Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fitness trends: Prana Beats®

Do you find yoga boring?
Can't break a sweat during a regular yoga class? 
Are you a yogi, always wanting to incorporate dance in your workout schedule?
Do you have two left legs and find dancing really challenging?
Do you want to end your day with a great, full-body workout that gives you inner peace?

If you answered "yes" to even one of these questions, you should try Prana Beats®. Prana Beats® is a new group fitness concept, combining dance and yoga in a bold, new way. It was established in 2011 by a Finnish yogini and dancer Mia Jokiniva and her yoga company Villa Mandala. The class consists of traditional yoga poses, starting with sun salutations; very easy dance routines (flamenco, hip hop, contemporary dance, reggae) and easy yet effective muscle workouts for the entire body. The three elements are rhytmic flow, harmony and prana "clean" (relaxation).

The class duration is 55 minutes, but according to the Villa Mandala home page there's also a 75 minute class (with a longer relaxation). Every teacher teaches the same program for three months, before the program changes (the concept reminds of the LesMills concept, where the teachers participate in four quarterly workshops every year). Prana Beats® programs vary a bit, since every other program focuses a bit more on dance routines and every other on yoga. This program, number three, focuses on yoga and meditation, but has a quite a few dance elements in it.

Picture source: MeNaiset

I entered my first Prana Beats® class yesterday at my local gym in Kerava. I called the gym in advance, asking the receptionist about the class and the participants - she said that Prana Beats® is the most popular class at the gym! Good thing I called, since I got the last spot.

I've been doing yoga in silence for a few years now, so listening to the softly beating music was really hard for me in the beginning. Luckily, I was swept away by it in just a few minutes. The music reminded me of a slowed down Massive Attack, especially during the sun salutations. I loved it. I think I'll have a yoga playlist with me in the future. Massive Attack? Yes, please.

I was listening to a group of women talk after the class. They said that they're waiting for the new program (to be launched in November 2012), since they're not that keen on yoga. I find that hard to believe - I thought the class had too little yoga in it! :) Well, luckily we're all different. I'll just have to try program number 4 in November to see what all the fuss is about.

Mia Jokiniva, the creator of Prana Beats®. Picture source:

You don't need to wear shoes, and the gym usually provides a yoga mat for you (I had my own yoga mat with me, since I love it ;). I'd recommend wearing a long-sleeved sweater, since the relaxation is long (and perfect) - you don't want to freeze while lying on the floor.
If I'd have to name one wish, it would be more difficult dance choreos. I've done a lot of dancing in my time, and I really don't want to go through the same easy choreos every week for three months.

I just have to mention one last thing: the instructor (her name was Laura, if I remember correctly) was absolutely brilliant! She had amazing presence and was everything I needed on a Friday night: happy, always smiling and very inspiring. She had amazing technique and instructed the class flawlessly. Even I, a first-timer, was totally on board the whole time. The greatest thing about the class was that I felt serene and relaxed yet trained afterwards.

Have you tried Prana Beats® yet? I'd love to hear what you thought about it!

Hope you're having an inspiring weekend,

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