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Yoga gets an edge in Chakti, where twerking is encouraged.

Mary Johnson

THE LIGHTS ARE LOW. The music is loud and heavy on the bass. You do some downward-facing dogs and some chair poses. And you shake your butt. A lot.

It has a name, this twerking yoga. It’s called Chakti—a reference to the chakras, or energy centers of the body, and Shakti, the Hindu goddess of power. From the outside looking in, it may seem like a bastardized version of your typical yoga class, replacing all the ohms and stillness with hip hop and cardio.

But Lauren McAbee—the 36-year-old yoga instructor,holistic life coach, and mother of two who created Chakti— believes firmly that your standard yoga class isn’t the only path to Zen. “We’re meant to move this way. It’s part of who we are,” McAbee says. “My hope is, when people come to the class, they leave feeling empowered and balanced.”

Those people (mostly women, but men, too) do come. McAbee and Chakti have attracted a diverse following in Charlotte largely through word of mouth. Move Studio, the Plaza Midwood dance and yoga studio where McAbee teaches, doesn’t even list Chakti on the schedule. You’ve got to know about it to find it, and yet almost every class is packed with 40 or so people, who find their way there through friends, or friends of friends, or the almighty Instagram. They are financial advisors and small business owners, sales reps and single moms, 20-somethings and 50-somethings. 

And for 60 minutes, three times a week, McAbee is their common thread.

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February 2018