by Kara-Leah Grant,
Taught by Master Yoga Instructor Shiva Rea, Prana Flow is a liberating, evolutionary, rhythmic, vinyasa flow class that encompasses mudra, chanting, bandha, pranayama, meditation, asana, kriya and a whole lot of fun.
It’s set to music, and it is almost guaranteed to raise your vibration, open your heart and set your mind free.
And I LOVE it.
My first experience of Prana Flow came through a teacher training with Twee Merrigan, who has studied with Shiva for seven years. After years of being inspired by all different yoga styles, including Astanga, Bhakti, Bikram, Power, Baron Baptise’s Vinyasa style, Iyengar, Kundalini and Restorative… it was like a light went on inside. I’d finally come home.
All yoga styles are yoga. Each has different things to offer. None is the “right” way.
What I love about Prana Flow is that it encompasses many of the other yoga styles – and one of it’s core teaching is that it’s about connecting with your internal teacher. A.K.A. that innate intelligence, or prana, that lives inside of you, and it’s about allowing it to guide you. It gives you the freedom within class to go with what your body is telling you.
After four days of Prana Flow with Twee, my body had opened up and released more than in the previous few months of practicing other yoga. But the most important difference that I noticed was that I felt this sense of lightness and joy that spilled out of me and translated through into my teaching. In my first class after the weekend, my students and I laughed and giggled more than we ever had in yoga class before. I felt like I was able to transmit my passion for yoga more easily to them than ever before.
I have yet to set my classes to music (it will come!), but I feel free to practice to music now. Before, when I used to put on Madonna’s Confessions on a Dancefloor and flow effortlessly through a 90 minute practice, just letting the music and my body take me where it willed, a small part of me thought I wasn’t doing “proper yoga”. Yoga wasn’t meant to be this fun. This liberating. This joyous. Now I know that OF COURSE it is. Yoga is a celebration of Life, of the Life Force within us.
Although boredom is an ailment of the mind, and as such, something that will cease with regular yoga practice, I KNOW that for many of my students, they get bored practicing the same postures over and over again. Prana Flow introduces infinite (almost!) asana – for example, there are some 25 different versions of Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation).
As Twee was fond of reminding us throughout our teacher training, there are thousands of asana, and how many have we ever done! This is something I have often experienced in my own practice. As I move from one asana to another, tuning into the shakti (divine feminine creative power) moving within me, that energy will often take me in a direction that feels amazing, but doesn’t resemble any asana I’ve ever been taught. Again, I’ve felt that I wasn’t doing “proper yoga”, I was just playing around.
This is what Prana Flow is all about – playing around in your body and following that flow of shakti. Invariably in my practice, it takes me to a place where the shakti is blocked, and as I breathe into that place, surrendering into my body… the blockage melts and the shakti is free to move through until it reaches the next blockage.
This is the magic of Prana Flow, and the magic of yoga. As I like to tell my yoga students – how did the first yogis learn yoga? It certainly wasn’t from a DVD, or a book, or from a teacher. No, they learned by tuning into the subtle energy flows within their body and allowing shakti to guide them.
For me, Prana Flow doesn’t even have to happen within a yoga class. It can come when I’m dancing, or when I’m gardening, or when I’m cooking, or even when I’m laughing with friends. To me, it’s that state of being when we are connected to the Divine within, when we’re connected to our internal power, and we are just flowing with life.
And what a wonderful thing that is!