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That Yoga Glow—Techno Yoga At Rooted

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 3, 2015 4:05PM

Photo courtesy Rooted Self Expression Center

When I received an invitation to Rooted Self Expression Center in Wicker Park for "Techno Yoga," I was intrigued. At first glance, it sounded kind of out there. I wasn't sure what Rooted was about or if EDM could really be a good mix with yoga. For that matter, what exactly was a “self-expression center?”

I was relieved to find the small studio space on North Avenue, Rooted founder, Shruti Sekhri and her staff engaging and comfortable, without trying too hard to be either. No one forced me into conversation or participation or forced mantras on me, and it’s something that made the whole experience more fun and infinitely more comfortable.

Rooted emphasizes mental fitness and, according to staff, aims to be more like a “gym for your soul.” The six-month-old space features a small lounge area for getting acquainted, an art room full of pastels and markers and walls full of boards with all sorts of different questions to be answered from “How are you feeling?” to “What would you say right now if you could say anything (without repercussion)?” which gave the whole place a PostSecret sort of vibe.

When it was time for my session, I walked into a darkened room covered with different phrases, questions and statements to ponder, and was introduced to instructor Aliza Roth. Armed with glow sticks and curiosity, I approached the mat. Aliza was a skilled and easy-going instructor, leading the group through the basic poses in the rotation, or vinyasa, efficiently and clearly. Surprisingly, the music was always an enhancer, ramping up in volume and intensity as we did. I found the poses easy enough for a beginner, but given the pulse of the music and our pace by the end, still a challenge for yoga enthusiasts.

An additional benefit of the techno-environment is that if you are rusty or a beginner, you’re in the dark. Literally. This leads to less self-consciousness, which in turn gives you more of a chance to concentrate on what you’re doing, enjoy the music and feel more of a flow. By the end of the hourlong session, I worked up a decent sweat, limbered up and found a fun, dancey sort of way to practice yoga I would definitely do again.

My final verdict: Rooted is an interesting place, with a focus on emotional well-being through visual arts and movement that I found fun, warm and not too preachy. Techno yoga? It sounds weird, but it’s actually a lot of fun and I'm glad I took a chance on it.

To find out more about Rooted or to sign up for future techno-yoga sessions, check out their website. Rooted is located at 2221 W. North Ave., #1W.