Asia Nichole Jones: Trap Yoga

Asia Nichole practicing yoga.

Asia Nichole practicing yoga.

 

Trap Yoga was born on the deck of a California cabin in 2014. The idea for it came naturally to Asia Nichole Jones, its founder. Born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, Asia Nichole’s family comes from struggle. She defines “trap” as a “hood synonym for work,” and the strength building focus of her practice is as much a mix of that as it is growing up athletic.  

“Trap yoga is not just a play on the music. My father grew up on the west side and I wanted to pay an homage to my dad. Trap is not just the music, trap is a hood synonym for work. Within the practice we do the work.”

Since starting to offer Trap Yoga to the community first in California, then in New York, and now in Chicago, the brand has grown tremendously. Her Instagram has a significant following, and yogis from all over the city come to practice with her. Her first event back in Chicago – hosted by Soho House – was sold out and overbooked. In November, she led a session at the Museum of Contemporary Art, as part of its D-Compressed series. Participants flowed to songs like Juvenile’s “Back that Ass Up,” performed by a chamber ensemble.

 
Asia Nichole at MCA’s D-Compressed.

Asia Nichole at MCA’s D-Compressed.

 

Yet even with sold out events and collaborations with Nike and Lululemon, Asia Nichole’s humility and approachability radiate. While speaking or sharing a space with her, it’s easy to attribute those traits to simply put, her personality. But it would be foolish to say, that’s just who she is, that’s just how she was born. Instead, a dive into her family history, however, reveals a woman who is who she is because of her past.

Asia Nichole’s family history matters significantly in her everyday everything. When living in Fresno, California, her Polish-German grandmother lost her job and apartment because the father of her children was black. For that reason, her grandparents always treated people fairly.  

“When you know how it feels to be judged, you never want to push that on anybody.”

 Her parents grew up in high-risk neighborhoods on the west side of Chicago, and her father’s first address was Cabrini-Green, the infamous public housing project that no longer is. They met in high school and have been together ever since her mother was 15 and her father 18. When she was a young girl, her father got shot multiple times. He was fortunate to survive and learn. In these reflections, Asia Nichole says, “I’m so impressed by them. I’m so proud to be their child.”

 
Asia Nichole on the mat.

Asia Nichole on the mat.

 

Embracing her past motivates her to “pour into and nurture” our future. She likes to dedicate her time to volunteering for Big Brother Big Sister, and donates a portion of Trap Yoga earnings to different non-profits that help the youth and communities in need.

 “I wanted to give back to communities in Chicago, but it was all about my dad. He had a really hard upbringing and I didn’t want any other boys in Chicago to live like that.”

In the coming year, Asia Nichole hopes to open her own space for Trap Yoga. In the meantime, you can practice with her at Healthy Hood Chi (a Pilsen fitness center where all classes are only $5) and starting in 2019 she will teach every Tuesday at Bottom Line Yoga. Other pop-ups and opportunities to practice together will be announced on her Instagram, @TrapYoga.

 
Asia Nichole.

Asia Nichole.


 

Author

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Gosia Labno is a photographer and writer based in Chicago. She holds a B.S. in Media and Cinema Studies and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies. She is working on a collection of short stories chronicling the lives of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Follow.