Today we’d like to introduce you to Bria Hamlet.
Bria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Six years ago, I was a completely different person. Stress and a traumatic health event left me feeling like a stranger in my body. I came across an opportunity to try yoga and wondered if I could benefit from it. While I always found relief in some kind of physical activity, I had no idea I would be starting my self-healing journey. After (cathartically) sobbing my way through one yoga class, I knew eventually I wanted to teach others to surrender and self-heal through yoga.
What I did not anticipate was the struggles I would face as a Black, queer woman in those spaces. Many studios were not welcoming to me. These experiences showed me how important it was to create spaces where Black and Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) and queer people can explore yoga in a safe, inviting space. In June 2018, I became a Registered 200-Hour Yoga Teacher, and in April 2019 I began my business, JustBriFree Yoga and Wellness. JustBriFree is a play on words, as my first name is Bria, but the sentiment stands. I am committed to helping all people liberate their bodies and minds through yoga with a special emphasis on serving BIPOC and the LGBTQIA+ community.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting a wellness business comes with its fair share of challenges. I also work full-time as a Certified Health Educator, so my business work happens after hours. I currently do nearly everything myself – rent studio space, manage my website and social media, teach classes and so on. Building a clientele has (been one of the easiest parts. People are eager to practice yoga in the community. In the first year of operation, I taught over 150 students. While the COVID-19 pandemic shut down my in-person operations, the ability to teach online has expanded my reach. I’ve been working with clients from all over the country. I am an eternal optimist, so I am happy to see there is a small silver lining in an otherwise devastating health event. If there was ever a time that people needed yoga, it is now.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I specialize in teaching beginners how to start their yoga practice. Working with beginners means I get to watch hundreds of people start their yoga journey – there is something so rewarding about that. I also never lose sight of the foundational poses and what it means to begin again.
I primarily teach vinyasa-style yoga. ‘Vinyasa’ refers to the movement between asana or poses. I am most well-known for my Soul Flow Sundays, a weekly vinyasa class for beginners. We warm up our bodies and minds as we flow through our sun salutations to smooth, melodic beats. Soul Flow came from my love of lo-fi hip-hop, R&B and ambient music. With everything being virtual right now, I have been able to expand my offerings to folks all over the country. I am also willing to travel throughout Southern California for private yoga instruction.
As a company, I am most proud of my discipline! I struggled with procrastination for most of my life, but I have not lost my steam when it comes to LLC. JustBriFree Yoga & Wellness is set apart by my educational background in health promotion and my diverse identity. My yoga is holistic, approachable and intersectional.
What were you like growing up?
I was quiet yet creative! I dreamt and journaled a lot – as an introvert, I tended to get lost in my own thoughts. In hindsight, I see the commonalities between writing my dreams then and manifesting through meditation now. I also knew early on that I wanted to help people for a living, but I was not sure how that aligned with my love of art and movement. I was an athlete, a dancer, a visual artist and more. As those each fell away, I began to feel lost. During my undergraduate studies at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I was introduced to the idea of Health Policy as a study area and Health Education as an extracurricular. When these two things aligned for me, my passions shifted entirely.
Being a health educator means I get to find creative ways to teach people how to protect and heal themselves. Being a yoga teacher also involves these themes. To me, becoming a yoga teacher and a health educator was a natural alignment of my goals and aspirations, even if my creative outlet looks a little different these days.
- $15 per class for drop-in (virtual) Group Yoga Classes
- $20 for a Beginner Yogi Consultation
- $50 per class for a (virtual) Private Yoga Class
- Website: www.justbrifree.com
- Phone: (619) 630-5366
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/justbrifree
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/justbrifree
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/justbrifree
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/company/justbrifree/
TraVae Davis; Christina Cooper, Urban Surf 4 Kids