Health | Fitness

A hands-on experience turns out to be a chakra shocker

Chopra Center

Chopra Center massage therapist Danyel Potts does a treatment on Laurie Delk at The Chopra Center.

K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

In search of some balance in her life, writer Laurie Delk heads to The Chopra Center for Wellbeing in La Costa.

Like many ladies reading this, I am a woman of the ages. I work multiple jobs, forge through single-mommy hood and attend graduate school. To say, or even think, my life is stress free would be a comedy of errors.

And, living a stress-filled life isn’t unique to me nor unique just to women. Today’s men feel pressured to be a multitude of things at once: sensitive enough to cry during rom-coms, talented enough to cook dinner, select wine and shake a cocktail, all while simultaneously staying buff enough to kick an intruder’s ass if they break through the front door.

So what is there to be done about alleviating stress? Sure, you could pour yourself a big glass of wine, sit back and puff on some indica, or get outside and let the fresh air carry away the stress on a long run. But what about tomorrow? Won’t all that stress still be work its way back?

Enter The Chopra Center for Wellbeing.

Named for author, public speaker, holistic health advocate and Oprah regular, Deepak Chopra, the center sits on the property of the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa and offers everything from yoga and meditation classes to transformational coaching and a host of unconventional holistic spa treatments, including chakra balancing.

Chopra Center

The Chopra Center at the Omni Resort La Costa.

K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

In line

It is said a person’s seven chakras, located on a vertical line on the body, deal with different areas of being in our lives, including our connections to others, our sexual energy, our intentions and our love. Instructors of chakra balancing teach that when these chakras are misaligned or blocked, illness, anger, negativity, fear, worry and addiction can grip our lives.

As someone who gets regular migraines, has been coughing with allergies for a solid month and has days of utterly zapped energy, I’m pretty sure at least one chakra is blocked on me.

So when PACIFIC offered a chance to go to a chakra balancing treatment to see what it was all about, I jumped at it. Sure, as a yoga and meditation fan, I’ve looked at colorful infographics, blissed out to a few chakra meditations and bent my body into chakra-opening yoga poses, but truthfully, before going to the treatment was kinda close to knowing nothing.

Chopra Center

Writer Laurie Delk prepares for her chakra balancing experience at the Chopra Center at the Omni Resort La Costa.

K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

While I might sway toward the hippie side of life, I can also spot a ruse from a mile away. Would this just be another massage guised as something bigger? I couldn’t wait to find out.

Walking into The Chopra Center is just as you might expect: curls of incense linger in the air, Tibetan bowls are singing from the speaker and every surface is adorned with oils, crystals, healing stones, teas, candles, jewelry and books from Deepak Chopra and other wellness experts. Cynics might stop short, turn around and run for their lives. But you have to let go of that judgy mind (or at least try to), because the people here couldn’t be more kind. Welcoming and gracious, they are there to lead you down the path of relaxation. And boy, could I use it.

To start, I am ushered into the waiting area and encouraged to get a hot tea and chill while I wait for my therapist. The flavor choices include Invigorating, Detox, Soothing and Relaxing, so I proclaim: “Let’s start this baby out right and go for the Relaxing!” I need to calm down and stop talking so loud, I’m inside The Chopra Center, for Pete’s sake.

Chopra Center

The Chopra Center at the Omni Resort La Costa.

K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

Quieting the inner cynic

Downstairs in a dimly lit therapy room, I gaze around at the oils, stones and massage table, I can feel my mind trying to figure out what’s going to happen. My monkey mind is gently interrupted by my therapist, Danyel Potts, who speaks in a languid voice that could put you to sleep instantly. She welcomes me and asks me to join her by the table.

I stare down quizzically at a series of turquoise cards, and chuckle to myself thinking, “Is she going to do a tarot reading? What’s with the cards?”

I can feel my inner cynic welling up. She gently tells me to run my hands over the cards a few times and feel where the energy is taking me. ”Oh, boy,” I think, ”I’m not sure this is going to work on me. I’m supposed to feel an energy? What if I don’t? Do I fake it?”

Chopra Center

Chopra Center massage therapist Danyel Potts does a treatment on Laurie Delk at the Omni Resort La Costa.

K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

Just as I am about to give up, I remind myself just to chill and suddenly I do feel a little tingle and heat coming from my palm over the center card. Now it’s time to get down to chakra-balancing business.

Touchy subject

As I’m lying face down waiting for her to start, my mind starts racing. ”What if she opens a chakra, and a bunch of black stuff floods my mind? Will this make me nauseous? Will I start crying or feel sick?”

The treatment starts out like a basic massage.

First, the therapist applies point pressure onto specific chakras as she moves around my body. It’s undoubtedly one of the most bizarre sensations I’ve ever experienced. Here’s why: she presses on the spot, and then apparently unbeknownst to me, lets go. The weird part? You absolutely cannot tell when she lets go. It was only when I heard her walking around that I could convince myself she wasn’t still pressing on that point.

The next eye-opener in the process was the application and removal of stones. The therapist lines them up along my spine and neck and continues massaging, later returning to the stones and removing them. What happens next is semi-mind blowing. After the stones are lifted and she re-massages my back, it is like two doors swing open, and the treatment suddenly leaps to the next level. The stones somehow unlock the bolts on my back (I guess you could say they open the chakras), and allow me to relax into the massage like I had never before experienced.

Chopra Center

Laurie Delk experiences chakra balancing at The Chopra Center at the Omni Resort La Costa.

K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

To end the session, I am asked to turn over on my back and the therapist places a stone on my chest. At first I think it’s weird, but maybe she thinks my heart is blocked? As the treatment comes to a close, she removes the stone and reads my card, which, it turns out, was the heart. And in what you might call cosmic alignment, the heart deals with giving and receiving love, and the lungs and immune system, all areas that are challenging me in my life.

I lay there a few moments, dazed and dreamy, and for a little while allow myself to stay in that happy space of open chakras and deep relaxation.

Final thoughts

Would I recommend the chakra-balancing treatment? Absolutely. But here’s the catch: You have to go in with an open mind, turn down the inner cynic and let yourself go with the flow. Releasing our death grip on control is one of the hardest things we can do as human beings. But, I promise if you do, you will walk out of there a new, more relaxed person.

Chopra Center

Laurie Delk experiences chakra balancing at The Chopra Center at the Omni Resort La Costa.

K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

Experience it yourself

Chakra balancing treatments at The Chopra Center (2013 Costa Del Mar Rd., La Costa, are available as 60-minute sessions that run $195. To book an appointment, call 888.424.6772.


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