Guide to Power Yoga

A Beginner’s Guide to Power Yoga

The concept of Power Yoga has recently generated some buzz in the world of health and fitness. Power Yoga is a term used to describe vigorous fitness approach to vinyasa practice.

While many people consider this to be “gym yoga”, Power Yoga is modeled closely to Ashtanga Yoga and includes many similar benefits, including increased flexibility, strength, stamina, and building internal heat.

The term gained popularity in the mid 1990s when a few teachers who had studied under Astanga master Sri. K. Pattanhi Jobs put in their efforts to make yoga more accessible to Western students.

While Power Yoga has its roots in Ashtanga yoga, teachers have the flexibility to design their own sequences to teach any pose in any order, making every class unique.

What is Power Yoga?

The term Power Yoga was coined to help people in the West differentiate between the vigorous fitness-based approach from the gentle stretching and meditation that is often associated with yoga. Power Yoga features a series of intense flowing movements, while specially emphasizing on flexibility and strength, converting yoga into a more concentrated exercise activity.

Power Yoga Guide

Origin of Power Yoga

This relatively new branch of yoga originated from the West and was popularized by Bryan Kest based in Los Angeles. He and Beryl Bender Birch, based in New York, are simultaneously credited for inventing Power Yoga on opposite coasts.

Both the teachers used the term to differentiate the intense flowing series of exercises from the gentle stretching and meditation that Americans commonly associated with yoga.

Benefits of Power Yoga

There are numerous physical and mental benefits of Power Yoga that can help you live a healthier life. Here are some you should know:

Power Yoga Benefits

Boosts Physical Fitness

Power Yoga is a more intense and energetic form of yoga, hence it is considered the perfect total body workout to strengthen the core. Power Yoga is especially common among people because of its emphasis on toning the body.

Increased Flexibility

Similar to its roots, Ashtanga yoga, Power Yoga increases strength, flexibility and strength that ultimately reduces the risk of injuries during physical activities. You will walk out of your first class feeling taller, supple and far more flexible than ever before.

Since Power Yoga focuses on stretching the body and concentrating on breathing, it does wonders for the body, making it more flexible and healthy. Beginners may find it difficult to achieve some poses at first but the more you practice, the more benefits you will reap from your perseverance.

Slow Power Stamina

Power Yoga encourages the transition of different poses while holding different postures and using controlled breathing. The invigorating energy involved coupled with the steady positions enhances endurance levels and boots stamina in addition to building strength.

Eliminates Toxins

Apart from gulping down a glass of delicious green smoothie, consider practicing Power Yoga to eliminate toxins from the body. As beginners learn to stretch and control their breathing, their muscles also stretch and relax in the process, delivering nourishing oxygen rich blood throughout the body.

By incorporating the flow and energy of Power Yoga, the practices speed up the body’s ability to eliminate toxins, allowing you to feel more alert and lighter than ever. This rids the body from both natural and man-made toxins.

Builds Core Strength

Apart from incorporating intense physical activity, Power Yoga also takes into account the precision of traditional yoga that brings peace and tranquility to the mind, body and soul. Power Yoga includes a series of graceful poses that contributes in building core strength.

Additionally, transitioning from pose to pose builds energy reserves that challenge the body. This makes Power Yoga the perfect option for people who want to stay fit without moving around too much.

Increases Lung Capacity

Power Yoga teaches one to inhale and exhale slowly and completely. Practicing this breathing technique over a period of months expands the capacity of the lungs.

Traditional exercise methods may not allow you to breathe in enough oxygen to compensate for the energy burnt, however, Power Yoga encourages the lungs to pull in more oxygen with each breath, nourishing the muscle tissues and the brain with more oxygen rich blood.

Cleanses Respiratory System

Unfortunately, we breathe in air that is contaminated by smoke and pollution that later contributes to dangerous diseases. It is imperative you start practicing Power Yoga to cleanse the respiratory system of pollutants.

While short inhalations and exhalations may leave pollutants trapped inside the lungs, deep and prolonged breathing in Power Yoga helps saturate the lungs with fresh oxygen every time you inhale and flushes out the toxins as you exhale completely.

Relaxes the Mind

Tired of coming from frazzled from your stressful job? Consider practicing Power Yoga to cultivate tranquility. Slow, deep and concentrating breathing techniques relaxes the mind, resulting in a calm and peaceful mood, bringing you greater peace. Use these breathing techniques to stay calm and centered during stressful situations in your daily life.

Reduces the Risk of High Cholesterol Levels

Clogged arteries make it difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Over time, these cholesterol deposits can completely block the passage of the arteries, resulting in life threatening diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks. Practicing Power Yoga regularly lengthens stretches and contracts the veins, aiding in the breakage of cholesterol deposits.

This keeps the heart strong and healthy, allowing it to pump oxygen rich blood freely throughout the veins. However, do not forget that stress, heredity and diet also contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, hence try switching to a low-fat diet to reap the more benefits from Power Yoga.

Promotes Weight Loss

Rest assured, all your efforts at yoga class will not go in vain as the intricate poses in Power Yoga curves off extra weight, allowing practitioners to shed those extra pounds. Additionally, you will also end up with stronger and leaner muscles.

