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Heavy Metal Yoga Is Actually a Thing, And It’s Pretty Intense

Heavy metal music and yoga may seem incompatible, but one New York yoga instructor with a passion for metal has mixed them together in a series of classes that help people relax and unleash their inner beast at the same time.

Headbanging, death growls or “devil horns” hand gestures, all executed to a background of loud metal music, aren’t exactly elements associated with yoga, but it’s exactly what you can expect while attending a Metal Yoga Bones class run by Saskia Thode. It’s not the most Zen experience in the world, that’s for sure, but the Brooklyn-based yoga instructor claims that her classes are just as liberating, if not more so, than regular yoga.

Photo: Metal Yoga Bones/Facebook

Instead of the group “Om” that usually starts off a yoga class, Thode gets metal yoga class participants in the mood with death growls – a loud and booming “roar” often used in death metal music – screaming and banging of fists on the floor. The classes do involve actual yoga, but Saskia likes to spice things up with metal-themed poses she invented herself, like “Destroyer666”, “F*ck you” or “Corpse Pose”. She also incorporates air guitar or flipping the bird in some of the exercises.

“Metal Yoga starts off with a lot of growling, screaming, and hitting the floor with our fists to give people a chance to release some of the anger, stress and the darkness inside,” Saskia Those told The Guardian. “I also encourage people to move; if they like a song and like the beat, why not move with it? Occasionally we will start a circle pit or such, and to close the class, we raise our voices to Satan with a dark and deep howl.”

Photo: Metal Yoga Bones/Facebook

Asked how she got the idea for a metal-themed yoga class, the young instructor said: “It all started during my own home practice. At home, I usually played metal and enjoyed the two together, so during my teacher training, when we were supposed to think about playlists for our demonstration yoga class, I was thinking, what can I play that is me? Metal, of course!”

“Be prepared to completely tap into the dark side, to scream, beat, sweat, and do anything you need to do to unleash your inner beast, the Metal Yoga Bones website states. Listen to your favorite blasting metal tunes while letting your body burn with hellish heat. Move and breathe while listening to your favorite bands. Raise your metal horns (mantras), and offer your practice to the darkness. We will be holding poses until we are feeling their hellish fire creeping into our bodies until we rest like the dead in Corpse Pose in the end of the class.”

Photo: Metal Yoga Bones/Facebook

German-born Thode holds weekly metal yoga classes at the Saint Vitus Bar and Cobra Club, both in Brooklyn, and welcomes everyone to enjoy the experience. “There is no advanced yoga class and no beginner class… our practice consists of simple, basic poses that will help ease tension and provide a respite from our hectic lives,” she states.

If you’re tired of regular yoga, but death metal isn’t really your thing, there are lots of other special types of yoga you can try. If you like beer, there’s beer yoga, if you love goats, there’s goat yoga, and if swearing just comes naturally to you, try rage yoga. Oh, and if you like your yoga without the physical exercise, give laughter yoga a try.