PranaWalk combines walking, yoga, stress management to keep healthy
When she learned PranaWalk yoga would be offered at Rotary Botanical Gardens, she thought the combination would be fun.
It's enjoyable, she said, but the outdoor class in the botanical gardens isn't what she expected.
"With this yoga, you're moving more and doing things while walking. In the other (traditional) yoga you're more stationary," the 64-year-old Janesville woman said after finishing her second weekly class.
"PranaWalk is a unique way to combine walking, yoga and stress management techniques into one simple routine that can be used daily to keep you healthy, balanced and strong," according to promotional literature by instructor Sharon Austin.
Austin has a degree in psychology, is a certified herbalist, aroma therapist and massage therapist and owns and operates a yoga therapy business. She said her creation of PranaWalk is an adaptation of the Breath Walk book and Kundalini yoga combined with her love of nature, hiking and yoga.
"Prana is the life force that resides in the breath and bringing all the pieces—mind, heart and body—in alignment and together," Austin said.
One class was physical. Another was more philosophical. An upcoming class will involve meditation in the gardens.
"Every class is different," Austin said.
"It depends on the energy. It depends on the weather. If we're happy, we walk. If we're stressed, we do a lot of breathing patterns," she said.
Kris Koch, who is in charge of programs and education at Rotary Botanical Gardens, participated in the first PranaWalk class and admits it was harder than she thought to focus on breathing, being centered and targeting muscle movement all while walking.
"Rotary Botanical Gardens has tried regular yoga in the past, but since we're not an exercise studio, our indoor spaces haven't always lent themselves to Zen-like experiences," Koch said. "However, our gardens are really special, and it's kind of amazing how different one's experience can be out there. Prana Walk is a unique class. There's no doubt about it."
"It's very empowering," Austin said. "It doesn't have to be hard. It's simple but not easy. So many layers of awareness take a lot of focus."
IF YOU GO
When: 8 a.m. Wednesdays, with new sessions starting each month
Where: Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville.
Cost: $32 for the general public or $28 for Rotary Botanical Gardens Friends members
Weather: If class is canceled, it will be posted at facebook.com/fullbloom.yoga and twitter.com/fullbloomyoga
Suggested: Comfortable clothing and walking shoes