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Meet Mikey Budd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mikey Budd.

Mikey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Helping people has always been a prominent part of my life. My dream has always been to create inspiring music because of its power to heal and talk to people. I began creating and writing music since elementary school but I struggled to really put myself out there. After one of the many times I quit, I found yoga in order to relieve stress. Little did I know, I was actually pretty good at it. So I went to India to train, meditate, and gain a new perspective of life. Yoga led me to confidence again and even in my lowest moments, I still feel like I can handle it way better than I could before training my mind. It helped me to create music and art again with full authenticity and confidence. To have the skills and training felt like a privilege, especially because I knew not everyone had the ability to go to India, let alone take a $30 yoga class weekly.

So I decided to dedicate part of my career to teaching yoga voluntarily. In my spare time, I go to schools from San Pedro to South Central, teaching Kindergarten to 6th-grade kids yoga and mindfulness techniques to help them control stress and anger. In areas where access to fitness studios and health stores are not as accessible as more affluent areas, it is important to me to spread this gift to everybody. Now, some friends and I are part of Project 43 LA, a team that is dedicated to fixing up old buildings in South Central so that kids can have a safe place to be active, safe, master their crafts, and have fun! We want to give everybody an opportunity to succeed and follow their dreams no matter what income status.

Has it been a smooth road?
Bumpy to say the least. Before my Project 43 team, I tried to carry the weight of the world by myself. I reached out to many teachers to help me volunteer and told them why it was important to me, but most were unable or not interested. I was also paying a lot out of pocket to travel and provide equipment, which at the beginning of my career wasn’t the smartest thing financially. Other than the occasional, “I don’t know if I’m really helping”, it has been a smooth road and I’m blessed to overcome the challenges.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My business is unlike any other. Rather than separating art from fitness, I’ve merged the two into one healing experience. As I mentioned, music has been central in my life but yoga really helped me find a voice with it so now I’m known for blending yoga philosophies and mindfulness into dope conscious raps. When I teach yoga, I play fun hip-hop that uplifts my students and I may even occasionally put on my own songs or start rhyming over an instrumental during class. When I’m not teaching, I’m performing my conscious, self-loving raps from LA to New York. During my shows, I have back up “yogis” instead of dancers and will bust out a yoga flow while performing. Either way, my goal, no matter what audience is to have people leaving feeling empowered, creative, and fearless. I’m proud to have a vision that tells people you are more than just one thing.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, LA is THE spot. Since yoga is so big out here, as well as the entertainment scene, it already has a head start in grasping people’s interest. And because LA is so vast in size, there are many areas that don’t have access to the resources or funding for creative space. Being in a big city, it makes it possible to find others with a similar vision that can help pave the way. To make it work however, the city needs to be more diligent in its housing costs and resource programs. Cutting funding or making it too expensive to live only hurts those who can really benefit.

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Image Credit:
Israel Hernandez, Sarah Krish, & Leslie Cohen

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