I’m a crude, lewd individual. If left unchecked, I’d curse and make sex jokes in a way that would make a sailor blush (hey baby – are you Morse code? Because I wanna tap that in ways only a naval officer could understand). However, as a yoga instructor, I pride myself on making sure the music for my classes is rated 100% PG. I typically play a lot of acoustic covers, a lot of folk-rock, and a lot of instrumental music. But some classes merit more upbeat playlists. I tend to go to town on those, creating specific themes for my students to boogie down to as they get into their down dog. The themes can vary, from melodic dubstep/chillstep (yes, such a thing exists) to 90s pop music.
I recently made a brand new playlist for one of these classes, this theme being hip-hop and modern R&B. These days, it’s not hard to find hip-hop/R&B music that is PG/swear-free. After combing through my iTunes, I created a nice hour-long playlist with all sorts of hip-hop music, including Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down”.
Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down” is an innocent, uncomplex hip-hop song featuring Ne Yo and Kanye West. It’s so cute and so sweet that you could honestly hear it anywhere. On the radio, in department stores, at your dentist… Cute, innocent, and sweet — minus the part where Kanye West goes, “Oh em gee, you listen to that bitch?” in the middle of his rap.
This is something that I completely and totally forgot about.
Would you like to know when I remembered this vital piece of information? If you guessed, “In the middle of class, upon hearing the b-bomb drop during a moment of silence in the class,” then — ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!
Everything was going great. Then I brought my students into a pose, only to have my words immediately punctuated with a very loud and very distinct, “bitch!”
“Coming into seated forward fold.” “…BITCH!”
Well, that’s not going to get me turning beet-red with embarrassment or anything. Students, don’t mind the yoga instructor as she slinks out the back door. Talk amongst yourselves. Or, more aptly, pose amongst yourselves.
Positives? Either no one noticed or no one cared, and the rest of class went along without any other glitches, aside from a suddenly-very-fast-talking instructor who had gone downright manic with mortification.
It also got me thinking about a yoga class led by Kanye West himself, which is so ridiculous that it could actually work as an SNL skit: Kanye West coming into class 10 minutes late, wearing his leather pants and carrying a matching leather yoga mat. With his shades still on, he’d throw his hands up and go, “Yo, it’s time for you to shut up and experience my genius.”
The playlist would consist of only Kanye West music. He’d periodically stop the class to point out a beat or rhyme.
“Do you know who did that? Do you know who created that? Me. That’s my masterpiece! That’s some sick shit, right there! Now, back to your Warrior 2.”
Someone would cough in the middle of a cue and he’d shout out, “YO, WHY WON’T YOU LET ME BE GREAT?”
He’d conduct the class using a microphone. Every once in a while, he’d do a mic drop for emphasis.
Halfway through the class, he’d interrupt a vinyasa flow, grab somebody’s props away from them, and go: “Yo, I’m really happy for you and all, and Imma let you finish — but BKS Iyengar had the best yoga of all time. OF ALL TIME.” He’d then shrug and walk away from the student. He’ll then attempt to interrupt another person’s practice because, seriously, that pose belongs to BKS Iyengar.
(FYI for the folks at home: BKS Iyengar is credited with bringing yoga to the western world.)
As you’re going to your resting pose at the end of class, he’d stare at you stone-eyed as he states, “George Bush does not care about savasana.”
And of course he’d end the class with “namaste”, which, in a Kanye West yoga class, means: “The light in me honors…the light in me. Damn, bitch, have you seen my light? This shit is brilliant.”
In the corner the entire time is Kim Kardashian. Not taking the class, but posing for selfies in her yoga leggings.
Although, in some ways, the Kanye shrug embodies a lot of the yogic attitudes, if you think about it (but don’t think about it too much).
…Remember, folks: humor is a defense mechanism and this is how I handle mortifying embarrassment.