My beloved kitty, Humphrey, died a couple of weeks ago. I cried all night long and all day long. My eyes were puffy and red and I was exhausted. I worked that whole day. Most sane people would have gone right to bed after work, but my friends talked me into going to a yoga class.
It will make you feel better, they said. Besides, they said, it’s a new kind yoga, called Shakti Naam, and it was being taught by the founder himself, Dr Joseph Michael Levry. I acquiesced, thinking to myself that I would just cry if I went home. Maybe I would feel better. Mind you, I have not done yoga in a very long time. I was NOT in the mood to be twisted into a pretzel or stand on my head.
I started with an about 30 minute introductory class, teaching the basics, how to stand (hips tucked under, all five toes gripping the floor, neck tall, head square). Okay, I can handle that. Then came a series of simple, but effective poses and that was followed by several healing chants. I was beginning to relax into it. And I did begin to feel better. The hour flew by. I was ready for the master, Dr. Joseph Michael Levry.
My friends situated themselves around me, giving me moral support. But, they also put a chair right behind me, in case I had to rest or sit down. Really? No frickin’ way. I may be a tad over 50, but I am in decent enough shape to get through this.
At 7:30 pm, Dr. Levry stepped onto the platform. He held command of the group in a strong, yet loving way. He started a welcome prayer. As I listened, I realized that it was for my beloved Humphrey, for a safe passage from his recent passing. A room full of people all praying for my kitty. So incredible. I knew I was in the right place.
Dr. Levry spoke for about a half-hour, fully explaining the healing power of Shakti Naam. Here are some examples of what I learned.
Shakti Naam is a unique merging and refining of powerful Eastern and Western traditions.
It works with the healing properties of sound vibration, movement, and various applications of conscious deep breathing to bring the mind and body into harmony and balance, leading to optimal health and well-being.
The list of healing benefits of this form of yoga is many: for starters it helps heal disease, optimizes the brain, balances the hormonal system, relieves chronic and emotional pain, manages stress, and reduces anxiety and depression. Good day for me to do this kind of yoga.
At 8 pm, the physical part of the class began. A lot of the exercises focused on isometric-type poses. One was holding your arms out in a T-pose, and holding it for 10 minutes while doing different movements from the wrists down through each finger. Deceivingly difficult! I was only able to hold my arms up for seven minutes, and then a couple of minutes at a time until the 10-minute period was over.
The class went until 9:45 pm. At about 9:15 pm, while doing a plank (elbows on the ground, legs out straight, feet on the ground, forming a “wooden plank”), I broke the pose and laid there for a few minutes. It had been a long day, with no sleep and many tears. But damn if I was going to sit on the chair behind me!
One of the last poses we did resembled something like a bug on its back with my arms and legs in the air. When I was doing that, I literally fell asleep for a few minutes. But it was all worth it, and I will be back for more! Oh, and next time I will not need that chair. Namaste!
Naam Yoga LA Healing and Research Center
1231-35 4th Street, Santa Monica
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