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“Rad Dad Feature: Raghunath, aka Ray Cappo.”

Raghunath, also known to some as Ray Cappo, is an inspirational person to say the least.  Being at the forefront of some of the most radical, positive and motivational bands of the 80’s til today, he’s more than just a mouthpiece for the punk scene, he lives and breathes every word he writes.  The music, which is what initially introduced me to Ray, was loud, fast and chaotic, but with a message I could relate to.  The words penned spoke of values different from the nihilistic punk music I was first exposed to, he growled through songs about being positive despite your adversities, coming together to make a change, living an ethical, honest and pure lifestyle and how one person truly can make a change.

Following the music, you could see that Raghunath had a thirst for more.  The empty promises of change were meaningless without action.  So not only did he talk the talk, but he walked it.  He left the punk scene to become a celibate monk, and finally came to a place where he is able to balance his relationship in this world by finding a way to reconnect with it away from the materialism and social ills modern life can cause.  Now, as a father to five and dedicated husband, Raghunath teaches Yoga, and his inspirational classes garner interest internationally.

I feel like any introduction is a disservice to such an interesting, motivated and inspiring guy, so without any further adieu, here is the Raghunath, aka Ray Cappo, Rad Dad Feature.

1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad? 

I just turned 48 this January and for the last 11 years I’ve been teaching yoga in both Los Angeles and New York City and annually taking my students on pilgrimage to India. I have studied yoga since I was 19.  In my 20s I lived for 6 years as a celibate monk in an ashram, in and out of India. Before and after the ashram I was a professional (although I never thought of it as a profession) & international singer and songwriter for two influential bands [Shelter, Youth of Today] that released about 15 CD’s and travelled around the world touring incessantly.  Although our music was loud and at times ferocious it was based on ethical and spiritual principles of self-control, positive attitude, unity, and tolerance. 
Now I live upstate New York with my wife and 5 children and I teach yoga internationally.  Due to my love and attachment for my family I’ve had to change it up a bit.  When I taught in the cities my classes were packed, I got tons of press, had lots of wealthy private clients, but there was a definitive suffering for both my relationship with my wife and my children. The intensity of city life and schooling didn’t work for my kids and the little ones developed a noticeable anxiety disorder.  In the city I could not just let my kids play outside alone, so I comprised and bought a TV and allowed them to watch “appropriate TV” and allowed them to play “appropriate apps” on my Iphone.  This was going against my inner integrity and it was obvious it didn’t serve the children as I watched them become addicted to this so-called innocent media.  My wife and I made a value judgement to get out of the city for a quality of life change.  It was a scary decision to make as I had finally created an income that could support my growing family.  I was really stepping into the unknown.  We both truly believed that from choices of integrity there are ripple effects of auspiciousness that follow and in retrospect I could write a book about all wonderful things that had happened when we made that choice and moved to the country. We traded in TV for a stream and movie nights for building campfires in the woods. Apps got swapped out for feathers, twigs and colorful stones they find in the woods.
To some this may sound crazy and backwards – but I believe that our material progress is divorcing us from our authentic selves.  A big part of my parenting & teaching is a return to simpler life.  I’m doing a training this summer called “sadhu training.”  A colleague and I take adults into the woods for a week, living in the forest, shelter building, practicing meditation, learning knife craft, food foraging, creek bathing, fire by friction, and of course yoga and study of ancient wisdom books of India. This type of reconnection we feel is the best thing a person can do for their own personal healing, which will ultimately have a trickle down effect on their family.  
My wife and I also just bought a property on a big piece of land that is stunning and will serve as a yoga education center where we will regularly host weekend retreats, intensives, teacher trainings and trainings on yoga, philosophy, health, primal skills, survivalism, permaculture, wilderness skills and meditation. It’s been a dream of ours since we met, and it is especially fantastic because I will be able to have my kids around and participate if they choose. 
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
I love being a dad.  Being a dad taught me how to love.  Love is an action. It’s not just a feeling.  Being a dad also makes me want to be the best person I can be and to really “walk my talk.” My oldest kids are 17 and 15 and they’re watching everything I do.  They watch my behavior and it encourages me to make better choices.  I love having teenage boys-as they can be more like friends although you never stop being dad to them.  
I can workout, snowboard, do martial arts or listen to music with them. It’s totally fun. I also like having kiddies. I have a 7 and 9 year old who are just plain fun to be around.  This year we were blessed with a new baby and I now have 2 month old son. I’m still learning how to be a dad-and it’s helped me let go of any father issues – that I’ve had as being a father is also tough in many ways.  I realize how many times I fail.  How many times I say things my father said to me – that never served me, but shut me down. Being a dad gives me a chance to stop patterns that were taught to me but didn’t serve me. If I don’t change myself I pass these bad habits and language to my kids. That being said I’m grateful for all the wonderful patterns my loving parents have given me l and realize how stellar they actually were.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
Oh God it grounded me!  I got married to my wife who had a 4 and 5 year old. Before we were together I toured with my band for a few months, lived cheap and did nothing except Ashtanga yoga 6 days a week, Brazillian Jiu Jitsu 5 days a week, mixed martial arts 1 day a week and spent the rest of the time sitting around naked in my backyard in So Cal, drinking smoothies and picking fruit off the trees.  It was an over abundance of self-care.  I went from self-absorbed to being a parent of two kids overnight.
I had to adjust my self-care because that is still incredibly important, but it’s also important to care for others. Those two boys brought and still bring so much joy to my life, more than they will ever know.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad? 
It keeps me young and fun.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
There’s something about having little kids that excites me so much I transform tino a child myself, I had to pull back a little.  My wife would often see me chasing them around playing with them in city parks and say, “You’re acting insane, everyone’s looking at you.”
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Take every opportunity to have your kids connect with nature. Being outside far away from the buzz, it is like medicine and the highest education. When you play with your kids, turn your phone off.  Re-connection with the earth is a powerful healer. 
I find if want to inspire my family then I must be inspired. 

To follow Raghunath, and for more information on his teachings, training and events, visit:
Learn how to create Fire by Friction, here.
To register for Sadhu Training July 21 to July 26, 2014click here.





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