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Oh, so much pain in my poor chakras

Times Staff Writer

My chakras hurt. I think I sprained one. Or maybe dislocated one. Which would be a shame, since I just located them.

I am taking a kundalini yoga class, and let me just state for the record that it is not a good place to meet men. There is only one in the class, and he tends to turn an unattractive shade of red. That is, besides the massive Sikh who teaches the class, who looks like a sheik in his white turban and long white beard, but who I suspect is just an old hippie. I was hoping to find a young George Harrison type. Like Dhani Harrison perhaps.

Kundalini is an ancient, more spiritual form of yoga that I have also found is much harder than your garden-variety hatha yoga. Besides postures, we chant mantras, we look at our third eyes, we do mystical hand gestures like dancing Shivas. And we do “breath of fire” -- rapid, shallow breathing, which sounds like the noise an enraged toddler makes just before he attacks. Once I activate my kundalini energy, I hope to be even more dangerous than such a toddler.

At the end of class, we all lie down and close our eyes and the Sikh plays a gong. As the smooth, soothing vibrations wash over my limp-from-exhaustion body, I have just one thought: I’m hungry.

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The class is two hours long, right around dinnertime. And we can’t eat for two hours before class. Then I have to drive by an In-N-Out Burger on my way home. It is a testament to my new spiritual strength that I haven’t stopped there once. Of course, I’ve only had two classes.

Back to my injured chakras. At our last class we learned how to find and test our chakras -- whirling bundles of energy lined up along our bodies, so they say -- to determine which ones are weak. (It would be dangerous to tell you how to do this unless you have had some preliminary swami training like me.)

Anyway, I found out that my “belly chakra” is out of whack. That chakra relates to issues of self-esteem. This finding did not surprise me.

My self-esteem fluctuates wildly. I am an ingenue/idiot. Brilliant/banal. Diva/dork. Paris Hilton/Mama Cass. Queen/princess. This belly chakra of mine clearly needs some balance. Or maybe some lithium. Or maybe all it needs is ... a double-double.

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So I asked my ex-boyfriend if he would like me to test his chakras. He accepted eagerly. “You know this doesn’t involve any actual touching, right?” I asked him. “Oh,” he said, but agreed to try it anyway.

I did my little guru voodoo on him. It turned out he has a weak throat chakra.

“My throat has been sore lately,” he said.

“No, it means you have trouble communicating,” I said.

Which was a big surprise to me. This is the guy whose most frequent statement to me when we were going out was: “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear anything you said in the last five minutes. I wasn’t listening. Can you repeat that?”

My biggest complaint about our relationship was that we had no banter. Conversing with him was like playing tennis with a partner without a racket. I’d serve and serve and serve and he’d never hit the ball back across the net.

Now my hunch about his communication pathology had been confirmed by yogic science.

“OK, what you have to do is chant ‘Ong namo, guru dev namo,’ and do the cat/cow pose, and wear more blue,” I told him. “Do you have any blue shirts? And gargle and eat ginger. Can you do that? Then maybe we can have a conversation.”

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“I’m sorry, can you repeat all that? I wasn’t listening,” he said.

I yanked off my turban and flung it right at his neck.

There’s more than one way to spin a chakra.

Samantha Bonar can be contacted at samantha.bonar@latimes.com.


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