Goldie’s guide to Bikram yoga


Men's Fitness - - Front Page -

The drum and bass leg­end has just turned 50, but feels fit­ter than ever. He cred­its yoga for not only get­ting him in the best shape of his life, but also saving it. We join him to see what all the fuss is about

Wait­ing out­side the stu­dio at Hot Bikram Yoga Lon­don Bridge, we al­most have to pinch our­selves – but this isn’t a fever dream. We really are about to spend 90 min­utes do­ing yoga with a man fa­mous for ev­ery­thing from break­danc­ing to ball­room danc­ing, spin­ning records at raves to con­duct­ing or­ches­tras at the Royal Al­bert Hall. Goldie is clearly a man of many tal­ents but we wouldn’t have guessed do­ing a mean down­ward dog would be one of them. Which leads us to our first ques­tion… To be hon­est, we wouldn’t have pegged you as a yoga lover. How did you first get into it? I used to think it was tree-hug­ging bollocks. I didn’t really get it or have any in­ter­est in do­ing it. I went to the gym a lot and as­so­ci­ated fit­ness with be­ing big. A lot of my pals did yoga and they were so chilled that I just wanted to slap them in the face to see if they would re­act. I found their busi­ness ethic and the way they were go­ing about them­selves frus­trat­ingly calm at a time when I was hec­tic.

What changed? Michael Kopel­man [of streetwear brands Stussy and Supreme] was the one who got me into it. The guy is pure Zen. He fixed me with a gen­tle stare and just said, “mate, try Bikram”.

We guess you did… Yeah, and I ended up on the floor. I thought I was strong, so I couldn’t get my head around it. I felt de­feated. And now, five years later, you’ve got your own yoga cloth­ing line. Yeah, Yo­gang­ster. The whole “gang­ster” thing is tongue in cheek. I’ve had peo­ple say to me, “What, you think you’re a gang­ster?” and I’m like, “No, you id­iot, it’s a pun, it’s sup­posed to be funny”. Yeah, gang­sters don’t leap to mind when think­ing of yoga… Ex­actly, and nei­ther do I. If you’d said to me years ago, “You see that geezer Goldie who raves like a mad ’un, he’s go­ing to be a yoga evan­ge­list”, I would have laughed. So, why not call it Yo­gang­ster? hot­pants. What would your 20-yearold self have made of that? He would have found it hi­lar­i­ous. But things have changed. My daugh­ter’s 17 and she thinks yoga is cool. So much so that she’s go­ing to be a part of my pro­gramme to get more young peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds into it. Even ten years ago, you couldn’t imag­ine in­ner-city kids do­ing yoga – they’d have just thought it was hippy rub­bish. But you think it would be well re­ceived now? We used to carry mas­sive brick phones and think that was cool – now, look­ing back, we all looked like a bunch of idiots. Peo­ple change. Look at the way at­ti­tudes to food have evolved over the last ten years. We don’t want fast-food bollocks. You can go to a farmer’s mar­ket or popup food stall and get de­li­cious, al­ter­na­tive meals that weren’t even an op­tion a few years ago. We’re be­com­ing more aware that we need some kind of pro­tec­tion from the shit mod­ern life throws at us. Would you say the pro­tec­tion yoga pro­vides is just men­tal, or would you go as far as to call it spir­i­tual? I think I’ve found the spir­i­tu­al­ity of it. I didn’t be­lieve it was there, but I’ve found it in the med­i­ta­tion. I’ve tried other types of yoga, and don’t get me wrong, all yoga is good, but the rea­son Bikram works for me is be­cause I live in the fast lane. In the gym you do your sets, but you’re also look­ing over to see what ev­ery­one else is do­ing. Bikram has more ca­ma­raderie. You’re in front of a mir­ror, so to say you’re re­mov­ing the ego is bollocks. You are fo­cused on your­self, but in a selfie-ob­sessed world this is where you get to see your real self… fuck­ing suf­fer­ing. You see your­self strug­gling, which peo­ple of­ten don’t like. A Bikram reg­u­lar, Dan, walks past at this mo­ment and gives Goldie a hand­shake, say­ing, “You don’t strug­gle mate!” Any­way, it’s im­por­tant to get to that mo­ment of re­al­i­sa­tion that you’re strug­gling, and that’s fine. For me, that’s where the med­i­ta­tive side comes in. It doesn’t al­ways hap­pen, it’s up and down, be­cause no two ses­sions are the same. Don’t you get the same feel­ing from do­ing a tough set at the gym? Nah, that was more like clock­work. I’d do the same ses­sions – back, chest, arms and legs – but didn’t get much out of it apart from big­ger mus­cles. On the flip­side I can come here and do the same pos­tures ev­ery day but get some­thing dif­fer­ent out of it each time. Noth­ing else can do that. At your peak you must have been hit­ting it hard. Are you wor­ried about the long-term ef­fects of the drugs and late nights, and do you see yoga as a way to cleanse your sys­tem? It’s a to­tal cleanse. My mind is clear. I could never have felt like this back then.

