“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” – Kurt Cobain.
Seventeen years ago today, the world lost one of its great artists, Kurt Cobain, singer and guitarist for Nirvana. I will never forget the first time I heard Nirvana. It was like being hit over the head with the reality of what was and the possibility of what could be. Nirvana arrived into a musical world dominated by mostly meaningless hair bands and electronic pop of the 80’s, music with no heart and soul. Whether you liked the music and lyrics of Cobain and Nirvana or not, you could never deny one thing – it was real. No sugar coating, no fake smile, but rather the music was a real communication and it resonated with people unlike anything heard in years or even decades.
His music and lyrics had a profound effect on the way I viewed the world. When I first heard Nirvana in 1991 I was nearing the end of high school and had various options ahead of me. I could have gone with various safe options, but like Cobain I didn’t take the easy or safe road. I ended up leaving my comfort zone of Cleveland, Ohio and moving 3,000 miles away to southern California, much to the surprise of my friends and family, who all assumed I would stay in my little corner of the world like they all did. It was the best decision I ever made, and I’ve never looked back.
Cobain never agreed with the way things were, he was a rebel who wouldn’t confirm to society’s supposed ideals. He saw beyond the horizon whereas so many others just saw the four walls that surround them. So what does this have to do with yoga?
Everyone who practices yoga is rebelling. Against illness, age, exhaustion and the false idea that you can’t change your body, mind and soul for the better. Greatness and real change is not achieved by conforming, going along for the ride or sticking to the status quo. It is done by pushing beyond your boundaries and past the accepted norm. When we step into the hot room, when we push ourselves to go a little further in a posture, when we hold a posture a little longer, we are all rebelling against the status quo. And at that moment, there’s a little bit of Kurt in all of us.