Aligning ourselves

Understanding chakras can help with the body-mind-spirit connection.


Through the West Tisbury library, year-rounder Shanta Gabriel is offering an intriguing new eight-week class series, “Building Wellness through the Chakras.” She is an author and teacher who has been an energy healer for more than 40 years, using a variety of modalities to strengthen well-being in daily life. In a recent interview, Gabriel discussed the chakra system, her journey, and what the class will be like.

How would you describe the work?

It’s about understanding energy anatomy — a vertical alignment that connects with the core of our energy system, which is the core of our being. The seven energy centers help us have a greater ability to transcend the purely physical and move into this expanded sense of self — mental, emotional, and spiritual self — while still connected to the physical, so we are this greater, more expansive system that can function more resourcefully on the earth. 

How did you get into the work?

In the late 1970s, I was not happy with the world as I knew it, and felt that there must be more to life than this space. I had a good job, and my personal life was OK, but there was more that I was looking for. I wanted something more meaningful, more purposeful. I started studying holistic health, and at that point, I had no spiritual background, and so I was exploring it and traveling. I was reading some books about Eastern thought, and I wanted to meet a guru. Within a very short amount of time, I met a teacher from India who was extremely advanced. He was teaching us ancient yogic techniques for health and well-being. He taught us about the chakra system, and why it was important to know, and how to have a greater connection with all these different levels of self that we all have. 

What is the history of the study of the chakra system?

It is very well-known in the Eastern traditions in China and India. They are ancient traditions that are both spiritual and health-oriented at the same time. They have been studied for some 4,000 years. It’s tried and true, recognized, and used.

What will we be doing in the class?

The first session will provide an overview of this series, and we will experience how the energy of each of these centers is related to our physical life. During the following seven weeks, we will focus on a different chakra, and explore the life energy of the body using creative visualization, relaxation, and simple exercises that will assist us to be healthier. 

I will talk some about the philosophy and how we can respond differently to life. We are all experiencing more changes on the earth than we’ve ever had in our entire lifetimes. Now is the time we really need to have the tools to navigate these changes in a more resourceful, proactive way. It’s also about how to be able to make friends with the unknown so you feel more intuitive and more neutral when there’s a lot of emotional upheaval and chaos around us. It will be about learning ways to transcend what we’re experiencing. Each of the seven energy centers has a color and a sound, a quality that allows us to be able to use it to enhance our life by connecting to our mental, emotional, and physical space.

What do you want participants to walk away with?

I want people to have a greater sense of equanimity in themselves. To have them be able to balance the vital forces of their bodies, because this vertical alignment is the natural energy flow of our life force. We want that to be connected in ourselves so that we have access to it. I call it a personal gyroscope. We will explore how to find a place we can come back to in our center that helps us feel more peaceful, more connected, happier, and more energized, and a sense of grounded presence.

Classes meet online through Zoom on Thursdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Attend one, some, or all sessions. Meets May 19 through July 7. Free and open to the public. Email to sign up.