Downtown Effingham recently had a mysterious visitor.
Clad in an all-black spandex bodysuit, 29-year-old Kaycie Metzelaars went around to various landmarks and businesses, posing with different yoga postures to promote both the downtown area and yoga at large.
“These are places I’ve had personal encounters with,” said Metzelaars. “Small business owners around here are really inspiring to me.”
Metzelaars grew up attending Beecher City schools and moved away to Tacoma, Washington, her freshman year of high school. After earning a degree in philosophy and psychology from the University of Portland, Metzelaars moved to Baton Rouge, where she taught special education through Teach America for two years.
In 2012, the Effingham area native decided to move back home to start a family and become an entrepreneur.
“I’m focusing on the spiritual coaching aspect,” said Metzelaars. “All my practices come back to connecting to your core self.”
Metzelaars’ business, The Chakra Lady, doesn’t have a storefront. But it fosters a state of mind through various workshops, tarot readings and retreats.
“Around here I mostly practice yoga,” said Metzelaars.
The word “chakra” dates back centuries and refers to the study of energetic anatomy or energy channels in the body.
“There is some cool modern research on chakras that are supporting these ancient practices, yoga in particular,” said Metzelaars.
In an effort to promote what Metzelaars refers to as being conscious, confident and creative, she along with Lauren VanNatta, owner of LHB Photography, set out last week and visited landmarks like the Effingham Veterans Memorial, the former courthouse gazebo and the Effingham County Museum.
“I love the downtown courthouse area,” said Metzelaars. “I love the old courthouse building, the thriving farmers market, the pavilion, the trees. It’s a perfect place to do yoga.”
The pair also visited several businesses, including Stang Arts, Millennium Accessories, the Effingham Daily News and The Office Pub, in front of which Metzelaars performed a seated twist, which she explained was a way to “detoxify the liver and kidneys” after a night out.
“I describe it to my yoga students by having them imagine a dirty rag,” said Metzelaars. “When you place it in a bucket of water and wring it, the dirty is squeezed out. So when you twist your body and then breathe deeply, which is important, you’ll feel your organs compressing, so that tissue is essentially being wrung out.”
While Metzelaars performed various yoga postures, VanNatta took photos of each to then publish online in an effort to promote both yoga and the downtown community. Using various social media sites, such as Instagram, the photos were accompanied by hashtags such as #mysteryyogi and #effinghamillinois, as well as small yoga lessons.
“I’m having a blast posting the images and the lessons that go along with them,” said Metzelaars. “I’m really glad we did it but I do think we have more work to do. I’d like to do another shoot before the month is over and maybe go to places like the performance center and Heart Theatre.
“I just want to call attention to those businesses that promote creativity,” added the mystery yogi.
Metzelaars’ endeavor precedes a conscious creativity workshop Oct. 25 at Fresh Digs. There, the mystery yogi will lead individuals in meditation, which will span the first half of the hour-and-a-half class. The remainder of the evening will be spent “practicing creative self expression.”
“I feel as though with the amount of stress most people are under, we forget how important it is to tap into our creative mind when dealing with our problems,” said Metzelaars. “We get stuck looking at how things already are and we forget to imagine how they could be. Creativity is the key to unlocking that.”
Contact Keith Stewart at Media or 217-347-7151, ext. 132.
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