You’re lit­er­ally sweat­ing that crap out. Yeah – this is the mas­ter cleanse, with­out a doubt. But it’s how it’s changed my think­ing that’s most pro­found – the clar­ity it’s given me. The best anal­ogy for it is… Goldie pauses, eyes darting as he searches for the best way to ex­press his point. OK… it’s been like pulling my en­tire brain out of my head, flat­ten­ing it out and look­ing at the plan. Then fold­ing it back to­gether neatly. Like pack­ing a parachute.

And how does this ben­e­fit you?

“Do­ing yoga is like be­ing of­fered the blue pill or the red pill. You’ll never see the world in the same way af­ter de­cid­ing to start this jour­ney”

And now not only are you es­pous­ing the ben­e­fits of yoga to MF, you’re wear­ing shorts that are es­sen­tially I get more work done for a start. Since I got back from Thai­land I’ve been do­ing four gigs a week.

It’s swel­ter­ing, but though the class is tough MF makes it through with the help and en­cour­age­ment of Goldie and Brown. One and a half sweaty hours later, we delve into the other side of his var­ied ca­reer…

You’ve done a lot of re­al­ity TV – Strictly Come Danc­ing, Come Dine With Me, Mae­stro. What was the most fun?

Strictly Come Danc­ing – gold shirt, can’t

beat it.

We thought you might re­gret that one. I don’t re­gret any of them. Why would I? I get to live in Thai­land in a beau­ti­ful house and it’s partly be­cause of stuff like that. How do you think you’ve man­aged to gain such main­stream ac­cep­tance yet still re­tain un­der­ground re­spect? Be­cause ev­ery­one knows I’m tak­ing the piss and get­ting paid for it.

Un­less it’s The Games… [Goldie was sup­posed to be in the first se­ries of the Chan­nel 4 celebrity sports show but broke his leg in the last wa­ter-ski prac­tice be­fore film­ing] All right, that was rub­bish, but it’s ac­tu­ally one of the rea­sons I do yoga now.

So you’re liv­ing in Thai­land now? That’s right, but I’ve been back here since May and my sched­ule has been stacked. I’ve played fes­ti­vals all over Europe, some­times do­ing three one day and two the next, but my headspace has felt clear through­out. I also paint a lot and re­cently did a show in May­fair that I pro­duced 26 pieces for in 18 months. I look at my drug-tak­ing in the early days – I did fuck­all back then. With hot yoga I’ve taken an ad­dic­tive ten­dency and made it pos­i­tive.

This is your new ad­dic­tion? Yeah, and it’s the best one any­one could have. I’ve seen a big change from do­ing yoga but it’s hap­pen­ing slowly and makes me ex­cited to see how much fur­ther I can take it. I used to be an Aero bar – big, but no sub­stance. My strength is real now, and though I was ripped in my 30s and hench in my 40s, now I’m ap­proach­ing 50 I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. The doors open and teacher Cin­tra Brown wel­comes the class. Our con­ver­sa­tion breaks as yoga mats are rolled out. “Re­mem­ber: yoga is not about learn­ing to stand on your head,” says Brown. “It’s about learn­ing to stand on your own two feet.” The doc­tors said I might not be able to walk with­out a stick and wouldn’t be able to run, but thanks to Bikram I can. When that accident hap­pened I hadn’t done any yoga. I was at the bot­tom phys­i­cally and mentally and went on a ben­der for a year. That’s when I saw Michael [Kopel­man] and de­cided to have a crack at this. It’s not too much of a stretch to say tak­ing up hot yoga saved my life.

I only did The Games to pay for my di­vorce and it was the last turn of the last day of prac­tice. I went over the ramp OK, then I hit the wa­ter badly and my weight plunged the ski into the wake, which twisted it so hard that it man­aged to break the big­gest bone in the body like it was noth­ing. I came up out of the wa­ter to see my foot bob­bing up over my head. Grim. Chang­ing sub­ject… how would you sell hot yoga to MF read­ers? If you really want to chal­lenge your­self, come and try it. Give it 45 min­utes and try telling me it’s for girls. It’ll also help you look and feel amaz­ing. I’m 50 in two weeks and don’t feel it. Hot yoga has given me a new lease of life and it can do that for you if you’re will­ing to em­brace it – even if you don’t think you need one.

MF’s Max makes a valiant at­tempt to mas­ter a pose while Goldie

gets dis­tracted

At 50, Goldie is more

flex­i­ble than ever

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