New Member Spotlight: Rooted Self Expression Center

Posted by: Unknown on Friday, July 25, 2014
Shruti Sekhri, founder of Rooted Self Expression Center has concocted a wondrous idea that people need a break from the rigmarole of their busy city life to take a look & explore themselves from a completely new angle. Rooted provides a space for that exploration, focused on centering one's self & retreating from the daily grind.
We had a bit of difficulty understanding it fully before reading about how Shruti decided to step out of the usual 9-5 and found comfort and a better quality of life in self-expression. Read her story for yourself and help Shruti put the finishing touches on her vision by giving to the Rooted Self Expression Kickstarter.
Briefly describe your business and introduce yourself. 
Rooted is a Self Expression Center  that offers experiential classes and workshops using various creative activities and art forms (art, music, dance/movement, acting/improvisation, speaking, and writing) to allow people to connect to themselves and others in a non-judgment, free-to-be-yourself environment.

Where did you get the inspiration to open your business? 
Rooted came about during a personal, dig-deep journey for Shruti Sekhri, its founder. In her own words:
‘Even though I’m a perfection-seeking businesswoman, I took the risk to venture into acting and fell in love with it. It made me feel whole and emotionally connected in a way that was woefully missing in my life. A few months after falling for acting, I had an awful performance and my perfection demons started roaring! I beat myself up and couldn’t sleep all night. It was such a tough experience, that I knew I didn’t want to repeat it again. So I immediately signed up for a week long ‘Living Centered’ program in Nashville.

This program deeply affected me. It was full of experiential activities that helped me see myself. I didn’t get lectured at or have to learn any new philosophy; I just had to trust the process – however it unfolded for me. I was really able to go deep into myself and start to listen to myself like I never had before. I also began connecting to a real desire to help people go deeper in life – honestly, a little selfishly because I want to connect to those people.
All of a sudden, every self-help book, every retreat, every workshop, had a double meaning to me: what it held for me and what it could be for other people. I became fully connected to my pursuit, but had no idea how to put all of this new information into creating something meaningful. Until, one morning when I was very frustrated, I got attached to the idea of blasting techno music. I don’t normally listen to techno, but I went with my instinct, blasted it and started to do yoga. Immediately, I felt relief. I didn’t learn ‘techno yoga’ anywhere; I created it from instinct. I expressed my frustration with music and my physicality and I did it without any expectations of what I should be doing or feeling. It set me free and it immediately made me think of how creative work can do this for others too. The more I thought about it, the more Rooted began to take shape.

I’m telling you this story in the first person because I want you to know that I’m putting my heart and soul out there to be seen through this Center. It won’t be perfect, but I hope that it’s a place where a community of people comes together and lets self-discoveries and self- nurturing run amok.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a business owner?
So far, it’s all about having a clear vision and ensuring that it can be communicated clearly. 

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business in Chicago? 
Right now, I’m looking for advice.

What product or service of yours are you the most excited about offering? 
I’m really excited about offering the Rooted Series.  It’s a class that allows participants to form a bond over a 6-week period doing a variety of artistic activities like art, movement, music, writing, and acting/improv.  No one has to know how to do any of it and they will be in the same boat trying to experience the process without judgment and expectations.  

What do you like the most about being located in Wicker Park Bucktown?
Wicker Park/Bucktown is full of open-minded people who are open to taking care of themselves.  This neighborhood has a vibe of acceptance of all different types of folks – artists, business people, stay at home parents.  I’ve lived here for over 12 years and truly feel connected to the diversity.

What kind of people are your customers?
Rooted is focused on serving adults of any age, any gender, any background. Let’s be clear – you do not have to be an artist or experienced at any art form to feel the richness at Rooted.
This place is for you if you are…
• Struggling under the weight of everyone else’s expectations and need some space to be free
• Feeling stressed out
• Seeking genuine connection
• Wanting to be part of a community
• Creatively stuck
• Feeling stuck in a daily rut and need a change
• Looking to explore new ways to get more out of life
• Looking to find your path in life – to figure out what you are passionate about
• Willing to push yourself out of the comfort zone
• Just feeling curious about this place
• Wanting to take care of your soul

What can people expect when they walk in your front door?
To be accepted as they are… there are no expectations of any skill or putting up any image for the benefit of others. 

Thank you Shruti for taking time to let us learn a bit more about you & your business. We are looking forward to working with you & seeing  you at our upcoming Chamber Events.


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