When you think of yoga, you probably think of a well-lit studio, soft music, and stretch-pants wearing acolytes quietly stretching or meditating before class. While that is certainly the cliche, it’s not the only way to enjoy a yoga class. Just ask the founder of Trap Yoga Bae, Britteny Floyd Mayo, AKA Yoga Bae.
It didn’t take too long in the world of yoga for Britteny to feel out of place and for her to wonder if other people were feeling the same. As a passionate Vinyasa yoga instructor certified in Rishikesh, India, her love for yoga runs deep. But upon realizing that yoga classrooms were becoming places of negative self-evaluation, she identified a need for a different type of community.
Here is how Britteny Floyd Mayo went from plain old Britteny to Trap Yoga Bae® by taking her passion for yoga, diversity, and trap music, and turning it into an energetic event all about self-care and challenging the status quo.
What first sparked the idea for your event?
Britteny: Similar to a lot of beautiful things that are birthed, it comes from a death of self. In 2016, I was married and had two children, and then my marriage failed. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn after that happened. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I started exploring what made me feel like me, and the first thing that came up was yoga. Just doing yoga wasn’t enough for me, so I ended up going on this Eat Pray Love journey. For about three months, I went to China, India, and Brazil and decided not to come back until I figured out who I was. It was truly a transformative experience for me. When I came back home, I started practicing at yoga studios again but this time really felt like something was missing. I was made aware of how unique and different I am, and the studio, which was supposed to be my sanctuary, started becoming a place of negative self-evaluation. I started asking myself if I was wearing the right clothes, if my hair was loud and distracting, did I have the right body type for this? Shortly after that, I started to shy away from practicing in public spaces. Because I still wanted to practice and have a sense of community, I would invite my friend over to do yoga with me. When she got there, I was playing trap music and practicing yoga, and we decided that it was really fun. Oddly enough, she decided to quit her job and buy a dance studio. She reached out a few months later asking me to host an event at her studio because she loved doing yoga the way that I taught it and along to the trap or hip hop music. I immediately said no. I had developed a negative relationship with practicing in public spaces but quickly decided to give it a shot. She asked what I wanted to call it because it was such a different, unique experience, and that’s when I decided on Trap Yoga.
When did you know your event would be a success?
Britteny: I ended up posting a little event invitation for my first class on Facebook because I didn’t even really have an Instagram at this point. I just said “come see me in San Francisco, it’s trap yoga. Turn up!” That was literally the only thing I posted, and 92 people showed up. It was then I knew it was going to be something, so we just kept teaching classes. I decided to keep teaching classes until people just stopped showing up, but that never happened. As a matter of fact, they kept growing, and they continue to today. I started getting calls from celebrities, gaining followers on social media, and had people calling me asking to host special events. It all just happened serendipitously.
When was the moment you had to take the leap and go all in on your event?
Britteny: I started touring, and by month 6, I knew this was something that was going to stick. That’s when I decided to apply for a trademark and an LLC, and Trap Yoga became a company. I found that by stepping out of what I thought life should be and stepping into my purpose and figuring out who I was, I found an entire community that had been left out of self-care. And now I get to champion them. Yoga studios are generally full of these white, thin women, and there is an entire community of people out there who are curvy, black, brown, tall, short, big, queer, or generally just different who never felt accepted in the yoga community. I get to be the beacon of hope for those people to say yoga is fun and free and whatever we want it to be. We can celebrate who we are with no judgement. That’s when I knew I had found what I was meant to be doing.
What was your first big failure and what did you learn from it?
Britteny: Money and staffing were the two biggest issues I ran into. I had a lot of bad hires, and that’s where all the money went. My biggest mistake was not making sure I was secure first. I have to remember: no one is going to give a shit as much as you do about your passion. I can definitely be a giver, and I want to help people out. So I hired some friends and some family, and I just wasn’t prepared to have a staff of eleven.
Go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice about your event.
Britteny: Make sure you are secure in yourself and the company before taking on other hires or feeling like you want to start helping out. Owning a company is expensive, and you’ve got to be able to look out for you if you want to make it work. But more than that, step out of your comfort zone. Life is so much more than we make it sometimes, and sometimes it takes that death of self to really go on the journey of figuring out who you are. None of us are the same, and there is a whole world out there of different people and communities. You never know who you’re going to end up speaking to or reaching. When you take away what things are “supposed to be,” you leave room for what it is.
Make the leap from industry foresight to industry event today
Britteny never expected life to take her on the journey that she has been on, but her hard work and passion has clearly worked out in her favor. Sometimes taking that leap of faith can take you places you’ve never even dreamed of.
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