Listen, I get it. I know that themed yoga classes are a FAR, FAR, FAAAAR cry from the yoga taught in India, from the yoga discussed in the original yogic texts, and from yoga as it was first practiced when it was brought to the U.S. back in the 1890s.
I am well aware of that.
I also get it that to some, Hip Hop Yoga seems like a mockery of the practice, a disgusting Westernization or commercialization of yoga as it goes more mainstream, a need to make yoga more "sexy" in order to get people to practice.
But to me, a teacher who has been teaching Hip Hop Yoga classes for over two years now--and who has also taught a Glee themed class and a couple of 80's music themed yoga classes--it's just pure fun and pure joy. It's silly and it's playful and it's not serious and that's it!
I love yoga and I love music. I love practicing in a silent room, where all you hear is the breath (SO powerful), but I also love practicing to loud music in a packed room with a heavy beat in the background. There's just something about it.
To me, a Hip Hop Yoga class is a way to stop taking ourselves and our practice so seriously. Yoga can be serious, yes, but it can also be just pure fun.
And strangely enough, sometimes, when the music is loud and different, it drowns out all other distractions and allows you to get even deeper into your practice. Or, if you're distracted by the loud music, it can be an extra challenge to stay focused and present, and that's another great way to mix things up.
I grew up in Atlanta listening to Hip Hop. I've always loved a good rap song and probably will until I die (just like I also love country music and once attended a country music themed yoga class and it was amazing!). It can be special to put together two unexpected things that you love, and I say, why not offer people a fun, carefree weekend night activity that isn't centered around going to a bar?
I know that purists will say that the practice doesn't need anything else--that it's perfect as it is--and I wholeheartedly agree with that. But I also think that changing things up and loosening up every once in a while is a good thing for all of us.
In the words of Baba Hari Dass, a yogi who has been in silence for more than for decades (he wrote the following on his chalkboard, which is how he communicates):
Don't think you are carrying the whole world on your shoulders. Even if you are, make it fun, make it easy, make it play.
So why not lighten up and shake our asanas a bit in down dog, ya know?
Hip Hop Yoga Image Credit: StylishGraffiti.blogspot.com