About a year and a half ago I created this thing called ‘Prana Pump’. Prana Pump is part of the whole Yoga-inspired fitness craze that’s blowing up in studios and the ‘gram. It incorporates weights and HIIT into a foundational asana practice.
I know, I know. You may be thinking that you’ve heard about this type of thing before or maybe even taken a class like it already. But, Prana Pump offers something different.
WTF is Prana Pump?
Let’s take it back to about two years ago when I started noticing my personal yoga practice plateau. Yoga was my only form of exercise and I knew I needed to start cross training to gain more strength. Growing up, my mother was a personal trainer. After school, I would go to the gym and volunteer until she finished with her last client. Some kids’ playground was the actual playground. Mine was the weight room with the body builders. Observing what they could do, I was in awe. I wanted to do what they could do! I was the eager, curious kid in the gym and they were always patient enough to answer any questions I had when I mustered up the courage to ask.
Applying the knowledge from this experience, I thought why not add weights to my asana practice and, what the hell, why not add some cardio, too? So, I strutted on over to the closest Where-You-Can-Buy-Anything store and bought a set of hand weights. I started with my basic at-home yoga practice and then experimented with weights here and there to a Warrior 2 or Crescent Lunge with an occasional mountain climber or high knee in between.
Over time, I started adding even more moves to my encyclopedia of asana paired with weights. After practicing different flows in my living room for about six months, I started to be amazed at what my body could do. I gained strength faster than any other workout program I had tried. The moves which were the meat of my practice in the beginning soon became my warm up. In that process, I started to develop a self- love that I never had before. All of my self-doubt started to fizzle out and, in return, muscles started appearing in places I had never seen before. Say hello to that side booty! 🍑
More than Yoga Boot Camp
I wanted to offer this to my students, but I didn’t want it to seem like yoga boot camp. Fuck the cookie-cutter yoga + HIIT classes that are created for people who are already “fit” or experienced yogis. It was time for a change. I wanted for students to feel like the sweat they put on their mats was enough, to feel beautiful in their own skin and to love their bodies as they are .No matter their age, race, gender, or shape. A change in outward appearance wasn’t the goal, just a positive side effect of all the good vibes students would feel inside of them. I wanted for the class to be fun and for my students to feel as powerful as I did during my transformation. So, I sat down and created fun playlists to take the seriousness out of it–Thong Song included!–and started teaching it in my Power Yoga classes at a local studio with the intention set on self-love and personal power. I made it all about my students and the amazing things they can accomplish.
People went nuts over it! Soon, the studio had to order weights (I was using sandbags and bolsters for the classes at first). Over time, I started receiving inspiring messages from students sharing their stories about how Prana Pump changed the way they view themselves into something more positive, both men and women. Word started spreading around town and many of my students and peers kept telling me that I should name this thing. Why Prana Pump? Your Prana is your life force energy. It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning. It’s the fire that’s in your blood, the drive that you can’t deny. Why not pump more of that power into our existence? Your Prana gets shit done.
The response I receive from students blows my mind. Their ages have ranged from 18-64, all different body types and shapes. Students will walk over during class and high five another student for kicking a Kali Leap’s ass (what’s a Kali Leap? See photos below). During a difficult move, a student will look at the student next to them and motivate them by saying how great they’re doing. The look on their faces after class is pure joy and power. This shit isn’t found in just any yoga class and I truly believe it is what makes Prana Pump so different from any other form of yoga inspired fitness.
I’ve had many teachers ask me when I’m doing my first training, that I’m thrilled to have been able to offer my first Prana Pump Teacher Certification on February 3rd, 2019 at Longwave Yoga: the studio where it all started. It was an all day Prana Pump Certification and Immersion where we talked about different types of HIIT, how to incorporate weights into asana, and how to integrate it all into a kick-ass yoga flow. I’ve been asked to host more trainings at different studios in the near future and hope to take Prana Pump nationwide! There are so many ideas that I have for Prana Pump, including live Instagram videos and a YouTube channel. I am just riding the ride to let it unfold in the most organic way possible while revving the throttle to give it some juice. At the rate that Prana Pump has grown, I think that it’s about to fuck up the yoga world in the most badass way!
Ready to see some moves?
Now that you know about Prana Pump, are you ready to own a few moves? Of course you are. Scroll down to see some killer moves and go crush it! Don’t forget to post a photo with the hashtag #PranaPump! Do this for yourself and no one else. It’s time to show up for yourself and own who you are! You’ve got this, babe!
Start in a downward facing dog. Step your right foot forward in between your hands and grab your weights. We will complete all moves on the right side first and then switch to the left side, just like in a yoga flow. Let’s begin!
Move #1: RISE UP
Stay on the ball of your back foot. With your torso hovering over your thigh and weights framing the front shin, start to rise up with arms wide. Bring your chest as high as you can as you bring the weights to touch overhead. Then, slowly lower your chest back down with arms wide to arrive where you began. Inhale to rise up, exhale to go down. Repeat for 30 seconds and do as many as you can. Remember to keep your core engaged!
Move #2: Warrior 3 with Upright Row
From your lunge, press into your right foot to lift the left leg up into a warrior 3 position. Hold your warrior 3 and hang your weights towards the floor. With an exhale, bend the elbows by the ribs to lift the weights. That’s one rep. Do as many as you can for 30 seconds!
Move #3: Warrior 3 Deadlift
Staying in your warrior 3, take the weights towards the floor as low as you can and then slowly lift yourself up to stand. Think of your body as a lever: Inhale to bring your chest down and lift the left leg, exhale to lift your chest back up and lower the left leg. This will challenge your balance, so go as slow as you need to! Repeat for 30 seconds!
Move #4: Kali Press
This is one of my students’ favorite moves! Step your left foot forward (finally!) and bring your feet wider than hip distance to find your malasana, or a low squat position. With your seat low and weights in your hands, place your elbows onto your thighs as best you can. On your exhale, press your legs straight to stand and lift the weights up to the sky. Inhale to go back down where you began. Every time you go down, try to touch your elbows to your thighs! You have 30 seconds to do as many as you can!
Move #5: Kali Leaps
Set your weights down and start in the same position for your Kali Press but with your hands pressing together at heart center. With a fierce exhale, launch off of the floor, jump your feet together and lift your arms up to the sky. Jump back down with feet wide and arrive where you began in your low squat position. This one is killer, but I know you can do it! Give me 30 seconds and don’t forget to use your breath!
Now that you’ve completed one side, aren’t you so excited that you have another side to do? Complete the same sequence on the left side and ONE MORE TIME on both sides! Afterwards, indulge in any stretches your body is craving. Maybe even some chocolate because chocolate is completely necessary in these sorts of situations.