Real talk with the bad boy of yoga.
By Elva Carri
David Sye is the founder of music-driven yoga practice, Yogabeats™. Often referred to as the ‘bad boy’ of yoga, his edgy, rule-breaking approach allows people to drop their inhibitions, open up and have a lot of fun.
Scroll to the end to listen to the extended audio interview.
Our normal state is bliss
You can’t have peace of mind, mind’s the f***ing problem. You can have peace but you can’t have peace of mind. All the ancient mystery schools say cut your head off, you’ll feel good. That’s why people take drugs–to get out of their mind. If you look at a baby, the baby’s in bliss, it needs to be changed or fed, but it’s in bliss and I figure we remember that forever. That bliss is our normal state. Feeling good is our normal state. So I ask people, “Do you wanna get high? Or do you want to do yoga?” I mean who wants to do yoga? I wanna get high, so everybody gets high.
On breaking the rules
What I do in YogaBeats is I go out of the linear, into the crazy and get people out of their comfort zones. People find really unique things in their lives by doing it because it’s outside of form and doesn’t have rules. I’ve broken all the rules and I want to break them because the real rules can’t be broken. The implicit rules are an absolute truth, you can’t break truth. You can break rules, but not truth.
If you need to eat cheeseburgers, eat them and and enjoy it. You don’t have to eat mung dahl. You can have a good time or a horrible time, it’s your choice. Every time I go to one of the yoga festivals they’re always offering me these little cups of green slime telling me it’d be really good for me to drink it but it actually tastes like s**t. And they say, “Yeah but it’s good for your body.” Yeah but my mouth is quality control.
On who’s inspired him
Mother Teresa and James Brown. I interviewed them when I was working with a radio station in Belgrade. She said, “Love one another as God loves each one of you. When you love one another, you love each other as God loves each one of you.” And she went into the depth of that. What we feel in our hearts, we give to each other as a gift and this is how the world becomes healed. Get happy, live your dream and you won’t be able to stop giving good things out. James Brown, said, “What do you want to ask me?” So I said, “Well, what would you say to soldiers standing with kalashnikovs in a three sided war?” He went into this Biblical thing and then said, “Listen, you have to love each other but your love comes out of yourself, for yourself. If you love yourself, you can’t help but love another.” You know they say he’s black mafia but he was so kind. He was surrounded by all this power and fame and yet he was so soft, so compassionate, so loving and for me the indication of a great being is their level of kindness. We’re very cruel to ourselves and we’re hard to everyone else, as soon as something is kind we go, ‘Wow’.
If you want to be happy you can be happy in Glasgow. It’s you, it’s the state of yourself. In every lifetime, the soul comes in to wake up. When Buddha was dying, his cronies said, who are you? Are you God? No. Are you the prophet? No. Who are you? I’m awake.
As well as being the creator of YogaBeats, David’s work in areas of conflict is now being recognised by peacemakers at governmental level.