Apr 15 2021
This week I got to sit down with one of my favorite yoga music producers/DJs and interview him about his partying past - @djtazrashid. If you have been to any of my classes, you have heard his music! Taz plays guitar, piano, Native American Flute, didgeridoo and hand percussion, and has performed at events like Yoga Journal Conference, Wanderlust Festivals and Bali Spirit Fest.
In this episode Taz opens up about his partying past, what he describes as "waking up from the Matrix" from his 9-5 corporate job, and his inspiring story of how he pursued his purpose and passion, producing and playing music for yoga and meditation. He has had periods of his life in which he's partied heavily, followed by times in which he's been alcohol free. He occasionally had a drink or two between 2015-2020, but is now in a place where alcohol is not part of his journey.
Taz has an amazing membership for yoga teachers for using his music + @songsofeden and @momentologymusic in classes and on social media royalty-free - I have been a member for a year and just upgraded to a studio membership for @themlpc . I highly recommend checking it out! It can be found at www.djtazrashid.com.
Taz, thank you SO much for taking time to be on the show. It meant so much to me and I know our community is going to love this episode! It drops in an hour - subscribe to Sober Yoga Girl to be notified when it’s out!
If you do listen please don’t forget to rate, share & subscribe so the podcast can reach more people it would benefit!
Intro: Welcome to the “Sober Yoga Girl Podcast” with Alex McRobs, international yoga teacher and sober coach. I broke up with booze for good in 2019 and now I'm here to help others do the same. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.
Alex: All right. So, welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl. I am super excited to have DJ Taz Rashid with me. He is a DJ and he produces amazing yoga music that, if you've been to one of my yoga classes, I'm sure you've heard his music before. And I'm super pumped that you're here today, so welcome.
Taz: Yeah. It's super great to be here, and I'm happy how you found me through another podcast, The Yogi Show, right? You had said?
Taz: So, it's great that, you know, I know that you listen to it, you found m,e and you use my music. I really love these authentic kind of connections because, you know, my work familiar with what I do, and I'm here to share deeper about the subject and my story and so, grateful to be here, thank you.
Alex: Awesome. So, let's dive in. Why don't we start off by you kind of telling me a bit about yourself, you know, who you are and where you're from?
Taz: Who am I? So, all right, and there's a lot obviously in our history but like, I'm basically right now, I'm a musician, I'm a father, a husband, and that's really my main role like, if you had to say like, who am I like, that's my main role. Originally from Bangladesh, so I'm an immigrant in the US. I came to America in 1990 and lived in like, five different countries, have a nice world perspective, so I love like just, it's, you know, everything in this world is perspectives in my opinion, you know, how you look at it depends on what part of the world you're from, and you're upbringing, and what program you're, you know, you're brought up with. So, I'm grateful that I was able to see the world in different ways, and I love living in America. To me, this is happiness right now. I don't wanna live anywhere else. And I'm happy with my family and, you know, I love to practice yoga, meditate, I'm on the Warriors path, The Peaceful Warriors Path, and that's really my story right now, and music is my life like, that's like, yeah, I love my family, I love my wife, but music is like, my passion. You know, that is my jam, you know, and that gets, I could work on music forever it feels like and not be tired because it's not work, you know.
Alex: That's amazing. I just posted something about that the other day on Instagram. Yesterday was my birthday actually, and everyone was saying--
Taz: Oh, happy belated.
Alex: Thank you. Everyone was saying like, Why don't you take a day off work? And I posted like the exact same thing which is like, I don't wanna take a day off work because I love my work, and I wanna see my yoga students and, you know, once you've found something that you love, it's like, I don't need a day off.
Taz: Yeah. The idea of vacation is totally different when you find your passion, you know, like, when I was in the nine to five, it was like, nine to five meeting like, nothing wrong with nine to five. Nine to five, I mean, like, when I was in the corporate world not knowing my passion. I considered that like living in the matrix or something like that, you know?
Taz: And there like, you know, everyone I knew around me and myself, we were always looking for the vacation. We were looking forward to Friday at 5:00 p.m. leaving work, because it was work. It wasn't like, Oh, this is what I'm here to do and be and like, for me, like, I love Mondays. That's like, that's what I love is like, I love Mondays because that's like, Oh, man. I'm finally at my desk. You know, like, had family all weekend and all that, but I love Mondays, but before it was like, I love Friday at five o'clock, you get to leave.
Taz: So, it's like, your whole perspective on how you live life changes once you find the passion work, and it actually works for you, because that's the other part is making it work financially. So, it's not just like, I love what I do but I'm not making any money. It's like, I've got to tweak some things and make it work, you know?
