Here's What It's Like To Do Hot Yoga With Russell Simmons
I took a class with the Simmons family. And after all that stretching, the Def Jam mogul came clean about the controversial Harriet Tubman sex tape parody.
This is Russell Simmons standing in front of Hot 8 Yoga Studios with his two daughters, Ming and Aoki.
Oh, and this is me. My name is Erin, and I decided to do hot yoga with the Simmons family.
Simmons signed us all up for Power Yoga.
Before starting class, he poured water on the front of his towel, and his meditation beads are next to him.
Things started off fairly easy, some deep breaths and a group chant of, "Om."
Followed by a little namaste.
Russell's basically a pro at this.
So are his daughters, who've mastered the reverse warrior, obvi.
Then it's off into a low lunge ...
And you basically hold it, and hold it, until your entire body starts to glisten with a sheen of sweat.
Oh, and did I mention that it's 102 degrees in the room?
Yeah, it's really hot. Like, so hot that you sweat from every inch of your body.
But every time you think you can't take any more heat, Marlize Joubert steps in.
Marlize was our Power Yoga teacher, and she was like the encouraging older sister you never had, but always wanted.
But there is no rest in power yoga, not really.
Because even when you're sitting perfectly still, you're sweating.
And you rarely sit, because you're too busy bending into an Utthita Parsvakonasana pose.
Ming and I started to feel the same way about that pose, after awhile.
If you're Aoki, you'll take the free period to backbend into a wheel pose, like a BOSS.
And when you leave one pose, it's on to the next: Ardha Chandrasana.
Then there's the Utkatasana, which feels like you're about to jump off of a diving board, but never ever do.
If you're one of Russell's daughters, you'll be held to an equally high standard.
But it will also probably be a lot of fun when you get a little help from Dad.
While Simmons is totally nailing the Upward Salute, I'm basically just fixated on how much I'm sweating.
Luckily, after an hour, the class began to wind down.
“I always feel inspired after this," Simmons said, when I asked if he felt exhausted after 102 degree yoga.
When the class ended, Russell and I sat by the juice bar to talk, and things went from zen to addressing his recent Harriet Tubman controversy.
“I never in 30 years took down a piece of content or changed a piece of content," he said while sipping his G1 juice.
“If I was involved in writing it, or developing it, or directing it, or producing it — that piece — I would have had them speak in the King’s English, when he wasn’t in the room."
Simmons reached out to the descendants of Tubman, and he said, “They were very understanding."
“I see people get very sensitive," Simmons said of the piece. "And I hurt a lot of peoples feelings and I don’t want to do that again.”
Going forward, Simmons said, “I will hold myself to a standard that makes good sense."
For those who don't know, back in 2009, well before the video scandal, Simmons was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Slavery Memorial, which aims to honor the victims of slavery.
Simmons said that the controversy isn't going to stop him from pushing the barriers of comedy.
Photographs by Emily Berl for BuzzFeed