Axe-cidental success

Whew, it’s been a heck of a day. You want to throw a hatchet, hard, at something. Or crave karma at a donation-based or goat yoga class. Our neighborhood has it all.

You can’t fix bad bosses or anyone’s conduct, but we do know a place. There are sharp weapons, and throwing them is encouraged.  

You know what? Bring the beer too.

Caveat: No pitching at people. And you will need to follow some rules. You’ll sign a waiver that reminds you you’re participating in an activity that involves axes, which may result in the risk of serious injury, scarring, loss of an important bodily function, permanent disability and death. “Safety is No. 1,” the big guy at the counter assures.

Your instructor — some burly long-locked lumberjack adept at hitting his mark will recite safety guidelines before teaching you proper tossing technique. 

Here tonight is one of Dallas’ verified-via-tournament, “best-at-throwing-hatchets” coach Christopher Pacio. All-the-rage activities and workouts come and go, but this axe-throwing trend has sticking power. 

We can blame Canada. 

“Even my mom said it,” Jesus Kendall says. His mother remarked how fine it felt when her axe hit, wedged snug in the wood. “But pulling it from the wall really feels good.” 

That part, for some reason, seems a salve to those stresses burning in your gut, muses the manager, who lives nearby in East Dallas. 

He’d never had an opportunity to practice, but having seen videos, he snatched a chance to work there. 

Also important: An angry head is not required. People come for fun, a physical challenge, friendly competition, camaraderie and beer. The place is BYOB, for now.

You might have heard — on the “Today Show” or its ilk — that hatchet throwing is the buzziest workout fad since the shake weight. (In our Insta world, looking hyper-hip, hatchet in hand, can’t hurt.) 

More plank for your bank

Now you can unblock your chakra and keep the change thanks to Eastside Karmany Yoga, a “pay-what-you-can” studio that opened in Old East Dallas in September.

The 2,000-square-foot space houses little more than the basics — natural light, exposed brick walls, cubbies, mats, fans, restrooms and ample space to practice. 

“It’s got that old feel — certainly not your spa-like yoga studio experience,” studio owner and instructor Amy Johnson says of the historic building on Peak Street. “It fits what we are. It defines us.”

Eastside Karmany’s business model asks walk-in patrons to give what they can for an individual class. The concept carries on the legacy and vision of Dallas native Kjehl Rasmussen, who founded Karmany Yoga in 2009 as one of the first donation-based yoga studios in the area. Rasmussen died suddenly in December 2017, and Karmany Yoga’s two locations closed in early 2018. 

A fixture in the Dallas-Fort Worth yoga community and a co-owner of Twist Power Yoga in Northwest Dallas, Johnson says Eastside Karmany Yoga is an “enhanced version” of the original Karmany Yoga, which modeled its pricing structure after Kest Power Yoga in Santa Monica, Calif. The “pay-what-you-can” strategy provided a no-fuss, contract-free environment for yogis of all levels. It also enabled the instructors to make more money.

Karmany Yoga’s donation model caught on in Dallas-Fort Worth and served as the inspiration for the first Black Swan Yoga studio in Austin. Today, there are also Black Swan Yoga studios in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. 

A Lakewood resident, Johnson hopes Eastside Karmany will become an integral part of the neighborhood, bringing more traffic to nearby businesses and restaurants. “My mission in this city is to educate people on how to not just do yoga, but to embody yoga.” 

Billy goat huff

A gimmick? Or is there something to gain by throwing a little goat on your yoga? 

“When an animal is in the room, a certain wall drops with people — have you noticed? An animal helps people get out of their comfort zone,” Amanda Henderson, owner of several goats and a Dallas yoga outfit, tells a puzzled WFAA anchor during a Victory Park exhibition. “We want to help people laugh and smile. If a goat jumps on your back when you’re in fox pose, you’re gonna…”

Exercise is just so much more fun with adorable pygmy animals on top of you, no?

Henderson’s place is in the Richardson area, but she and her goats hold events at Deep Ellum Yoga and Eastbound and Down Icehouse, as well as several monthly remote classes. 

Delightful dance of all kinds

 Bizarre, fanatical, passionate. It looks weird, but it’s fun. A hundred people — many in loose bohemian attire — groove, flow, drift, spin, caper, uninhibited. It looks like Woodstock before the rain.

At Ecstatic Dance, drugs and alcohol are forbidden. “A growing tribe discovers and unleashes personal and collective power through this mixture of moving meditation, carefully architected soul-stirring music, creative self-expression, conscious community connection and sweat,” Dallas Ecstatic Dance owners note in promo materials. “Connecting within oneself through free and inspired body movement is the power of Ecstatic Dance.”

— Jaimie Siegle contributed to this report

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.