This Tuesday, Black Widow Yoga will take over ONCE Somerville to host a Metal Yoga class. Show up at 5:30 pm with a mat in hand, give yourself a half hour to get situated and stretch, and then watch as the satanic magic begins when the clock strikes 6 pm. Metal Yoga is an hour-long vinyasa class set to doom and heavy metal music, which means it’s the perfect alternative to every waspy class you roll your eyes at.
The dependently run yoga concept was created in February of this year by Salem yoga teacher Tina Maroney. After hearing about nontraditional yoga classes like Saskia Thode’s Metal Yoga Bones in Brooklyn, she was inspired to create one of her own to help challenge preconceived notions of yoga. The way Maroney sees it, Black Widow Yoga is a place for outsiders to “harness the energy within that truly connects to doomy and dark music.” In other words, it enlivens the yoga experience without focusing on cliched themes.
“I started doing yoga to help myself a year and a half ago when going through a tough time,” says Maroney. “I was filled with anxiety, and there was a death in the family. It felt more honest to listen to music that better connected to what I was going through.”
Her experience isn’t an isolated discovery. In 2015, a study by the University of Queensland revealed that “extreme” music—metal, punk, and noise rock—helped regulate sadness and enhanced positive emotions. “The music helped them explore the full gamut of emotion they felt, but also left them feeling more active and inspired,” reads the study. “Results showed levels of hostility, irritability and stress decreased after music was introduced, and the most significant change reported was the level of inspiration they felt.”
In that sense, metal music seems like the obvious choice for yoga, an exercise form championed for its ability to reduce stress. Black Widow Yoga’s playlists are primed to help you breathe easy. The diverse, but in-tune, playlist rotates on a song-by-song basis as opposed to full albums. The choices span the classics (Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Iron Maiden), a little bit of doom (Sleep, Monolord, Black Pyramid), some stoner metal (Weedeater, Kylesa, Acid King), the new generation of metal (King Woman, Pallbearer, Bevar Sea), and even a little local love (Elder, Doomriders). Unlike a lot of the other trendy yoga classes like goat yoga or beer yoga, this doesn’t try to use the music to distract. It uses the music to connect better to the yoga. That’s why the metal Maroney selects is slower, from the drums all the way to the guitars, ensuring a tempo that matches the ideal heartbeat of attendees.
To ensure inclusivity, Black Widow Yoga’s classes are open to all levels, beginners and pros alike. “I have a lot of new people that have never tried yoga as well as people that consistently go to yoga classes, so I teach to every level,” says Maroney. “There’s something for everyone to do, from a gentle flow to working up to an arm balance.”
There are only 200 spots available in the class, so grabbing a ticket in advance is advised. That said, ONCE Ballroom has a Metal Yoga night once a month, so you can always get in touch with your inner darkness another time—or make the trek to her weekly classes at Satanic Temple of Salem to dive in goat-head first.
METAL YOGA WITH BLACK WIDOW YOGA. TUE 8.1. ONCE BALLROOM, 156 HIGHLAND AVE., SOMERVILLE. 5:30PM/ALL AGES/$17. ONCESOMERVILLE.COM