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Mindful : October 2016
DON’T FLIP YO’ LID An excerpt from one of JusTme’s most popular songs. How do you bring mindfulness to children? If I have a group of kids who are all over the place, I might start rapping a capella and that gets their attention—“ Hey, this dude can rap!” They feel validated because hip hop is the music of right now. They tune in. They can see my pas- sion and my drive. They connect. And how do they respond to meditation? Basically, it’s a heartfelt thing between us. I’m straightforward and real with them and that puts a level of respect in the room. When they are in a practice with me, I see the ones who want to give it a shot. They are trying to con- nect with their breath, trying to be their stillest, making a real effort for themselves, not for me. Do they take the practices home? One of the students at a school where I work said, “Hey, Mr. JusTme, I was at home and my brother was taking my toys. I felt myself get angry, and I did one of the breathing practices you taught me. I got myself back on track.” I’ve also had students tell me when it doesn’t work. I worked with a kid who saw his parent shot. During meditation, he had a hard time. People messin’ wit me on a constant. I don’t want be bothered wit the nonsense. How the brain works. Gotta know the deal. Don’t wanna lose it. Gotta find a way to keep it chill. Don’t flip your lid. Gotta give your brain a break. Deep breaths so you don’t make a mistake. I don’t want no problems I’m a nice dude. Tryna stay cooler than ice cube. “ When I close my eyes, it shocks me back to that moment,” he said. “That’s OK,” I said. “Sit with it. Maybe it will get easier each time. Or maybe just don’t close your eyes. There’s no right way to do it. You’re just tapping into and honoring your emotions and thoughts. And that right there is self-loving care.” What else are you working on? I’m finishing up my 200-hour yoga certification. Movement is just another avenue to go down to be a spokesperson for well-being. That’s what I’m most concerned about. I want people to take care of themselves, because I know what it’s like to not take care of yourself. And the alternative is a whole hell of a lot better. Yoga and hip hop—really? Absolutely! Now you see youngsters tutting (putting their bodies in geometric shapes) and bone breaking (almost like contortionism). A lot of yogis do the same thing, but they just hold those positions. The hip hop beat is like the flow of the breath. Yoga is just break-dancing in super slow-mo. ● 50 mindful October 2016 hip hop