'Kiss my asana': why this yoga instructor believes peace comes from profanity

A new yoga course in Prince George teaches that the path to inner peace is through outward profanity.

'Cursing can be relaxing when it's offered in that positive way,' says Zandra Ross

Zandra Ross in her exercise studio in Prince George. (Zandra Ross)

A yoga instructor in Prince George, B.C., believes the path to inner peace is outward profanity.

"It takes away the self-consciousness," said Zandra Ross, the creator of the Peace Through Profanity program, which started this year.

"If everybody's saying the F-word together, they're laughing and they're not thinking about how their bodies look."

Ross's desire to create a yoga class that encourages laughter and profane outbursts started after she had her own "bad experience" as a student.

She was speaking to other people in the class and "the yoga teacher said I was a little bit too chatty and a little bit too social," Ross told CBC Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk. 

Listen to the full interview with Ross

Carolina de Ryk speaks to Zandra Ross about the Peace Through Profanity classes being offered in Prince George. 5:39

"So I decided, hey, I'm gonna go be a yoga teacher and see if I can't find a fun way to make yoga accessible to a different group of people who maybe wouldn't have participated in it otherwise."

So far the results have been good, with roughly a dozen people coming out for the weekly sessions, many of whom told her they'd been discouraged by their past experiences with yoga.

Ross said she believes people like her need the ability to speak and socialize in order to relax, and a group swearing session is a good way to break the ice.

"Cursing can be relaxing when it's offered in that positive way," she explained.

Students combine yoga poses with swear words and profane gestures at a Rage Yoga class in Calgary. (Chris dela Torre/CBC)

It's unusual, but Ross isn't the first to find a connection between yoga and inner peace. "Rage Yoga" classes in Calgary encourage lewd gestures and swearing as heavy metal pounds in the background. Ross said she was personally inspired by videos she saw on Facebook of "Honest Meditation," which combines "peaceful meditation with a pinch of salty language."

She plans to offer a more advanced course called "Kiss my Asana," named after the yoga pose, and is thinking about incorporating swearing exercises to sessions she run as a workplace consultant. She believes it would be good for morale to have employees curse alongside their boss.

"Profanity is the ultimate equalizer, I think."

Plus, she said, there's one other bonus: "I like to swear."

With files from Nicole Oud

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