Yogi Reads: The Tao of Wu

by Olivia Cecchettini Hughes

The Tao of Wu

by The RZA

Editor’s Note: Congratulations and welcome back to Olivia who took a break from this monthly column to get married!!! We wish you all the best on this new journey in life. ~ Yoga One

Summary: The Tao of Wu is written in a light conversational style that’s easy to read and hard to put down. What keeps this book out of the light reading category however, is the depth of spiritual insight within that stayed with me for days as I processed and digested it. After I finished reading, it kept me buzzing for a few days: a sign of a really good book!

Part spiritual manifesto, part autobiography, The RZA openly shares his wisdom, guiding principles, and experiences as founder of the Wu-Tang Clan and as a fellow human being. The Tao of Wu follows his journey from growing up in a violent neighborhood of New York City to deeply embracing Eastern Philosophy in Shaolin, China.

Why I Love It: I was completely blown away by this inspiring spiritual memoir which was unlike any other I’ve read. Combining street knowledge, pop culture, eastern culture, spirituality, and rawness, this book was one of my favorite reads of 2017. Highly recommend.

I love that The Tao of Wu breaks through and breaks down stereotypes. I think stereotypes, labels, and boxes are human devices to keep the world small and simple. Yoga has always helped me bear witness to my own judgments and allow them to shatter in the light of authenticity. It’s only when we truly SEE and LISTEN to one another that we grasp the beauty, wisdom, and amazing insight diverse people have to offer.

Suggested For: I’ve been recommending this book to everyone! Seriously. For the hip hop lovers, I gained a better appreciation of RZA’s work – specifically the depth of his lyricism. If you ever wondered why The RZA, aside from being the Wu-Tang Clan’s chief producer, is heralded as the group’s leader, The Tao of Wu will make that unmistakably clear.

For the spiritual seekers, this book is a more personal, more philosophical follow-up to The Wu-Tang Manual. The RZA pulls from a deep school of thought that reflects the inner work he has achieved. I found his writing to be forward thinking and courageous in its authenticity.

Even Cornel West gives it a thumbs-up: “RZA is a towering artist and deep thinker who has much to teach us. I salute his courageous vision and compassionate witness – as manifests in this book and in his life.”

Olivia headshotOlivia Hughes
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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Minimalism and Yoga

by Laura McCorry

I’m still rather new to minimalism. I love the concept – a clutter-free home that invites both unexpected guests and private relaxation. But the practice of de-owning often feels overwhelming and exhausting.

In July, I was invited to participate in a 30-day declutter group hosted online. It was great to have the support of other people in the group and to have a pre-set monthly schedule of different areas of the house to tackle each day. It usually didn’t take me more than ten or fifteen minutes, and every day I found items I could place in a large cardboard box marked for donation.

Then the cardboard box sat in a corner of my bedroom for three months. Does this sound familiar? Sometimes the follow-through is the hardest part. But just last week – last week! – I made a trip to a household hazardous waste site (don’t throw your batteries in the trash, people!), electronics recycling, and a local charity that accepts household and clothing donations. It only took about an hour.

When it doesn’t take very much time, why is it still so hard to let go?

So often in life, I find myself clinging and grasping. I keep letters from loved ones, gifts that remind me of people, books that remind me of people. I try to hold on to the idea and experience of my toddler as an infant, and I feel a kind of desperation every time I realize another day has finished, never to return.

One of the eight limbs of Yoga is Aparigraha, which translates as non-greed, non-attachment, non-grasping. Fear teaches us to cling tight, even to things which can’t be held. When we let go, maybe prying open one finger at a time, we find Trust, Plenitude, Equanimity. (These words that don’t have an everyday coinage because they’re so frequently out of circulation.)

To what (or to whom) do you find yourself clinging most often? Is there physical or emotional baggage holding you back from feeling a sense of peace with the present moment?

Yoga’s emphasis on the present moment actually helps me to be a better minimalist. When I shift my focus to what actually matters, right this very moment, it’s easier to see how so many objects in my life belong to the past or to an as-yet-unrealized future. As Autumn’s full glory approaches, I intend to simplify my home and my routines, letting go of excess to better appreciate the things, people, and routines that serve me best right now.

Thoreau himself embraced yogic values with his injunction to “simplify, simplify.” Let go of grasping and see what fills your hands and your heart.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

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Keep OM Trucking: Featuring Caitlin McPhee

Do you take your yoga with you when you travel? 

Our Yoga One family has spread to all corners of the globe and we’re excited to share some of their adventures.

Caitlin McPhee:

Anjanae and I, left and center, met during our YTT at Yoga One. This summer we went backpacking in Colorado together! While hiking, we reflected on the ease of practicing mindfulness while hiking and camping in nature (in the sense of our heightened ability to focus on the here and now) and how these activities perfectly compliment our yoga practice.

No matter where you go, you can Keep OM Trucking with Yoga One! Visit Yoga One at 1150 7th Avenue to get your own hat and while you’re there, join us for class. 

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Yoga One features The Original Yogis

Julie Moore is one of five sisters, but she’s #1 in our book because she happens to be Yoga One’s very first student! We are so grateful for her friendship over the years and we couldn’t imagine the Yoga One Family without her.

Reflection by Julie Moore

I first met Amy Caldwell at the Center for Moving Arts. It was the year 2000, or perhaps 2001, and my very first yoga class. I was drawn to Amy’s down-to-earth style of teaching and found her voice very relaxing. Ever since that class, I’ve followed Amy wherever she taught including condominium recreational rooms, nightclubs under construction, dance studios, and outdoors in Balboa Park.

When I first started yoga, I couldn’t even touch my toes. During a class at the torn-apart nightclub, I remember enthusiastically showing Michael that I could clasp my hands behind my back in cow face pose – a major accomplishment!

Amy and Michael opened Yoga One in 2002, initially sub-letting the back room of a gym on seventh avenue in downtown San Diego. Over the years, I’ve happily participated in many of their events such as couples yoga, drum circles, 108 Sun Salutations, chocolate & yoga, wine & yoga, and anniversary celebrations. One of my favorite yoga classes was prenatal yoga led by Arati Lane, which started the year I was pregnant with my first child.

Over the past 17 years, I’ve practiced yoga at different studios with many different instructors, but I always find the most comfort back at Yoga One and with Amy Caldwell, the teacher with whom my yoga journey began.

Michael asked me once what I liked best about Yoga One. For me, one of the studio’s greatest strengths is how the teachers provide an open, secure, safe, comfortable yoga space. Even though I’m very inflexible and can still barely touch my toes, because of Amy I have stuck with yoga all these years and will continue to practice the rest of my life. I thank Amy, Michael, and the other Yoga One yogis for that!

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Keep OM Trucking: Featuring Amy Freeman

Do you take your yoga with you when you travel? 

Our Yoga One family has spread to all corners of the globe and we’re excited to share some of their adventures.

Amy Freeman, Yoga One Teacher:

We were in Telluride, Colorado over July 4th week on a family trip. That was a beautiful waterfall hike we did called Cornet Creek Falls. I also took a few yoga classes there at a studio in the village called Mangala Yoga.

No matter where you go, you can Keep OM Trucking with Yoga One! Visit Yoga One at 1150 7th Avenue to get your own hat and while you’re there, join us for class. 

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4 Healthy Habits to Help You Manage Stress in Your Busy Life

guest post by Jennifer Scott

For busy people, stress is a constant force. In its most positive form, stress can motivate us to work harder and achieve great things. But at its worst, too much stress can lead to health problems and bad habits.

After a stressful and tumultuous breakup, I had allowed several bad habits to make their way back into my life. Pair that with a big move across the country, and my stress snowballed out of control. Making the switch to a wellness-focused lifestyle isn’t easy, but I found reducing stress was vital to living a happier and healthier life – even if it’s still busy.

Healthy Habit #1 – Take time to disconnect

One stressor that could be plaguing you is over-connectedness. Sometimes, we all just need to disconnect from technology for a little bit of peace of mind. This is especially true when it comes to work. Healthy habit #1 involves turning off those email notifications after work hours. Like many people, I’m notorious for having my phone glued to my hand, but I made it a goal to turn my phone off by 7:00 p.m. every night. I found that by disconnecting, I was able to relax and wake up rested and ready to tackle the day.

“Researchers .. have found that although we may resist it, we really do need down time after work to mentally recharge for the next day … continuing to communicate with colleagues after hours not only creates stress, but it prevents your brain from relaxing and recouping from a long work day in preparation for the next,” notes Forbes.

