Meditation with a Grain of Salt
BY DEBBY SIEGEL
I recently got the opportunity to spend quiet time meditating while breathing in the salty air… in land-locked St. Louis! On October 20, I attended Angie Campbell, 500 E-RYT’s Guided Meditation and Pranayam Practice in the St. Louis Salt Room.
St. Louis’ Salt Room in Maplewood is a halotherapy chamber entirely covered in salt from the ceiling to its salt beach floor, with this amber glow from lights shining through benches of salmon-colored Himalayan salt bricks in the corners. The space incorporates halogenerators that produce negative-ionized dry saline aerosol particles that can travel into the deepest and smallest parts of the lungs. According to their website, the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the dry saline mist reduces edema of the mucosal lining, restores the normal transport of mucus, and unclogs blockages in the bronchi and bronchioles.
Salt therapy, known as halotherapy or speleotherapy, was born in the mid-1800s after it was discovered that people who worked in the salt mines of Poland had remarkably low rates of respiratory illnesses. Artificial salt caves began to pop up across Europe in an effort to mimic the effects. The original salt spa is still in operation today, and these rooms are typically sought out by those with a range of respiratory and dermatological issues.
As I arrived, I met fraternal 3 year old twin girls exiting the salt spa. Their mother found the salt treatment center for them a year and a half prior in order to eradicate a night cough in one of the girls that just wouldn’t subside. After just 2 sessions, the cough was gone. Now this mom incorporates the halotherapy into her daughters’ cold and flu season routine.
Today, we made use of the room’s healing properties in a whole new way. We gathered to meditate in this negative ion-filled space under the expert tutelage of Angie Campbell. We began our relaxation with Ujjayi pranayam. This is the same breath often practiced during asana known as the Victorious Breath. It’s a gateway to maintaining steady energy and keeping mind, body and spirit connected. Next, we practiced Dirga – a 3 part breath. It’s known for being deeply nourishing, calming and relaxing in that it teaches one to fill to capacity as well as retain the inhale bringing more oxygen to the blood. And we closed with Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing. It harmonizes the right and left sides of the brain, bringing balance to the nervous system and thereby promoting a balancing of the hormones. It balances the masculine and feminine, sun and moon, mind and heart energies in all of us.
Angie is a former dancer and skilled yoga teacher with 17 years experience and training. She began her training with Erich Schiffmann and Rod Stryker and has since continuously studied under some of the finest, including: Desiree Rumbaugh, Noah Maze, Sianna Sherman, Douglas Brooks, Bill Mahoney, Darren Rhodes, Christina Sell, and Sally Kempton. If you are seeking yoga that is spiritually rooted, anatomically directed and guided with precision, you should find Angie at Urban Breath in Maplewood and/or the Grove. You can meditate with Angie in the Salt Room on Tuesdays at noon and Thursday evenings at 6pm. Her favorite way to teach is by private lesson or in small groups of like minds. She finds this most productive for students, as she is able to customize the work in these settings. I for one, am grateful I found her. Her melodic, sweet guidance in the salt room was like a mini vacation for me. I recommend you take one.
Angie Campbell – firstname.lastname@example.org, 314-327-8191 or 505-862-yogi (9644)
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