Yoga Profiles: Shakti Flow

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend Wanderlust Oahu (a yoga and music festival) for free, through work. Although I always try to take some new styles of yoga classes and/or practice with new teachers at events like this, my favorite class was one I went into knowing I would love: Shakti Flow. It was taught by Jess Abner, the amazing lady who is at the helm of the Shakti Flow movement.

Shakti Flow is my favorite exercise, hands-down. I love it so much, that I got trained to teach it, last year.

There are many days when I know that I would feel better after a run or yoga practice, but I’m just not in the mood to actually do it. Shakti Flow is the one and only thing that no matter my mood or how tired or busy I am, I still really want to Shakti Flow it out.

Let me be clear: Shakti Flow will kick your ass. You are not just going to sweat, you are going to be drenched. But here’s the thing: I’m not one of those insane people who think that the harder you have to work, the better. My other favorite asana practice is Strala, which is all about getting more done using less effort.

Shakti Flow is not going to kick your ass in the same way that some other intense things do, like Soul Cycle (which I hate, by the way. What exactly is fun about paying almost $1 per minute to get strapped into a machine, pump your legs up and down a million times in a row, and have someone yell at you in the dark? No thank you!).

Yes, there are some moments while practicing Shakti Flow when I think I simply cannot go on. However, those moments are when I’m literally shaking everything out so hard that maybe my muscles cramp up, or my body simply cannot follow my brain’s command, but I want to keep going. I enjoy myself so much that it doesn’t seem like work, even when my body is working harder than it probably ever has before. And again, let me remind you: I am the type of person who thinks that teaching yoga still feels like work.

Yoga, dance and functional fitness, Shakti Flow is an invigorating practice that blends these elements.
On the surface a Shakti Flow class is full of high intensity cardio bouts,
fun improv dance sets mixed with creative vinyasa flow, body weight strength training
and breath work while loud motivating music infiltrates the room.
Below what we can physically see, these movements are cleansing and opening
our chakras, building solid foundations while nudging us to step out of our comfort zones.
In turn we re-emerge more confident, vibrant and more aligned
with our divine feminine energy. Shakti means power or empowerment,
which is what our practice inspires within us.

This incredible practice has led me to self-love that I never thought possible; it is a feminist statement every time you hit your mat for Shakti Flow (shakti is the divine feminine energy); and it has an unbelievable healing power, all while being probably the most fun you will ever have while breaking a major sweat.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you must! And if it makes you nervous, know this: I am not a good dancer at all. This is not about performing, and it really is a judgement-free zone. It’s a celebration.

If you want to get even more of a taste for the type of energy to expect at a Shakti Flow class, check out some of my favorite Shakti Flow jams below. I try to catch Jess’s classes at Yoga Hawaii weekly. Maybe I’ll see you there soon!

*Photos courtesy of Jess Abner/Shakti Flow and Wanderlust Oahu/Melissa Gayle Creative

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