Heavy Metal Yoga Is a Thing

Categories: Metal!

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My hour of Black Yoga also made me realize how seldom in other classes I listened to the instructor. Instead, I followed the students around me. Yoga in the dark provides a solid link from teacher to pupil. My only reliable cues were Kimee's commands of "bend your right knee" or "hands in heart position."

But of course, the truly unique feature of the class was the soundtrack, which is a pleasant relief from some of the more bullshitty aspects of yoga.

Yoga asks you to embrace peace and serenity, not just for 90 minutes but as a pervading, self-cultivated outlook, a message bolstered by chanting-and-nature-sounds playlists. I always valued yoga as a low-impact workout that made me feel really, really good -- a perfect mix of self-massage and endorphin release -- but I'm too cynical for the more meditative part of it. Whenever the stick-figure woman at the front of the class launches into a Maharishi routine, I find myself tuning out and glancing at the perfect apricot-shaped asses around me. At best, yoga it offers me a break from my life as an impoverished millennial with an instable freelance career and intimacy issues, not a solution to it.

Peace and serenity are not what doom metal, the central genre of Scott's playlists, are about. Bands like Earth and Sunn O))) relay the opposite: a feeling of strife, anxiety and occasionally eminent death. I listened to their hissing static and lumbering guitar as I moved through poses, and I felt like I wasn't being asked to part with my stress and angst. The sound of trepidation was right there on the stereo -- but it was small, manageable and came in a predictable rhythm, and I was still able to work towards something as I experienced it.

Maybe for cynics and hard asses attracted to metal that's a more honest and appealing message than that of birds and waterfalls.

A Black Yoga Playlist:

New Risen Throne - "Orbiting Gates"

Sunn O))) - "Orakulum"

Genocide Organ - "Their Mighty Slaughter"

Wolves in the Throne Room - "Dia Artio"

Mustard Gas and Roses - "IV"

Ulver - "Theme 03"

Earth - "Raiford (The Felon Wind)"

Bunk Data - "Angelus Rector"

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