Dressed in athletic attire with mats in hand, yogis gather every Tuesday evening at an East Austin music studio for a different kind of yoga class.
Trap Yoga Tuesdays, hosted by local DJ and music production school Dub Academy, combines fast-paced, breath-focused Vinyasa yoga with rhythm hip-hop and trap music. Originating in D.C. in 2013, similar classes have popped up around the country, with Austin as its latest stop.
“We thought it would be really cool to not only teach a class that has trap yoga, but have an actual DJ spin through the whole thing,” said trap yoga instructor Mandy Millican.
According to Millican, the class’ live DJ performance sets it apart from others. Although she said it may seem unorthodox due to perceptions of yoga being a calm workout, the music actually provides a lively experience for attendees.
“It’s fun to think that you got somebody back here, perfecting his craft and doing something he’s done for close to a decade, while I’m trying to teach a really good yoga class to people,” Millican said. “It feels like two different things but it also feels like it makes sense.”
Millican said the connection comes naturally and little planning is needed beforehand. Though she comes into each class with a basic idea of what she’s going to teach, Millican said she leaves space for changes depending on the vibe she gets from participants. The improvisation is meant to create as interactive of an experience as possible.
“It’s really just improvising based on what he wants to play that day or what he thinks the crowd is enjoying,” Millican said. “I also wanna leave room if someone comes in and maybe something I have planned for whatever reason looks like the class isn’t vibing with so much.”
Assistant director of the Dub Academy, Raymond Cruz, is one of the DJs for the trap yoga class. When it comes to performing, Cruz said he pays close attention to Millican by taking note of the complexity of her poses and speed.
Although “trap” is defined as fast, bass-heavy music originating from the Atlanta area, Cruz plays this and other similar songs while DJing for the class based on what he feels like class will enjoy.
“I try to pay trap music more than anything but it’s about really watching her and listening for what she’s saying,” Cruz said. “If she’s getting very detailed I don’t want to be loud.”
Lizz Owo-Egbeleke attended Trap Yoga Tuesday this past week. Despite being familiar with yoga classes, she said the music took her off guard, but the experience was still exciting.
“It was a mix of trap music and hip-hop which I didn’t expect, I thought it was just gonna be hard core trap music, but I liked it, I thought it was nice,” Owo-Egbeleke said.
Through combining two different forms of art, Millican and the crew at Dub Academy do what they can to provide a new yoga experience.
“It’s not just a workout class,” Millican said. “I want students to leave this class feeling like, ‘I had a good time, I really enjoyed myself and I learned something.’”