Well international yoga day showed that yoga can get plenty of butts on mats. The pictures of the crowd tens of thousand strong on Rajpath in New Dehli packed a punch. I think we may still have an image problem here in the West though. Ask Joe Public and I suspect candles and incense will be evoked with the impression that breaking a sweat is unheard of. Think again! What is great about yoga is that it is all-inclusive. Any one can do it at any age with any ability. Different styles suit different people so the more styles out there the better, in my opinion.
Here is a style that will blow your mind. Black Yoga & Metal Yoga Bones are new movements from across the Pond. Imagine Vinyasa flow meets heavy metal. Why should your yoga practice soundtrack be restricted to OMs, waves and wind chimes? Clearly it shouldn’t. If tracks like Blood Swamp, Chanting the Low Shadow and Pale on Pale move you to salute the moon then bring it on sister. Class might start with freestyle vocalisations to release anger and inner darkness. Maybe replace your opening chant with a howl to Satan. The aim is for the practice to be grounding, uplifting of spirit and raising a sweat as Hellfire makes your muscles burn.
Counter intuitively for me as a non metal-head, research from the University of Queensland showed listening to extreme music can regulate sadness and enhance positive emotions. Someone had a lot of fun doing that study. This effect coupled with a yoga practice sounds like a winning combination.
This may not resonate with everyone but surely that’s the point. Some of us may feel alienated by Yoga’s real or perceived image. Step outside the confines of how you think a class ought to be presented then you may open it up to a whole new mind set and welcome new people to this amazing practice.
I am proud to be a GP settled in Manchester city centre after having trained and worked in Cambridge, London and Brussels. Being a family doctor is one of the best and most varied jobs. The world with all its problems can walk through my office door and I am invited to collaborate in helping out. In recent years yoga has become an increasingly significant feature of my life. As well as getting me in the best physical shape it has helped me through stresses and depression. I attend several Yoga Manchester classes on a weekly basis. More and more I share my experience of yoga with colleagues and patients. It has become a lifelong friend.