I've always known yoga felt good for the body, but I never truly understood the point of "Om" chants and deliberate breaths until I spent two hours exploring chakras with Sarah Lamb at Pilates Plus.
Given that the Sanskrit word "yoga" is the origin of our word "yoke," as in yoking mind and body, I'd always wanted to feel more of a connection between my poses and my personality. Chakras are spinning wheels of energy along the midline of the body, from the "root chakra" (tailbone) to the "crown" (just above the head). When a chakra is blocked or underactive, it can manifest as physical pain or emotional discomfort. Sarah's workshop promised to tap into and align each of the seven chakras, awakening under-active ones and calming over-active ones as a means to balance, clarity and "centering."
Before class, I took a Chakra quiz that Sarah had shared, discovering that both my root and crown chakras were majorly underactive -- although I was functioning well in the middle, with chakras like my "third eye," "throat" and "heart" scoring as open.
The root chakra represents safety and security; the crown chakra is about wisdom, awareness and feeling at one with the world. Could two hours help me achieve all that?
Turns out the soft lighting, warm blankets, and essential oils worked wonders for me. A gentle yoga flow, a series of poses and chants activating each chakra ("Lam," "Vam," "Ram"), and a few drops of patchouli and frankincense dabbed on my temples engaged my entire body and mind; and one sustained heart-opening pose led to a blissful three-minute nap. Instead of restless mind-wandering, I felt rooted and at peace. And I did feel wiser for having gained some "chakra" wisdom.
Lamb's next workshop, Free the Upper Spine, takes place on June 6 and will focus on opening and releasing blockages in the neck, shoulders, jaw and face. Sign up here.
- Melissa Pheterson