Rage yoga encourages swearing and – wait for it – swigging beer during practice. Are they serious? asks Healthista yoga blogger Genny Wilkinson Priest
Of all the yoga hybrids out there, Rage Yoga has to be the most ridiculous one yet. Based in Canada – though online classes are in the pipeline after a successful Kickstarter campaign – you pound beer, shout expletives and flip the bird in Warrior 2 against the aggressive beat of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” in the basement of a seedy bar.
Sounds “zen as f*ck,” right?
It’s not hard to see how modern day yoga has lost its authenticity
Look, anyone can practice yoga and anyone does. I have no problem combining stretching with any form of activity be it boxing, trampolining or Cross Fit.
Just don’t call it yoga.
We’re in danger of inhabiting an empty world where the traditional aims of a yoga practice
While I’m not exactly a yoga traditionalist – I eat meat, drink red wine and sometimes practice inversions when I have my period – it’s not hard to see how modern day yoga has lost its authenticity and connection to the practice that has its roots in Ancient India.
Today we have yoga raves with glow sticks, Instagram yogalebrities, and rampant commercialization and commodification – all signs that yoga in the 21st Century has moved far away from its historical origins in a complete reframing of Indian practices and beliefs.
Yoga, as an agent to transgress personal and bodily limits, is all but lost in modern day practice. We’re in danger of inhabiting an empty world where the traditional aims of a yoga practice – gaining mental equilibrium, liberation from the suffering that life brings, and seeing reality as it truly is – no longer matter.
Yoga, when practiced seriously, creates a safe space for emotions like hurt, anger, joy, or grief to bubble up…but you have to be sober to observe these emotions
What are Rage Yoga’s goals? According to Lindsay Istace, a former contortionist who created it in Calgary, it’s “therapeutic” because you can be “super honest” about your emotions.
How are you supposed to be honest about your emotions when you’re drunk? Yoga, when practiced seriously, creates a safe space for emotions like hurt, anger, joy, or grief to bubble up to the surface through posture work, meditation and deep breathing. You have to be sober to observe these emotions, make space for them to exist and most importantly not be overrun by them. That’s just not possible when you’ve been drinking – remember how much worse a break-up seemed after drinking shots of vodka?
Istace, who gained an online qualification to teach yoga, said Rage Yoga also helps you deal with addiction because students “tend to naturally drink slower.” That makes so much sense – chug a little slower if you’re in the throes of a deadly disease like alcoholism.
Practicing yoga drunk is a dumb idea.
Practicing yoga drunk is a dumb idea. You might injure yourself falling over in a balancing posture, and while this might be funny, tearing the meniscus in your knee after yanking the legs into lotus pose isn’t.
Rage Yoga is just a piss take. You just can’t take it seriously. Then again, maybe you’re not supposed to.
Rage Yoga is aimed at people who don’t feel at home going to a “traditional” yoga studio. I can appreciate that – yoga teachers don’t always make beginners feel comfortable when faced with totally new experiences like Sanskrit chanting, hands-on adjustments and sage smudging rituals.
A serious, good teacher will have at least ten years of personal practice
But it’s not yoga that’s the problem – it’s the way it’s taught. Find a good teacher who will explain these things to you, who will help you get comfortable with the more intimidating aspects of a traditional yoga practice. We’re not all hippy dippies burning incense and drinking cold-pressed green juice.
Many of us have undertaken serious study of the philosophical tradition of yoga. We have studied anatomy and spent hours breaking down postures to figure out how to teach them to any body, young or old, injured or not.
If you’re serious about yoga, find a serious teacher.
If you’re serious about yoga, find a serious teacher
The criteria are simple – a serious, good teacher will have at least ten years of personal practice, and five years teaching under their belt. They will maintain a regular practice and ideally have a close relationship with their own teacher.
They will have trained with a properly accredited, respected school over a long period of time – not a two-week teacher training on a beach in Bali. They will be more interested in developing a relationship with their students, than they are in collecting Instagram followers. They understand that they are always learning themselves.
In short, the kind of teacher who won’t encourage you to sink a pint in downward dog.
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