Rage yoga - New form of yoga or madness?

Rage yoga – New form of yoga or madness?


Yoga – as we commonly perceive – is all about pure meditation combined with exercise to keep one fit at health and peaceful at mind. The latest buzz is all about denying the conventional serenity of meditation and entering into a phase where the opposite replaces tranquility. Rage yoga, as it is being commonly referred to, is all about screaming, swearing and beer to vent out fury.

Lindsay Istace, a yoga practitioner from Calgary, is the founder of rage yoga. It is her own version of a more casual and vigorous form of yoga. The postures of yoga are replaced by offensive gestures. There is loud heavy metal on the backdrop and her students swear at each other while doing yoga. It is not done in open environment amid nature, but within a curtained, dim-lit basement hangout.

Conventional yoga practitioners have called this sheer madness and are even calling it not any form of yoga in any way. This isn’t affecting Istace in any way and she continues to carry on her rage yoga classes that are gaining fast popularity everywhere. This has got yoga gurus really worried. Should rage yoga be accepted as a new form of yoga or is it sheer madness?

New yoga:

1. Opinions differ: If a yoga practitioner is convinced that a certain type of yoga could help a certain group of individuals going through similar problems in life, what is so wrong with accepting it as a new form of meditation? Even Lindsay is open about the fact that this kind of yoga might not be for everyone but she is entitled to her own opinion of this yoga being helpful in finding solace for people who are experiencing distress in their lives.

2. Closer to reality: The regulars at Lindsay’s rage yoga classes describe the experience as tad more close to reality than the traditional ones. The environment is easygoing and there is no one taking offense if you manage to disturb them mistakenly. It is not like being in another world where everything is serene and peaceful and in sync with nature because that is not what the real life will be when your classes are over and you get back to real life. You stay in reality and learn to adapt to stress. It may be different from conventional yoga but is definitely a form of de-stressing as it seems.

3. Venting out fury: When you are raging with fury, there is no way you could concentrate on normal yoga where you need to calm down first and then concentrate. When your mind isn’t at ease, how can your body respond to whichever way you try to make it bend? Venting out anger is important when you have rage building within you, outcome of a situation where you failed miserably. Screaming and swearing helps even in normal situation when you are angry and you want to relax. Swearing is therapeutic according to psychologists.

4. Combination of the two: While screaming, swearing and using obscene gestures might just help in venting out anger, combining it with yoga postures can help calm down and relax. It is pure adrenaline combined with benefits of yoga – definitely a combination of modern day methods of de-stressing with the ancient added advantages of yoga. When one is in need to keeping it real along with getting help from the painful experiences they might be dealing with, there is no harm coming from experimenting something different from the usual.

5. Personal experience: Lindsay Istace speaks from personal experience about how combining rages with yoga helped her deal and finally heal from the plague of a broken relationship. She also speaks about how rage yoga helped her overcome addiction and anger management issues. People like her would be and are coming in great numbers to her classes and have given out good reviews of their personal experience with practicing rage yoga.


1. The opposites are not synonymous: Yoga and rage are opposite terms. While yoga is all about tranquility and peace, rage yoga is everything but peaceful. Heavy metal cannot be a new way of dead silence. You cannot talk of swearing and mediation on the same level. You can either vent out anger or you can stay calm and concentrate on being in sync with nature in order to stay serene. If heavy metal, screaming, swearing and posing with obscenity can help one deal with anger issues, it should be introduced as a new form of anger management and not a form of yoga.

2. Beer and non-addiction? Lindsay talks about fighting addiction while her rage yoga uses beer as one of the ingredients of relaxation. What will one do with this form of yoga when he/she is fighting alcohol addiction at the same time? It is utterly maddening that a yoga instructor should be encouraging beer consumption while telling her students to fight addiction. There is no staying real or more in touch with reality when you are losing your sanity to alcohol.

3. What happened to nature’s healing capability? Yoga is done is open area, well sunlit and far from noise. Rage yoga, on the other hand is being practiced in the dimly lit basement of bar named Dickens in Canada. When this form of healing is following rules that are totally in contrast with the basics of yoga, it has no rights to use the name of yoga for its promotions. Opposing to every idea of a conventional practice and yet retaining its name is totally uncouth.

4. Peace and heavy metal: When there is heavy metal playing loud in the backdrop, how can one think of finding peace? Let alone finding peace and healing, how is someone expected to think in that atmosphere? It is more like shutting out the real world and submerging in music to forget pain. That is madness and not a form of yoga even if combined with some altered postures of yoga.


Istace is a practiced contortionist, fire-eater and juggler – a full time entertainer as she calls herself. She did not like the serious and peaceful environment of the traditional yoga classes which is quite understandable for her way of living. She made her own version of yoga combined with things that help her roll. That might have suited her needs and helped her. But there is no guaranteeing that it would help others too.

She found peace after swearing and venting out anger while on her yoga mat, reconnecting with her body. If there are similar people who find the way helpful for them, there is no harm in calling rage yoga as the new age yoga. It might look maddening to everyone else but if some people are finding it helpful, it may be totally worth the time and effort.
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