This can also be applied to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. If you have a habit of browsing your feed in bed – stop! Disallowing electronics in your bedroom will teach your brain that the bedroom is a place for sleep and sleep only, and it will lead to more restful, higher-quality sleep.

Healthy Habit #2 – Don’t make all your free time family time

You love your family. We all love our families. But every single second of your free time doesn’t have to be family time. In fact, the stress from kids and relationship issues can cause great mental fatigue. Alone time is good time, and you should make time every day to do something with the person you know best – yourself. Even if you can’t necessarily escape, you can create a solitude space in your home using relaxing decor and a comfy chair. Let family members and partners know that this space is for uninterrupted alone time.

In the end, your alone time will likely strengthen your familial relationships too. “By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you’re more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You also may come to appreciate your relationships more after you’ve spent some time alone,” says Psychology Today.

Healthy Habit #3 – Choosing healthy coping mechanisms

People under a lot of stress have a tendency to look for whatever they can to help them deal with it. Oftentimes, the first solution we try is to escape and dull our senses. While having a drink now and then to unwind isn’t usually a problem, using drugs or alcohol as a crutch to deal with stress can become a dangerous habit.

There are many healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress. You can practice yoga, meditation, and/or focused breathing. Put your energy into a hobby or project. Spend your free time in nature. You might be surprised to learn that the method you choose has benefits beyond stress relief. For example, yoga provides immediate benefits such as improved brain function and flexibility. After a few months, you may notice lower blood pressure, improved sense of balance, relief from chronic pain, and anxiety relief. Years of yoga practice can also lower your risk of heart disease and build stronger bones. When you switch from trying to escape stress to actively reducing it, you reap the benefits in your overall health.

Healthy Habit #4 – Focus on eating right

Stress makes you want to eat unhealthy foods. It’s science. “Stressful events – and they don’t even have to be big, just the daily hassles of life – cause our cortisol levels to rise. Cortisol causes food cravings, and … those cravings tend to be strongest for carbs, especially sweet foods,” says Prevention.com.

You have to be aware of this, and do what you can to fight it. Be prepared. Always have healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, and yogurt handy. Plan your meals and get ahead with your prep and cooking. Always take your lunch to work. Don’t skip breakfast. Eat foods rich in omega 3s like fatty fish, which can help give your brain a boost to help you fight high levels of stress.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing, but too much of it can lead you down a dark path of unhealthy habits. Instead, focus on adopting healthy habits which will help you manage your stress levels on a daily basis.

 

Jennifer Scott

With SpiritFinder, Ms. Scott offers a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can discuss their experiences. 

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Animal Whisperer

by Hannah Faulkner

How yoga cultivated a karmic awareness of life in all its forms and started my journey of veganism.

Read the full version of this post on Hannah’s blog, Half Moon Yoga and Art.

The other day a friend, Ashlee, told me that I must have been a cat in my previous life. She was trying to make sense of the phenomenon of why animals, and oftentimes cats, are so attracted to me. But, I haven’t always been this way. I used to be afraid of animals and tried to steer clear of them for most of my life.

It wasn’t until I started doing yoga (at Yoga One in San Diego), that I’ve made a connection with these beings. The more I became centered and found inner peace and awakening, the more animals liked to be in my aura.

One of my favorite animal experiences was when I was walking along the Camino de Santiago in 2014. JoAnna and I were both missing our pet cats from back home when suddenly, out of the brush, five little kittens approached us. We stopped and started petting and holding them. They just wanted to be loved. Our hearts were filled with so much joy to share this connection with the natural world.

We stayed there for about thirty minutes then JoAnna said, “We should probably stop wasting time and continue walking.” I abruptly snapped back, “This is NOT WASTING time!” We still tease each other about that statement, but the truth is that taking time to stop and connect with nature and our inner source of love is really the best way to spend our time and our lives.

Our crown chakra, Sahaswara, is our source of enlightenment, consciousness and spiritual connection to all that is. This connection takes the form of a circle, like a crown. Feeling enlightened with a balanced crown chakra means experiencing unity that everything is connected at a fundamental level. The other day, when I was meditating and bringing my concentration to this place of inner peace and connectedness, my cat walked over to me and pressed the crown of her head into the crown of my head. Moments like this are enthralling!

