Reflect on the New Year ahead with BLACK YO)))GA

Yoga, as a spiritual, mental, and physical practice has its roots in the early, pre-Vedic Hindu traditions of the fifth century B.C.E. Yoga, as a workout routine for basic American girls and New Age yuppies, dates to around the 1980s. Pennsylvania vinyasa group BLACK YO)))GA seeks to return the practice to its mental and meditative form in a way that both appeals to and helps a very specific clientele. According to the group’s founders, this practice, dear readers, is specifically for you.

It’s unsurprising that a meditative practice like yoga is beginning to gain traction in the heavy metal community. We are all fans of a music genre that often sees itself as a distinct art and lifestyle separate from the mores of mainstream entertainment. Many of us first turned to metal during particularly bleak times in our lives, and we feel a sense of catharsis when we listen to this music. Let’s be honest with ourselves; extreme metal is not a genre or scene that revels in the joys and uplifting elements of society. It is an art style that wallows in desperate thoughts and anguished moods, one that paints with broad strokes of black and grey. Dark lyrics indulge dark fantasies and embrace alternative conceptions of truth, justice, and wisdom. Extreme metal is an ostracizer that gives the orphan a home.

As my good friend Christian enumerated, extreme metal offers an escape from negative ruminations for many listeners, particularly the young and the vulnerable. By naming the blackness, it strips the blackness of its power and diminishes it to something small, manageable, toothless. It does this by offering a sense of belonging, a comradery and understanding that these thoughts and emotions are neither new nor unique. “Surely if others have survived this turmoil,” the black or sludge or doom track tells you, “you will too.”

The creators of BLACK YO)))GA offer a complementary approach to aid travelers off the beaten path.

BLACK YO)))GA is vinyasa style yoga set to drone, noise, stoner metal, ambient, industrial, space doom, and other traditional meditation music. It incorporates basic poses in a relaxed environment, while focusing on safe body mechanics. A traditional yoga class in practice, however darker than what you may typically associate with the practice.


Our goal is to form a heavy, meditative space and spread the benefits of yoga to people in our own art and music communities. People who may battle depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug addiction, trauma/PTSD, phobias, dark passengers, etc. People who may not feel they fit into the typical yoga classes. People who, in all rights, may need the balance and release of yoga the most to lead rich and fulfilling lives.


“You can’t fully appreciate the light until you understand the darkness.”

Some time last year our editor in chief started attending a black metal yoga class to help him relieve stress. A bit later, I noticed that my friend Pagliacci Ist Kvlt had begun attending an actual BLACK YO)))GA class. Curious, I looked into the class and found that the group had also assembled a musical ensemble to compose drone/doom music to aid in meditation. One morning over the holiday break, I pressed play on this release, Asanas Ritual, and allowed my mind to focus solely on my work. As I finished my task for the day, memories of a time when I had more minutes to spare in my routine returned. The summer I met my wife, I spent time every week doing yoga and meditating, not specifically for a spiritual reason, but as a means of loosening my muscles and concerting a conscious effort to focus my attention and to slow down my thoughts. You’d be amazed how much a bit of time dedicated to reflecting on the good while coming to terms with the bad while stretching and breathing deeply can be a salve for a troubled heart.

Asanas Ritual reminded me of this, and although I’m in a better place emotionally than I was then, I can see how disallowing myself to carve out time each week to simply think and be relatively still has likely compounded the stresses in my life. I don’t typically make resolutions, but I think I’m going to spend every Monday night for the next few months doing yoga and mentally working through the things that trouble me. The heavy drone and uplifting doom of BLACK YO)))GA seems a worthwhile companion for this exercise.

If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, you can get details about the BLACK YO)))GA class here. If you’re interested in doing yoga on your own, you can purchase a copy of Asanas Ritual here in addition to an instructional DVD. If you empathize with the group’s goal, leave them a kind message on Facebook here.

This year, let’s spend more time meditating on the good and less time anchored by our stresses. Let’s do it together, as a community of disparate yet like-minded individuals.

(Photo VIA)

Written by:

Published on: January 5, 2016

Filled Under: Metal, Nerd Shit

Views: 905

Tags: ,

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    DDP Yoga is the best yoga.

    • And that’s a good thing!!!

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        It sure is. You feel the bang whenever you do it.

        • Is that similar to the burn?

          • Janitor Jim Duggan


  • There is something about the idea of doing yoga that I cannot get over. Not sure if I have what it takes to do it.

    Although, I do want to get behind this statement “…let’s spend more time meditating on the good and less time anchored by
    our stresses. Let’s do it together, as a community of disparate yet
    like-minded individuals.” Doing things specifically meant to help ease stresses is a worthy endeavor, though.

    Interesting read, for sure.


    • I just do a ton of cardio exercise any more. Running and cycling while listening to copious amounts of metal is the perfect stress reviler for me. Plus I lose weight and get in shape. I lost 30 pounds in 5 months. Total death.

      • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

        Right on. I used to run quite a bit, and i felt good doing it. I really need to get back to it.

      • Man, I wish I was still running… hard to get back into it. I miss it, but I fill my time doing other things… which tend to be “healthy” just not on the same level as “cardio healthy”. Ya know?

        • That running post you wrote a mile back encouraged me to get out running during the winter.

