A Real Heart Opener: Chakra Experience with Janet Farquharson
Written by Robyn Macgregor
24 August 2019
“There is only one path to heaven. On Earth. we call it Love”. - Henry David Thoreau
Nestled on a narrow road at the foot of the mountain in Muizenburg, Cape Town, sits Sangha Spot.
It was a beautifully sunny Saturday morning when I attended Janet Farquharson’s Heart Opening Yoga Workshop. Being quite adapted to attending yoga classes where sun salutations are the norm, I was lucky enough to get to experience something different, something more focused on breathwork, chanting, singing and more.
Walking into the studio one can't help but notice paper mâché butterflies of all different colours stuck to the walls, a creation by Sanae Sawada from The Butterfly Effect. As I was taking a picture, Janet walked right into the frame, a huge smile on her face coming to greet me. “Did you find the place ok?” she asked me.
“No matter what happens, just love yourself while it is happening. No matter what you are feeling, just love yourself while you are feeling it. This is the way to honor the truth of who you are; you are so very beautiful. You are love.” - The Choice for Love - Barbara De Angelis, Ph.D.
While we waited for the class to fill up, Janet greeted all the students with the same enthusiasm and friendliness that I received. Rose quartz crystals with pink flowers were placed carefully on the floor, while soft chants played through the speakers, yoga mats laid out in a half-moon on the ground.
It was a full house as we began the workshop. Warmth and natural light-filled the studio as we began our meditation, focusing our intention on someone or something that we wanted to dedicate the day too. Our theme was the Heart Chakra; about love, about loving ourselves through good times and tough times, about loving others more and about looking after the core of our love.
Janet spent many years traveling as a tour guide, which explains the ease with which she speaks to her students and leads the class. It was in 2014 that she completed her 500-hour teacher training with Viktor Van Der Kleij.
Every moment of the workshop was packed with moments of experience. No “dead air” was felt. We made our way through a short asana sequence. After a little bit of partner work and making our way through backbends that focused on opening the heart, creating expansion and space for energy to flow freely we spent the rest of the workshop lying down supported by blocks and blankets.
As Janet led us through mantras and songs of love and spiritual growth, I felt that this was a safe space. Being someone who is usually shy to sing and chant along, I felt comfortable with the atmosphere. Janet always reminded us that we didn't have to participate in the particular section but could if we felt called to. After a while, I began to sway along.
In moments where a pose needed to be held, Janet would read through a few passages that provided more insight into what an underactive and an overactive chakra would manifest as.
In the final 30 minutes, I experienced my first sound journey. Sound bowls, rainmakers a gong and more filled the room and even when my thoughts would wander, the resonating, echoing sound of the gong would bring me back almost shaking me back into focus. I felt cocooned and there were moments of deep relaxation.
“If the heart chakra energy is deficient, one can feel a sense of pressure over the sternum. The chest may appear collapsed and there is a tendency towards depression. Getting a deep breath may be difficult without effort. If the heart chakra is too open or without boundaries there is a tendency to give everything away, to be so focused on others that we ignore the core self”. - The Choice for Love
After the workshop, Janet offered everyone that stayed behind some tea and dates balls and chatting with Janet I learned a little more about her journey. She told me more about her training and how she came to develop her love for mantra work and chanting. Janet also chatted to me about the retreats and sound journeys she hosts. All I thought was “Dang this is a busy lady”!.
If you are looking for a friendly, light open space to explore your practice and try new things, Janet special connect and love for yoga will be a great addition.