Hip hop music gives new, welcoming twist to yoga

Hip hop music gives new, welcoming twist to yoga
OLD NORTH ST. LOUIS – On any given Friday night, DJ Nico Marie can be found curating music for area events, parties and weddings. She gets crowds excited and moving, encouraging them to bounce and dance to her pulsing mixes and swagger-heavy beats. She DJs well into the late night hours. Then on
Saturday mornings, she’s up and relaxed, encouraging people to find their center, affirm themselves and center their bodies.
As a trained yoga instructor, Nico offers Trap Yoga every first Saturday of the month at the UrbArts Center at 2600 North 14th Street. The class is only $5 and is heavily emphasized to be beginner-friendly.
Trap yoga is basic yoga poses set to trap music, a type of hip hop that originated in the South. The contrast between relaxing, meditative body movements and the pounding bass of the studio’s background music makes for an ironic exercise that works.
Nico began practicing yoga in 2015 in a quest to get back into shape. After almost a year of practicing, her instructor encouraged Nico to teach her own classes.

That’s when a friend sent her a video of people in Atlanta doing trap yoga. Nico sent trap yoga creator Brandon Copeland an email, eager to learn more.
“I sent him a message, asking how do I bring this to my community and how do I make this accessible?” she said. With Copeland’s advice, Nico was encouraged to create a class that was affordable and welcoming for everyone.
“People are afraid to come to yoga, especially black people, because they don’t see themselves there,” she said. “But when you add an element that’s relatable, they’re like, ‘Ok, that’s something that’s for me.’”
Nico said affordability and access were the main concerns for creating her classes.
“I was taught in my training that you shouldn’t have to charge a lot of money for yoga,” she said. “I am determined for my classes to be $10 or less.”
Nico said she wanted people to see the value in practicing yoga, and to determine if it’s an exercise they’d like to continue. Her classes offer free yoga mats for patrons to use, affirming that practicing yoga doesn’t have to be an exclusive and expensive activity.
On Saturday, Gabriall Moore attended her first trap yoga experience with Nico.
“I thought it was a great experience,” she said. “The price is perfect for people wanting to get into yoga.”
Moore, who lives in south St. Louis, she said she liked the fact that the class was close to home and appealed to all demographics.
Trap Yoga with Nico happens every first Saturday of the month, and other classes ranging in difficulty are also offered every Saturday at UrbArts. For more information, visit UrbArts.org.