          • I am glad it did! I just need some of my own medicine to motivate myself…

      • Don’t stop doing it. That’s the mistake I made. I lost 35-40 lbs in about the same time period, and then I stopped and gained half of it back, bit by bit. Fortunately, I’m only 10-15 lbs away from undoing the damage.

        • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

          You can do it KJM!

        • It’s really become an addiction for me now. The diet and exercise part that is. If I fall off my routine I’m all out of fucking wack (Not that I’m not already). Plus being sharp minded and alcohol free has really been nice. I’ve been productive with shit and I’ve started my own little blog which has been really fun for me. Don’t get me wrong though, I like to have a beer or 2 every once in a while but it’s limited to maybe 1 or 2 times a week for me know and that’s with company. I avoid the by my self drinking as much as I can. Anyways, I sort of rambled on there about my self but I hear ya man. Good shit.

          • Scrimm

            I’m cutting waaay back as well.

          • Saves on the cash too. More room for the shit that counts… Records 😉

          • Scrimm

            This is very true. I prefer the herb anyways. I’m limited on how much I can exercise cause injury, but I’ve already dropped 5 lbs in about a week and a half. Feels good.

          • Fuck yes! It’s amazing how quickly you lose the weight when you cut back on booze and keep somewhat active.

          • Scrimm

            Yeah I’ve always been able to drop it pretty easy even as I’m getting older. I also mostly cut out my late night snacking after work so thats helping too. Easier not to do that when sober.

          • That’s the damn truth man. The beer buzz munchies are no good.

          • Scrimm

            Yeah they were killing me. I really want to start exercising heavily, would love to return to ju jitsu, but it’s surgery first.

          • I need to start keep a running log. That is how I stayed motivated when I first started… It is a lot easier to keep on your self. Have you tried a log?

          • I never log anything, I just have my routine and stick with it. It’s been working perfectly so far. But, what ever gets you motivated than go ahead mang. Some people get too hooked on logging shit and counting calories. That only leads to trouble..

          • Well I mean more for logging the miles. Not the calories. Hmp. Might have to go tonight. The air will be cold… my lungs weak… Total Death! hahaa

          • Fuck dude, it was -1 this morning. No run, but I did get on the stationary. I hope this below 0 shit dosn’t stick around. I like the cold but that shit is fucked.

          • You run in the mornings??

          • When it’s decent out. I mostly alternate mornings with running or riding on the stationary. Every night though after work I run though.

          • Gotcha

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            I would run but the ground is fucking sludge and it’s constantly raining. No wonder so many doom bands came from this area.

          • Óðinn
      • I would love to do a 200 mile month…. I could never get there. I only made it to 191, once. Lots of running!



      • gotta have a hobby if you’re gonna stop drinking. it sounds cliche but it’s the trvth.

    • Yoga has been good for me. Before, I never really worked on flexibility, stretching, balance, and such. If you do it at night, it’ll make you sleepy and in a good mood.

  • The day after Christmas I started the stepper routine back up. Getting a couple hours a week worth of that is about all my concentration can handle right now.

  • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

    Its hard for me to stretch in my black jeans, denim jacket and boots…

    This does seem pretty cool though, not gonna lie. I do like drone/doom. A lot. I could get into this.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    No Black Toga?

    • My neighbor has a black Great Dane named Toga. True story.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        That one really touched my sack, bro. True story.

  • This is pretty interesting in concept and execution. I’m liking the dark ambient vibes, I don’t listen to enough of that stuff.

  • Just found a pretty killer online cassette distro. Lots of blackened goodness.

  • Óðinn


    • Sir Tapir The Based

      Is that Stanley?

      • Óðinn


  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Metal Church is releasing a new album. I’m excited.

  • Stockhausen

    I can really get behind this idea. I’ve been telling myself I would take some time for a dedicated stretch routine for awhile.

  • Eliza

    Love the music, but what’s up with the parentheses?

    • Dubs

      I think it’s supposed to be like Sunn O))).

      • Eliza

        I guess so. Still, it looks pretty weird.

        • Heliocrat


          • Eliza


  • Max

    I took up Yoga last year as a remedy to lower back pain. It hasn’t cured it (or not yet anyway) but I do feel that it has helped. At any rate, it’s a good exercise for me to do, even if I am a total novice at it currently.

    I asked my teacher about this sort of thing once and he frowned upon it – it’s a very traditional yoga class and the school’s ethos doesn’t look kindly on the many Western novelty forms that have sprung up in recent times.

    But that said, if I had a metal-oriented yoga class in my neck of the woods, I would definitely look into it anyway. Needless to say I am the only remotely “metal”-type person there and I frequently catch what feels like shade from other students (although the teacher himself is very supportive and often asks about my drumming – which he is adamant the yoga will help me with).

    • Dubs

      I did my routine last night. I went through the Yoga X video packaged as part of P90X and found myself grunting and sweating.

      I agree that there is a bit of novelty to classes like this, but at least this group seems to want to focus on the mental aspect as well.

      • Max

        I honestly don’t see the problem with any of it. I’ve noticed that yoga has recently become one of those things that’s caught the ire of the cultural appropriation police, but I’m not sure how much of a leg they’ve got to stand on. Easterners have been making money off of the gullible orientalism of Westerners for decades now.

  • Pagliacci is Kvlt

    I haven’t attended an actual class. I bought the DVD and have been doing it at home.

    • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

      How is it? And how is it setup? If you don’t mind me asking.