What Is Power Yoga? – Practice Power Yoga Today
Power yoga – is it another new fad or something that’s worthwhile adding to your yoga practice? Well, for starters it may not look anything like your typical vinyasa practice, and that may be a good thing. It’s great to try new things – and I’m a huge fan of combining two very different things, and making something new. And I would say that’s exactly what power yoga does.
I’m going to break down some key concepts worth knowing before embarking on your power yoga journey.
What is it?
A faster, more intense and more dynamic form of traditional yoga. You can expect more of a focus on your strength and flexibility in power yoga, rather than chanting and breathing that you’d find in traditional yoga practice. Popularized in the US by Bryan Kest, power yoga is said to combine body and mind, creating a fast-paced practice to get your heart thumping – leading to many people actually referring to power yoga as ‘gym yoga’.
Power yoga vs vinyasa flow
In short, vinyasa flow is primarily breathing-awareness based, whereas power yoga is primarily body-awareness based. This isn’t to say the two elements can’t be intertwined – and like anything, you can find your perfect ratio in your own practice.
In vinyasa flow, your breath will be your focal point. You’ll be moving through various poses in a dance-like sequence, syncing your movement with your breath. You may also be challenged to hold your breath during difficult poses.
Vinyasa is for all levels – you can pretty much tailor it to your fitness, strength and flexibility level, which is huge appeal for beginners. Once you work your way up, and reach an advanced level, there are definitely some interesting poses to try – like the forearm stand, and headstand, keeping you motivated to get better and better!
On the other hand, power yoga is fitness-based. You’ll still be moving through poses, but at a faster rate, and in less of a sequence. In power yoga, teachers can change classes up as they like – moving from pose to pose with no real rhythm, unlike vinyasa flow, where typically teachers will have a set flow of poses, from start to finish.
Unlike vinyasa flow, you’re going to want a good baseline level of strength and fitness when you start power yoga. Starting with low fitness levels can increase your risk of injury as you move through the poses.
Power yoga benefits
- Increases strength
- There’s no two ways about it – power yoga is fast-paced, intense exercise. You can expect to build some substantial muscle when incorporating power yoga into your weekly routine. And not only that, you can expect it to be lean, lengthening muscle.
- Increases flexibility
- Like any other form of yoga, you’ll be encouraged to hold some challenging poses, which will be sure to stretch you to your limits. This encourages greater flexibility, and the more you practice, the more flexible you should become.
- Increases Mindfulness
- Whilst in these challenging poses, you’ll be encouraged to accept them and breathe through, staying in the present moment. This is mindfulness. Once you dedicate some time to being mindful through your yoga practice a few hours a week, you can incorporate this into your daily life as well. From brushing your teeth in the morning, to driving to work, we can be mindful in anything we do.
- Decreases stress
- Whilst practicing power yoga, you’re basically getting two in one – you’re getting the endorphins you’d have from a regular exercise session, and the grounding and breath work you’d get in traditional yoga. There’s no doubt that this mix can significantly reduce stress levels, allowing you to leave your power yoga session feeling lighter, and more peaceful.
Despite the benefits, it’s useful to bear in mind that with any form of yoga, we are encouraged to not think about the end results, and simply enjoy the process and journey.
Power yoga and weight loss
If this wasn’t already clear, you can be prepared to break a sweat when you take a power yoga class. We know that traditional yoga encourages weight loss, but combining the elements of traditional yoga with more fitness and exercise based practice can really enhance these weight-loss benefits.
Power yoga can really help to tone – it works on your core, streamlining your entire body. Power yoga helps you to build muscle, whilst also maintaining a feminine and lean look, which makes it appealing to add to a weight-heavy workout routine. Alternatively, combining power yoga with a few cardio sessions a week will surely help you reach your weight-loss goals.
All of this is great, but we know that for lasting weight-loss, we need to work on our mindset, which coincidentally power yoga also helps with. Although fast-paced, power yoga can help us practice mindfulness, which can translate to your daily life, and can even influence mindful eating habits.
Power yoga poses
So, whilst on your power yoga journey, you’ll be getting to grips with a variety of poses.
- Starting with some simple squats can help tone your thigh muscles, and warm you up for the workout.
- Power yoga is all about core strength – so there’s no surprise you can expect to be doing your fair share of planks during a session.
- Downward dog
- A classic in traditional yoga classes, downward dog is a ‘resting’ pose you can come back to when you need a moment of stillness during your class.
- Boat pose
- Boat pose will again, work your core, as well as improving your digestion, confidence and relieving stress.
- Locust pose
- Basically, a back bend. This pose will strengthen and improve flexibility in your lower back. A challenging one, the pose will strengthen your arms and increase your stamina and endurance.
Just make sure you have a decent yoga mat to help you through the poses!
So, why not give it a go?
As yogis, we are all about moving into, and breathing through our discomfort. So, before overlooking this new trend of yoga, let’s give it a go and make our own minds up. It’ll make you feel as though you’ve had an intense workout, whilst also adding some peace and calm to your day.
Let me know how it goes!