Local library hosts virtual heavy metal yoga

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The Northern Onondaga Public Library at Cicero is holding yoga classes online with a twist. Instead of the calming music normally played during yoga sessions, the classes feature heavy metal in the background.

The library has hosted three sessions of heavy metal yoga so far this year. The sessions, which normally last around an hour, started in person in March but have since transitioned to Zoom.

Terry Morris, the facilitator of the classes, saw while scrolling through the internet that the Sacramento Public Library was hosting heavy metal yoga classes and decided to bring the idea to the Syracuse area.

“It’s important to let yourself be present in the moment. You don’t want to become ridiculed by outside influences. That’s exactly why yoga is so important,” said Allison Mitura, an instructor at the Ginger Tea Yoga Company and the heavy metal yoga instructor for the Northern Onondaga Public Library at Cicero.

Mitura was initially hesitant when Morris approached her with the idea. At first, she believed they shouldn’t play heavy metal music and instead should put on another genre, such as country or hip-hop.

The thing that’s great about metal is that it’s an opportunity for people to let out their frustrations through actions like yelling, and this is the same idea that we’re going with through heavy metal yoga. It’s almost like shaking out the wrinkles in our laundry.

Allison Mitura, heavy metal yoga instructor for the Northern Onondaga Public Library at Cicero

About 30 people attended the heavy metal yoga sessions when they were first held at the library. But even though the sessions gained popularity when they took place in person, Morris said, the events moved to an online format once the pandemic hit.

“There’s a lot more accountability and community that comes with doing a lot of things in person, and that includes yoga,” Mitura said.

There was a drop in participants when the program went virtual, but moving online has had its own benefits, Mitura said. Mitura plays heavy metal while teaching the class, but attendees can listen to their own music while participating in the comfort of their own home.

Mitura often plays Lacuna Coil, an Italian gothic metal band. Participants listen to entire albums during the sessions, she said.

Despite the changes the program has faced over the last few months, the classes have continued to help relieve stress, even for Mitura.

“The thing that’s great about (heavy) metal is that it’s an opportunity for people to let out their frustrations through actions like yelling, and this is the same idea that we’re going with through heavy metal yoga,” Mitura said. “It’s almost like shaking out the wrinkles in our laundry.”

Even though he wasn’t sure what to expect out of his first session, attendee Moe Harrington said he was able to “get stress out in a deep way.” He aims to participate in the sessions consistently.

The classes have also been a great way to introduce heavy metal to people who enjoy yoga, and vice versa, Mitura said.

While the library still can’t host in-person sessions, Mitura said she and Morris are optimistic that it will be able to do so in the near future.

“I’m thinking about my regular yoga routine more, so I hope things start to increase,” Mitura said. “I hope we can get minimal people back in the space of the library.”





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