Go ahead and call him a yogipreneur.
Russell Simmons, the hip-hop icon, record mogul, fashion designer, and author, just launched Tantris, a high-end yoga wellness center in West Hollywood, California, as well as an activewear brand with the same name. While the new studio space includes niceties like a juice bar, herbal-scented towels, blow dry bar, and boutique, with Tantris, Simmons aims to spotlight the "yoga behind the asana," and the other seven parts of the spiritual, mental, and physical discipline.
"If we can transform physical practitioners into yogis, we will change the vibration on the planet," Simmons tells Yoga Journal. To this ambitious end, Simmons is hiring deeply studied yoga teachers at Tantris—those who possess a minimum of 800 hours of teacher training experience. He's also planning a "world class" teacher training program for spring 2017. “I’m building a school of yogic science—that’s what makes it totally unique. The many studios I’ve frequented didn’t have trained teachers in yogic philosophy. The idea here is to give real scripture—some study of what’s behind the asana to more people—so they become more compassionate and change the world,” he says.
To help further his vision, Simmons draws upon meditation, which he began practicing 20 years ago. Simmons credits his daily, 20-minute, mantra-based practice (inspired by famed Transcendental Meditation practitioner David Lynch) with making him a smarter, clearer-thinking, and more focused businessman, and he sometimes meditates as many as three times a day. "There’s no 'aha' moment without a second of presence," he says. "Just sitting, taking an inventory of all that goes through your brain ... when it’s less noisy, creativity and ideas come."
Inspired to start your own business, yoga or otherwise? Here are 6 ways Simmons says meditation can stoke your entrepreneurial spirit.
6 ways meditation can stoke your entrepreneurial spirit
1. It allows you to delve inside.
The best thing you can do to combat "noise"—or frustration, anger, and anxiety—is to sit without emotion. A quiet mind offers the freedom to do your purpose without fear.
2. You’ll judge not.
When you’re hiring and forming strategic alliances, you may have certain prejudices that take you in a direction. Meditation helps you to let go of preference. You operate from presence. When you meet someone, you’re more open to hear, rather than to judge. You’ll make a better choice.
3. You’ll realize everything is missing.
An entrepreneur is trying to fill a space and find out what consumers need. People are doing (creating) the same thing over and over because of the noise of the mind and the unconscious behavioral trait. On the inside, we know better. When your mind is still, you can see that the world is only being served a few things. It needs everything. Imagination only happens in the present. Creativity allows you to come up with something that will serve the people, that they don’t already have. We can dig for gold, genius, and innovation—it’s about going inward.
4. Good givers are great getters.
An enlightened, totally present being needs nothing, ever. You’re in your perfect seat. A person who operates from that moment, again and again, gives without expectation and therefore receives more. Like the intern who observes everyone—one day, he teaches everyone their own job.
5. You’ll operate from abundance.
In business, needing nothing attracts everything. The more at ease, focused, and present we are when working, the more we attract things we’re working on. Great ideas come from presence. Total focus is what we want. Meditation is the best-known tool to have us operate at full capacity. Nothing else is as profound.
6. You’ll learn to give what you want to receive.
I was never motivated by money. I wanted to make it and those things, but I loved the arts. I love to give people what they love. I love the work I do today—from a Snoop Dogg Roast on All Def Digital to Tantris. It’s all the same—things that make people happy.
About Our Writer
Erika Prafder is a veteran writer and product reviewer for The New York Post and the author of a book on entrepreneurship. A long-time yoga enthusiast and Hatha yoga teacher, she edits KidsYogaDaily.com, a news source for young yogis. The working mother of three resides in a beach community in Long Island, New York.