Kimberlee Jensen Stedl

Punk Rock Yoga? from Seattle, My Friend

I started this post thinking that Sadie Nardini's Bon Jovi Yogi was in direct competition with Seattle's (new-to-me) Punk Rock Yoga. But, as so often happens when posting, the more I dug around the more the story changed. In fact, it seems that Nardini's New York Fierce Club (yoga studio) offers a version of Seattle-based Kimberlee Jensen Stedl's punk stuff. (Offered by Brian Williams  though his bio isn't explicit about it.)

Created in 2003 (yikes! how did we miss it?) Punk Rock Yoga is offered once a week for the rest of the summer at 20/20 Cycles in Seattle (as well as locations in Boston, Las Vegas, Missoula, Toronto, and ---wait for it---Weisbaden, Germany). PRY is designed to liberate yoga from the rigid, elitist, body-slimming aerobics-wannabe exercise routine it has become---says creator Kimberlee Jensen Stedl (see her earnest, but somewhat rambling mission statement). She covers a lot of territory without giving much idea of what happens in a Punk Rock Yoga class (we're *dying* to know!). It has live music (sometimes), a community vibe, and---almost totally against the spirit of punk---a rock'n'roll sensibility. (By the way, anyone read Iggy Pop's brilliant put-down of rock'n'roll this week in NYMagazine? So good.

NYM: Have you grown weary of rock and roll? Not necessarily, but I’m really irritated.

NYM: How come?I think it’s now officially the world’s worst form of music. Even a mid-level cumbia band in Venezuela sounds better than the biggest-selling rock bands.) Even more sadly, there are no pictures.

So, plucking again from the mission statement: Stedl explains, "For several months while taking both yoga and belly dance classes,I noticed that I would leave the belly dance classes feeling joyful and connected with the other participants, while I would leave the yoga classes feeling cold and isolated. I sensed this was due to the complete detachment from everyone else in the room that occurs in most yoga classes. What I needed was a more balanced approach, whereby at least a portion of the class was dedicated to connecting with others." (That's why everyone has dyed blue hair that stands, glued-up straight in perfect Mohawks?)

"These observations drove me to incorporate community-building aspects into Punk Rock Yoga classes, such as adding partner poses into each class and incorporating more group activities into our classes."

"The more I taught and the more I immersed myself in the professional yoga community, the more I carved out a mission for Punk Rock Yoga: I want to scrub the elitism and rigidity out of modern yoga."

Okay---but it's hard to imagine true punks being inclusive, flexible socialists. Unless I'm really, totally getting it wrong. (What does punk mean these days to Seattle-ites?)Whatever it means, I would really like to see gloved hands (YogaToes--"yoga grip hand gloves"?), blue Mohawks, old Doc Martins, and safety pin earrings and nose rings moving through sun salutations. That surely would be a yoga democracy. Or, would it be anarchy?

Related Posts:Bon Jovi Yogi, January 2009Fierce Club Opens in Nolita, March 2009