Last Updated on February 16, 2022
Ever heard of power yoga? This is a type of practice that combines the physical and mental aspects of yoga with the strength-building principles of traditional exercise. Practitioners argue that it provides an intense workout for both body and mind that helps release toxins from the body.
With the right yoga teacher, power yoga can help to reduce stress, improve flexibility, and promote strength and endurance building. Interested in a more fast-paced style of yoga? Keep reading below to learn more about this yoga philosophy and its benefits!
History of Power Yoga
Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest are known to coin the term power yoga in the late 1980s. Both were on the opposite coasts at the time with Beryl being on the East Coast while Bryan was on the West Coast.
Beryl originally practiced and taught Ashtanga yoga when she noticed that athletes and runners were so tight that they can’t do the postures correctly.
She decided to modify the Ashtanga practice and called it “stretching and strengthening for athletes” which eventually became more known as power yoga.
Like Beryl, Bryan wanted to make yoga accessible to more people. He simultaneously came up with the name power yoga and hoped that anyone can practice this style.
The Philosophy of Power Yoga
The two pioneers of this yoga practice shared their thoughts and personal beliefs about this style. Here is a summary of what they have in mind.
Beryl Bender Birch:
- yoga is about learning to pay attention
- learning to focus can be transformative
- matching the pacing of students is crucial
- starting with fitness can get people’s interest in yoga
- power yoga encourages students to be active
- to experience liberty through yoga, students must learn to work with themselves, not against themselves
- hard work creates an environment of healing and respect that promotes growth
- happiness is not found when you push yourself past your edge
Power Yoga Class Practice
The world of yoga is full of so many different types and styles of practice. Power yoga incorporates variations from other yoga styles such as vinyasa yoga and the ashtanga practice.
But whatever yoga you decide to practice, there are always benefits to picking the right style for the practitioner.
Here are some ways that power yoga differs from other yoga practices.
Where other yoga practices such as hatha and ashtanga are slower, focus more on poses and breathing, power yoga moves at a faster pace.
The more deliberate a yoga practice is, the lesser the cardiovascular endurance benefits it provides compared to power yoga. What makes power yoga distinct from other styles is its fast-paced approach.
You may have noticed that power and ashtanga yoga uses the same and more than one pose – and this is because power yoga is heavily influenced by ashtanga yoga.
Although this is the case, ashtanga always follows its postures in sequence, unlike yoga power where its poses are not in the same order at all times.
The order of poses in yoga power varies and is less structured.
Flow and breathing are another key difference between power and hatha yoga.
When changing from one pose to another, hatha is less focused on the flow of poses.
Instead, hatha gives more attention to achieving the correct posture whereas power yoga emphasizes the importance of exhaling as practitioners move from one posture to the next.
Finding one’s flow in yoga allows someone to experience the present moment and is achieved when the mind, body, and soul become one.
Power Yoga Poses
Power yoga transforms traditional yoga into a more athletic and active way. Regardless of the quick pacing of this technique, practitioners should always have breath awareness when changing their poses.
To encourage strength and endurance building, here are some simple poses you can try on your own without any specific order:
- Urdhva Hastasana (Volcano Pose)
- Parsva Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute Side Bend)
- Parsva Bhanga (Palm Tree Pose Side Bend)
- Malasana (Garland Pose)
- Baddha Hasta Utthita Stiti Salabhasana (Hands Bound Rising Locust)
- Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend)
Health Benefits from Power Yoga Classes
Our body adapts from practicing yoga which can yield many health benefits physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Aids in weight loss
First off, this type of yoga helps to promote weight loss by tightening muscles, burning calories, and increasing metabolism.
Not only that, but studies have also found that yoga practice can help someone be more in tune with their body, therefore, increasing their awareness of when to stop eating.
Strengthens cardiovascular health
The constant motion and intensity in this yoga class help increase one’s stamina and endurance which then strengthens a person’s heart and lungs.
Getting your heart rate pumped up during an exercise encourages oxygen and blood to efficiently circulate to your muscles and organs.
This means that it improves overall fitness and immune system which in turn lowers the risk of getting chronic conditions.
Helps in building strength
Being fast-paced doesn’t mean that power yoga doesn’t hold a position for more than a second. Staying in a particular position for an amount of time makes use of your muscles in order to hold your balance.
In turn, power yoga can help boost muscle strength and endurance in different parts of your body.
Encourages positive well-being
Practicing yoga can help people with depression or anxiety because it releases endorphins through elevated heart rates.
It also allows you to increase your self-awareness which can promote feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Is Power Flow Yoga the Right for You?
In conclusion, power yoga is a great workout for those who want to challenge themselves and increase their fitness level. Power yoga can be intimidating, but it’s worth the risk because you will see the results!
If you’re looking for a challenging workout that will help you stay fit and get in shape, power yoga may be right for you. This form of yoga builds strength and endurance using a variety of poses designed to push your muscles to the limit.
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