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The short story is that Prasara was created to develop Flow – a quality of movement in which you can transition smoothly form one thing to another. Flow is also a mental state sometimes referred to by athletes as “being in the zone. ” Actually, Flow is a lot of things, and that can make it difficult to describe — and even harder to learn. But it isn’t impossible, and we’ve been teaching it for years to our private clients, in live seminars and workshops, and though this course, the Prasara Primer. The unique element of Prasara practice as opposed to most other styles of yoga is simply that traditional yoga is fixated on sitting in poses while Prasara shifts the emphasis to the transitions between poses. You’ll still use the same postures and positions, but we’ll also work on your ability to “flow” from one to the next so you can develop real agility, grace, power, and yes, Flow in everything you do. After you’ve used Prasara for two months, you’ll wonder at how much better you feel in your body and your overall physical prowess and agility.
Guaranteed. We’re not going to tell you that Prasara is better than any other kind of yoga. That would be silly. There’s no such thing as a “best” way to move your body. There are wrong ways — injurious ways, like those awful stretches your high school gym coach used to make you do — but the beauty of yoga is that most of the poses are very difficult to do in a way that could cause you to hurt yourself. Yoga is gentle (not to be confused with passive), and Prasara especially emphasizes moving smoothly from one position to another, so you don’t have any jarring or wrenching effects that could pull a muscle. But, though we won’t claim it’s the “best,” we will tell you that Prasara is the most fun style of yoga around.
While many styles of yoga insist on following a set sequence of however many poses for however many minutes, the ultimate goal of practicing Prasara is to teach you to flow without thinking of what comes next. Yes, in the beginning, you’ll be practicing routines (this course includes six of them — more about those later), but through practicing the routines, you’ll actually be giving your body the vocabulary of movement you need in order to improvise your own movements. That last bit is the real magic of Prasara and what makes it such a natural fit for athletes. Prasara is possibly the most athletic style of yoga out there because of its dynamic movements and focus on Flow. If you’re an athlete in any sport, you already know what Flow is. Your focus tightens, and the outside world fades away. You breathe deeper.
Time slows down. You get tunnel vision, and the path between you and your goal opens up. You don’t have to think about what to do — you just act, spontaneously, in the moment. Even if you’re not an athlete, you’ve probably experienced flow while driving on the highway, playing a musical instrument, or doing something else that requires a relaxed concentration. Flow feels good, and when you’re in it, you don’t want it to end. Even if you’re not the “sporty” type, you know that one of the least useful things an athlete can do is to stand perfectly still during a match. In fact, that might just be the fastest way to lose in most sports.
No, athletes have to move. So it’s important that a yoga style designed to develop athletic movement not spend too much time sitting still. That’s why Prasara is built on “the movement between the movements. ” Feeling balanced and centered is easy when you sit perfectly still, but you can’t do that all the time. Your life demands that you get out and interact with challenges in the world. For most people, Flow is a fragile state that crumples when it comes in contact with the slightest change, but you can develop a stronger Flow by teaching your body how to transition through change. To get better as adapting to the unexpected (like an opponent’s right hook — or another car suddenly changing lanes), you must practice changing — transitioning — from one movement (the one you planned) to a different one (that adapts to the changing environment).
When athletes get surprised, they get hurt. The ball travels in an unexpected direction. Another player attacks from an unexpected angle. They step on a slippery patch. They get faked out. Things happen that we can’t predict or control. Prasara yoga is like injury insurance for athletes because it trains you to always be ready to adapt to changes.
If you can’t move the way you had planned, you simply transition to a different position. Flow to the next movement and keep going. Sidestep the other player. Jump to make the catch. Learning to adapt can help you stay in the moment — in Flow — so you don’t get caught off-guard. And it’s the same thing off the court too.