Alexsey Kashtelyan demonstrates a yoga pose on April 22. Doom yoga is a type of yoga with doom metal, a genre of metal with slower tempos and an overall heavier sound. Kashtelyan has been teaching the class for eight years.

For over 10 years, Tucsonans have found ways to make yoga their own.

The community has created eccentric classes for aerial, puppy, goat and even nude yoga all as a way to help their bodies and minds find inner peace.

One of the more unique local takes is DO(OM) Yoga at Floor Polish Dance Studio, 701 N. Main Ave. Unlike traditional yoga styles, participants execute their poses in near darkness surrounded by the slower tempo of heavy metal blasting through the studios sound system.

Local yoga instructor Alexsey Kashtelyan began teaching yoga classes with doom metal several years ago at Floor Polish. Since then, he estimates hes taught hundreds of classes mixing heavy metal music with traditional yin yoga, in which participants hold poses longer.

Alexsey Kashtelyan teaches doom yoga at Floor Polish Dance Studio.

I tell people that its basically just rolling around on the ground for an hour holding poses and listening to slow heavy metal, he said. (With doom metal) theres emphasis on bass, slow, heavy, repeating riffs, which makes it perfect for yoga, because it's loud, it's slow. And it's just all bass. So there's very little treble, so your ears are kind of able to just chill out with it. But especially at Floor Polish, I can really turn up the volume.

You may know doom metal bands like Black Sabbath, Bongripper and Windhand. But even if youre not a metalhead, everyone is welcome to try doom yoga. In fact, Kashtelyan encourages it.

Yogas great for mobility, great for all the flexibility aspects, he said. But what I think, for me at least, what was the most powerful about getting into the practice of yoga, especially doing yoga, was just mental resilience to be in an uncomfortable situation.

After sessions, participants have told Kashtelyan that doom yoga almost feels like therapy to them.

If I dont get my (doom) yoga in on Sunday, the rest of the week is just messed up, a participant told Kashtelyan after a session one day.

As far as he knows, Tucsons doom yoga is the only doom metal yin yoga-focused class in the world, he says.

Left: Inside the Floor Polish Dance Studio, 701 N. Main Ave. Right: Alexsey Kashtelyan hopes to expand doom yoga outside of Tucson.

Doom yoga runs from 7-8 p.m. Sundays at Floor Polish. The class is donation-based meaning that doomies can pay what they can. Once Kashtelyan reaches $500 in donations, he donates the proceeds to a local nonprofit.

Community organizations thatKashtelyan has donated to in the past include Iskashitaa Refugee Network, Flowers & Bullets and Splinter Collective.

It's cool to donate to the IRC (International Rescue Committee) or Red Cross, but you already know their gain of millions of dollars of funding versus Splinter Collective down the road where 500 bucks might actually change a whole thing for them, Kashtelyan said. So, I try to stick to local first because I love my town. I love Tucson and I want to support the people here.

Currently, Kashtelyan is working on expanding doom yoga to places outside of Tucson, like music festivals or even a national doom yoga tour with stops in Phoenix and Seattle. He hopes the concept of doom yoga will live on in Tucson if he ever moves away from the desert life.

I've also had a lot of people comment that they feel like it's a very safe space. Because its dark, no one can see you, Kashtelyan said. And I wonder if even aside from just the yoga aspect of it, especially for people like me who can be very introverted in specific situations I can go out and about, but most of the time, I want to be around people, but not with people.

And I think for folks like myself, (doom yoga) can be a nice place to be a part of a community and get that communal presence, but without having to actually deal with anyone.

For more information about Doom Yoga, check out their Instagram.


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