29 Sep BREATHE, FOCUS, ENERGIZE, REPEAT
By Micha Chan
Micha Chan embodies the calm, spiritual energy we are all lacking in Hong Kong. He discovered yoga for himself in 2001, by 2004 was teaching, and his career has included studying with numerous famous instructors around the world, notably in India. Micha has distilled his understanding and experience into a unique yoga style that focuses on combining body alignment and the harnessing and control of prana energy in his heartfelt classes of PRANA Flow Yoga at Flex.
Indian “prana” is the same as Chinese “qi”, and Japanese “ki” – prana is our vital energy. Prana enters the body through the breath moving into the body, its organs and cells. Since your very first deep breath and subsequent wail when you were born to prove you were alive, to your very last breath when you die, you bring energy to the body through breath.
You can’t see prana, but you can feel it as energy. Breathing deeply, slowly, softly, this is what keeps your energy flowing, helping your body’s organs function, muscles move, brain concentrate, memory increase, creativity flow, skin glow and spirit relax, leading to a longer life span.
A PRANA Flow Yoga class has many elements. The focus on breathing throughout the asana practice is key. In Hong Kong, people get stiff through tension and stress. Through breath you can soften the muscles so they will become more flexible and function better. Breathe into the lungs or the stomach, for example, and the energy will go there like a massage, the circulation will flow and the organ’s function will improve.
The rhythm of your breathing is very important during class. Inhale and lengthen, exhale and relax. This is the way to keep safe. When you breathe you increase your awareness and connect with the body. You’re not pushing the body, you’re listening to it and learning about it. Breathe in energy and positivity. Relax as you exhale. Breathe out negative stress, tension and tightness. Become soft and relax more. Then you can go further.
Breathe and your mind relaxes. Slow, steady breathing is wonderful for stress. When you are rushed and angry your breathing speeds up. When you regulate your breathing you regulate your mind, you become calm. And suddenly you are breathing gently.
In addition, PRANA Flow asana poses are held for longer than other classes. If you stay in an asana for just a few seconds you really only just touch the position. But when you breathe while in the position you effect the circulation to certain parts of the body. This is very important.
At the same time we practice focus. For example, if you focus your mind’s awareness on your abs during a boat pose, you breathe in and the energy will go to your core. In essence you’re directing healing energy to this part of your body.
The class starts with “Om” to awaken the energy through the vibration and cleansing technique, before starting the sequence of poses. The lower body comes first, and slowly the focus and movement climb up the body, poses becoming more challenging when your chest or stomach is on the floor and it is less easy to breathe. I start with the lower body, then the pelvic floor, abdomen, chest region, shoulders and head. Like Kundalini we follow the seven chakras, purifying them and keeping the body’s energy flowing. At the end of the class we practice inversions to completely reverse the blood and energy flow.
There are many aspects of PRANA Flow that are originally from the ancient Hatha Yoga techniques. I always think yoga is a little like cooking. You learn elements like ingredients, but how you put them together creates different tastes. PRANA flow yoga puts the elements together in a very specific way for energy to flow through the entire body, resulting in better function for the organs and a deeper connection.
To help initiate detoxification for a better functioning body, PRANA Flow Yoga is ideal. Every organ will be woken up and used, energised and connected to other parts of the body. Air flows everywhere, so energy goes everywhere.
The class is gently challenging but very relaxing and extremely effective in helping remove the physical, mental and spiritual ‘stuff’ we keep stuck inside. It is a total, integral and holistic experience.
Catch Micha’s amazing classes at Flex Central – check out his class times here.