When I chose to cover Rage Yoga at The Millroom for AVL Beer Week, I figured it would be a gentler yoga class focused on cathartic releases of anger like my personal afternoon chill-out practice. I was wrong.
What followed during the June 2 event was an ass-kicking vinyasa flow session combined with a booming hard rock soundtrack and bursts of loud swearing from the participants; I was seriously out of my league.
At one point during the class, my entire core was shaking through a high lunge while Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” echoed through the venue, and I thought to myself, “I might faint.” This class was not for the timid of heart.
From pigeon poses and downward dogs, to lesser known asanas like Kundalini’s Descent, instructor Heather Parks sternly guided the class through strength-intensive sequences with the promise of a cold beer at the end.
Intermittently throughout the class, Parks placed special emphasis on letting go of the week’s stressors through yelling words I’m not sure I can print here, which added a playful and wild atmosphere to the class.
A yoga teacher for a little over a year, Parks leads regular classes at The Millroom and the Lexington Avenue Brewery, so it was natural for her to be teaching in the unorthodox setting of a bar. “You gotta detox before you retox,” Parks says.
Since the event was sponsored by the Asheville Brewers Alliance and The Millroom, participants were treated to local draft beers following the class and provided time to reflect on the beautiful chaos that had just erupted.
Pulling the concept for Rage Yoga from a Canadian yoga teacher out of Calgary, Parks has incorporated her own teaching style into a class that left this reporter in a blissful state of exhaustion and the other participants yearning for more.
“If this was a regular offering, I’d do this everyday in a heartbeat,” said Jessica Resler, an Asheville resident who works for Locals Supporting Locals. “It was energetic, and it was great to be able to yell, to scream, to flick off the world and let go of your stress.”