WATCH | What happens when you combine trap music and yoga? You get a healing new practice taught by trap yoga guru Brandon Copeland in Washington, D.C.
What is trap yoga?
While there's no textbook definition of "trap music" or "trap yoga," Copeland describes it as a fast-paced power yoga practice that is done to ... you guessed it, trap music.
The genre is typically defined by its distinct 808's and heavy, trunk-rattling bass. It originated in the dirty south in the early 2000s, with tracks by the likes of Lil Jon, Trillville and Crime Mob.
Today, artists like Migos, Lil Yachty and Gucci Mane are prominent figures.
Copeland says his motive behind starting trap yoga was to "focus on giving this wonderful, age-old practice to people in the black community," who otherwise may have never given yoga a second thought.
How it works
Regular yogis might be surprised to learn that aside from the music, trap yoga isn't all that different from a traditional yoga class.
Students use their breath to lead their movements and use the music to relax into different poses. Copeland says the music is what helps students power through when poses become hard.
He encourages his students to go where the music takes them: "That idea of trapping or hustling. Creating something out of nothing."
Copeland says his weekly classes draw almost 400 students a month. They typically sell out.
More than just the music
Copeland told Circa that trap yoga is more about what the music brings out of his students during the class than the music itself.
"There are going to be times where you feel real emotions that are mentioned in these songs. You're going to feel nervous. You're going to feel scared. You're going to feel afraid, angry, all these things that are not only reflected in the music, but are reflected in the style and pace and intent of the poses."
A 2002 study found that 85 percent of those practicing yoga were Caucasian.
Copeland's class, which focuses on providing a space for the black community, is turning that statistic on its head.
Richard Matthews, a veteran trap yogi at Khepera Wellness, said he'd been going to a few yoga studios in the area before he came across one of Copeland's Instagram videos. While he enjoyed the other studios, he grew tired of being one of the only black males in his classes.
"I wanted to find somewhere where I could feel comfortable," he said. "I feel like since the first class, Brandon was playing Tribe Called Quest, Kendrick Lamar and I was like, 'I'm hooked. I'm home.'"
There's a lot of trauma in the black community right now. It's a lot going on. I come once a week and I let all the stresses go.
Khepera Wellness offers various other wellness classes, including Black Girl Magic.
Copeland says his plan is to expand his space so more people can share in the experience.
"We just want to create more spaces like this that cater to the black community. We'd like to see the concept of the black studio grow and invite everyone in, but again, just have a space where black people can come practice wellness."
He started teaching trap yoga in 2015 when his Instagram videos started to gain traction.