Centre of energy

Yoga is about more than getting a toned, strong and flexible body. There’s a spiritual dimension that relates to energy flow and chakras.

Yoga is about more than getting a toned, strong and flexible body. There’s a spiritual dimension that relates to energy flow and chakras.

BALANCED: Yoga teacher Maria Geronazzo in action on the beach. Picture by Runa Kristjonsdottir Kuru
The class in action.
Yoga workshop. Picture by Leigh Rutherford
Yoga workshop. Picture by Leigh Rutherford

SOME people roll their eyes and switch off when any mention is made of energy, chakras, prana, or chi. If you can’t see it how can you believe it, right?

Having practised yoga for over 20 years now I know there’s something to it. So I’m curious to learn more, which is why I went along to the Muladhara (or root chakra) workshop at Reset last weekend.

The workshop was created and led by yoga teacher Maria Geronazzo who has done extensive teacher training in the astanga style of yoga. She is also a qualified reiki therapist so I knew I was in good hands.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning centre of energy and in yoga there are seven chakras that begin at the base of the spine and end at the top of the head. Muladhara is the first centre of energy and it’s located at the base of the spine. It represents security, stability and safety and relates to the feet, legs and intestines. It is represented by the element earth and the colour red.

When I arrived at the Reset yoga studio in the Poverty Bay Club on Childers Road last Saturday I was feeling physically and mentally tired after a busy week of work but I had an open mind.

I am prone to getting tightness in my lower back which I’ve been told might be to do with many hours spent editing on a computer, or driving. My amazing massage therapist said it might also be to do with my kidneys and liver. Well I do enjoy the odd glass of wine . . .

I was expecting a more restorative workshop with a focus on healing and massage therapy but this was a playful and dynamic experience. It began with about 15 of us sitting in a circle as she explained what to expect from the practice. Maria said we could expect to feel grounded, balanced and connected.

“The root chakra relates to our families, our homes and our work, the things that make us feel secure and safe,” she said.

We introduced ourselves by coming into the middle of the circle and standing on the shaki or spike acupressure mat. This is a mat with plastic spikes and works in a similar way to acupuncture by waking up the body and directing blood to areas in need of healing. From here we moved into some meditation finishing with the customary oms. And then the fun really started. We stamped our feet, we moved around in the circle like native Indians and then we broke into dance. It was a bit like being at a dance party with ladies in yoga pants but without the stimulants. Or not.

It was fun and it was freeing — we were encouraged to express ourselves and told there would be no judgement. Next we were moving like gorillas, then frogs, cats and cows and finally dogs. Fellow yoginis will be familiar with these terms for the postures, but for the rest, well just use your imaginations.

The next hour of class was vinyasa flow, which involves moving through a dynamic series of poses in a fluid manner.

By this time on an incredibly humid afternoon, the sweat was dripping and the windows steaming up.

The last segment of the practice was spent slowing down and cooling off and finally we reached shivasana or relaxation. The curtains were pulled, the lavender-scented eye bags were laid gently on the eyelids and it was then we were permitted to drift off into our own thoughts.

As I drove home afterwards I remembered how tired I was feeling when I got there and how energised I became as the workshop unfolded. That night I slept like a baby. I’m still not 100 percent sure that I connected with my root chakra but I know that I used every muscle in my body and had a lot of fun doing so.

Maria will be holding a series of workshops as she works through all seven chakras. The next one will be Svadhishthana, the second centre of energy. Located below the navel and also called “the sacral chakra” it represents creative and sexual energies.

Who knows what we can expect, but if it’s anything like the Muladhara workshop, the fun’s just getting started.

SOME people roll their eyes and switch off when any mention is made of energy, chakras, prana, or chi. If you can’t see it how can you believe it, right?

Having practised yoga for over 20 years now I know there’s something to it. So I’m curious to learn more, which is why I went along to the Muladhara (or root chakra) workshop at Reset last weekend.

The workshop was created and led by yoga teacher Maria Geronazzo who has done extensive teacher training in the astanga style of yoga. She is also a qualified reiki therapist so I knew I was in good hands.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning centre of energy and in yoga there are seven chakras that begin at the base of the spine and end at the top of the head. Muladhara is the first centre of energy and it’s located at the base of the spine. It represents security, stability and safety and relates to the feet, legs and intestines. It is represented by the element earth and the colour red.

When I arrived at the Reset yoga studio in the Poverty Bay Club on Childers Road last Saturday I was feeling physically and mentally tired after a busy week of work but I had an open mind.

I am prone to getting tightness in my lower back which I’ve been told might be to do with many hours spent editing on a computer, or driving. My amazing massage therapist said it might also be to do with my kidneys and liver. Well I do enjoy the odd glass of wine . . .

I was expecting a more restorative workshop with a focus on healing and massage therapy but this was a playful and dynamic experience. It began with about 15 of us sitting in a circle as she explained what to expect from the practice. Maria said we could expect to feel grounded, balanced and connected.

“The root chakra relates to our families, our homes and our work, the things that make us feel secure and safe,” she said.

We introduced ourselves by coming into the middle of the circle and standing on the shaki or spike acupressure mat. This is a mat with plastic spikes and works in a similar way to acupuncture by waking up the body and directing blood to areas in need of healing. From here we moved into some meditation finishing with the customary oms. And then the fun really started. We stamped our feet, we moved around in the circle like native Indians and then we broke into dance. It was a bit like being at a dance party with ladies in yoga pants but without the stimulants. Or not.

It was fun and it was freeing — we were encouraged to express ourselves and told there would be no judgement. Next we were moving like gorillas, then frogs, cats and cows and finally dogs. Fellow yoginis will be familiar with these terms for the postures, but for the rest, well just use your imaginations.

The next hour of class was vinyasa flow, which involves moving through a dynamic series of poses in a fluid manner.

By this time on an incredibly humid afternoon, the sweat was dripping and the windows steaming up.

The last segment of the practice was spent slowing down and cooling off and finally we reached shivasana or relaxation. The curtains were pulled, the lavender-scented eye bags were laid gently on the eyelids and it was then we were permitted to drift off into our own thoughts.

As I drove home afterwards I remembered how tired I was feeling when I got there and how energised I became as the workshop unfolded. That night I slept like a baby. I’m still not 100 percent sure that I connected with my root chakra but I know that I used every muscle in my body and had a lot of fun doing so.

Maria will be holding a series of workshops as she works through all seven chakras. The next one will be Svadhishthana, the second centre of energy. Located below the navel and also called “the sacral chakra” it represents creative and sexual energies.

Who knows what we can expect, but if it’s anything like the Muladhara workshop, the fun’s just getting started.

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