At the Living with Animals exhibit in the Museum of Man San Diego, we are reminded that all animals can be our friends. Pets used to be wild creatures that have developed a relationship with humanity over time. We have made friends with dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, mice, and even beetles.

However, sometimes the way we live causes separateness and we lose connection with creatures when we label a certain creature as a pest or a taco. Why is it that in the West we can develop laws to protect the treatment of dogs, but we are blind to the way cows, pigs and chickens are treated and manufactured in a factory? The Living with Animals exhibit takes a look at how a pet can become a pest, a pest can become a pet, and a pet can become a pest that ends up on our plate.

Up until six months ago, I have been guilty of disconnecting the animal with the flavor. Then, I became confronted with some yoga philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence) and how it relates to karma. I finally opened my eyes and heart to the documentaries available on Netflix and other platforms that are trying to awaken us to how we are responsible for torturing animals every time that we buy meat or animal products.

I used to think that we “needed” to eat animals for protein and have since learned that we can find much more healthy nutrients and proteins in a plant based diet. Leo Tolstoy announces, “A man CAN live and be HEALTHY without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he partakes in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite, and to act so is immoral.”

Like an ex-smoker who still desires a swig of cigarette every time they smell one, my mouth still waters at the smell of crispy bacon and tasty hamburger, but then I close my eyes and visualize the whole creature and how it is being treated today, under horrible conditions, with the purpose of companies making more money, and I can no longer partake in this bad karma. Peaceful Mohandas Gandhi, past leader of India proclaimed, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Join us for Yoga in the Rotunda at the Museum of Man San Diego and visit the Living with Animals Exhibit to awaken connectedness and inner peace.

I will be leading the class on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 from 8:30-9:30am in accordance with Yoga One San Diego.

We will be flowing through animal poses like Cat/Cow, Dog, Beetle, Mouse, Pigeon, Fish, Turtle, and more as we cultivate Crown Chakra Connectedness and Ahimsa for all creatures!

unnamedHannah Faulkner
Guest Writer

Hannah Faulkner draws inspiration from her surroundings and seeks to find relationships between the ordinary and extraordinary daily life through her writing. With 4 years of experience as a flight attendant, and many more travels preceding, Hannah’s curiosity and adventurous spirit have soaked in elements from worldwide cultures while growing in her spirituality. As a yoga and visual arts teacher, she combines her passions to create beauty in a variety of ways through her inspiring stories, bridging connections with deeper yoga philosophy and wellness concepts at HalfMoonYogaandArt.com.

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Keep OM Trucking: Featuring Heather Fenwick

Do you take your yoga with you when you travel? 

Our Yoga One family has spread to all corners of the globe and we’re excited to share some of their adventures.

Heather Fenwick, Yoga One Teacher and World Traveler:

“I was in Mexico near Tulum at a 4 day concert to see my favorite band, My Morning Jacket. That little lagoon was so cool because it was warm, clear ocean water with fish swimming around – I jumped in right before our yoga class to keep cool!

Maya Chickpea Taco (formerly known as Bon Bon) is our canine model; she was rescued as a wee babe on the sandy shores of La Ventana in Baja, Mexico.  What you can’t see in this photo are her supermodel legs and eyelashes ;)”

No matter where you go, you can Keep OM Trucking with Yoga One! Visit Yoga One at 1150 7th Avenue to get your own hat and while you’re there, join us for class. 

 

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Happy 15th Birthday, Yoga One!

A brief history of the award-winning studio Yoga One in downtown San Diego (with a mission to help as many people as possible live healthier and happier lives and a strong focus on community-building) as told through the eyes of its loving parents and Founders, Amy and Michael Caldwell.

An interview between Michael Caldwell, Co-Owner, and Laura McCorry, Yoga One Blog Master.

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Laura McCorry: Many of us have heard the story about you and Amy falling in love, wanting to travel the world, selling all your possessions, picking a country that started with “A” and apple picking in Australia which set you both on the path to yoga. When did you decide to become yoga teachers? 

Michael Caldwell: By the time we were in Nepal we were pretty serious about our yoga practice, meaning we did it whenever we could. Finding time was a challenge because we were trekking to Mt. Everest base camp. That generally meant walking all day until we found some nice family to take us in. Dahl batt and rice was the standard for dinner. With a full belly we almost always immediately crashed, exhausted and satisfied on the first available horizontal surface.