Spiritual Benefits

Practicing Power Yoga helps practitioners cultivate a deep and personal connection with their spiritual self.

Power Yoga enables one to look at the world with an increased sense of compassion and empathy, allowing us to connect more deeply with others and the world we live in. As we become more aware of our spiritual self, we are able to experience greater joy and recognize our try purpose in life.

Types of Power Yoga

Power Yoga can be categorized in the following types:

Core Power Yoga

Core Power Yoga is considered a vigorous form of yoga that strengthens and enhances the soul, body and mind. Above all, Core Power Yoga is a multi-disciplinary style of yoga that incorporates three types of yoga.

Power Yoga For Core

This form of yoga aims to help students connect with their spirituals core, allowing them to achieve inner power. Accessing inner power further helps students tap into their mental power to increase focus and boost physical power.

Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga

Baron Baptiste is the inventor of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga that incorporates many yoga styles, including bandhas, pranayama, drishti and vinyasa.

Baptiste Power Vinyasa Power Yoga

The intense yoga style concentrates on meditation, asana and self inquiry, increasing the body’s ability to adapt to any level of physical activity. The important aspects of Baptiste’s method include health, flow, gaze, breath, and core stabilization.

Best Power Yoga Poses for Weight Loss

Have you been trying to lose weight but all your efforts are going in vain? Perhaps you should opt for Power Yoga to shed those extra pounds. Luckily for you, Power Yoga incorporates cardiovascular exercises that make it a highly effective method for weight loss. It is time you include the rejuvenating type of yoga in your life to maintain a healthy body and live stress-free.

Weight Loss Yoga

Here are some amazing Power Yoga poses that will help you lose the extra pounds:

Dhanurasana

Dhanurasana, also known as the bow pose, is an excellent yoga pose that is especially beneficial for getting rid of excess body fat on the arms and legs. Additionally, it also reduces belly fat and strengths the abdominal organs, thighs, groins and the spinal cord. Here’s how you can master the perfect Dhanurasana:

Dhanurasana Pose
  • On a flat surface, lie down on your stomach, facing downwards
  • Try to relax with 2-3 breaths
  • ​Slowly inhale and start bending your legs backwards
  • ​Hold on to your ankles with your hand
  • ​Your body should now be in the shape of a bow, with your entire body weight resting on the abdomen with only the pelvic area and stomach touching the ground.
  • ​Hold this position for about 15-20 seconds while continuing to take deep breaths. You can increase the time as you begin to master the pose after regular practice
  • Exhale slowly and resume the starting position

Utkatasana

The Utkatasana, also known as the Chair Pose, is just like sitting on a chair except the practitioner is supposed to balance him/herself without the use of a chair. This simple pose helps tone the thigh muscles and strengthens the spine and back muscles.

Utkatasana Pose

Additionally, the yoga pose also stimulates the heart and the diaphragm. Here’s how you can master is simple yet challenging pose:

  • To perform the Utkatasana, one should first adopt “The Mountain Pose”, also known as “Tadasana”, by inhaling and raising your arms perpendicular to the floor. You can either rest your arms parallel, keeping your palms inwards or by joining them.
  • Now, exhale and bend your knees while keeping your thighs parallel
  • ​Your knees should project outward over the feet, with the torso slighting leaning forward over the thighs until the torso is approximately at a right angle from the top of the thighs.
  • ​While keeping the inner thighs parallel, press the head of the thigh bones
  • ​Keep your shoulder blades firm against the back
  • ​Push the tailbone down toward the floor while keeping your lower back straight as if you were sitting on a chair
  • ​Maintain this position for about 30 seconds or even longer
  • ​Come out of this pose by straightening your knees followed by an inhalation, lifting through the arms
  • Now exhale and release your arms to your sides, resuming back to the tadasana pose

Downward Dog

This yoga pose is excellent for toning your legs and abdominal area. The yoga pose is actually quite complex and is one of the first asanas taught in a class. Here’s how you can master this simple yet challenging pose:

Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Get down on all fours, bringing your hands slightly forwards from your shoulders
  • Press your hands firmly on the ground, pressing the outer edges of the palm and the fingertips
  • ​Rotate your shoulders and your upper arms outwards while rotating your forearms in
  • ​Tuck in your toes
  • ​Exhale while lifting your knees away from the floor
  • ​Lengthen the tailbone away from the pelvis and lightly press it toward the pubis
  • Lift the sitting bones upwards against the resistance, drawing the inners legs into the groins​
  • ​With an exhalation, push the thighs back, stretching the heels towards the floor. Keep the outer thighs firm and roll them slightly inwards while narrowing the front of the pelvis
  • ​While keeping the outer arms firm on the ground, press the index fingers on the floor. Use these two points to lift the inner arms from the wrist to the top of the shoulders. Keep your shoulder blades firm against your back and draw them toward the tailbone.
  • ​The head should rest between the upper arms
  • ​Maintain the pose for between 1 and 3 minutes depending on how flexible and active you are
  • Bend your knees to the floor
  • Adopt a resting position with the Child’s Pose

Conclusion

Practicing Power Yoga is the perfect solution for people who want to reap the benefits of yoga while losing weight at the same time. Try these amazing poses or enroll yourself in a Power Yoga class. You won’t regret it!

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