Queen City Nerve

Charlotte's Cultural Pulse

The Seeker: Drop the Noise
No, seriously, drop it

By Katie Grant

February 3, 2019

Katie Grant

Imagine you’re settling onto your yoga mat. As you close your eyes and start to give your attention to breath work, you permit all of the day’s events to gently slip away. Now imagine doing this while rocking a pair of noise-canceling headphones to help eliminate additional external distractions.

That’s the objective behind the DropSound Soulful Flow, hosted by SweatNET at Camp North End, and I was appreciative to find during a recent that it delivered.

According to SweatNET, a “Soulful Flow is a liberating practice merging breath, fluid movement, creative sequencing, intention and meditation to slow down, soften, release and reconnect.” This magical combination of words may as well be my love language.

I also find this to be an interesting point of self-reflection, considering I used to vie for the sweatiest, most hard-hitting yoga class I could find. I wanted to tap into that sense of austerity, sweating out all the booze I had consumed over the weekend just to prove to myself I could do it. Almost passing out or throwing up wasn’t out of the question either.

These days, however, I seem to have subtly transitioned from a power-yoga junkie to craving a more mild practice. If you’ve been following my first few columns, you may remember I recently wrote about my experience in a breath work room, in which the heavy breathing of my fellow attendees coming from all directions was unsettling to say the least. DropSound Soulful Flow was a promising fix.

If you haven’t personally experienced a yoga class like this yet, here’s how it works: Each attendee filled out a waiver with their headphone set number on it (in case they accidentally walk out with it following a mind-clearing session).

Once we were on our mats, wireless headphones adjusted on our melons, the teacher explained how to control the volume using the dial on the side of each pair, allowing us to tune into both the teacher’s voice and a DJ. Once class started, I realized that I prefer this functionality in comparison to some studios where the instructor’s mic volume can’t be controlled. The sense of control truly added to the overall experience.

During the 50-minute flow, I observed that omitting external noise distractions granted me space to go deeper into my practice — focusing on my own breath, movement and intention without the distraction of external stimulus (i.e., no heavy nostril breathing from my neighbor). Definitely a win.

In my yogi opinion, the luxury of practicing a slow flow in a low-lit room is an ideal and restorative way to close out the day. Here, I found that the darkened room really lends itself to the “soulful” portion of the class. A mindful flow set amidst the soft neon blue glow of noise-canceling headphones proved to be a relaxing antidote to a long Monday.

The flow itself was deliberate and calming as our teacher, Jaimis Huff, guided us through our headphones in a circle, or mandala, around our mat making non-linear shapes. The word “mandala” in Sanskrit means “circle,” and is a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism which represents wholeness. So a mandala vinyasa flow sequence like this includes traveling 360 degrees around the mat. It also happens to be the type of flow I practice at home.

Jaimis’ dharma talk was timely to say the least, as it seemed to speak directly to my soul. Her words touched upon the idea that the answers we seek externally from ourselves we already know the answer to — all we have to do is tune out the external by turning inwards, towards the internal teacher that dwells within each of us.

And there it was. That poignant “a-ha” moment I didn’t know I was looking for.

On a personal note, I’ve been stuck in a perpetual loop of existential crises for a while, unable to really pinpoint where the sense of trauma originates, or able to navigate a clear life path.

Lately I’ve been getting more and more emotionally ensnared by negative self-talk, mostly due to past experiences in the workplace.

As a sentient being, I’m finding that healing is not a linear process but looks more like a crooked path littered with countless detours. But it’s the awakening moments like this (that only happen on my mat) which remind me of why I keep coming back. Within my own heart thrives the voice of higher wisdom that is capable of guiding me to do what’s right, I just need to slow down and listen.

As the Soulful Flow concluded with slow, grounding poses, I laid down, headphones still on, allowing my body to sink into the supportive-yet-supple mat beneath me. Closing my eyes, swaddled by the room’s darkness, savasana felt endlessly sweet as I reflected upon my journey with a sense of gratitude.

The Soulful Flow met both my expectations and spiritual needs just as I had hoped. It was a liberating practice, permitting all of us in the room the opportunity to fuse breath, movement and intention seamlessly.

You better believe that I’ve already signed up for the next event.

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