It was in one of these welcoming accommodations with a handful of other travels, including James, Teddy “McChocolate”, and Richard, that we found ourselves with a little extra time and energy. Somehow it came up that we’d been practicing yoga. And since Amy has always been more advanced than Michael, she was coaxed into leading the group. That, as we can recall, was the first class she ever taught.

LM: When did Michael start teaching?

MC: Right. Michael didn’t start teaching until a couple of years after Amy. Yoga One was up and running and we had picked up some corporate classes. We didn’t have enough teachers to cover one of our classes at Cox Communications, so Michael had to do it. And he’s been teaching with decreasing reluctance ever since.

LM: Why not just teach yoga at the park or at other studios? When did you know you wanted to start a small business and open a yoga studio together? That must have taken a huge leap of faith. 

MC: Amy was teaching in the park and at dance studios, etc. The Yoga One studio was originally party of the adjacent gym, at that time called Body Works. When it got cold outside, Amy moved her growing park yoga class around town trying to find a reliable space. Over time, the classes were doing so well that Rich Roe, the gym’s owner, suggested we sublease it from him and start our own studio. So that’s what we did. It was very organic so it didn’t really require much of a leap of faith, just a lot of hard work and love.

LM: You both teach yoga and you both make business decisions, would you describe your roles in similar or different terms? 

MC: Amy was the big boss until we had our first child. Then Michael took over most of the day to day business operations with Amy looking over his shoulder to make sure he was doing it right. Amy still keeps her eyes on things but increasingly she is focused on preparing and leading the Yoga One Teacher Training courses, which now happen up to three to four times a year (including the courses at SDSU / ARC).

LM: Work-life balance is a huge concern for so many right now, especially among millennials. How have you worked to preserve a healthy work-life balance over the years? 

MC: Lots of deep breaths! Like our yoga practice, finding that balance requires constant attention. When we realize we are overdoing the work aspect, as quickly as possible we attempt to swing back to the life side. In order to be as available as possible for our children, we mostly work from home. And we’ve argued about establishing work spaces and times in which it was ok and not ok to talk about “business.”

When you operate a small business the work is never done and when your work partner is also your spouse there is never any out of the office time… when you combine those elements and also work from home, finding balance is a tight wire act. So now we try not to talk about work in bed!

Yoga One is our first baby and initially required all of our attention at all hours. Now 15 years later, the studio is a little more self sufficient but still acts up from time to time like any teenager. When it needs us, we want to be there for it. The fact that we love what we do and the people we do it with helps tremendously.

We always want to be learning and growing. We feel we do a good job with offsite, specialty and corporate yoga classes so we are looking to expand in that direction. Our Yoga One Teacher Training program is truly a life enhancing experience. We’ve had over 250 people attend our course. Many of them want to continue to deepen their practice and expand their skills, so we are working on putting together a 300 hour Yoga One Teacher Training which then will provide graduates with a 500 hour designation. We will be doing more festivals and retreats. There is so much we want to do. (:

LM: Throw it back to the very first class taught at the studio, under the familiar skylights, what was that like? 

MC: Super exciting! Amy was leading class with the students who had followed her from the park and the various around town spots and the gym’s students were there as well. (That was the deal we made for using the space). We had to walk up the stairs through what is the current gym’s entrance, down the back stairs and along the back hallway to what used to be the entrance to the studio and is now walled over. We’d wait in the back hallway while the spin class or something was finishing and talk in the hallway with the students. It was a great time… so new and fun.

LM: You and Amy have always (since I’ve known you) been consistent about calling the teachers and students at Yoga One family, and I know this is intentional and heartfelt. How long did it take you before you realized you were building more than just a business? 

MC: Immediately. We were building a family from the get-go. Remember we had recently returned from backpacking around the world for 3 and a half years so we were wide open and receptive. We were (and still are) about fostering friendships and building community.

People used to come up to us in the park and ask what kind of dance we were doing and could they join us. Classes grew and grew and, as said before, when it got cold we moved around town from space to space, through a lot of trial and error. We used a night club in Hillcrest for a while that was under construction and the entire class literally had to climb over a pile of rubble to get to the practice space. That’s not a business, that’s a family forming.

We’re still working on making Yoga One a fantastic business, but we’ve already (in our opinion) cultivated a wonderful family. And thanks to all of the people who opened their space to us all those years ago. We couldn’t have done it without you.

