Nearly every third post in my social feeds now is for an online yoga class or live Instagram or Facebook meditation or asana session. It is heartwarming to see all of these offerings and a real virtual community and support system developing, but it can also be hard to know what to tune in to. Then, three days ago, something popped up on Instagram that prompted me to click immediately: Sahara Rose Ketabi’s 22-minute Conscious Twerkshop—part of her daily dance post series.
At first I was simply mesmerized. She was talking about twerking as a real, legit practice for unlocking your root (muladhara) chakra—the energy center in yoga associated with connecting to the earth and feeling grounded and safe. It’s the one closest to your twerking asset. And the one we probably all need to access right now.
Despite 20-plus years of yoga practice, I live in a pretty rigid body. I’m great at structured dance (ballroom, even Bollywood-style), but when it comes to shaking it out and off, I tend to resemble something like a robot.
But Sahara’s energy was infectious, and so I got up and tried to pop and bounce my booty along with her.
At first it was comic relief (mostly for my husband, whom I now share a home office with), and then I realized how stiff and tense my entire body was. I had been hunched over a laptop for three days straight, often forgetting to take deep breaths. I had been on a few short walks but hadn’t hit the yoga studio, obviously, or found the time to get through an entire hourlong live or online class. I was tight, and, as I wiggled to “Salt Shaker,” I also realized how my body had been holding on to stress and anxiety. I needed to let loose. In an instant, twerking became medicine.
“Try to keep your butt cheeks loose, no clenching, no tightening,” Sahara instructed from her living room. Right, I am a tight ass, I thought. My bounce was more like a bop; my wiggle more like a duck’s waggle; I can drop into meditation in a minute, but I was having trouble dropping it like it’s hot. After an initial flush of self-consciousness and embarrassment, I realized I had nothing to lose and everything to gain from putting in some effort and letting go. I could feel the restraint I’d been exercising for decades determine my movements and I wanted to be free from it all—the control, the fear, and the self-judgement I’d felt about jiggling. I wanted to feel the freedom that comes with being embodied, accepting, and fluid, and with not taking yourself so seriously.
So now I can’t stop twerking. I take five-minute twerk breaks when my head feels like it’s about to explode from all the things coming at me, when I need some energy, when I feel my muscles tightening up, and when I have a creative block. It might even be better than yoga in some moments. As Sahara says: “Often when we do yoga, we’re shutting off our Shakti (feminine energy), and giving more discipline, more rigidity, more force. When in yoga are you bouncing and shaking and going crazy?”
After a brief booty-shaking, I can sit back down feeling more embodied, connected and creative, and less anxious. And I have a new challenge to work on, to keep me entertained between edits and conference calls and emails. Next step as I twerk from home: isolating one cheek.