At first glance, with her infectious smile and head-thrown-back laugh, Amie Burke may remind you of your favorite grade school teacher.
But upon first listen, you discover very quickly that Burke, aka A-Bomb, is no school teacher. She’s a yoga instructor — but her class is like no other. For starters, it’s held at a Detroit bar.
“Welcome to (expletive) Mondays at PJ’s Lager House with ‘Sailor’s Mouth Yoga,’ ” she says. “My name is A-Bomb and I hope you have a great time. We are going to swear, we are going to stretch, and we are going to have a (expletive) fantastic time.”
So begins an hourlong yoga class where cold beers, belly laughter and creative, cheek-blushing obscenities are the mantra for the night. With yoga mats spread out on the wooden bar floor and light beers lined up next to water bottles, a dozen or so yogis giggle their way through a series of poses with new and extremely inappropriate names.
Leading the class, A-Bomb takes in a long, extended breath, slowly letting it out while reaching for the sky and slowly saying, “(Expletive).”
The Flint native, CMU Broadcast and Cinematic Arts grad, Detroit School of Burlesque performer and blocker-jammer with the Bath City Roller Girls has practiced yoga on and off for the past seven years. Going to yoga classes, she would quickly get bored and find herself swearing in her head as she did some of the more difficult poses.
“Well, I figured, how (expletive) fun if I could actually get them out while I was doing yoga. I love yoga, I love swearing, so I figured I’d put the two together, and it kind of worked.”
Fourth-timer Nicole Porter says has a lot of friends who do yoga, but they take it too seriously. “If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing, and ‘A-Bomb’ makes this fun,” Porter says. “We giggle the whole time we do it, which is a great ab workout.
“It’s just really enjoyable and the energy is really positive.”
Starting the class by asking what each participant’s favorite swear word or phrase is, quickly breaks the ice and gets the obscenities rolling. “You know the George Carlin routine, about the seven swear words?” Burke says. “We do them all, and then we make up a few.”
As for A-Bomb’s favorite swear word: “That’s tough; you know they’re like my children.” She thinks a moment. “I’m going to say (expletive). (Expletive)’s a good one.”
Kate Hunter, who smoothly goes from one pose to another,takes a quick beer break in between and battles an occasional “wet willy” from her friend, Juli Sala, on the next mat, says this is, by far, the best yoga she’s ever done. “We’ve already bought six tickets for the next class,” Hunter says.
“Alright, face down, (expletive) up and all together say, (expletive),” A-Bomb instructs. “Now be careful, when you are in this pose, make sure you’re breathing because if you pass out, I’m going to draw a (expletive) on your face. And if you want to, if you bounce your feet, just a little bit, it looks like your twerking.”
As the class nears the end, a first-timer leans against the wall, finishing the last sips of beer before going into the final pose, Savasana, or in Sailor’s Mouth Yoga terms, “the (expletive) corpse pose.”
“Everyone get in corpse pose. How do you get in corpse pose? You lay the (expletive) down.” Lying perfectly flat, removing stress and allowing the body to replenish, A-Bomb softly and soothingly swears her way through the finishing pose, to everyone’s peaceful delight.
“Now, everything is relaxed, (expletive) is gone. Your neck is free from (expletive), nice and awesome. You’re totally (expletive) relaxed through your forehead, your eyebrows, your eyes, your cheekbones, your nose. Totally free of (expletive).”
A schedule of classes from Flint to Detroit can be found at the Sailor’s Mouth Yoga Facebook page, where tickets can be purchased, as well