LM: We all know the different milestones we celebrate for our children. What are some of the milestones you’ve seen and celebrated with Yoga One?

MC: There are so many that have touched us deeply and which we treasure! Those first few classes in the space and Rich, an established small business owner, recognizing we were on to something special and telling us we should sub lease the space. Amy teaching most of the initial classes and riding her bike around Downtown putting up flyers and spreading the word. Building out the back hallway so we had access to a bathroom! Getting voted “Best Yoga Studio” in San Diego City Beat and going to the awards party for the first time (and the other 8 times).

Amy appearing on the cover of Yoga Journal (twice). Creating the iYoga Premium app with 3D4 Medical. Leading a yoga retreat in Santa Barbara. Leading the first-ever yoga class aboard the USS Midway to 400 plus people. Releasing the Yoga One CD via Quango music group (remember cds?). Creating the office nook out of a dumb waiter shaft and closet (thanks Josh aka J-Money! Redoing the front hallway, that previous ceiling was painful to behold.

The 10 year anniversary party at the Porto Vista hotel and the 15th anniversary at the Hotel Solamar. The blog anniversary party and photo shoots. Having 120 people in the space for Y1 Studios Intimate Musical Evenings featuring Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and Sean Hayes among others. Workshops with fun visiting teachers like Kathryn Budig, Tiffany Cruickshank, Rachel Brathen, David Romanelli, Jill Miller, Diana Beardsley and others. Being on the news and in various publications is always fun.

Offering complimentary community classes and gift certificates so anyone and everyone can enjoy the joys and benefits of yoga. Seeing new students.  Seeing regular students. Seeing long-lost but returning students. Hearing that yoga has helped enhanced someone’s life.

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LM: Thank you so much for all the effort, continuing education, investment, time, and love you both pour into Yoga One: a yoga studio, a community, a family.

MC: Thank you, Laura, for birthing and raising the Yoga One blog and thanks to the fantastic Yoga One Teachers, Staff and students!

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Yogi Reads: Decoded

by Olivia Cecchettini

Decoded

by Shawn Carter (Jay Z)

Summary: Decoded is an unconventional memoir. It’s part autobiography part interpretation of Jay Z’s most famous songs and lyrics broken down by the rapper himself. I couldn’t put this book down. His inspiring journey includes growing up in the Marcy Projects located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City and selling crack to being the first MC inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

When Jay Z first started writing, he wrote for himself, never knowing if anyone else would ever hear his work. Even when he was plagued by doubt, he never stopped writing and he never stopped dreaming. It takes courage to hold a mirror to your life and embark on the journey of self-discovery. Neither is it easy to expose your inner self to the world.

Yoga is another way to hold a mirror to your life, to reveal your personal thoughts, emotions, and actions. I strongly believe that we are all natural-born healers. Jay Z found healing through sacred storytelling. I came to healing first through yoga. It’s not about the method, it’s about the journey and whether you’re willing to take the first step.

Why I Love It: I love this book because it felt so relatable. No, I didn’t grow up in the projects or have the same kind of difficulties in life. (Although yes, I do like to rap old school 90’s hip hop but only for my fiancé.) I grew up in a divorced family, with very young parents. I remember struggling a lot, moving a lot, trying to depend on family and friends for stability. There are happy memories, too. But I was on a quest for independence and I started my own life at 18 in San Diego.

I grew up tremendously fast those first few years on my own. It would be 12 years until I started teaching yoga. Sometimes people think yoga teachers have been practicing since birth, meditate every day, and never get sad – but the truth is that many people, including teachers, come to yoga for healing. In Decoded, Jay Z acknowledges that beneath his doubt was a greater fear of not fulfilling his potential – and this is part of my story as well.

Suggested For: Hip Hop lovers, especially the incredible music that came out of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. They just don’t make music like that anymore! I know that’s what every generation says, but it’s the truth.

Seriously though, this book shows what it means to honor the journey of life. As I edge closer to 40 than I am to 30, I see more clearly how all of life is a practice and a journey. It’s not about where we start out, or whether we end up rich and famous. It’s about the moment to moment living, the practice of self-love and acceptance. May we practice more kindness, practice compassion, listen to our intuition, remember the sacredness of storytelling, and honor those that have come before us.

Olivia headshotOlivia Cecchettini
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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