Rage yoga, Ohio rage rooms give people place to work out their anger

Rage yoga, Ohio rage rooms give people place to work out their anger

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - We’ve all been there. You’re so angry you want to scream, throw something, or even worse, break something.

Now you can.

Rage therapy is quickly gaining popularity, from rage rooms to rage yoga.

Participants at a recent rage yoga class, put on by “Bottoms Up! Yoga and Brew” at River Yoga, were encouraged to yell, curse, and even drink a beer during their practice.

“It was fantastic. I am the type of person, I bite my tongue a lot, don’t say what I really want to say, so this was a great avenue for me to just let loose and fulfill my rage,” said Genevieve Jankowski.

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It seems so counterintuitive to what yoga is really about.

Instructor Michelle Sharif says they still incorporate breathing and a lot of yoga mudras.

“But we’re taking that energy, negative or toxic, whatever that is that you’d normally push down or bottle up, and we’re giving you that chance to get it out while you’re here,” she said.

The class is rooted in traditional yoga, but incorporates plenty of opportunity to rage.

Bottoms Up! Yoga and Brew hosted a rage yoga class at River Yoga.
Bottoms Up! Yoga and Brew hosted a rage yoga class at River Yoga. (Source: Bottoms Up! Yoga and Brew)

Katie Dietz came in to the class hoping for major stress relief.

“I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never been to a class where you’re having a beer,” she said.

But this idea doesn’t sit well with University Hospitals’ Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Carolyn Ievers-Landis.

“As a psychologist, I could not believe we’ve come to this point in our society,” she said.

She admits it might provide immediate gratification or satisfaction.

“But, it also feels good to eat all your Halloween candy,” she joked.

She believes rage therapy, or rehearsing your anger, does more harm than good.

“We have found, over time, that doing things that are physical, screaming, punching, are not effective in helping people in terms of coping. Those make people over time angrier, more stressed, more upset,” said Ievers-Landis.

Molly Oldham certainly has the right to be angry. The Akron 18-year-old was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor on the day she was supposed to leave for college.

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“You don’t realize how much stress you have until you’re getting it out,” she said.

Her family brought her to Akron Artworks, to take a stab at their splatter room. It’s one of their wellness programs aimed at easing stress and anxiety.

“It was just a release of stress. It was a time that my family was together and we weren’t talking about cancer,” she recalls.

She and her sisters created, but also destroyed, by painting a plate that they purposefully broke.

18 year old cancer patient, Molly Oldham holds a plate with "cancer sucks" painted on it at Akron Artworks.
18 year old cancer patient, Molly Oldham holds a plate with "cancer sucks" painted on it at Akron Artworks. (Source: Akron Artworks)

“I don’t know what it is about it, just breaking something. It was just relaxing. I put cancer on my plate and then I broke it. That doesn’t sound like a lot but to me, it was like, ‘I’m going to do this. I’m going to breakthrough, I’m going to be fine, and then I’m going to move on,’” Oldham said.

At the time, Molly was in the middle of six weeks of radiation therapy. She got a taste of that release, and wanted more. So the family headed to Rage Room Ohio, also in Akron.

“We just went for it,” she said.

Rage Room Ohio, in Akron, offers participants an opportunity to smash things to get out their anger.
Rage Room Ohio, in Akron, offers participants an opportunity to smash things to get out their anger.

Customers use crowbars, bats, and sledgehammers, to smash things like bottles, windshields, and even appliances and televisions.

“You can get out that childhood fantasy of smashing up stuff in a room,” said co-owner, Jon Lonsdorf.

He says, for some, it helps close out a chapter in their lives.

“We had a girl bring in a TV she and her ex had bought together. She just completely destroyed it, and left giggling,” Lonsdorf said.

Oldham says the rage room was cathartic, relaxing even.

Tempting as it all sounds, Dr. Ievers-Landis says resist, and find other, calmer ways to release.

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