Power Yoga

Power yoga is the generalized term for vigorous vinyasa-style yoga. It is known as a fitness-based yoga and is modeled closely by the Ashtanga method with its athleticism and vinyasas (sequences of poses), but allows for the teachers to teach poses in any order. This makes power yoga classes different from teacher to teacher depending on which order they find to be most effective.

The term power yoga sprung up around the mid-1990’s. Two American yoga teachers who were practicing Ashtanga yoga wanted to make it more accessible to western students. They diverged from the traditional Ashtanga sequence that uses a set series of poses that are done in the same order every time. They kept the same vinyasas as the Ashtanga sequence but placed them in different orders to provide more of a variety and a more intense workout.

Even though classes differ greatly between teachers, all power yoga classes include an intense flowing yoga that has minimal chants or meditation. This is why it is considered more of a western form of yoga because it is more physical based than spiritual. This style of yoga is primarily seen in gyms for this reason.

Classes typically start with some integrative postures such as Child’s Pose or Downward-Facing Dog Pose to help awaken the muscles and get the body ready for practice. Next, a simple forward bend is taken to begin breath control and to connect the mind and body. After the mind and body are focused, the warm-up sequence begins. Warm up sequences can differ from class to class, but they typically include a few round of Surya Namaskar A and B. These Sun Salutations help to awaken the body further.

A few balancing poses can follow to reinforce concentration. Warrior and Triangle poses can be done next followed by a series of back-bends such as Bow Pose or Locust Pose to awaken the hips and mobilize the pelvic muscles. After the warm-up series follows the moon phase of the class. This is when hip openers such as Hero Pose or One-Legged King Pigeon Pose are taken. These stagnant poses begin to wind down the body. Head stands and shoulder stands can be done during this cool down period of practice. Savasana closes practice by bringing the body to complete relaxation.

Even though power yoga is one of the most intense forms of yoga, it still brings all the benefits of classic yoga. The flows are fast paced and there is little time to rest, but the controlled breathing brings a calming effect over the body. Some people stay away from yoga because traditional yoga can be seen as boring or considered to be religious. However, power yoga brings a new modern vibe to the yoga community and incorporates those that would have never thought of doing yoga for a work out. Power yoga is a great style for those that have stayed away from yoga and who strive better in a gym atmosphere. It’s just another type of yoga that proves that there is a style for everyone.

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