DJ Taz Rashid is a modern yoga DJ and one of the leading individuals the merges the power of yoga with the universal power of music that unites all cultures and faiths. He brings his music to yogis everywhere through yoga festivals and records. In a recent article, we caught up with him and discussed his latest playlist that included inspirational tracks for everything from meditation to asanas. Today, expert yogi Sharleen Oborowsky sat down with DJ Taz to learn more about his personal yoga practice routines. (Learn more about DJ Taz in Yogapedia Sits Down With DJ Taz During Podcast.)
We start by learning more about DJ Taz's spiritual experiences and how yoga influences his spirituality.
DJ Taz on Spirituality & Yoga Practice
Are you spiritual and can you define spirituality in your own words?
I have a very strong understanding that, on this planet, we're all connected as one. So if that were the case, why would I be mean or cruel to others if we're truly connected? And, as a spiritual person, I feel like it's my highest, most important responsibility to be loving to myself and to others and practice kindness in every way possible. It's in my daily activities, relationships, and work situations, and that's not always easy.
Being aware of the energy of kindness in every situation is the only way to achieve this concept.
How long have you been practicing yoga, and what does your practice look like?
DJ Taz: I would say since 2009. But more regularly since 2011 or 2012. My meditation practice is now more of a silent practice, to be honest. I used to use a lot of music before in my earlier stages, but now I just get quiet, and I just focus on the breath, thoughts and whatever else comes up.
I use the meditation as a way to generate a feeling of peace within my body. And for yoga, it just really depends on what my body's feeling and how I'm doing energetically. I personally love hot yoga, like a power vinyasa flow-type sequencing. What I've noticed is that, when I'm traveling and I'm going to festivals and performing, I really enjoy a more slow flow, like a yen-type restorative practice for my body. It almost becomes like a massage. (Read on in Restorative Yoga: Relax and Recharge.)
But during the week, when I'm just working at home or whatever, I need a work-out, energetic experience with the yoga. So I love the sweaty, hot yoga practice on those days.
DJ Taz on Meditation and Mantra
In our earlier piece, we covered how DJ Taz's music worked well with Vinyasa flow yoga and meditation. Today, DJ Taz gives us some tips on meditation and lets us in on his own meditative practice.
What time of day do you meditate? Do you have any meditation tips?
DJ Taz: It fluctuates, but usually, I meditate in the morning. However, there are a lot of times in the afternoon, like in the middle of the day, when things are really busy or I have a lot going on. I like to practice meditation around that time; I just need to clear my head.
I feel that the biggest tip I can give is on the practice of breath. Basically, its better to slow down the breath and to really put a big concentration on the it, as it's going in and going out, and just really watching that. And I would say that an important tip for myself is not to judge my thoughts during meditations. When I understood that this is just the job of my mind, to just generate thoughts and create busyness, it became easier to meditate; it's not like I'm gonna get rid of my mind. So it's just doing its job. Rather than judging it or making it wrong during a meditation, just kind of watch it and let it do its thing, but do not be carried away by it. (Learn more in Don't Judge Your Meditation.)
Do you have a mantra?
DJ Taz: You know, I don't have a mantra that a guru gave me or anything like that, but I do have a mantra that I say to myself over and over: "If I think I can do it, then I can do it." I would not call it a mantra per se, but I refer to it more like a feeling, because I don't really say it out loud, I just feel it. It's the feeling of "I believe I can."
Do you chant?
DJ Taz: I used to chant a lot from the year 2011 until about 2015. I used to be in mantra bands, care time gatherings and groups. When I did chant, I really loved chanting Shiva mantras, and definitely some of the Hare Krishna Maha mantra, but I really had a connection to Shiva. Energetically, I felt like Shiva's the destroyer, and that to me is exciting, because I really feel the impermanence of everything. I always feel like things are being destroyed and recreated, so, it's that energy of "if something new is to arise, something old sometimes must go" that captivated me. Hence the destruction energy, or the destroyer energy of shiva. In other words, letting go of things that are not serving a good purpose is ideal.
DJ Taz on Yoga Gurus
Gurus are a very central aspect of yoga, they teach yogis about the core meanings of yoga and enlighten us on how yoga can open up avenues of peace and spirituality. We asked DJ Taz about gurus, and this is what he said:
Do you have a guru?
DJ Taz: I don't. I used to have different yoga teachers that I really looked up to, almost like as gurus, but right now I wouldn't say I have one guru. I'm really working on my inner guru and the teacher within. I've had many different teachers, I don't have one teacher that I'm currently working with at the moment.
Who is your favorite yogi in the West?
DJ Taz: My favorite, like a yoga teacher? Oh my gosh. I don't think I want to answer that.
Do you have one in the East? A teacher, guru, anything.
DJ Taz: You know, I don't even know. I haven't really thought about the concept of having a singular favorite. I really love the teachings of the Oneness University, I like the yogis and the teachers there. I don't know if you've heard of them, but their teachings have brought me incredible peace and understanding for myself.
Do you read any yoga books? Do you have any favorites?
DJ Taz: I've read a good amount of yoga books; right now I'm reading "Dharma Punx," it's a meditation book. Recently, I have had a favorite. There is a great book I really love. It's called "The Man Who Tapped The Secrets Of The Universe." I enjoyed this one and the contemplation it uncovered in me.
You should read it, if you get a chance. It's by a guy named Glenn Clark. It's about a man named Walter Russell who was super creative, and he tapped into the energy of nature. That's what the whole book is about, a man who tapped into the secrets of the universe and our creativity by tapping into nature.
DJ Taz on Purpose, Energy and Creativity
We moved on with Taz and wanted to know how he viewed the concept of "purpose." We asked him about his purpose and how he manages energy and builds creativity.
Do you know your purpose? What brings you clarity to your purpose?
DJ Taz: I think I know my purpose, as of right now. It's the feeling I have when I say it out loud or when someone asks me what my purpose is. I feel really wholesome and confident when I say it, because that's where it's at. But, I'll let you in on the specifics later on.
How do you tap into your creativity?
DJ Taz: I have noticed that my creativity's extremely energized when I am exercising, working out, getting my breath work, like getting my energy up. If I don't exercise, I feel that I'm not building the creativity that I'm fully capable of manifesting. Every time I work out, the blood goes through my body at a fulfilling rate. So I would say physical exercise is the key to my creativity.
I love coffee. That's how I keep my energy up to continue exercising and keep moving.
Do you have any words of wisdom that you live by?
DJ Taz: Yeah. You know, there was this quote by Mark Twain. And it hit me when I heard it, and the quote was: "There are two important days in your life – the day you're born, and the day when you realize why." So it goes back to the purpose, and how important it is for us to seek our purpose, know what that is, practice it, believe it and be on course with that.
I feel like, to have a truly spiritual or mindful experience in our Earth, it's really all about that. It's all about living your purpose. And we may not even 100% know what that is, but being on that journey to know that I'm searching for it, that journey is everything. (Learn more in Guiding Meditation for Finding Life's Purpose.)
Well, you led me to my last question, and I just want you to fill in the blank. “My purpose is...”
DJ Taz: To awaken the human spirit with music.
DJ Taz also offered you a FREE gift of music - a full album, perfect for yoga practice.