Our Yogi in the Community this week is a brilliant artist and human being whom I am very grateful to call a friend. Junius is an artist, an activist, and a yogi. I am always excited to feature yogis who live, work, contribute to our communities, and show a different image of the “Yogi in the Western World”. Just recently an article entitled, “Exclusion and American Yoga” critiques the image of the “Yogi in the U.S.”. According to a 2008 market research study, 72% of yoga practitioners in the U.S. are women and it is not too often you see a diverse selection of practitioners gracing the covers of popular yoga magazines. It is time we embrace the narratives of all people who have been influenced by the beauty of yoga and other holistic practices. It is my pleasure to share those stories here.
My conversation with Junius:
How and when did you begin practicing meditation? I got exposed to meditation my freshmen year in college. I began pursuing meditation as a outgrowth of attending yoga class and learning various types of meditation. At first I started by engaging in zazen usually 20 minutes a day.
Once that was pretty consistent I began to practice Guided meditation, Candle meditation, Yoga Nidra etc. My interest peaked overtime because my yoga teacher Baba Kamau was very advanced in meditation and would always encourage his students to practice because it could change their life and they could learn to know god directly.
Often times people become frustrated when beginning the practice of meditation. Do you have any advice? When beginning meditation I would encourage people to pursue it without expectation of results. Use it as an act of strengthening willpower. Allow yourself to act without running towards or away from pleasure or pain. This is core of discipline. This gives the mind one less reason to interfere. The more you practice the more experiences you will have so give it your all. The bulk of frustration will eventually be released as you learn to relax in meditation, because once you get the hang of it it serves as a stress reducer.
How does meditation influence you in your life? As a Hip-hop artist I am inspired by almost everything. All input can be transformed into song concepts or lyrics, from visions and dreams, to everyday conversation I overhere by passing strangers to something I see on twitter or facebook. I pull from every level of experience in order to reach people at all of those levels. My music and meditation are very intertwined at this point. I will often meditate in between or before writing sessions.
I will also do visualizations of certain specific thing I want to see happen in my career. Also because of practicing meditation for a while I am able to see auras and also see music. This gives me a serious advantage in terms of being able to feel and understand music at a deeper level. I use this to help me create my art.
If you are interested in keeping up with Junius you can follow him on Twitter at Honors English!