Yoga and poetry
The yogi, mystic and author known simply as Deep talks to OM about how the practice has shaped his poetry
Whether it be as a mystic, yogi, yoga therapist or through his new book of poetry and short stories, innocence, the author known solely as Deep would like to provide a space and time for others to look within and merge their light with darkness.
Deep is a first generation American from Punjabi ancestry and throughout his life, he has been influenced profoundly through his heritage and the traditions of yoga, Sikhism and Islam, all rooted in the balance between the practical and mystical.
He even felt called to travel to India to study the ancient yogic traditions and has since taught numerous types of yoga including Ashtanga Vinyasa and Yoga Nidra internationally and domestically in a variety of environments including prisons, public schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, rehabilitation centres, and even war zones.
In addition to the above, Deep has many passions including skateboarding, fashion, abstract and contemporary art, meditation and various physical and mental exercises.
He is also the owner and founder of DeepElevation LLC, a company that helps others transform physically, mentally, creatively, emotionally, and spiritually. The culmination of all his life experiences led him to his latest poetry book, innocence, released in September. This expresses the vulnerability and depth of exploring the parts of ourselves that are natural and native to us and not influenced by the external world and society. He is donating 50% of his book profits to Khalsa Aid and Islamic Relief.
Here, he describes to OM in his own words the link between yoga and the poetry he writes:
“The connection and intersection between yoga and poetry lies in the concept of union. Both seek to serve as bridges that unite the various experiences we have as humans. After all yoga means union and this union is established through the practice of postural alignment, breath awareness and the gaze.
Similarly, poetry when looked at etymologically signifies the art of creating or making, and this creation is done through the languages we as humans use to connect, express and expand from.
Both are portals to higher intelligence and perception as they allow us as humans to experience our emotional, spiritual, physical and mental realms. Both are forms of art that connect the inner world with the outer world; sometimes to a point where it is hard to distinguish between a division of the two. If we are open, both poetry and yoga allow for mysticism to creep into every emotion, sensation and molecule of our bodies.
I have written in depth in unreleased articles about how the idea of yoga and the actual word itself as a point of reference will need to die. This is necessary as yoga in the contemporary world has taken on a commercialised connotation, white washing and an overarching influence that spreads disconnection and misinformation about a practice that is based on connecting with all aspects of existence; not just ones that are based in western culture and capitalism.
For this ignorance to fade from the collective consciousness truth must be embraced and changes will have to be established within thought and practice.
This is where poetry comes in for me because it is utilising the creative aspects of how my emotions and spirit feels in depth about something and expressing it in a way that creates greater understanding and action.
The reality is that there is depth present in everything and unfortunately the collective consciousness perceives butchered parts of yoga as the only aspects or main aspects of yoga that exist. When in fact this ignorant perception is based on byproducts of what capitalism and white supremacy has done to yoga.
It would have been beautiful to state that poetry was spared from this mutilation and that it maintained its sacred, nurturing and transcendental nature but unfortunately it hasn’t. Most poetry nowadays is based on Western life and thought, and this expression is the main representation in mainstream society. Poetry which just feels like a pseudo performance for the sake of egotistic and capitalistic gains instead of honouring the art forms of storytelling and an expression that was necessary for a human’s survival and evolution in what sometimes appears to be a solely biological world.
Nonetheless, in order to move forward from the societal perceptions of yoga and poetry and transition to a deeper connection to both I needed to express my personal depth of how I feel about what I experience from other humans, not all, but many, regarding poetry and yoga. The practice and art of yoga is a sacred one for me as I have a heritage and mystical lineage from the land of India that calls upon my spirit from time to time. The same is the case for poetry, as I am deeply influenced by my native Punjabi language and my upbringing in Punjabi culture which is full of poems and stories for the heart and soul.
In regard to poetry my connection is more diverse as I am influenced by my personal experiences and not just one cultural tradition. I draw from Sufi mysticism, Punjabi folklore, hip-hop upbringing, yoga, skateboarding, subcultures and diverse sounds of music. In my newly-released book innocence, I express the intersection of poetry and yoga indirectly through poems and stories; a heartfelt melody that is expressed through a paperback, ebook and audiobook.
Poetry and yoga have ebbed and flowed through my life with much wonder. I sit here often and just feel and ponder about how grateful I am to drown and float simultaneously in both arts. Hopefully you will too."
Find out more about Deep’s work and his new poetry book innocence at: innocencebydeep.com
Photo: Whitney Ingram