Alex: Yeah, totally. So, let's dive into kind of like your partying sort of history. How did you kind of get into that when you were young?
Taz: I mean it's a similar story with a lot of people. I don't think it's anything special, it's probably like Sophomore year in high school. You know, it was one, like I was a really good student, I was a musician, but like, you just start seeing other friends that are like, smoking weed. It's, you know, I think, you know, cannabis was like popular with the kids, our school wasn't like, this is like the 90s, so we weren't into like, pills and all those like, all kinds of crazy drugs that are out there now. I don't even know half the stuff, I don't even know, but like, we just had like, cannabis and alcohol. That was it.
Taz: You know, and it was like, straight up easy stuff in that way. Of course, their gateway stuff and other things, but it was just like the simple stuff and it was like, I don't even know what getting high was until obviously, I tried, it was like, Holy crap, I'm laughing and it's so much fun. So, I started with cannabis like, you know, I was in the music scene as well, and it was just like a peer thing, you know, you're with some friends and you have this like, altered reality, you know, and that's really what it was. It wasn't like, I have to get high. It was more like, I enjoy this altered reality because music sounds better, food tastes better, so it was like, changing the senses, you know, so it was like, this like, cool experience and obviously like, didn't know the repercussions and all the things that come out of that. It was just like a very innocent type thing, of course it was illegal and, you know, here, you get in trouble and things like that, so you can be secretive about it from parents, school. But this is a story that a lot of people share, obviously. And then, I, you know, got into alcohol and my story is actually interesting. So, I partied like, half of my sophomore year. Junior year was my like, dip of partying in high school like, I was just like, it was like, you know, our school was interesting because like, people would leave during lunch time, so we would all go get stoned during lunch, you know? And a lot of people would drink during lunch too. I never did that, that's like way too much. But I was like kind of like a zombie, I feel like, half the day in school if I went out to lunch and stuff, you know, and smoke cannabis, because like, I had, I remember I had Chemistry too, which is like, Advanced Chemistry and I said in the front row like, part of the year, and I remember my eyes were probably bloodshot. I was usually eating a bag of chips. People are like, Did you not just get back from lunch? I'm like, Yeah, but I'm still so hungry. You know, and I'm like, sitting there and like, I remember my teacher, her name was Mrs. Boudendeck. She was like this nicest older lady, and she would never, she knew, I'm sure she knew but she would never like, call you out or make a fool like, I just remember she was so animated, but I've totally like looked back, I was like, Oh my god, I was like a zombie half that year. My grades, you know, went down and just brought up a lot of things, but interestingly enough, Senior year of my high school, I got in some trouble with like, some of my friends. I was also a class officer, meaning like, I was in student government. So, I was like a fully productive, active, you know, I wasn't like, partying and then, I just like stopped everything. I was like, super duper involved with the school organizing. I said student governments. I was on the big teams. I was in bands. I was playing music like, rock whatever like, you know, rock bands, solo stuff, involved with the talent, show getting good grades, so like, it definitely lowered my GPA, I remember that, like I went from like, a 3.9 to like a 3.6 kind of thing. But I'm like, and I was like, trying to find my identity, that this is a big conversation around identity and partying, because especially when we're young, we don't really know like, Hey, am I one, should I hang out with these kids? Do I hang out with the stoners? Do I hang out with the jocks? Do I hang out with this? Or do I just hang out with whoever I want? Like there's just like, you question things.
Taz: You know, because you're growing up. And I remember going through that because I didn't really know where I fit, because I actually fit in a lot of different places, but our school was so segregated with like, the groups of people, these are the jocks, these are the soccer guys, these are the, you know, football players, these are the stoners, these are the ones that guys that listen to fish, these are the guys that listen to Dave Matthew's band. It was just like, these are the band people, the marching band kids, you know? Like, so there's like, all these groups. I just did not like that idea, like, I was just like, I was friends with so many groups. So, I'd always go to all kinds of like, gatherings and parties. And even in college, I was like that. I was part of a fraternity, but I partied in all the fraternities.
Taz: But interesting what I was saying is that, I went off our senior year right before the year started, I got in some trouble with some of my friends, and I would always look older, so I'd go buy beer and like, because they didn't wanna question like a foreign kid or something like that, like, Yeah, he looks Pakistani. He looks like 25. Go ahead, let him through. And I bought like a six-pack, I remember that and there was an undercover cop outside and he busted me and like, my friends, and obviously, they were really using us to get this gas station in trouble who was selling to minors. That's what was going on. Yeah, we got arrested but thank God because we were minors, they didn't charge anything, and we got away, but our school found out and they kicked us off of student government.
Alex: Oh no.
Taz: So, yes, all this happened. I couldn't go like, join the honor society and stuff like that. But this was a moment in my life where I remember I had to make a decision, and I made, in my opinion, a really good decision. I had all these like, party friends, I was involved like, with the cool kids and whatever, you know, like, you wanna call like, popular people of the school, and I was partying and all that, but I made this decision. I was like, what if I went one year and not drank at all, or smoked any weed, or did anything. Just concentrate on school, getting into college, concentrated on music. And I made that decision, my senior year, which was like--
Alex: As a teenager?
Taz: As a teenager, which was like, a year that everyone partied harder than ever because it's like, your last year, you know, like, hook up as much as possible, party as much as possible, because you're leaving all these people going off to college. And I made the decision to let all that go. And I realized like, all my friends changed like, I wasn't like not hanging out with any of those people all of a sudden, like, yes, I would sometimes hang out with them, but I wasn't partying with them. So, my experience of all that was just like, I was bored. I was like, This is stupid. Like, I'm gonna go do something. So, I played a ton of guitar. I play, I joined the speech and debate team again. I used to do like, humorous interpretation when it's like, when you do like, different voices and characters and like, I was like, excelling in all these different things. I was working out. I was running on the track team. So, like, I totally gave all that up my senior year. It was like really crazy, I had this like, zombie-ish kind of like, party one-year junior year, and then I got into school, and then when I went to school, obviously, I made the conscious decision to start partying again and I loved it. And I wouldn't have changed that for anything. I partied a lot in college. I went to Miami of Ohio. And that's kind of like how I got into it, but it was a lot of identity seeking. There's a lot of finding out like, it's really I think that's what it is in high school is that your identity. Like who are you, and then you end up doing this stuff to kind of like, fit in or not fit in.
Taz: That was my experience at least. Yeah, I wouldn't have changed. I think I made the right decision of quitting drinking my senior year.
Taz: It's huge difference. Yeah, it was crazy.
Alex: You're the youngest person I've ever heard who's made that decision.
Taz: Yeah. My parents were happy about it like, I could have secretly still done it because all my friends were so, like all those guys I got in trouble with, they all continued that path. They all drank and they did whatever. And I was just like, Wow. Like, I never hang out with these guys anymore. You know, like, because they would be doing that, and that was like the commonality, and I just had like, and I remember like I felt funnier than ever. Something like, I felt like a renaissance that happened within my like, upbringing like, or not of like, I don't know what it was but I felt really good, that senior year. Like everything was just like, awesome, you know, because I felt this new identity had come in where I just owned it, and I didn't care which group I belong to and stuff. Like, it's like I did that then I just like, tapped out. I'm like, you know what, I'm just gonna do my own thing for a year. Still friends with all the cool kids or whatever, but it didn't bother, it didn't rock me, I didn't care, you know, who I was hanging out with.
Alex: Cool. You know, I really relate to what you said about at that point in your life when you were drinking a lot but then also kind of being in all the clubs, and doing all the leadership things at the same time, because I was kind of that kid, like I described myself as like, this strange paradox in high school, where like, I was the editor of the newspaper but also was like, doing keg stands on the weekend, so--
Taz: Yes. Absolutely. I think that's a fun way to actually be. To be honest, I mean, I lived my entire college year like that. Like, I was a student senator, I played music every week, like starting freshman year, I played guitar a lot and sang like at all these bars.
Taz: So, it's interesting, so here's-- Okay, so since we're talking about this, in college, and I love this because I never talk about this stuff in any podcast, it's like a kind of a fun subject. So, it's like, in college though like, because I played guitar well and I sang and stuff, I ended up like, meeting a guy who was a junior like, when I was a freshman. I just got to college and this guy's like, he's in one of the really cool fraternities like, Phyto, you know, like, they got all the girls and had the best parties and kind of stuff. I wasn't even in there, but he was in there, so he was an older guy so he got me into all the bars. Starting like, freshman year. And so, like, and I would play there and I would, so like, I had this like, whole experience starting freshman year of just being able to go anywhere and wherever I wanted in school, and I loved it, like I wouldn't, I mean, I was so lucky, I feel like, I was like, Oh my god. Like, I just, I don't even need a fake ID. I just got in wherever I wanted because I played guitar and, you know, I could just party with these older kids and go to the party, you know, go to their parties and bars and stuff. And so, like, I was completely still involved with all the school stuff, campus activities council, and this and that, you know? So, yes.
Alex: And for you guys in the States, drinking age is much older like, I'm Canadian.
