What Hip Hop Taught Me About Yoga

Back in the day, way before I started practicing yoga, my girlfriends and I enrolled in a Hip Hop class series -I think it was held at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

The class was filled with *mostly* college-aged dance students and the routine pretty  much required a dance background

But, the routine was to Missy Elliott’s ‘One Minute Man’ which was hot in the clubs then (damn, both Missy and I have been around for awhile!)- so we stayedBiggie

Fast forward to last week when my friends and I took a Street Funk dance class at the Malonga Dance Center in Oakland

And, once again the routine included Missy Elliott with ‘Where They From’  so I knew I was in the right place

Lately, I’ve been doing TONS of yoga-which is a good thing-but sometimes it feels………competitive……

Maybe it’s because I teach or that we’re ALL trying to attain some Instagram worthy photo

But yoga can feel unwelcome in some studios 

My teacher -Rusty Wells-used to teach at a capoeira studio in the Mission on a donation basis (back in the day before the term ‘Pop Up’ was even created)

This was my first introduction to yoga in San Francisco *thankfully*

Not only was the practice AMAZING- the people were friendly, open, cool and diverse 

And, Rusty did something amazing at the beginning of class

‘Introduce yourself to someone-shrink the world’ 

Because of that, we became a community: a ragtag group of people who woke early every Saturday morning to practice, sweat, chant, laugh and cry together

This is what I’ve been missing

Back to Street Funk 

The ladies who attended varied in age, shape and ability but they had one thing in common- they ALL supported each other

And us! The 4 of us were new to the routine so messed up ALOT 

Didn’t matter- the other ladies made us feel welcome, introduced themselves and even hooted and whistled as we danced

I have never felt so welcomed in my life

Later that afternoon, I taught a 4:30 yoga class at the very welcoming Union Yoga

I played LL Cool J, added some booty shakes to the Utkatasanas, and began class instructing everyone to introduce themselves to a stranger

I think Missy Elliott would be proud

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