The Revolution Goes to the Mat


Punk rock and yoga? As implausible as it sounds, the two art forms have more in common than you might think, says Kimberlee Jensen Stedl, creator of Seattle’s Punk Rock Yoga.  In their pure states, both are non hierarchical and democratic. They advocate independence and self-empowerment. “There’s so much pomp and circumstance in yoga today. Plus an attachment to materialistic gear like expensive straps, mats, and outfits,” explains Stedl. “But it’s very punk to take back the power and realize that you’re the expert when it comes to your body not the teacher.”

To that end, Punk Rock Yoga classes are taught in community spaces, there are usually no mirrors, and the lights are dimmed. The reason: Stedl wants to take the emphasis off competing with each other and against ourselves. “It doesn’t matter if your neighbor’s head is closer to the floor than yours. That shouldn’t affect your practice.” Instructors also use less “flowery” language (which appeals to PRY’s many male students), and most classes feature live music such as African drummers, gong players, didgeridoo experts, and even mellow electric guitarists.

So is this a new trend? Stedl says she’s increasingly hearing about other non-traditional yoga forms popping up including a “Happy Hour Yoga” that takes place in a bar. “I think it’s great,” she says of the unconventional venues. “It proves that yoga can’t be contained inside a studio.”

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Audrey D. Brashich

Healing Lifestyles & Spas Team
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