Alex: Yeah, that's huge. That's a huge deal. You can go to the bars. For us, it was like, you know, you had it first year.
Taz: Oh, yeah. In America, that's the big thing is like, and 21 like, that, you have to be a junior by the time you can go to like--
Alex: Like, basically, done school.
Taz: Yeah. You're have like, two years left. I have to come back for a fifth year just to enjoy it, you know? And I did. I did the victory lap as we call it.
Taz: And it was good.
Alex: So, tell me about, I've seen you describe yourself as like, bro gone conscious. Tell me about that, like, so when did you kind of like, make this shift from like, your partying into more like, spirituality?
Taz: Yeah. Well, so I was always involved, ever since college, I probably, junior, sophomore year, I always loved reading like books on audio of self-help, self-personal transformation, without realizing that's the world that I was always interested in of like, How can I be a better leader? Like, I remember reading a book about "The Leader In You" by Dale Carnegie, like, this is like a classic book on leadership or whatever like, from the 40s or whatever. I remember like, reading and like, loving it. It's like, Oh my god, this stuff is so great. These are like, self-help books, you know, we have a million of them these days and I remember like, reading this stuff like, starting in college and like loving it. And so, there was always a party that was always looking for more like, more meaning like, how can I be a better person, how can I be like a better version of myself, because how can I excel at what I'm doing, you know, and I remember like, after I graduated, one of the things that happened when I was graduating was like, a few days before my final graduation, 2005, my apartment burned down in college. And I was like, it was so weird. It was like the best thing that happened and I'll tell you why. So, like, I was taking one of my final exams, and it was actually in a bar, like, it was like a celebration class like, it was a class but we finished everything, so the teacher, we met and we were just hanging out, having food and having some drinks with the class, and I kept getting a phone call, and I was just like, What's going on? You know, it was my neighbor, she's like, Dude, your apartment is burning down right now. Quickly ran over there and like, pretty much everything was gone in there. And so, I had insurance, so I was able to buy everything back. And in that process, I went to a bookstore and bought a bunch of books, because some of my books burned down, so I just bought some new books. And I got some books on power of using your mind, there's a book called "How to Use Your Mind and Get Anything You Want" or "How Do You Use Your Mind And Get Everything", and I was just like, What is this idea or what is the subject? And it was obviously talking about things like the law of attraction.
Taz: You know, because those books had been out there forever, but "The Secret" had also just come out like a year or two after that, so like, I was leading my way into that book which really changed my life. "Celestine Prophecy" was another book. I don't know if you've heard of that. I forget the author's name. Amazing book, so these are like, 2006-'07 that I was reading about spirituality per our perspective on life, on religion, and different dogmatic ideas that controls our lives actually, if we don't realize it.
Taz: Like, these are the strong like, backbone of our psyche, our human psyche, which built, which makes up the matrix, you know, and this is the subconscious behavior. And religion is a big part of that, you're gonna go to hell if you do this, you're gonna, you know, you're gonna be going to heaven if you do this and just like, so these are the things that a part of our brought up, you know, in our program, and I started like looking into ideas of how can I change this program that I was Taz Dean Rashid in 2006, you know? What would it, so I didn't even realize what I wanted to shift into but around 2007-'08, what I come to was the amount of partying that I was doing and like, living the corporate life, and just again, being a zombie in the matrix. I was having fun, but I just realized, I wasn't fulfilled like, I was like, What is there for me to do? Am I just gonna die like this? Like, I'm prescribing to all these ideas but this is not real. And so, I started questioning the reality. That's what was going on like, question your life, and that started leading me into these paths and practices.
Alex: Yeah. And so, is that kind of what led you into yoga or were you practicing yoga before?
Taz: I was doing meditation first. Like, I practiced yoga. I would do it here and there, but not like a regular practice. It was more like, yoga as a meditation.
Taz: That's what I was doing a lot of actually starting 2006-'07. Even while I was partying. And I spoke up, I speak about this in some other podcasts, so, you know, the whole idea was like, I was trying to improve my mind and I was in sales and marketing, and I was always trying to keep a positive attitude, so I started with like, binaural beats meditations, guided meditations, and how I can reprogram my subconscious to be more positive and attract things I want. So, I would like, listen to these meditations all the time. There is a lady named Kelly Howell. She's, in my opinion, one of the best, you know, guided meditation teachers out there. She still has her stuff now, but I discovered her in a bookstore. Bought her CD. It was like, if this bookstore was my, you know, client, I went in there and this guy told me, he's like, Hey, you listen to this stuff. Fall asleep with it. You'll be like a different person in a couple of months. And I'm just like, That's crazy. And I tried it and it totally worked like, my whole life started changing from 2006-'07, and the decisions, I was, you know, making, and how it led me into better situations of a corporate lifestyle. Getting rid of debt, 100%. Meeting my girlfriend, who's now my wife, and then, you know, going into like, actually leaving the matrix, they call it, which is like, the nine to five cubicle life. And then, going off the deep end down the rabbit hole into where I am today. And that's like a whole journey. It's not like, in one day, I was like, DJ producer traveling around the world.
