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    In metal yoga, a primal scream kicks off class rather than an “Om,” that sacred groan meant to connect earth to bones, mind and body to universe (or something like that). In metal yoga, meditative music is replaced by, yep, the pulsing sludge of heavy metal. In metal yoga, as the teacher leads the class into a difficult pose, she might call it “that fucking Instagram yoga pose,” and if bodies tremble in pain she may urge cursing and middle fingers, a release so much more invigorating than the “keep breathing” encouragement I normally hear in yoga class.

    Metal yoga started at Yoga East’s Germantown studio a year ago, and when I arrive on a summer day for my first class, instructor Allison Longino, a bubbly young woman with wintergreen-mint hair and a Pink Floyd shirt, tells me she’s been at a metal festival all weekend; therefore, the class will be more “mellow metal.” The soundtrack is instrumental and mournful, not the guttural thrashing I associate with the genre. The seven of us ordering ourselves into three rows are not the crowd I’d expected. A few young potential head-bangers, yes, but one middle-aged blonde wears a University of Kentucky tank top and gold earrings. The woman behind her I would’ve pegged for a gentle yoga kind of gal, being that she must be in her 60s or early 70s. At the end of the 75-minute, $10 class, I expect us to press our palms in prayer and say “Namaste” in unison. Instead, the instructor gives us a big smile and a “Kick ass this week!” Sign of the horns and all.

    This originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “Metal Yoga.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

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