Another calendar page has turned, closing out what has been a most entropic year. To start, the master’s program I recently graduated from, combined with working full-time, catapulted me into a downward mental-health spiral. The academic stress filched my workout routine, leaving me bereft and fatigued.
Walking across the stage open-handed toward my diploma was exalting, to say the least, but it left me with a burning question: Who am I now that I have my time back?
To kick-start my rediscovery of self in the new year, I signed up for an essential oil-infused deep-stretch class, facilitated one winter evening by Khali Yoga in the NoDa neighborhood. Their website specifically outlined that all classes are technology-free, intending to “disconnect from our devices, and connect to our humanity.” I felt like they were speaking directly to me. How could I say no?
I rolled out my mat in the dimmed room, knowing I would be in good hands, as Khali was voted one of the best yoga studios in Charlotte by Charlotte Unlimited. From the looks of it, about 40 other yogis felt the same. Witnessing this sense of community instilled an impression of peace, knowing we all showed up to our mats for different reasons and the same reason: to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, allay our anxieties and reconnect with our true selves through breath and movement.
For those yet uninitiated to the practice of deep-stretch yoga, it “focuses on releasing excess tension and anxiety in the body,” read the Khali Yoga event page. “This class consists of passive stretches with longer holds designed to help you improve flexibility and calm your nervous system.”
One yoga teacher would walk around the room and provide hands-on assistance (with each yogi’s consent, of course), while the other would walk around and dash a few drops of essential oil into our hands. Illuminated by candlelight, the two instructors explained how the practitioners would experience the 120-minute oil-infused deep-stretch class. She then instructed us to rub our hands together for a few seconds to warm up the oil and breathe deeply. A carrier oil option was offered for those with sensitive skin.
Of the three essential oil scents offered throughout the class, my new favorite was citrus. Its uplifting scent is intended to support abundance or a growth mindset, which is unique to each of us. I can confidently tell you that as soon as my new home “cloffice” is ready, I will pump a citrus blend through my diffuser daily. Side note: a “cloffice” is a closet that has been brilliantly converted into an office space. I need more tools to create a positive working atmosphere and an abundance of creativity, confidence and positivity.
The essential-oil-infused deep-stretch class at Khali Yoga was a special event. However, within the same week, I learned Sanctuary Imports in Plaza Midwood offers a weekly Healing Sound Bath Savasana each Thursday from 6-7 p.m., and for only 10 bucks.
After perusing Sanctuary Import’s expansive collection of crystals (don’t judge me), tarot decks, and home goods, I joined a circle of yogis in the event space at the back of the Lamar Avenue shop. The drizzly, wintry weather provided the ideal atmosphere for an hour of vibrational bliss — cozy on my yoga mat, a pillow tucked under my head, cocooned in a Guatemalan wool blanket with stones the colors of the seven main chakras aligned on my body from the crown of my head to my tailbone.
One facilitator led us through a guided meditation while the other bathed us in the sounds of crystal singing bowls. The “singing” was created by tapping the bowl’s outer rim and gliding the mallet around the perimeter in a circular motion.
Sound healing, also known as sound therapy, is based on the concept that different areas of our (mostly fluid) human body create specific vibrations. Therefore, the vibrational frequencies of the crystal bowls move through the liquid to recalibrate us. It’s basically a relaxing, metaphysical tuneup.
While I may not have solved the existential crisis of who I am post-graduation, I will continue to invest in myself (and our community) by spending my hard-earned dollars locally. As a follow-up to editor-in-chief Ryan Pitkin’s Jan. 2 newsletter titled “They can’t take everything out of Plaza Midwood,” unfortunately, it seems they can.
On Jan. 3 it was announced that Charlotte Collective, a retail store across from Sanctuary Imports that fronts on Central Avenue, will be closing its doors at the end of the month. Can we please receive some reciprocity from the city and developers to keep neighborhoods like Plaza Midwood and NoDa from suffocating in a cloud of development-boom meteor dust?