Our Yogi in the Community this week is a dynamic yogi by the name of Hawah.
Hawah is the creator of The Poetry of Yoga an anthology of poems by yogis from around the world. Hawah is also an activist who serves as the executive director for One Common Unity non-profit organization. I had the opportunity to speak with Hawah about his work, travels, and his new book that is on sale for the holidays! Definitely check the end of the transcribed interview to receive the special holiday code for the discounted price!
Audio interview with Hawah:
Transcription of the interview with Hawah:
I want to first begin the conversation with talking a little bit about your background.
I was born in New Jersey. At that time, I spent a considerable amount of my childhood in India (every other or 3rdsummer for a few months). The name chosen for me by my biological parents was “Rajeev Radhakrishna Kasat.” Along the journey, a few years ago, the mountain and wind reclaimed me as one of their own and changed my name to HawaH.
Much of my life has been shaped by the experience of traveling around the world numerous times—in the past 10 years over 30 countries. For example, I hitch-hiked over 3,000 miles through Africa back in the year 2001… I’ve been face-to-face and lived in the stark contrasts… the difficulties of material poverty and the abundance of material in Western culture.
So how have all of these experiences influenced your contribution to your community both locally and globally?
These experiences from a young age drove me to dedicate myself to making the world more equal and sustainable for all. Seeing my cousins without running water or electricity for 24 hours a day, and living with family that had no washing machines or even change of clothes in many instances, helped me understand the great privilege and opportunity I had doing my schooling here in the West. It helped me see the interconnectedness of the world on a very visceral level as a child.
After reading your bio, I see that you have done work in peace education, volunteered in youth detention centers, and work in the non-profit sector. Now did you practice yoga with youth in the detention centers? What did you observe in these settings? How did the youth respond to the practice if yoga?
When I take yoga into youth detention centers and even recreation centers with inner-city youth populations, I rarely call it yoga (until they’re already hooked)… but instead call it something like “The Mind-Body Arts.” I do this because yoga often has many stereotypes within communities of color, and the young black/ latino men I work with would not be open to doing “yoga” as they associate the practice with a demographic of people they don’t connect to. I also practice Chinese Martial Arts, and integrate this into my teachings with inner-city youth. Once they get into it though, they absolutely love it and find it an energizing and grounding practice for their day. After a few weeks I’ll tell them that a lot of what they are practicing is yoga… which surprises them.
There has been a lot of talk about your latest book, The Poetry of Yoga, which illuminates the beauty of poetry through the lens of the yogi. What inspired you to gather yogis together to write poetry?
This book was a labor of love and has completely taken a life of it’s own.
In 2010, I initiated a call for submissions around the world, searching for poetry from modern day mystic hearts. This call that I published through social media elicited an unprecedented outpouring of poetry from yogis around the world. The contemporary anthology I created is called: The Poetry of Yoga. Volume 1 contains works collected from 16 different countries in its 333 pages with topics of compassion, desire, freedom, transformation and service. 50% of ALL book sales I am donating to a great non-profit organization called One Common Unity.
So what’s next for you?? Will you be doing more traveling? Any more projects coming up for you?
I’ll be taking The Poetry of Yoga on tour… visiting yoga studios and healing arts centers around the country and world sharing the anthology and collecting submissions for Volume 2 (which releases on 12.12.12). If anyone wants to bring The Poetry of Yoga to their town or city don’t hesitate to email me and we’ll make it happen! firstname.lastname@example.org
You can learn more about the project and get your own copy of the book by visiting www.ThePoetryOfYoga.com
BUY THE BOOK! HOLIDAY SPECIAL
25% OFF Until Midnight, December 14th
If you purchase The Poetry of Yoga ONLINE
At checkout Enter Coupon Code: BUYMYBOOK305
You can learn more about Hawah’s personal work at www.Everlutionary.net
And the non-profit organization www.OneCommonUnity.org