Yes, Death Metal Yoga Is a Thing, and It's Awesome

yoga
Death metal yoga is a whole lot of Slayer and zero Zen. (Image: Anders Ahlgren)

If you are totally into yoga, but posing in silence isn’t really your thing, you probably need to sign up for death metal yoga. Yep, it’s actually a thing (in Brooklyn, of course) and involves a whole lot of screaming, Slayer, swear words, kicking and, yes, headbanging.

Metal Yoga Bones, a class led by German-born Saskia Thode, is like yoga for “Head Bangers Ball” fans. There is basically no meditation or relaxation involved, and those who can’t even execute child’s pose can totally thrive. For real.

“Are you guys ready for the metal?” instructor Saskia Thode screams to begin the class, as Black Sabbath blares from the speakers. “I can’t hear you. ARE YOU GUYS READY FOR THE METAL?!”

According to Men’s Health, “punching, kicking, air guitar-playing, headbanging and puddles of sweat” are par for the course, and Thode kicks off each 75-minute class by letting out a deep howl she refers to as a “warrior scream.”

Thode, who has been offering her courses in Brooklyn since 2014, started hitting metal concerts at the age of 12 and has been a fan ever since. After getting injured in a car accident at 18, she discovered yoga at the suggestion of a physical therapist — and she loved it.

Around the same time, she moved to New York, but didn’t really enjoy the “uptight and judgmental” traditional yoga studios. So she decided to create her own brand of badass yoga.

“I don’t really care who comes or what they look like. Fat, muscular, man, woman — there’s room for everyone here,” Thode told Men’s Health. “We end up having so much fun that most of my students don’t even realize they are holding a yoga pose.”

According to her students, yoga experience or a taste for death metal isn’t a prerequisite, and even superfit individuals consider it a serious workout. “I knew I could, and should, be doing more to balance out my training,” Devon James, 39, a personal trainer from Brooklyn, explained to the magazine. “I thought structured group yoga could be a way to make that happen.”

An hour later he was “dripping, growling and shrieking” from the physically challenging class, which he described as being “such a break from the slow, quiet, awkward-feeling traditional yoga classes and settings.”

And while you might get gentle nudges or repositioning in a traditional yoga class, you can expect tough love from Thode. “Guys really like to be yelled at. They might not admit it, but they like me to yell at them,” she said, laughing.

Now all you have to do is dig out that old Pantera shirt and some ripped-up yoga pants from your closet and you are good to go.

What Do YOU Think?

Would you try a Metal Yoga Bones class? Do you consider “death metal yoga” to be a legitimate type of yoga? What other eccentric yoga classes have you tried?

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