Lil Yachty's chill factor is on another level. While the "King of Teens" knows how to get a party started (just listen to him DJ), on a regular day you'll find hum chilling at home or with the same group of friends he's had since he was a kid. Yoga, as zen-inducing as it is, isn't the usual go-to activity for the rapper, but there's a first time for everything. As he prepares to release his fourth studio album, Lil Boat 3, very soon, XXL invited Lil Yachty to venture outside of his comfort zone to try hot yoga for the first time.
"I've never done hot yoga," he shares while sitting inside AtthenaYoga in midtown Manhattan in New York City. "I'm a pretty calm person already. I'm really chill, you know. So, I mean if it makes me any more chill, I mean, I don't know how much more chill I can get."
Former investment banker-turned-yoga teacher Atthena Breitton, owner of AtthenaYoga, guides Yachty through his very first hot yoga experience. His deadpan demeanor combined with Breitton’s perky personality makes for a risible encounter. It’s like Garfield meeting Odie for the first time.
"I am probably not your typical yoga teacher," Breitton says. "I started out my career in finance as an investment banker, but like many people at a young age, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I started out, I was stressed out, unhealthy, unhappy, empty and my older sister saw this change in me from a physical, mental and emotional perspective and suggested that I try yoga. Ever since then, the rest is history. I'm lucky that I even found this path because yoga is even more than a physical practice. It's a mental and deeply spiritual practice and it helps you just connect with yourself and the ultimate source."
Inside an 80-degree heated room at AtthenaYoga, Yachty learns how to be a yogi as Breitton informs him she'll be moving his body into “a lot of fun shapes that are different.”
The “One Night” rhymer’s commentary as he goes from sinking his belly (“You giving me arch lessons right now”) to engaging his core while lifting his knees (“I’m shaking, what the fuck?”) to trying a plank pose (“This some punishment shit”) is comical, yet endearing. Don’t underestimate Lil Boat’s abilities. For a guy who eats pizza daily and never consumes fruits or vegetables, hot yoga is pushing himself to the limit, but he’s holding it down. “You’re pulling me apart like pizza dough,” says Yachty, a fitting response as he likens his favorite food to Breitton maneuvering his limbs into yoga poses.
Downward-Facing Dog is up next. “Think of a dog making a little mountain pose with its body,” instructs Breitton. “Why would a dog do that?” Yachty utters, seemingly irked at the thought. The groans grow louder, the poses get more technical and the heat is stifling. “Are you stressed about your upcoming album?” the instructor inquires, to which Yachty can’t even concentrate to give a valid response. “I don’t know right now,” he replies. “It’s a lot.”
Luckily, the cooldown is here, and Breitton invites Yachty to sing (yes, sing) the Maha mantra, a great sacred chant for deliverance, to relax the mind as she plays the harmonium, a compact pump organ. “I feel the sunbeams,” he says in jest. “It feels like I’m on acid.” Before their session comes to an end, she also suggests Yachty try incorporating his own version of the mantra in his rhymes. Could yogi Yachty try something new on his forthcoming Lil Boat 3 album? Find out when the project drops.
Watch Lil Yachty experience hot yoga for the first time below.
See Exclusive Photos From Lil Yachty's XXL Magazine Interview