Taz: But it's like, you got to take that step at some point. Of course, you need to take care of your household and finances but like, I was able to like, leave that and start making smaller decisions that I just kept saying yes to possibilities like, that's the thing is like, just starts, different things just come your way, you know, when you become like, a yes person with your passion path, and there's so many crazy ways how things led, you know, it's just like, things connect. We all have those stories.
Taz: But, yeah. It was a meditation, and then it was yoga became more of a part of it.
Alex: It's amazing. And so, what does your yoga practice look like now? Like, what do you?
Taz: Yeah. You know, my practice is not like I have some daily practice. I get up at four in the morning and meditate, and--
Alex: I don't know.
Taz: I have a two-year-old baby, so like, you know, my wife and I, we take care of her and we're pretty busy with our life, and I'm lucky if I get to practice maybe 3-4 times a week.
Taz: You know, anywhere between, now because I'm home, you know, I'm not going to a studio. Before when Covid wasn't happening, I would go to like a studio and practice like, 3-4 times a week like a one hour 75 minute kind of class. I personally love like, strong Vinyasa Flow class with music.
Taz: I love hot yoga .I love to sweat, but not Bikram, but just like hot Vinyasa Flow. So, that's my personal favorite. I love like, going to like, strong like, almost like fitness style yoga classes.
Taz: I like them all. And like, if I'm really need to stretch, I love yen classes, but I don't practice yen as much. I'm into the Vinyasa Flow kind of thing.
Taz: And, yeah.
Alex: How did you end up like, making music specifically for yoga? Like, how did that end up? And I think it's amazing, by the way, like, I feel like, it's just I'm able to piece together a playlist. I think I was saying earlier that like just has an arc, and that is so hard to come by like, just the perfect music to fit the mood. And so, that's what I love about your music is that you have like, kind of music for every moment in the practice. And so, it makes it just really easy.
Taz: Thank you. Thank you very much. Yeah, I, you know, it wasn't something I planned at all like, honestly, 2011 is when I left, I was working at a university in a cubicle recruiting students online and they fired me, and it was like, the best thing in the world. And my boss was super cool, he was just like, You gotta go man, you gotta go somewhere else and do your magic. Like, he knew, like, he was like, you're gonna do great things but you do, like, as if he was doing me a favor, he's like, You gotta leave. Like, Sorry, man, this is not for you. I wasn't DJ-ing then, I've been playing music since like, fifth grade like, piano is my main jam, you know, like, I've been, I was classically trained and stuff and I used to go to like, state competition, so I have a backbone of theory like, I understand how to write music because I grew up with it and like, I took all these theory classes as a child. Thank God my parents took me to piano classes and one of my teachers really was like, you have to learn theory. And whatever I learned then, it's like, part of my psyche now, then like, I just kind of like, get things which I love. And so, I wasn't planning to become like a yoga musician, but the way I got into it was I started, I taught myself how to DJ before I was producing music. You know, I just played guitar, and piano, and hand drums. Like, I just played the instruments for fun, but producing is like another art. That's like learning computers really well like, you have to learn all the programs, you know.
Taz: Like, how to produce ,and that like, literally, you should go to school for, for like a year or something, and there's just a lot of bells and whistles that you just need to know and, you know, one of my friends, his name is Rara, Rara Avis. He originally was part of the desert dwellers. He was like, listening to some of my music, and he was like, You haven't really ever gone to school for music production, have you? I'm like, No. He's like, Highly recommend you just do that. And he gave me some names of. And I listened to him like, I told him later, I'm like, I did what you said and I took a year, invested a bunch of money, and I took the, and that changed my life.
Taz: You know, like, you have to like, invest in yourself into your passion because, yeah, you can do it the hard way and just watch YouTube videos, and you're gonna continue like, even if you go to school, you're gonna still continue learning. It's not like you got it all, but schools usually have some sort of structure, you know, you need some sort of mentor, and I work with a lot of other producers through the school who was like, giving me feedback on my music. So, I was like learning, and this is just a couple years ago. Like, I started producing 2014-'15.
Taz: But I didn't go to the school till like, 2017 or 2018, I think. So like, I was producing kind of like, self-taught.