Chakra yoga inspires the curious
I stand in a circle with 11 other women, hands butterflied across our chests. “Take three breaths,” Tersia Fagan tells us, “then turn to your neighbour, greet their eyes and share three breaths together.”
For 20 seconds, our eyes meet. We smile at each other, then almost giggle — the intimacy of such a stare reserved for lovers, and I don’t even know this woman’s name. We’re then asked to walk to the person next in line and do the same. But another 20 seconds and another soon feels too long for polite smiles and our gazes soften, become real. We inhale, exhale together.
We’re opening our eyes, our minds, our connections — and, today, our heart chakras.
Chakra portals are not a new concept. Originating in the yogic traditions of India, the seven chakras, or energy centres, are often understood to be mysterious essences that impact our spirits, our physicality and our aliveness. But for Fagan, the chakra system is as much science as it is theory, which helped her birth the newest workshop series to flow into Victoria: “The Seven Portals to Wholeness & Happiness.”
“We don’t exist without a spark of energy, and the idea is that there are seven different spark centres regulating how we function,” says Fagan, a yoga teacher in Victoria who thought up the idea for the series a year ago. “When we expand these sparks and keep them in alignment, we bring health and wellness to our bodies — it’s not voodoo, it’s physics!”
Fagan’s own understanding of chakras began a fitting seven years ago, when she started training in Kundalini yoga, a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing strength. As her teacher introduced her to the chakra concepts, something resonated for her on a base level.
“I began to understand how, in chakra philosophy, we have these aspects of orbit. When something is out of balance, either positively or negatively, everything shifts to compensate,” says Fagan. “For me, always being shy and having trouble expressing myself, I realized I would often have issues around my throat, and the throat area is your chakra of communication, so this made a lot of sense for me.”
If the idea seems kooky that symbols of colourful light could dictate how your body feels, Fagan says it may be easier to think of the concept of electricity. Much like electrical transformers, these energy portals collect the energy that flows into our bodies, then processes these electrical frequencies into sensations that we experience as thinking and feeling. By understanding how these portals work, she says, we can bring consciousness to the complexity of our identities and gain insight into our true selves.
“The chakra system is a map for the journey through life, representing the spectrum of human possibility,” Fagan says. “To navigate its territory is to take an exciting journey of awakening — in mind, body and spirit.”
Andrea Henning is one such believer. Henning joined Fagan’s first series of workshops, now completing this month, and says the experience has changed her life and self-awareness after only a few weeks.
“I could simply say, anyone thinking of diving into the ocean of self-discovery that wants an intellectual, experiential and emotional journey will want to take this course,” Henning says. “As a yoga instructor and an executive leader, the ability to tap into the full creative potential within me and the people around me is essential if I want to engage and inspire … Combine Tersia’s knowledge and compassion with the teachings that are thousands of years old, and transformation is inevitable.”
Mythology of colour
For Fagan’s portal series, each of the seven classes (plus intro) focuses on one chakra per session. For the central heart chakra, also known as the fourth or air chakra, Fagan infused gentle and restorative yogic balance postures with pranayama (breathing) practices. Different tools are also used each class to inspire openness and balance, like essential oils, chocolates, affirmation cards and symbolic shrines. In the intimate and supportive space, Fagan told the group ahead of time that the intention would be to focus on compassionate acceptance and self-love — though the idea is easier said than done, if the 20-second love stare is any indication.
“There is a lot of mythology around the idea of these portals,” says Fagan, originally from South Africa. “It might sound like story, but what drives me to share this practice is the way we can really see and feel what these concepts look like when they are translated in real life.”
Still, Fagan admits that the beautiful colours and principles aren’t easy for all to grasp, but she says the first step is curiousity. You don’t have to be an experienced yogi, meditator or physicist to get the notion — it’s already there inside you.
“You can’t touch a chakra. It’s not physical, but it’s like a map of discovery of who you are, and that’s something we all can apply uniquely to ourselves,” she says. “We all have them, chakras, and layer by layer, glimpse by glimpse, each time we visit them there is a gem to be found.” M
Join Fagan’s next workshop series, “Seven Portals to Wholeness & Happiness: A Short Journey Through the Chakras” May 17 (6:30-9pm) and 18 (8:30am-5pm) at Sleeping Dog Farm & Retreat (1506 Burnside W). $112 includes breaktime snacks and beverages. Register or learn more by visiting tersiayoga.com, or thechakraportals.weebly.com.