A path through pause

By TERESA HAMMOND

Finding himself on the cover of a best-selling book was not something MC Yogi would have envisioned 20 years ago. At best, the once troubled teen and Bay Area native may have hoped to be penning, designing, creating comic books or illustrations.

Touring the country with his wife Amanda Giacomini and sharing his journey through life and yoga, however, were not something he’d have fathomed.

Twenty years ago, just shy of turning 18, the now world renowned hip-hop artist and yoga teacher had no clue what lie ahead for his life. By the age of 17, he had been kicked out of three schools, arrested for vandalism, got caught up in drugs and alcohol and was sent to boarding school where he would finish his academic career.

“I didn’t really set out to write a book,” the first time author said of his best seller, “Spiritual Graffiti: Finding My True Path,” released by Harper One in mid-September. “In fact, I never thought I’d be writing a book in my 30s.”

His story is one of hope, resilience, inspiration and possibility for anyone and everyone.

According to the artist, a publisher heard him sharing his story on a podcast and reached out.

“They said I had an amazing story and would I consider writing a book,” MC Yogi shared.

An easy read, “Spiritual Graffiti” is hard to put down, as the author takes the reader from the early years of his journey through bad choices and close calls, to the moment he first found his purpose 20 years ago, on a yoga mat.

In the book, MC Yogi recounts the moment he recognized a change in his father, shortly after returning home from boarding school and receiving his diploma in the mail. Noting a transformation of calmness, a peace, a lightness; he inquired what prompted the change in his father. His father revealed he had begun practicing and teaching yoga. Intrigued, the young student shared he’d like to try yoga as well.

As if he knew the exact words to say and motivate his son, MC Yogi shared his father’s reply of, “It can be hard and challenging at first. It’s probably not your thing,” was exactly what he needed to hear.

He attended his first class, led by his father in an old converted barn behind the family business in Point Reyes, California. Admitting that it was hard, he also became inspired, transformed, hooked.

This one simple unsolicited challenge would prove to be pivotal in the author’s life, as he began his journey through living and learning the teachings and philosophies of yoga.

“It helped me to feel connected,” he said of what he initially gained through his yoga practice. “Not just to my body and my breath, but it helped me feel more connected to the people in my life and really appreciate being alive. I think it made me a more humble, grateful person.

“Finding yoga, thanks to my dad,” he continued, “and becoming a well-known performer and artist and traveling the world. It’s all really thanks to yoga and meditation.”

MC Yogi recognizes the struggles young people face as they complete their education and look to the world in awe with a feeling of “now what?”

“It’s an easy read,” he said of the book. “It’s great for people who are trying to figure out what to do with their life. That was a huge struggle for me and the story kind of helps shed light on how I figured out who I am and what I wanted to do.”

Completion of the book, start to finish, took the songwriter turned author somewhere between six to nine months. He noted that the one and only challenge was more at the hand of his editor than himself, as he penned the first draft just as he does his music – words poured on the page.

At the time of starting the book, MC Yogi stated he was touring 30 cities for varying appearances and engagements.

“When I wrote it I did no line breaks, no punctuation, no capitalization, no spell check, no paragraph breaks,” he shared. “So it was just like this long endless stream of letters and words.”

The positive feedback and reception of his first book, has sparked interest in the writer to perhaps someday write another. For now, he hopes his current release reaches varying hands and changes lives.

“Maybe some of the teachings can help provide some inspiration, some encouragement and a reminder that it’s never too late for anyone,” he said. “But if you really want to do something phenomenal and awesome with your life, you’ve got to find some kind of daily ritual or practice that you can devote yourself to and keep getting better.”

“Spiritual Graffiti” can be found at varying bookstores, as well as on Amazon.com. Information on MC Yogi, his music and future engagements can be found at www.mcyogi.com.

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