Power Yoga is the term used to refer to a modification of yoga where in the focus is more on the physical, fitness aspect. This practice is largely based on a yoga form known as Vinyasa, integrating poses that are more vigorous and exercises. Power yoga exercises are very much similar to Ashtanga yoga with the main difference that this variation does not adhere to a preset sequence of poses.
Power Yoga became popularly called as such beginning in the mid 90s, when a group of yoga instructors where trying to find a way of introducing Ashtanga Yoga to the western yoga enthusiasts. Power yoga classes are deemed quite dynamic and exciting as each session can greatly vary from one another. This was one of the instrumental practices that led to the practice of yoga as a way of working out into a worldwide phenomenon.
Perhaps Power Yoga can be compared to Tae-Bo, which was what introduced martial arts as a way of working out. It can be safely said that if Tae-Bo was responsible for introducing martial arts into the health clubs and gyms. Then Power Yoga helped bring yoga side-by-side with aerobics and other conventional exercises.
Who Developed Power Yoga?
Two yoga instructors, both American, were most often associated with the development of Power Yoga: Bryan Kest of Lost Angeles and Beryl Bender Birch of New York. Both instructors apparently studied under Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the great Ashtanga yoga master. Birch and Kest were able to popularize almost simultaneously the practice of Power Yoga in the opposite coasts of the US. They were the ones who have introduced the meditation and stretching poses that most Americans know as yoga.
Power Yoga vs. Other Yoga Forms
As mentioned, Power Yoga is largely based on Ashtanga Yoga, however the poses have been modified to suit the public. The first series of poses of Ashtanga Yoga are by themselves already difficult for beginners because they require students to be mostly in the half lotus or lotus position. To accommodate the not so familiar American public to Yoga, modifications were made such as prolonging the preparation and resting time while decreasing the total workout duration. The primary series of Ashtanga Yoga normally takes around two to two and a half hours, which is quite long for most students, so by shortening or eliminating certain poses, Power Yoga cut the time spent on the exercises.
Physical, Mental and Spiritual Benefits
Power Yoga provides a lot benefits, here are some of them:
- Increasing strength, stamina, and flexibility
- Enhances peoples focus and concentration
- Diminishes anxiety, stress and distractibility
- Helps maintain good posture.
- Tones the muscles without subjecting it to pressure
- Eliminates body toxins through sweat excreted during sessions
- Helps improve performance in sports such as swimming, cycling, football, and golf
Power Yoga classes are now being offered in many health clubs and yoga studios throughout the US and all over the world in response to the growing popularity of this style of yoga. Most exercises offered in gyms often focus too many on physical workouts, leaving the spiritual and mental facet of fitness out. Power yoga covers this effectively, as people are not only physically putting their bodies through a great workout but their minds as well. Fortunately, today’s health clubs are recognizing the need for people to enhance all facets of their health, which is why more and more power yoga classes are emerging.
Who Can Practice Power Yoga?
As the term suggests, Power Yoga requires physical and mental power. Classes move through a vinyasa flow sequence incorporating push-ups and holding poses to build strength and require stamina. While one does not have to be a human pretzel to enter the class, some working flexibility might be needed to cope up with the demands of Power Yoga. Nevertheless, flexibility and strength can be developed throughout the sessions, which means that beginners are encouraged to try this form of yoga.
Power Yoga can be a very rewarding form of exercise especially for those who want to be both physically and spiritually healthy. To learn more about Power Yoga you may review books, DVD’s, the Internet, or you can contact us for a private or small group session.
- The Basics of Ashtanga Yoga (dominicspoweryoga.com)
- Discovering the benefits of yoga (dominicspoweryoga.com)
- Bikram Yoga Tips (dominicspoweryoga.com)