A musician is dramatically bridging the hip hop scene and the peaceful world of yoga with his newlyreleased debut album, The Rapping Yogi. Neil Patel, of South Harrow, uses his raw, passionate and sometimes profane tracks as a method to convey his chilledout yogic philosophy.
The 36-year-old sees no problem in combining them both, and says so in his intro track My Way.
"A lot of young people have never practised yoga, and have no idea what yoga is all about. But they like this pop style music, and it is good to use it to reach those who have never gone to yoga," Neil says.
Songs such as Listen, The Key, and God, Love and War try to reflect the powerful side of yoga. "Yoga is useful for maintaining a strong human body and mind. Its meditation is always done through a peaceful process. However, being peaceful does not mean being weak."
The streetwise rapper has made himself mentally tougher by practising yoga. He explains: "I had cancer before but yoga helped me to discipline my life and gave me lots of strength and healing.
"I wrote the track I Can-Cer-Vive to inspire those who have had the same experiences as me, to encourage them
to stay positive and fight for their lives." Part of Neil's yogic thinking is also illustrated by another piece of work - Same Skies, in which he tries to persuade people to lay down their arms and recognise that we all have the same God.
"Music is such a special experience to help people to clear their minds and thoughts. I hope the lyrics make them think," he says.
And finally, Neil demonstrates the urban lifestyle observation with his unique humour delivered in I Want to Love You and Mere Dil.
Neil finds that his hip hop songs are very similar to poems because they contain beautiful rhymes. He says: "It is a very expressive way for me to convey all of my yogic thinkings."
Yoga has been part of Neil's life since he was very young, and aged 19 he became a yoga teacher. In the meantime, he developed a parallel career in the music business and with his debut album, he has finally reconciled his two passions.
Neil was recently invited to perform The Key at the opening of the Yoga Show 2008 at Olympia, west London, in October.
* The Rapping Yogi is available from iTunes Music Store and can be heard at www.myspace.com/chikribeats .