By Amy Lukau
At 26-years old Brandon Copeland is changing the way black people practice and interact with yoga.
Copeland is owner of Khepera Wellness in Washington D.C. He opened the studio because he felt “the essence of black culture was being excluded from majority-white yoga spaces in the area” according to Fader.
Copeland runs the business with his girlfriend, Lauren Turner. He says he turned to yoga after his girlfriend became pregnant while he was at Howard University in 2010.
In 2013 he opened his own yoga space where he came up with the idea of Trap Yoga.
Trap Yoga is a course according to Copeland that is intended to both challenge the limits of one’s physicality and speak to the black community’s inherent spirituality.
Over trap beats Copeland challenges his students to find their inner peace.
“A lot of people like to attribute things to yoga that it does not call for always. They want you to think that you need to listen to like ocean sounds, and wear all white, or be vegan in order to really do yoga or to be a part of what’s called “the lifestyle.” That lifestyle is really not reflective of what the practice is about. The practice is: You can be on death row, you can be an old grandma, as long as you’re breathing and joined the practice in order to meditate, you should be healed. It’s not really about a lot of the things I think that we, instinctively or purposely, advertise about yoga.”
“Until someone comes in and creates spaces that are specifically focused on black people or people of color, they won’t necessarily feel and experience the community to the fullest extent,” Copeland went on to say.