Fontaine first conceptualized and taught metal yoga in 2014 at Vortex Dance and Fitness, an Easthampton dance studio she previously owned. It seems incongruous with the peaceful, relaxing tone of most yoga classes. But for those half-dozen loyal practitioners who sign up whenever she announces a new series of classes it’s a way to unwind and keep in shape while listening to their favorite bands — Cradle Of Filth, Nightwish, Black Pyramid, Iron Maiden, Graviton, Savatage, Forever Autumn, and Puscifer.
Fontaine seeks to reach that unique group of musicians and music lovers who might never be drawn to yoga believing it's too "soft and gentle" for their tastes physically or emotionally. Yet, Fontaine’s metal yoga classes are laid back but sometimes loud. Throughout, she gives her students advice about their health, describes how poses positively affect the body, and provides alternative stretch-es for anyone who is having trouble. During class time, practitioners are encouraged to ask questions about poses or talk about the music.
Because her practitioners appreciate heavy metal music so much, Fontaine, who says she equally enjoys the music still goes to local shows. For her classes, she plans carefully what’s played during the yoga session.
Each playlist, which often includes local bands as promotion, takes hours for Fontaine to curate. Fontaine’s hour-long classes always start with ‘mountain,’ a standing yoga pose, peak in the middle with ‘warrior,’ and then wind down to ‘corpse pose.’ Playlists mirror the physical arc of the class, starting with quieter symphonic metal and moving into louder and more intense music to reflect the more challenging poses.
Because Fontaine sets the tone for the class carefully, even hard core metal heads enjoy the savasana (final relaxation) at the end of class.