Although punk rock may evoke images of 19-year-olds with hot pink Mohawks jumping around to loud, fast music, Kimberlee Jensen is teaching yoga under that genre name. And don’t be surprised if you see it in your community soon.
“Yoga can sometimes be stereotyped, which is unfair,” Jensen, the creator and instructor of Punk Rock Yoga, said. “Having a strange, funky name allows us to bring in people. This is yoga for you; we’re not slam dancing.”
In fact, “punk rock yoga” may not even be the best title to describe the class, which features an eclectic mix of live music and takes place in an all-ages nightclub. After years of teaching high-intensity group exercise classes such at kickboxing, Jensen set her sights on a more gentle form of exercise and a yoga certification. Part of her certification process was an 8-week community service project.
“We never really gave thought to the name – we needed a name quick,” she said. “It was supposed to be an 8-week fun thing, but at this point I’m not going to change it.”
Inspired by the success of Punk Rock Aerobics, the classic punk-move workout created by two women in Boston, Jensen used the name, but changed the exercise component to a calmer practice. The project turned out to be quite successful. So successful, in fact, that after the project was finished Jensen has continued teaching it once a week to the Seattle community for free.
Not to mention Punk Rock Yoga is poised to expand. With recent media attention on CNN and USA Today, the class has received considerable press, and Jensen is in the planning stages of offering workshops, informational packets, a video and a possible pilot satellite program in Portland, OR. Jensen has trademarked the name and is looking to have materials ready for those wanting to teach this format by the end of the year.
Jensen insists that if classes are taught for money, the cost must be low to ensure accessibility to all people. She also says that class numbers must be kept low, and the class should preferably be taught in an alternative setting. In her Seattle class, attendance varies from week-to-week but is typically between 12 to 20 participants with an almost equal mix of men, women, old and young.
“I worked in health clubs for 15 years and that setting can be intimidating to people, especially those who are unfit,” she said. “Here the lights are low and there are no mirrors. For a lot of people that’s comforting.”
Jensen doesn’t completely rule out health clubs offering the class, but says regulations would be in place such as not requiring participants to join the club to participate in the class.