If you’re looking for a yoga class with cues like “pop it” and “bounce it,” you’ll find it at Lauren McAbee’s Chakti Yoga classes.
By now you’ve probably heard of McAbee. She was recently featured as one of Charlotte’s nine women to follow on Instagram and offers everything from inspirational yoga poses to advice to become your best self on her social media account.
I got to know McAbee about five years ago when I started taking her Chakti Yoga class. Looking for something empowering after my divorce, I found myself loving Chakti — the attendees, the instructor, the mood — and have been a faithful groupie ever since.
Shaped by the melding together of various forms of yoga and movement like Kundalini foundations and HIIT, this yoga practice created by McAbee has become my favorite form of exercise and has brought me closer to myself.
There are so many elements of self-love and spirituality, as with most yoga classes, but let’s call it like it is: this is twerk yoga, so show up ready to move.
If you haven’t attended yet (and you totally should) here’s what you can expect:
To set the mood, all lights are out except for the one glowing over McAbee’s head. The dimmed lights, as opposed to high fluorescents in a typical cardio class, set a peaceful tone and give a sense of anonymity as you shake your booty in front of complete strangers.
The class wouldn’t be half as exciting without the music. It’s loud, it’s booming, and it’s raw. The playlists change with each class but all have the same energy and lyrics that would make your grandma hang her head in shame. Expect rap, hip-hop and beyond.
Lots of movement
This class is anything but boring and has taught me the importance of slow movement paired with the fast-paced movements of the class. The majority of this class is spent doing leg lifts, hip circles or some crazy form of cardio. There is lots of dancing and squats but there is also plenty of time to work in some crazy poses like forearm stand and grasshopper.
One of my favorite aspects of the class is the freedom to be. McAbee and a handful of other yogis were recently featured in a nude photography project that focuses on loving the female form. A mostly female class, it’s safe to say that many in attendance at Chakti Yoga have not always loved their own female form. As the temperature of the room rises, most yogis are down to shorts and sports bras, all different types of bodies represented and embraced.
The class name “Chakti” actually comes from the concepts of Chakras (or energy centers) and Shakti (the goddess of power).
As the hour-long class ends, there is a long time for rest and reflection, as McAbee (or one of her wonderful protégés like Amber Miller or Kayla Frank) walks around spraying essential oil blends and a softer, much more reflective song plays. As we all meet back seated together, Lauren looks at each of us, reminding us what badasses we are, how capable our bodies are and that the light in her is f*cking in love with the light in each of us.
You can find Chakti Yoga at Move Studio (1111 Hawthorne Lane), Monday and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. Cost is $15 drop-in or class card for $100. See the Move Studio schedule here.