Think about your favorite song – how do you feel when it comes on? Does it make you want to move and dance? Or does it make you turn inward, and feel more contemplative? There is no doubt that music can have a visceral impact on not only the mind, but also the body. Yoga Buzz Outreach VISTA Maleeha Ahmad recently sat down with Brittany Hill to talk about how she intentionally incorporates music into her yoga classes.
Brittany is the founder of Back Trap Yoga, St. Louis’ first trap yoga experience. Here are some highlights from the interview, but you can watch the full interview below.
I felt like a lot of black people felt historically that yoga isn’t a practice that is for them. We don’t really see ourselves reflected in that mainstream imagery of yoga. You often see young, thin, white women – able-bodied, [with] expendable income, like they can go to classes that are $25 and it’s not a big deal. … I wanted to bring the practice to people that were like me – young black millennials, and other people in the black community. So really that meant I was creating a practice that was for me, but centered around other people who have the same interests and goals and feelings and struggles that I did, as well. It meant creating a practice that looked different than what practices typically look like in most studios.
I say my practices are really sonically-driven, meaning that it’s really centered around the musical energy that I put into it. I take a lot of care to create a playlist that feels good for me … that means there’s a lot of hip hop, a lot of RnB, electronic sounds, jazz and funk. I like to think of music as the great connector. I think a lot people feel that and connect to that – and it’s a big part of the black community, music is. It tells our stories, it’s how we express ourselves, so all of my classes are heavily based in the music.
A lot of people are confused about how trap music or any kind of rap music can really relax you – but I think when you get into a space that becomes familiar because there are elements that are familiar to you, either by the music or by some of the different types of movement, it allows you to let go. And once you’ve let go, then you can feel that relaxation come in. You’ve worked your body hard for an hour, stretched things you didn’t know you could stretch, and you get to the end, you’re finally in savasana (final relaxation), and you’re like ahh, okay! There’s a point that I can visibly see people during the class let go.