‘Rage Yoga’ sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually all the rage in Calgary right now thanks to unconventional yoga instructor Lindsay Istace. During her classes, she combines regular yoga poses with swear words, offensive gestures, and beer, as a way for participants let go of their rage!
“Rather than doing the namaste (at the end of the class), we do a really big ‘f*ck yea,’” Istace told Metro News. “It was pretty awesome because I had a whole room of people turning to one another saying ‘F*ck yea, f*ck yea’. It was good.”
If you’re really into yoga you might find this blasphemous, but Istace claims that it’s really therapeutic. A trained contortionist and fire eater, she says she came up with the idea while going through a painful breakup. She started swearing and screaming during her yoga practice, and that helped her get over her issues with addiction and anger.
“I’m a very loud, colorful personality,” she said, speaking to CBC News. “When I started going to yoga classes, I felt like I didn’t really fit in at a lot of those different studios. There’s a very deadpan serious, overly serene approach to things. And that’s just not how I roll.”
“I wanted to create a practice that I felt comfortable in, and I knew I wasn’t alone. When you create a space for yourself to be angry and to shout and swear and scream, suddenly it’s hard to take yourself so seriously. So it goes from anger to laughter pretty quickly,” she added.
So she practiced Rage Yoga and found it so effective that she decided to share it with others as well. She’s been conducting classes Monday and Wednesday nights at Dickens Pub since January, as a casual variation to conventional, serious yoga. And her students seem to love her $12 classes, which include a discount on beer pints at the pub.
“I find the atmosphere of the class is a lot more easygoing,” said Colleen Trumble, a regular face at Istace’s classes. “If you fall over or wobble, you can just sort of laugh through it. You don’t really feel like you’re disturbing some sort of ‘tranquility’ of the class. With Lindsay’s classes, the poses are a lot easier to get into, and I can feel like I can accomplish something.”
But Istace admits that Rage Yoga isn’t for everyone. “Some yoga teachers don’t exactly like the approach,” she said, laughing. “They don’t really think that it’s real yoga, that swearing and drinking beer makes it illegitimate. And that’s fine. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Different things work for different people and not everyone has to be on board.”
“What I want to do with this is use it as an awesome gateway yoga: get people to try out yoga for those who are intimidated by studios but want to try out a class.”