India.Arie took time to come back to her inspiration, her practice,
and it shows in her songs, her stage presence, and her dedication.
As she says in “Soulbird Rise,” from Songversation:
“I believe in open doors...I’m ready to let the world come inside
and touch my life. I will no longer be defined by what someone else
believes that I am. Now that I have dropped the weight, I am light
as a feather. It’s time to elevate. Soulbird rise. Spread your wings.
Prepare to fly. This is the moment of your life. Go ahead and fly.”
Through the bravery and devotion of her own journey, one she
shares through her artistry, she gives us all permission to fly.
LAYoga caught up with India.Arie after her Los Angeles show
at Club Nokia, while she was taking a break between legs of her
Songversation world tour.
India.Arie, you’re a powerhouse! In person and in performance,
you exemplify your practice with powerful music and a positive
I did a lot of work to get here.
It comes across. What is meaningful for you in your work?
I had been having a hard time with the music industry. Really
hard. I was exhausted all the time; it was affecting my health and
relationships. The year 2009 felt progressively worse and worse; I
was in lower vibrational environments. I loved to be on stage but
I didn’t enjoy anything else that went with it.
By the Fall of '09, I was exhausted. I had just completed a 40-city
tour that I intuitively knew I shouldn’t do, but I did it anyway.
At that point, I could not blame anybody else for anything; I was
allowing it to happen. Right before Halloween, I was writing in
my journal -- I remember saying it out loud because it was an
epiphany: “I am responsible for myself. I am letting this happen.”
It was like this: "Okay, what are you going to do about your business situation? What are you going to do about your relationship?
Where do you want to live? What are you going to do about this
extra weight? What are you going to do about your relationship
with your mom and dad? What are you going to do?"
I decided to be responsible for myself. Everything else came from
that, and that started the work. I went on a quest to figure out
what I wanted my life to be, and to clear up all the areas that were
weighing me down, leaving me free to rebuild.
Then came the learning phase and being honest with myself about
who I am—all the things I didn’t know about myself. For instance,
I had been giving my power away and I was always blaming somebody for taking it and I was just giving it away.
The rebuilding phase was the next part of the work. I consider
where I am right now to be past the rebuilding phase. Now I’m
testing what I have built. I have loved touring with my latest album Songversation. I love the way the audience feels. I love the
way that I feel on stage, and it’s working for my business. I’m
still waiting for my personal life to come into the picture, but I
feel more ready for those things than I ever did before. I think it
is all working.
So many of your songs have a strong message of self-accep-tance, and that’s part of what you’ve been describing -- that
you have been claiming, reclaiming, and owning your power.
It’s a lifetime practice. We don’t do it with just one song or
just one interaction or just one business decision or even one
show. We have to do again and again.
Every once in a while, someone—often a young black woman—
asks me something like, “How did you become you?” I think I
know what they mean; my answer always is that it’s not about
trying to do a thing, or be a thing, or act a certain way. Your life
is the culmination of your choices—that is what makes you you.
Make choices that are loving for yourself—with your diet, your
relationships, and in speaking your loving truth—that are in
are in alignment with what you want to be doing. When you
see that in a person, you are seeing their passion and fulfillment, and that person feels good to you because they feel good
to themselves. I know that I feel good and I think that comes
across on stage; when I didn’t feel good before, I think that
came across on stage. >>
Make choices that are
loving for yourself—
with your diet, your
and in speaking your