Brian Ajhar


The Scary Truth Behind Bunny Yoga

The liability waiver should have been my first clue that there would be trouble at bunny yoga.

Over the years, my wife has devised a trick for getting me to do things I’d prefer not to. She pretends that we’ve already discussed the matter and that I’ve forgotten I agreed to do the unpleasant thing. Taking advantage of my failing memory isn’t nice, but it’s effective. She would tell you that I’m making this up, that she doesn’t trick me, but I feel like she tricks me, and if couple’s therapy has taught me one thing it’s that feelings are just as important as facts.

She used the trick to get me to go to bunny yoga.

On a Friday evening, I asked, “We got anything this weekend?”

She said, “You’re taking Stella to bunny yoga tomorrow at the JCC.”

“What?! Bunny yoga? What the heck is bunny yoga? And why is it Jewish?”

“Tim. We already talked about this,” she said, almost certainly lying. “I have tennis tomorrow. You’re taking Stella to bunny yoga.”

Our 12-year-old daughter has a thing for rabbits. This is a fact that I remember. So while my wife was off doing something fun that she enjoys, I gathered up our yoga mat and our daughter and took them both to bunny yoga.

The liability waiver should have been my first clue. But I signed it and led my daughter into a yoga studio at the Jewish Community Center packed with about 50 people, all of whom had been given a plastic baggie containing a few lettuce leaves. Seven large bunnies milled about as a woman offered tips for a fulfilling bunny yoga experience:

Don’t let the bunnies chew on your yoga mat. Don’t cradle the bunnies with their feet in the air because they might kick you in the face, and bunnies have fragile spines, so you don’t want to drop them. If your bunny has an accident, raise your hand and a helper will come clean it up.

I’d brought a book with me, so I retreated to a back corner of the room to sit on the floor and read. Before I could finish one page, before the class even began, a woman screamed out in pain. A bunny had sunk its teeth into her toe and was refusing to unlock its jaws. I’d thought that the potential “bunny accidents” would be of the excretory, not predatory, variety and that cleanup would entail bunny droppings, not human blood. I was wrong. I thought of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which a most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent rips the windpipes out of several hapless knights. How soon before these seven bunnies littered the yoga studio with bloody corpses?

As the class progressed, another woman nearly lost a toe to a bunny. A crying child—I couldn’t see where she’d been bitten—had to be carried out by her mother. Amid the carnage, people in various yoga poses used their phones to take pictures of bunnies in the darkened room, while the instructor intoned, “Adho mukha śvānāsana, downward-facing dog. Deep breath. Maybe a bunny is giving you some love, helping you relax, maybe nibbling on your hair.” Or maybe trying to kill you.

Between the imminent danger of a bunny attack and the selfie camera flashes, I found it hard to concentrate on my book. I couldn’t imagine trying to practice mindful yoga. And then someone came late to the crowded bunny yoga class and sat her mat next to me. Maybe she didn’t notice I was there. That is the only thing that might explain her utter lack of spatial awareness. She boxed me into my corner so tightly that her right hand, in certain yoga poses, came between my eyes and my book. If I’d been a bunny, I definitely would have taken a finger.

All in all, I’d have to say that bunny yoga was bloodier and far less fun than tennis, though I hasten to add two points. First, my daughter absolutely loved it. Take that for what it’s worth. Second, when I later verified the body count with a PR person working on behalf of the JCC, he wrote back, “I’d maybe just ask that it be noted that the bunny offender was put under supervision so that one bunny’s actions don’t reflect on all of the bunnies.”

That PR person is a friend, so I’ll give him his say. But trust me. Those bunnies were filled with bloodlust. All of them.