A great poet once said, "Be grateful for blessings, don't ever change, keep your essence."
So yes, we know that the essence of rap and the essence of yoga don't even seem like parts of the same puzzle, much less two pieces that fit together. But when your body begins to literally pulse to the heavy bass and intense lyrics of hip-hop legends like Biggie, 2Pac, and Jay-Z, you stop caring about what fits because you're too focused on the feeling.
Steve Ross — a guitarist who toured with The Beach Boys and Fleetwood Mac — is said to be the original founder of hip-hop yoga, but Y7 Studio brought the classes into the mainstream about three years ago. And now many people can't get enough of the upbeat way to zen out.
It's definitely not for everyone, and there's a lot of value in a traditional yoga setting that is quiet enough to hear your own breath; but if one key to a successful yoga practice is feeling and staying grounded, the powerful, deep beats of hip-hop music are surprisingly good at getting you there. Even more surprising? You still walk out of class with that ethereal feeling of calm so many of us practice yoga for in the first place. The upbeat music — and dance moves, depending on the class — only makes the experience that much more exhilarating.
Many studios, including CorePower Yoga, YogaWorks, and Set & Flow Yoga, offer classes with hip-hop music, as well as gyms, like Crunch and New York Sports Club. It all depends on the location and the instructor. Or, try it out at home for free. Unroll your mat, blast a great playlist, and let it take over your body in the best way.
Oh, and the name of that great poet? Tupac Shakur.