Yoga explorers may have heard the power yoga, yet most of us do not really know or understand its real meaning. In the broader sense, power yoga is commonly tagged to be “modern yoga” or “gym yoga,” where it is known for its physical qualities that makes a great athlete.
Power yoga is a universal term used to portray a robust, fitness-based style to Vinyasa and was patterned relatively close to the Ashtanga.
Gym or power yoga is one of the ‘modernized’ yoga styles that primarily covers all the Ashtanga’s athleticism methods, which further involves several poses being executed in a series securing our body to be prepared and stay animated.
This yoga style mainly highlights flexibility and body strength, which started to become a trend of working out that already grew popularity. Let us dig deeper into this yoga style and learn its importance and origins.
The Origin of Power Yoga
The “power yoga” started during the mid-1990s when two western yoga trainees who underwent classes with Ashtanga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois decided to teach they had learned but in a simplified way. But more than that, they also wish to step aside from the strict Ashtanga series of poses, which continues to take place uniformly. If you are intimidated as a beginner to attend a class in a studio, read our detailed article here.
Bryan Kest and Beryl Bender Birch are the two American yoga teachers known to be credited for the invention of power yoga and were part of the second generation of western Ashtanga practitioners.
Bryan initially learned from David Williams and Beryl from yoga expert Norman Allen. David and Norman were both included in Joi’s first batch of western or American students. Bryan continued to learn under Jois in Mysore, India. While Beryl worked with Jois during his travels across the United States in the 1980s, and prior to that, she practiced Kundalini, Iyengar, and Sivananda yoga.
Bryan and Beryl used power yoga to distinguish the intense, graceful yoga style they achieved from the smooth stretching and meditation-based procedures that most Americans apply to yoga.
When Beryl Birtch started teaching power yoga, she also teaches the Ashtanga yoga at the same time. However, several traditional yoga teachers labeled power yoga as a gimmick that weakens the holistic and foundations of yoga’s original qualities that pins too much tension on physical fitness.
What is Power Yoga
Since its advent, power yoga has been continuously winning the hearts of people around the world. However, some are baffled about what it genuinely promotes. Power yoga classes are sometimes heated, and others like to keep it cool, and some yoga instructors choose to teach the same poses, and some prefer to mix it up.
That is why yogis have different takes on what power yoga really offers. So if you want to know what to expect, talk to your teacher before attending or starting learning everything. However, there is an ideal quality that decides whether you are learning power yoga or not. So here are some qualities of the style of power yoga that will always be fixed.
Power yoga is modeled from the Ashtanga style, so most of the cues are from its practice. Moreover, it requires you to move a lot, so it is an intensive exercise that will make you sweat more than you know. While the traditional Ashtanga drives you to follow the same sequence of poses while keeping each one for how many minutes, power yoga classes are quicker, and some teachers prefer to mix poses up.
Power yoga is a superb foundation for muscle power. While other yoga styles encourage flexibility and mental stability, power yoga goes well for the whole body. When performing power yoga, one thing you will love is feeling active and energized. All in all, what you will get after completing a power yoga class is a reinforced body and sensing a more peaceful and calm environment.
How to do Power Yoga
Power yoga is a diverse style of yoga since it has no specific rules. But still, some usual poses and exercises can be noted within most, if not all, the power yoga practices.
Generally, power yoga starts with warming-up exercises to gear up for a more challenging activity at the end of the track. Child’s pose or Balasana and Downward-facing dog are the most frequent warmups to encourage grounding and to stretch out the deeper muscles.
At times, exercises are included to increase the better flexibility of your spinal column.
In most of the parts, multiple poses are performed to reinforce core muscles. This typically contains a set of high planks, squats, tricep push-ups, leg lifts, body twists, and crunches. Moreover, some people use weights to maximize their workout potential.
Although power yoga sparks a lot of stress on the body, classes are ended by a non-workout activity. Corpse pose or Savasana is typically done, wherein the body remains relaxed for minutes until everything becomes to boil down. Sometimes this is joined by other poses like Reclined-spinal twists, even though it is perfectly normal for those not to be included.
The Superb Benefits of Power Yoga
Since the quality of physical activity present in power yoga is exceptionally intense, yogis practicing this yoga style reap both the benefits of a legit workout and yoga’s stimulating properties.
As a full-body exercise, power yoga is an excellent way to reinforce a healthy muscle in all core areas and neglected parts of the body, especially the deeper muscle groups.
Some asanas may demand an immense amount of body tension pinned on specific muscle groups, executing multiple power yoga poses and the regular workout sequence.
As power yoga makes most parts of the body into motion, which are generally inactive, all in all, better bodily functions start to takes place. This involves bringing hormones into balance and stabilizing the blood pressure, removing toxins being an accessory of advantage.
For yogis seeking to improve your posture or lose weight, power yoga generously provides both opportunities.
The intensive exercises and integrated bodybuilding qualities effectively decrease body fat while reinforcing the muscle groups responsible for staying active.
The benefits you reap from the style of power yoga improve the physical aspects and greatly enhance your current mental stability. Plus, it has the potential to better your sleep quality because of its intensity.
Relieving stress is also important because it improves your overall wellness and limits the adverse effects of particular mental health issues like depression and anxiety, which are both really rampant in this time of age. Moreover, the benefits of power yoga soothe the effects of psychotherapy.
The power yoga’s intensive nature also denotes that it transforms the mind into more focused and controlled.
Achieving poses in demanding, harsh and strenuous conditions sharpens your potential to take in challenging tasks under pressure.
How to tell when Power Yoga is not for me
Even though power yoga is definitely advantageous for your body, it should be avoided in some particular situations. Active power yoga is not for you when:
1. If you do not feel very fit
Undertaking this style of yoga demands enough amount of fitness. If you do not feel reasonably fit, then power yoga is not for you. Mainly, these physically-challenged intensive poses can harm you or even put your health at risk in the long run.
2. Pregnant women/mothers
Pregnant women in all trimesters should avoid doing this style of yoga. For expecting mothers, regular yoga is a better choice to make. But even so, there are several poses that they should avoid performing as pregnancy continues.
3. Seeking proper meditation
If what you are after is to achieve a better meditation and peacefulness of the mind and soul within yoga, then performing power yoga will not do you any good. This is mainly because this yoga style includes a vigorous physical workout, which stresses more on bodily activities than chanting or preparing for meditation.
Again, it depends on the yoga teacher who teaches or spotting you how they would like to apply meditation with active power yoga in the class.
Related article: How to Meditate
4. Undergoing or recovering from certain illnesses
Power yoga is definitely not for you if you are suffering from a severe physical illness. However, if you really want to give it a try, it pays to consult your healthcare provider before starting doing yoga to energize yourself further and feel healthy again.
Suppose you are in some type of afflictions or suffering from any physical challenges. In that case, it is always a better decision to discuss it with your healthcare provider before undertaking power yoga or performing other types of intensive physical workout.
Power yoga is the right choice for people looking for ways to improve their physical and mental health. As it is handmade through its ancient roots to strengthen self-awareness, power yoga has developed into a non-rigid, diverse way of achieving a sense of realization. Although this yoga style may not be for everybody, one thing is for sure; power yoga is a refreshing opportunity to support building strength and flexibility. Namaste.