Rage rooms and rage yoga are offering Calgarians an alternative form of therapy as they grow in popularity

As Canadian Mental Health Week wraps up, we take a look at some fun and unique stress release options

By Krista Sylvester | May 5, 2022 |5:00 am

People are increasingly turning to fun stress outlet activities such as rage rooms, left, and rage yoga, right.

Photo: Submitted

Kelly Anderson has been going to therapy for several years but recently she’s found a new form of therapy that focuses on releasing rage. 

That might sound counterproductive but it’s been a great release of stress, Anderson says, adding she’s found it therapeutic to take some rage out in rage rooms, which are becoming increasingly more popular. 

“Nothing will replace my therapy but this is a great way to complement that. It’s just a fun way to get a little bit of the daily stresses out with your friends,” she says. 

Guilt-free, stress-relieving fun 

When people are stressed, they tend to seek out a handful of ways to unwind, including therapy, meditation, jogging, and — rage rooms, says Rage Box co-founder Karim Nabhan, who together with Anuar Madeyev created the mobile rage room during the pandemic. 

“We are just a couple of guys that like smashing stuff,” Nabhan says, adding one thing led to another and the duo made a business out of it. 

“Especially during COVID, there were a lot of things going on in people’s lives and this is a way to vent and have fun, guilt-free.”

Normally people would have guilt when smashing things like computer screens, keyboards, and glass bottles but with Rage Box, they’re given a safe space to let out some frustration. 

“The stress relief is a big part [of why people come]. Some people come in with a vision, and they want it set up a certain way,” Nabhan explains, adding some people want it to look like a home office. 

“Some people are just really tired of their computers and you can really see their emotions come through.”

Another form of therapy for some 

Another example was when a couple came in together but didn’t talk or interact, instead, smashing things apart from each other in each corner of the truck. 

“They were absolutely destroying things. And you could feel that they were working through something when they came in. By the end of it, they were laughing, smiling, and feeling a lot better, like it was therapeutic,” Nabhan says. 

Rage Box offers patrons different packages of smashable items and different weapons to choose from that they can experience alone, with family, or with friends in a mobile truck. They also get to choose the music they want to rage to.  

Whether it’s a rake, a baseball bat, or a golf club, people can do a lot of damage — and that’s the point. 

“We’re always trying new things and getting creative with the weapons and the smashables,” Nabhan says. “People are a little timid at first like you can almost feel the guilt, but 20 minutes in and everybody’s just gone full rage mode.” 

What about rage yoga? Yes, that’s a thing, too 

Yoga instructor Lindsay Istace realizes it sounds cliche but has no shame that the idea for rage yoga stemmed from a bad breakup. She already had her own practice but her emotions started affecting her form. 

“The breakup started seeping into my practice; it stopped being quiet and serene, and started becoming just loud and messy,” she says, adding she thought it meant she was doing something wrong. 

“I tried to go to other classes, and I couldn’t keep these very awkward, loud, broken feelings inside completely. It felt like when these things escaped from me, I was again doing something wrong… by not being able to just smile and pretend I was okay.”

More than just yoga 

That’s when she connected the dots and figured there might be other people who wanted messy, therapeutic yoga — so Rage Yoga was born, becoming more popular as time went on. 

“I don’t believe that there is one perfect answer that fits everybody, and I know that Rage Yoga is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea,” Istace says, adding the pandemic has created a lot of extra pent up emotions. 

“One of the biggest core values of rage yoga is breaking down uncomfortable emotions and using them in positive and constructive ways instead of getting eaten up by them. And I think that is something that we’ve all been trying to do in this pandemic,” she says. 

“Sometimes you need a safe and constructive space to be messy to express things that aren’t necessarily pretty. Rage Yoga can provide that type of space.” 

More than just yoga, Istace even wrote a book she released last fall called Unleash Your Inner Badass: Rage Yoga, which has been well received. 

She also provides online teacher training for other practitioners who want to get involved.

Her next online teacher training program is scheduled for September 10-11 and 17-18. Rage Yoga instructor Carri Fjell hosts online Rage Yoga sessions on the Saturday of every month at $10 per session and Istace is planning an in-person event at Dickens in July, which will be posted on her website when confirmed.

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Krista Sylvester

Managing Editor at Calgary Citizen

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