In honor of our newest collaborative collection with Religion of Sports, we are excited to sit down with co-founder Gotham Chopra to talk about all things spirituality, human potential, and of course, sports.
Our newest collection celebrates the power of the human spirit through movement, allowing for higher vibrations and greater manifestations in all aspects of life. With a strong belief that sports of all kinds provide meaning, purpose, and significance, Religion of Sports seeks to inspire the spiritual dynamics between sport and human potential.
We were thrilled to work closely with Gotham Chopra and his family and loved shooting our newest and deeply personal collection with Gotham and his son at their home. May Gotham's answers be an inspiration for spreading light, love, and integrity in all that we do.
Q: Where did your journey with spirituality begin?
In the late '80s, my parents started practicing transcendental meditation and both my sister and I quickly got on the ride with them. At the same time, the Boston Celtics were in their heyday and I was a super fan. As a first generation of Indian descent, I always think of the Celtics as providing for me a language through which to really “become American” and even more specifically, really be a Bostonian and have a tribe and shared belief. That’s spirituality, right?
Q: What inspired you to create Religion of Sports?
Stemming from that love of sports growing up in Boston, but also having a front-row seat to my dad’s intensifying immersion into the TM movement and world of spirituality, I think I started to realize over time that everything he talked about in religious terms - believers, rituals, pilgrimages, cathedrals, mythologies, etc - actually existed in sports. Fenway Park was a cathedral. The Celtics and Lakers were engaged in a Holy War!
Q: How do you deepen your spiritual practice in times of joy / in times of stress?
I think the key to a successful spiritual practice is consistency. It’s not being a victim to the tides (joy vs stress). In my experience, practices like meditation, mindfulness, yoga, exercise, etc are less about the time one spends doing them and more about the time outside of them.
Q: What roles do yoga + sports play in your life?
I think of yoga and pick-up basketball and pretty much every form of physical movement as “active meditation,” and a critical part of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. For me. Staying physically active every day brings me a lot of structure and balance. To work out requires good sleep, diet, and modulating my own energy and productivity. If I don’t do something physically active every day, I feel it and fall out of balance fast.
Q: How do you connect deeper with yourself?
I try to stay present in whatever I’m doing - whether it’s in my work, working out, or spending time with my family. Like everyone else, I do it with mixed success and often get distracted by looking at my phone, and become preoccupied with work, etc. But I definitely notice the difference when I am able to have that present moment awareness.
Q: What does being a Spiritual Gangster mean to you?
I’ve been a fan of Spiritual Gangster ever since I discovered it. There’s a defiance to the name which I have always loved. Spirituality is our natural state of awareness - everything is spiritual to me. And the gangster part invokes a willingness to be defiant - unrelenting and intensely resistant to conformity.
Q: What was the greatest advice you ever received?
Don't take yourself too seriously.
Q: Where do you see the future of sports headed?
Sports are religion. I am not particularly a big fan of traditional institutional religions. They’ve been divisive, violent, and coercive throughout human history. They rely on blind faith and religious dogma. Sports on the other hand just require participation. Engaging in sports or athletic endeavors requires one to push themselves. The point is to be the best version of oneself and reach one’s highest potential. And to be a fan is to become a part of something bigger than yourself. To transcend one's individual identity - one’s race, ethnicity, socio-economics, lifestyle, belief systems, etc - and embrace a larger identity. As a parent, we engage our kids in sports, not because we necessarily believe they are going to become elite athletes but because sports teach them about resilience and accountability, about sacrifice and pushing through limitations, about discipline and dealing with failure. So to me, sports are the future of faith. I’m a believer.
Q: How can you blend mindfulness and sports in our modern world?
Sports are mindfulness. To be successful in sports requires presence and focus. To me, a life absent of regular physical practice - yoga, running, pick-up basketball, martial arts, etc - is a mindless life. There is not a mindful life without a form of active physical practice. That’s all we have.