You all now how much I love to dance, and especially how much I love hosting my Chakra Dance Party. Here’s a piece of writing sent to me by Janessa Gazmen after she attended a recent Chakra Dance Party. Sign up for my newsletter to find out when the next one is! Also check out the playlist from the event. – Paul x

My First Chakra Dance Party
By Janessa Gazmen

What began as a whisper grew louder and louder as I neared the yoga studio. My nerves were telling me to turn around, get into my car and drive back home to a place of comfort and familiarity. But I fought the urge. I anticipated a night spent with strangers and fear took hold. I was confident enough to dance in front of these complete strangers right? No, not right.

There were only a few minutes till the yoga event started and yet I still didn’t know where the building was. I pulled my phone out of my coat pocket and pressed the button that lit up the screen. I looked for the message entitled CHAKRA DANCE PARTY. Found it! I touched the display to open the message where details of the address were – 12997 King Street. I must be close, I see 12985.

img_3469A few more steps and I was there. My nerves were at a roar now. I could tell by the galloping of my heart and the warming of my cheeks. But it was too late. I couldn’t turn back. I had arrived. I climbed up the stairs lit by harsh fluorescent lights, opened the door at the top and entered into another world. Time slowed as I stepped into the yoga studio. My eyes adjusted for a moment in the dimly lit room. I took in a deep inhale and soothing essential oils of lavender and bergamot filled me. My heartbeat slowed and my muscles softened. I think I’m safe here. It feels safe.

There were several jackets on the silver hooks, lining the wall on the left. I slid out of mine and stood on my toes to reach the next open hook with my coat. Then I quickly but quietly slipped out of my sneakers, wriggled out of my socks and placed them alongside a neat row of shoes. Aahh…I love being barefoot on a beautiful, hardwood floor. I took a second to savour this sense of grounding when I caught sight of him out of the corner of my eye.

“Janessa! You made it!” Paul said with a hug. Being with him felt like a warm of cup of tea on a rainy day. He always had energy, compassion and love to fill everyone around him. And oh, does he make me laugh. The kind of laugh when you throw-your-head-back-and-feel-it-in-your-belly laugh. He was the real deal.

“I’m so sorry I’m late Paul!” We rushed into the practice room. I rolled out my mat as discreetly as I could at the nearest open space on the floor. Paul took his spot at the front of the room where he was to lead the Chakra Dance Party workshop.

I stopped for a moment to take in my surroundings. Yes, it was safe here, I told myself again. My nerves dissipated. The other practitioners in the room were relaxed and a few even smiled warmly as I settled in. I was welcome here. Yes, I could foolishly dance the night away with my two left feet and not be judged by anyone in this room. It did help that the lights were low. A rainbow of red, blue, yellow, green and orange spots danced around the walls and ceiling like a disco. This was going to be different.

The room got quiet as Paul began an introduction on what to expect. I saw eyes light up as he spoke and knew that many here cherished this yogi as much as I had.

divdance300The music began soft and slow and then we were on our feet. With each movement, our bodies began to wake up. Each stretch opened the tight areas in my body that were kept frozen, day after 8-hour day in front of a computer. My shoulders softened and rolled back as I drew my heart forward. Tiny moments of discomfort rose every few minutes, especially when my body went the opposite way my brain told it to go – these were the times when I was off-beat and felt awkward. I cautioned myself to let go of this uneasiness. Heck, no one was watching me! I think I even said aloud “go big or go home Janessa!” I’m glad Madonna’s powerful voice drowned me out. And then I closed my eyes and just danced.

Song after meaningful song, we worked through each chakra, starting at the root and moving towards the crown. At one point, I found myself at the other end of the studio as we explored other corners of the room with large movements. Another point during the night, we took partners and then changed partners. I could feel the temperature rise in the room and saw that even the windows were fogged and sweating. We laughed, we connected, we cheered for each other, we surrendered to the music, we lost ourselves in the dance.

The music began to wind down and we settled into a yoga practice, which quieted the energy in the room. Eventually, we descended to lie flat on our mats. I heard my body sigh with relief. Moving through the chakras once more, this time with a more tranquil, mindful approach. Paul started at the root chakra, my mind wandered off and then sudden images of my family came into view. Yes, my soulful and loving family. They do ground me, as does my root chakra. The next point that struck me was the solar plexus chakra – I felt so courageous and confident right then and there. These are traits that I normally do not possess, so I savoured the moment. This must be what Queen B feels like. The next and most important chakra that drew me was the heart chakra. Behind my closed eyes, I imagined a green ray of light that emanated from my chest grow larger and larger. This light of love penetrated every pore and swallowed me whole. It was overflowing. It was overwhelming. I felt that to restore the balance I had to share it with others.

It was in a dreamlike state that we moved into a final meditation using the breath to anchor us in the moment, we stilled our monkey minds. I softened and breathed – in and out – in and oouut – in and ooouuuutttttt.

becomedance300bluHis hushed and soothing voice brought me back into the room. From afar I heard Paul ask us to come into a final seated pose. He beautifully reminded us to honour each other and honour especially ourselves.

Savouring this moment, it took me a few minutes to rise from my sweaty mat. I took that time to acknowledge how refreshed and peaceful I felt – body, mind, spirit.

“Thank you Paul.” Before leaving I leaned over to give him a hug, hoping that I too was able to return some of the energy, compassion and love that he so generously gave to me that night.