My Accidental Love Affair With Prana Vashya

Back in early April I’d been seeing one of my teachers (Beck Yoga) advertise her daily Prana Vashya practice as being just for two weeks mid – end of April, she’d advertised 2 lots of a 4 weekly practice for Feb and March, Monday – Friday 6-8am which absolutely terrified me at the commitment but intrigued me just as much. I watched the advertising for the 2 week course run on and finally messaged to ask a little more info. I’d had so many reservations between the commitment of getting to the Studio so early every morning which is a 25 minute drive, then to work, another 20 minutes and leaving my boyfriend to look after our puppy each morning who was just a few months old and quite a lot of work at that stage.

On the Friday afternoon when it was due to start Monday I bit the bullet and signed up and I’ve honestly never looked back. I’ve since completed the 4 weeks in May (no June as there was a break), July, August, September, October, 2 weeks in November and 3 weeks in December. In total I’ve done 8 of these and I’m so utterly addicted it’s untrue.

I’ll confess, when I signed up I’d never heard of Prana Vashya and I thought it was the name Beck had given her daily practice courses. Due to this I wasn’t expecting to encounter a set sequence, comparable in my eyes to Ashtanga. This was on one hand a little daunting when I realized as I was still very much a beginner in my level and this sequence was quite intense, but also a little comforting as it meant as the days went by I would slowly learn the posture sequence.

The set up of the course was a few days being led by Beck in this sequence which was similar to a regular class, a few days whereby she would direct the sequence but walk around and adjust us and then for the first time in my life a Mysore style practice. Oh how much I hated this at first, I had no idea what came next, fell behind (so it felt) all the others in the class and felt absolutely exhausted by the end. As the courses have gone on Mysore days have become my favourite, it gives Beck a chance to spend that time with you 1 on 1 in the postures you’re struggling most with or holding yourself back in. She takes the time to asses what is holding you back, give you detailed adjustments to try and help you get that little bit deeper in the poses and break down barriers you’re struggling with.

During the first 2 weeks of this course I couldn’t headstand, it was something I’d worked on myself for a few months already but I just didn’t have the core strength to get there safely and it drove me mad. The sequence ends with an optional headstand and try as I might I couldn’t do it. Beck took the time to talk me in to the posture and stand by me to give me the encouragement I needed. I won’t lie, I’ve fallen out of at least 2 if not more headstands during these practices but it’s all part of the journey.

I never thought there’d be a style of yoga I loved more than Ashtanga, and while Ashtanga still holds my heart and is my chosen style I’m going to train in there is something magical about Prana Vashya, it’s a sequence which flows, tests you and builds your strength and flexibility. I think the true reason I’ve fallen in love with this style of yoga is the way in which Beck runs her course. You show up, with the same people each day and you connect with them. You follow the same sequence each day, learning the postures more deeply than you can at home or in a regular class. You grow together and you see each other achieve things they’ve been working on, especially when they return month after month along side you.

You get a chance to break down postures which you just don’t have in a regular class, Beck watches you and observes your practice and ensures you don’t take the easy options when she knows you can do more. You test yourself by getting up early every morning, giving it your all every day, even when you really don’t want to as believe me, we all have those days we really don’t want to be there. You learn to not eat too much too late at night as you’ll feel it the next day, no Sunday night or mid week wines as you’ll feel that the next day! And what you gain from all of this is an energy which is like nothing else, when you leave the studio for work and you feel so proud that you’ve achieved so much while most of the world is still sleeping.

The sequence has an intense standing posture set at the beginning, Beck breaks this down and teaches you the breath with movement required to flow properly. There’s strength building, and a chaturanga sequence in the second series which will test the very best of us! There are forward folds, side planks, twists, a core sequence, shoulder stands, lotus and headstands. It covers it all! And she takes the time to make sure you’re doing it properly, feeling it fully and getting the most from it you can.

Around a year ago when I was became hooked into the beauty of yoga I realized I wanted to teach it, it just felt right. I knew as beginner I had a long way to go but I had a dream to focus on now which inspired me to show up on my mat for more than one reason. Don’t get me wrong I practice for me and for everything I gain physically and mentally from delving deeper in to yoga, but as somebody who has always felt a little lost in her career path it has given me a drive to chase a dream I have a true passion for. I want to share with the world what my teachers have shared with me, I want everyone I know and love, and everyone else too, to experience and fall in love with yoga the way I have.

I truly cannot recommend this course enough, I firmly believe if I hadn’t started this back in April and stuck at it since that I wouldn’t be in a position to be booking my training for October next year, which is just under a year from now. I’d be miles off being physically ready for the demand that comes with it. I owe a lot of thanks to Beck for running this course, talking me in to trying it when I had my excuses and for pushing me further that I’d ever pushed myself. The progress I’ve made in the last 8 months is huge. Physically but also mentally too, it’s been a testing year for a few reasons for me and I think without this course and my daily practice I wouldn’t be as happy as I am right now, it’s given me strength when I really needed it.