Fifteen women — and one man — sit on yoga mats, shaking their arms vigorously in the air. The sweet smell of incense wafts through the darkened room. Tribal beats and dance music echo in the background.
"You can experience high levels of euphoria," says Hannah Phillips, owner of Give Yoga Memphis Studio in East Memphis and teacher of Kundalini yoga, about the practice of Kundalini. "It's a high."
In Kundalini, practitioners move quickly and aerobically through a range of postures rather than the slow and meditative stretching and posing that characterizes other yoga classes.
Give Yoga Memphis has taught Kundalini for six months and is the only studio in Memphis that offers the 90-minute classes. Phillips practiced and taught other styles of yoga for decades before becoming Kundalini-certified.
During a session, the class practices "the breath of fire," a rapid inhale and exhale.
"Through chants and breathing, you're able to clear and detox the systems of your body," Phillips said. "Physically you become stronger and more flexible. On a deeper level, you become more aware through meditation. Kundalini helps you tap into great potential."
When yoga enthusiast Linda Wesson broke her arm, she didn't skip a single Kundalini class. In fact, she credits her yoga practice with helping her arm heal without a cast.
"Yoga is a way of life," Wesson said. "It brings about better health."
Not only does Give Yoga Memphis help clients improve well-being, its name also reflects the payment policy: Even in financially hard times, give what you can.
"Anyone who can't afford yoga can come and pay as they want," Phillips said. "The economy shouldn't discourage their growth with yoga."