The Receipts: Britton Schey, The Reluctant Yogi

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Britton Schey is not what you’d picture alongside the phrase “yoga teacher.” Outside the doors of her studio VERAYOGA, she can be found walking her dog in Harley jeans, a t-shirt, and motorcycle boots. In her role as Peloton’s executive producer of yoga and meditation, she trains instructors for the app, but that doesn’t mean she’s manifesting or buying into any “meant to be” shit either. Schey doesn’t tread lightly and has a biting sense of humor that sticks out within yoga’s too-serious wing of wellness. “I believe one Yelp review said ‘She thinks she’s funny but she’s not,” Schey recalls, scoffing to herself.

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Growing up in the 90s in the suburbs of Detroit, Schey picked up this sense of humor from her father, who worked in the fitness industry during the first yoga boom. As a teenager, all of the yoga practitioners she met through her father, like Jonny Kest, taught with levity. Despite having zero plans to follow in his footsteps, after a jaunt in the entertainment industry, she got her teaching certification in 2016, and soon thereafter joined Peloton’s fitness streaming behemoth.

Schey, somewhat begrudgingly, has accepted yoga as an inescapable part of her life. She thinks “manifestation” is bullshit, but there’s a glimmer of acknowledgment that her background in talent development and interest in fitness have merged perfectly with Peloton. Instead of finding the ideal male lead for ABC’s newest daytime crime drama, she’s sourcing beefy man buns who can stand on one hand. And, of course, she wants to inspire people to make wellness, not just yoga, a regular part of their lives.

image of woman smiling
image of woman smiling

SPY: How has being in the yoga industry influenced how you spend your money? For instance, do you feel any pressure to be more mindful of things like sustainability or minimalism?

Britton Schey: This is a very privileged answer, but here goes. I don’t love stuff, I love experiences. But I do like nice things. My thoughts on purchasing things, in general, are that I’m happy to spend a little more on a pair of jeans because the reality is that I’ll probably wear those jeans for an entire season.

My T-shirt is one that I’ve gone through 100 of them and found the best material and fit. I’m into very simple, but high-quality products. Fast fashion and that stuff when I was younger — sure. But I would rather have a piece of clothing that fits me and feels great and the quality is great and wear it to death as opposed to buying 15 shirts from Zara or wherever it is.

SPY: What is your favorite t-shirt?

BS: I’m obsessed with the company Perfect White Tee. First of all, brilliant name because that’s what people search for, and that’s what they are. They have the best T-shirts and tank tops. It’s the fabric at the cut, it’s just super simple, you can dress them up or dress them down.

I have them in a million different colors and multiple in the same color. I’m a T-shirt, tank top girl for everything.

SPY: When it comes to consuming yoga specifically, how has being in the business changed how you experience a class? Are you enjoying it as a class, or is it more market research?

BS: I seek out other studios when I’m traveling, I make it a point to when I’m in a different city or country. And in New York, I make it a point to get outside our walls even though I love our studio, frankly. It’s twofold the way I look at it: how do they run the business? Is it clean? Was the front desk person friendly? Are they doing something we don’t do that stands out? You’re always, unfortunately, comparing yourself to what’s around you, good and bad.

Then from a teacher standpoint, and if you were to say what my job is across the board at VERAYOGA and Peloton, it’s to train yoga teachers. Whether it’s on camera or in one of our studios. So I listen to language, I listen to the type of anatomy they’re talking about. I watch the way they connect with the room. You’re borrowing ideas and deciding what doesn’t work. Unfortunately, you can never really turn that off once it’s in you. Its eyes wide open constantly.

SPY: Based on all of these experiences, are there any fitness or wellness trends you see blowing up in the next year or so?

BS: Cross-modality is a big thing right now and I think is going to continue to be. You already see more pilates, HIIT, and functional conditioning classes, and you’ll start to see all of that seep into yoga.

There’s already a lot of teachers teaching that way, I definitely am. Warrior II is great, but you know what else is? A hip CAR. The actual yoga shapes? I don’t give a shit about any of that stuff as long as you’re doing it with focus on your breath and attention to your body. Mindful movement is what is important to me.

SPY: Is there any one product you always recommend to people?

BS: Since I’m in a hot room constantly, I’m a big fan of the Maya Chia Super Blend. It’s like a thick, serum moisturizer. I slather it on my face at all times and always have it with me. It’s the ultimate for dry skin, but not greasy or anything like that.

SPY: What is your social media algorithm feeding you? 

BS: I’ve been looking for a bag for the last six months because I’ve been using my last one for like three years at this point. I’m not interested in going out and buying Prada or Gucci or whatever it is. I’ve been looking for something well-made and interesting that no one has seen before, but I know it’s the thing. So now I’m getting ads for every weird bag on the planet.

Oh, and a whacky coat, that’s another thing. Jeans and a white T-shirt are my jam, but then a whacky winter coat. Something big and oversized, a bright color or pattern is the go-to. That’s what I’ve been on the lookout for.

SPY: What is your favorite accessory other than your wedding ring?

BS: I wear a big, giant medallion all the time that used to be on a bracelet that was my grandmother’s. It was a Hungarian coin, but I had it on this big chain that was impractical, so my husband had it remade into a necklace for me and I wear it literally everywhere. I take it off when I practice and put it on my mat when I’m teaching, but if I forget it I feel like I’m naked. That was my grandma Vera, who the studio is named after. She was a force.

SPY: You mentioned a preference for nice things, do you have any cheaper guilty pleasures?

BS: Any cheap sunglasses from Amazon. I have expensive sunglasses and I swear I only wear these two pairs that are not even $10. And those are never the sunglasses that get crushed or lost. The cheap ones last a lifetime.

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