It's yoga class, but with cussing, screaming and drinking – Chron
Wearing a T-shirt that expresses some of rage yoga philosophy, Ashley Duzich and her dog are ready for a rage yoga session.
Sometimes a person is filled with so much rage and anger that lotus poses and pan flute music just can’t take one down the path of enlightenment.
That’s why rage yoga exists.
Yes, you heard that right — rage. It’s a yoga class unlike anything else practitioners of the Eastern art engage in. Sure, there is stretching, centered breathing and the recitation of mantras. But there is also a lot of screaming, swearing, drinking and heavy metal music.
In Houston, you can get in on the action at 7 p.m. every first Thursday of the month at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company under the guidance of rage yoga instructor Ashley Duzich. Classes are $20 each.
“It is yoga that allows you to release all of your negative emotions in a safe space,” Duzich said. “It’s basically a yoga practice that you’re allowed to scream and let go of all the sh*t you’re feeling—and man, 2020 was a bunch of sh*t.”
She started offering classes at Buffalo during the pandemic after the previous brewery in which she was teaching closed. At Buffalo, attendees are in outdoor tents in the parking lot where she has marked spots for the yoga mats six and a half feet apart. It can accommodate up to 20 people — and their dogs. Children are not welcome.
The responses to the idea ride the spectrum.
“I get everything from ‘oh my god, that’s the greatest thing ever,’ to ‘you’re a horrible person and you are destroying yoga,'” Duzich said.
Duzich learned rage yoga from Lindsey Istace, whom she refers to as the creator and mother of rage yoga. Duzich was at a low point in her life, having made an unwelcome move to Croatia. She Googled “yoga” and “heavy metal” and found Istace’s rage yoga page.
“I had to have it,” Duzich said. “I didn’t even question it. I had no money to my name and I was still buying this. I needed this.”
Ashley Duzich offers monthly rage yoga classes at the Buffalo Bayou Brewery. Here, just outside the frame, she holds the fisted unicorn pose.
Eventually, in February of 2017, she would fly to Calgary, Canada where she became the first and (then) only American to become a certified rage yoga teacher.
Istace was also in a time of emotional upset when she created rage yoga. She was in the middle of a bad breakup, something she points out can make a person a little nuts.
“I was finding that I was feeling super not OK and it wasn’t really a feeling I could sweep under the rug. It kept leaking out,” Istace said. “In my personal practice, I felt like that meant I was doing it wrong and that just wasn’t really the case. I leaned into it and found it really powerful when I had this space to just be not OK, even if it was colorful.”
Her organic experiment snowballed, she said. Istace joked about it on social media and someone told her she should teach a class. She began doing workshops and festivals and then regular classes and teacher certification.
“It got kind of out of control, ya know,” Istace said.
What does a rage yoga class look like?
Both women describe it as an offering for people who are just on the cusp of engaging in yoga but may be turned off by the traditional trappings of the practice. Still, Istace says the experience is more like a conventional class than a person might expect.
“Everybody always pictures a bunch of people just screaming F-words and blasting metal and for sure, that can absolutely be a feature,” Istace said. “But honestly, the flow of rage yoga is very similar to that of a regular yoga class.”
They start with connecting to their breath and their bodies. They go through poses and stretches. The difference is that throughout the session, there are a lot of F-bombs and middle fingers.
Several traditional yoga postures take on new names. For example, the “cat cow” becomes the “bad backup dancer.” A favorite pose of Duzich’s is what she calls the “fireballs to knee the balls” pose. It starts with people in a lunge position holding their hands out with fingers spread as if casting a fireball spell. She then has them transition into a high kick.
“We call that kneeing the balls,” Duzich said. “I tell them to picture their mortal enemy standing in front of them and just kicking them in the balls.”
Ashley Duzich always brings her dog to yoga sessions, something she encourages those in the class to do as well.
In other words, everything gets a little “ragey.” The practice, she said, isn’t about postures, but about releasing emotions.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re doing the pose right or even doing the same pose as us,” Duzich said. “It’s about doing what is right for you and your body. As long as you’re just letting go and having a good time, that’s what matters.”
Another move that in traditional yoga is called a Forward Fold, they dub “Let That Sh*t Go.” It’s based on a classical cleansing breath that starts as a mountain pose and on the exhale, you squeeze your diaphragm, pushing out all the stale air and flopping forward with a deep guttural noise or an expression of whatever makes you angry.
“You don’t just exhale, you let out all your bullsh*t,” Duzich said. “One of the best things we’ve ever heard was, ‘I told you to close the refrigerator!’”
Istace cited her favorite as a person who growled with fury, “I asked you to wash the dishes yesterday!”
Both are big fans of colorful language, encouraging people to “do no harm, take no sh*t.”
“There is a lot of energy behind your curse words,” Istace said. “Culturally, we’ve put such focus on them for a long time, that there is power in just owning them.”
And while they are optional, both teachers cited frequent use of “fist unicorns,” a hand gesture with two middle fingers stuck up in a powerful fist thrust.
Istace believes there is something for everyone in yoga. If they are comfortable with the classical style, they can go to yoga studios. If not, they can give rage yoga a try. She especially recommends it for people coming out of the mess that was 2020.
“There is something to be said for a safe space to yell and let go,” Istace said. “There is something beautiful in a room full of people you may or may not know just screaming F-words and flopping your body around like some angsty teenager.”
She says you’re not angry for long. It’s about letting go of the anger, not just holding onto it or throwing a temper tantrum. It’s why, she explains, there is so much more laughter in the classes than most people expect.
“You let it out and you realize how silly it is and that it’s OK,” Istace said.
Word-of-mouth marketing is their gold standard. Duzich focuses on making sure everyone is having fun and not taking themselves too seriously.
“Rage yoga is more than a practice,” she said. “It’s an attitude designed to make you zen as f*ck. That’s exactly why we say it’s not for everyone. We’re not hating on you, so don’t come hating on us.”
- The CDC's do not travel list, explained
- Changes are coming to Galveston's historic (and haunted) Hotel Galvez
- Houston is on a 'Best Places to Live' list. Does it deserve to be there?
- 'Representation matters': New Spanglish children's book celebrates tacos and culture
- The best graffiti walls, murals and spaces to take photos in Houston


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *