On a Friday evening, Billy Corgan, in the Smashing Pumpkin’s “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” advises sweating exercise participants on yoga mats that, “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage.”
It’s an apropos consecration to today’s class goal: rage.
Ragercise class at Xcape Dance Academy in downtown Eugene is “a fusion of yoga, pilates, cardio, circuit training and energy healing to the sounds of metal, gangsta rap, screaming and swearing.” The purpose of Ragercise is to take the weight of week, the work annoyances, the home stresses, “this petty pace from day to day,” ball it up behind a breathable wall of fabric and release it in a furious, focused flailing of limbs.
Ragercise is the brainchild of instructor Ashley Teeters. Teeters saw a viral social media thread about rage yoga in Calgary, Alberta and thought, why not here in Eugene? A little over two months ago, she pitched the idea to Vanessa Fuller, founder and owner of Xcape Dance Academy, where Teeters already was teaching reiki healing classes.
“When (Teeters) first pitched this, I thought, ‘I would totally support something like that.’ Any time I put a specialty class on the class on the schedule, people get excited to try something new,” Fuller said.
Teeters is a contractor with child welfare in Eugene and knew several social workers who could use the class’s wrathful release. What she found, though, was that while the idea was appealing, the execution was challenging.
“It was tough because other people don’t want to have a tantrum in front of other people,” Teeters said. “We did a couple of classes, but it didn’t catch.”
The name was also an issue. Rage and yoga don’t necessarily belong in the same arena of physical activity and Teeters wanted a more active expression than just straight yoga. Why not something else? Hence, Ragercise was born.
Though it’s only been offered for a couple of months at Xcape, Ragercise is catching on, even if it can be an awkward exercise.
“Everybody wants to scream and yell so, as the class flows, it becomes more supportive,” Fuller said. “People’s first response is ‘I needed that.’ And it is a really hard class. It gives you a channel to release everything.”
Teeters helps to guide along the profane deliverance.
“I encourage the rage,” Teeters said. “I count up, 1-2-3, say f — k. Everyone wins.”
The class has thus far been most popular with parents. Fuller and Teeters, both mothers, can relate.
“Moms need that release,” Fuller said. “These kind of classes are super appealing to that crowd. It allows them to get their aggression out.”
Toward the end of class, former Geto Boy Scarface’s deep Southern drone advises several women on stretching on mats that, “Everything’s cool in the mind of a gangsta, cuz gangstas think deep (paraphrased).”
The liberation from stress is almost tangible.
Teeters ends with a yogic affirmation post asserting participants’ gangsta-ness for completing such a difficult kinesthetic practice.
“You’re an awesome, powerful gift to the world,” Teeters said. “You are so unique, so special and so expansive in your ability to both give and to receive love.”
Silence and contemplation.
Woo-hoos, high-fives and easy chatter follows. Another week of rage released.