERYONE should be doing yoga to Hammer Time! Everyone should be doing everything to Hammer Time.

    • Rica Lewis
      May 17, 2016

      Lol! Sometimes you just gotta crank it up and let loose. Thanks for reading, Silly Mummy!

  • Laurie
    May 17, 2016

    Love this so much. I do the Sun Salutation every morning — just one set. That’s it. It takes less than five minutes but makes me feel so good. And even that has toned me up after years. I also walk each day, but the yoga really makes my heart happy. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Rica Lewis
      May 17, 2016

      It doesn’t take much, does it? Thanks for sharing, Laurie.

  • Lee Gaitan
    May 17, 2016

    Oh, yeeesss! Take control and find what you need. That’s pretty good advice for life as well!

  • Liv
    May 17, 2016

    I don’t know if I could do rap and yoga. I should try it!

    • Rica Lewis
      May 18, 2016

      You could totally do it, Liv! Thanks for reading.

  • Leanne
    May 17, 2016

    I love how you mix it up – some people are so serious about their yoga-ness, you inspire me 🙂

    • Rica Lewis
      May 18, 2016

      Thank you, Leanne. I have a hard time being serious. That gets me in trouble sometimes, however. 🙂

  • Rosemond
    May 18, 2016

    My favorite yoga instructor used to be a drummer in a band so she would add some great tunes to her class. I’m with you on the gangsta rap, sometimes I just have to crank it and work out some anger!

    • Rica Lewis
      May 18, 2016

      It does feel empowering to crank it up and go hardcore on the mat, doesn’t it Rosemond? Thanks for reading.

  • Jessica
    May 18, 2016

    This is great! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Lori
    May 25, 2016

    I very rarely listen to music when I work out. I usually do Pilates. I find I enjoy the quiet and thinking about my body in the space of the exercise. I do like to rock out when I clean and organize the house-especially since I don’t want to think about what I’m doing. Lol!

    • Rica Lewis
      May 25, 2016

      I love an upbeat playlist when I’m running. And with yoga, sometimes I do go without music and do as you said: just listen to my body. I guess it just depends on my mood! Thanks for reading, Lori!

  • Marisa
    June 5, 2016

    Haha, thanks for the laugh. The best laughs are when its true and we can acknowledge the truths absurdity, yes? Love it!

    • Rica Lewis
      June 5, 2016

      Absolutely, Marisa. I aim to be as absurd as possible. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!

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