In yoga philosophy, the Sanskrit word prana means “life force.” It’s the spirit that drives you. Energy moving through.
Sometimes it’s just not there, right? Last week Switzerland roasted under a massive heat wave. We all felt drained and sweaty and blah after endless days of 95° heat and humidity.
When cooling rain finally set in Friday night, it was like the whole country went “Ahhhhhh!!” And now, as the mist continues, our garden looks lush and green and renewed — and my body feels the same way.
We all do things, consciously and not, in our daily lives to feel more awake (or, in yogic terms, to increase our prana). We sing, or eat nourishing food, or dance, or play drums in an 80s band, or hang out with babies, or garden, or paint. And that’s great, because ultimately, we all want to feel more alive.
Especially if you are currently spending 8 or 10 or 12 hours in front of a computer in a cubicle in some measly office building off a concrete highway.
For me, a regular yoga asana practice makes all the difference — even if that’s just five minutes a day. Paired with walks in the forest near our home, I feel rejuvenated and connected and alive. That time is nature is essential.
What can you do today to increase your prana? It doesn’t have to be fancy. A quick puddle walk just might do the trick.
Starting back in the pre-Covid days, these plucky players from age 5-14 have shown up in the rain and the mud, in echoing gym basements, sometimes wearing masks, sometimes falling on their faces, sometimes dragging their creaky parents onto the pitch to join us.
This is not your grandma’s yoga. It’s frequently silly, often chaotic, usually messy, and always a joy.
The littler players are especially creative and excited to contribute their own poses. Just last night, Lion’s Breath turned into Peek-a-boo Breath, and Happy Baby became Scary Baby. (Highly recommend.)
I am grateful to all of the outstanding BIFC parent coaches over the years, to Bartlomé Soccer Academy for providing consistently exceptional professional trainers, and to Ignacio Anglada for first planting the seed back in 2019.
I love knowing that these young players are beginning their athletic careers with these holistic well-being tools already in their pockets. Especially for boys — learning that yoga isn’t just a “girl thing,” but it’s a way for them to build strength, cultivate mental equanimity, protect against injury, and emulate their favorite pros who are already on the yoga train.
There are a million fitness bros on the internet trying to sell you on bone broth and intermittent fasting and the evils of seed oils. F*&k that.
Just take a walk. Every day.
I’ve got a thing lately for urban design — in particular, the power of walkable communities. Living in Europe has stoked this fire.
One of the fascinating tidbits I’ve learned is that Americans often
1) Romanticize their college life — because it was the one time they lived in an actual walkable community with everything they needed and their best friends within a few minutes’ stroll, and
2) Yearn for the magic and charm of the vacations they experienced in walkable European cities like Paris or Barcelona or Prague or even, gulp, Disney World. Do you know what made them feel so magical? The mixed-use zoning that allows for cafes, apartments, and businesses to occupy the same block.
Did you feel it trick-or-treating last night? How great it felt to walk around your neighborhood and see people out and about and breathe the crisp autumn air and crunch leaves on the sidewalk alongside your littles and be in your body instead of strapped into an isolated metal bubble on wheels?
There’s wonder and wellness and connectivity in walking. Not to mention the power to save the planet.
It’s simple and accessible and you can do it with people you love. Or listen to a podcast and feed your brain and your spirit while you’re at it.
Our bodies are designed for this. Trust them.
You don’t have to pay for some expensive gym.
Being well — being every day embodied, out in the world, sharing space and breath and nature — doesn’t have to cost a dime.