Source: Men’s Health.com
The session starts with a blood-curdling howl: “Are you guys ready for the metal? I can’t hear you — ARE YOU GUYS READY FOR THE METAL?!?!?!”
So begins a typical day at Metal Yoga Bones, a yoga class at Saint Vitus Bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Instructor Thode has been offering her courses since 2014 at Brooklyn venues, metal festivals and international cruises.
As Black Sabbath and Bolt Thrower throb from the speakers, instructor Saskia Thode leads the class through an energetic flow. Gone is the meditative state typical of a standard yoga practice; in its place are what Thode refers to as “warrior screams” and “hellish fire,” along with tackling, punching, kicking, air guitar-playing, head-banging, and puddles of sweat, providing a space for release even for the most inexperienced yogis.
Thode was just 12 years old when her mother brought her to her first metal concert, and eventually she became a regular attendee at Wacken Open Air, a popular summer heavy metal music festival in her native Germany. At age 18, she was involved in a car accident that left her severely injured, and her physical therapist suggested yoga.
Initially hesitant, Thode gave yoga a try and ended up loving it. But after moving to New York City, she found the traditional yoga studios to be too uptight and judgmental. So she founded Metal Yoga Bones as her own brand of high-intensity, high-decibel yoga.
Devon James, a personal trainer, had no yoga experience before he went to his first Metal Yoga Bones class, as he spent most of his time playing traditional sports and strength training. “I knew I could, and should, be doing more to balance out my training,” he said. “I thought structured group yoga could be a way to make that happen.”
At the end of the 75-minute class of “dripping, growling, and shrieking,” James knew he’d be coming back for more. “It is physically challenging,” he says. “And it’s such a break from the slow, quiet, awkward-feeling traditional yoga classes and settings.”
That’s exactly the atmosphere that Thode is trying to create. “This should be a place for everyone, not just metal heads,” she says. But even though there’s no pressure to master an inversion or wear your most zen serenity smile during class, you do have to prepare to be screamed at — a lot.
Thode compares her class to the locker-room pre-game pump-up tradition. “They might not admit it, but the guys like me to yell at them,” she says, laughing.
Click here to visit the Metal Yoga Bones web site.