If you wish you could get into yoga but find all that serious calm cringeworthy, then Rage Yoga may be the answer.
What is Rage Yoga? It’s a badass yoga alternative founded by Lindsay Istace. Think yoga poses with a side of swearing, middle fingers, and good tunes. And sometimes beer. And wine.
We reached out to Rage Yoga instructor Ashley Duzich of Ashley Duzich Wellness in Houston, Texas, to find out more.
Though you can expect some traditional yoga poses and breath work, Rage Yoga is not your typical yoga.
It begins with the motto, which is “Do no harm, take no shit,” according to Duzich.
As for specifics? Duzich adds that instructors use a combination of traditional and new yoga movements. These elements are combined with “screaming and releasing negative energy to achieve that level-headed, unf*ckable with state of mind.”
While the vibe is far from traditional, you can expect a class led by a trained and certified instructor. In order to take the Rage Yoga instructor certification program, instructors need to have completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training.
While Rage Yoga incorporates some traditional yoga poses, it’s a considerable departure from yoga’s cultural and spiritual origins.
For one, some point to the addition of swearing and yelling as being out of sync with traditional yogic principles of peace and kindness.
Secondly, several ancient yogic texts discourage drinking alcohol, largely because it can disrupt the mind-body connection.
This isn’t to say that Rage Yoga doesn’t have benefits (we’ll get to those in a moment). Just be mindful of this context if you do give it a try.
Physical activity of any kind is beneficial for your physical and mental health, and yoga and swearing each offer benefits of their own too.
Yoga has long been known to increase strength through its movements.
Research shows that swearing while exercising also increases strength and power performance versus using non-swear words.
Swearing triggers our fight-and-flight response, causing a surge of endorphins and increased circulation, which may explain the improved strength and power. It’s similar to the phenomenon of hysterical strength.
You’ve likely heard stories about mothers who develop superhuman, or hysterical, strength to lift cars to save a trapped child.
Reduced stress and anxiety
Yoga has quite the reputation as a technique for managing stress and anxiety. Swearing has also been found to have a cathartic effect by letting you express emotions, leading to lower stress levels.
Many people do yoga to help with chronic pain.
Turns out, swearing offers some pain relief too.
That boost of endorphins we just talked about also produces a hypoalgesic, or pain-lessening, effect, according to a
Yoga and swearing’s effects on stress and anxiety can help you sleep better, since stress and anxiety are known to disrupt sleep and contribute to insomnia.
Since Rage Yoga can get the heart pumping a little more than traditional yoga, do it earlier in the day to reap the relaxation benefits so that you’re not too wired right before bed.
Feeling connected to others is a sometimes overlooked benefit of group exercise, whether you participate virtually or IRL.
Plus, there’s evidence that swearing in a group setting is connected with feelings of closeness and solidarity. When the swearing happens collectively, it also lightens the mood and can improve an otherwise unpleasant or negative atmosphere.
You know how people say they do yoga — or some other activity — because punching someone in the throat is frowned upon? It’s funny because it’s kind of true.
Physical activity is a great way to get out pent-up frustration. Throw some enthusiastic cursing into the mix and you can reduce the likelihood of lashing out, according to evidence that swearing inhibits aggression.
Swearing is a way to blow off steam and let out anger and frustration, which lowers the probability of getting physically aggressive.
Aside from the possibility of straining a muscle if you push a pose too hard or overdo the booze, there aren’t really any risks you need to worry about.
That said, some people are put off by cursing, and drinking and swearing aren’t exactly kid-friendly activities, so keep that in mind before signing up for a sesh.
If you want to get your rage on at home, the creator of Rage Yoga offers video classes online, including a series of video classes by Duzich and other instructors that can be streamed or downloaded.
The Rage Yoga website has a list of certified instructors. At the moment, in-person classes are only available in some places in the United States and Canada.
Rage Yoga may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But as long as four-letter words and certain gestures don’t offend your senses, it can be a fun alternative to traditional yoga classes.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddleboard.