It may surprise some that hip-hop luminary (founder of Def Jam records and Phat Farm clothing) Russell Simmons is also a longtime practitioner of yoga and meditation. But as those close to him will attest, he’s a preacher of both, and largely credits the practices with his success as a businessman. His new book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple marks his continued effort to teach people how the practices of yoga and meditation can change their lives.
Yoga Journal: Why did you write a book about meditation?
Russell Simmons: I wanted to simplify meditation. If we can make meditation cool, it would change the world. [Many of us] are looking to achieve that state that we call “yoga”; that still place, where we operate from a higher place. To broaden our clarity. Meditation is the best tool known to man to do that.
YJ: What have you gained through your practice?
RS: It’s made me more patient, more thoughtful. It’s also made me more courageous. I feel a lot more bold to go out there and do what I need to do, without fear of failure, without second-guessing myself. And being OK with the outcome. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, that’s OK. The work itself is good enough. I’m less attached to the outcome.
YJ: You meditate twice a day, and recommend at least daily sessions. Why?
RS: The same reason you take a shower. The same reason you work out. You gotta do it. You have to take care of your body and you have to take care of your mind. Every day.
YJ: What do you say to someone who’s tried meditating and found it too difficult?
RS: You probably weren’t patient. You probably didn’t sit for 20 minutes; you sat for 2 minutes and your mind tricked you and told you couldn’t meditate. You have to sit and commit. That’s the kind of patience you need.
YJ: And if you commit, what can you expect?
RS: The gray matter in your brain will grow. Your nervous system will get stronger. Your immune system will get stronger. Your relationships with people will change. You will be a happier person.