Everything you need to know about power yoga – Origin, asana, benefits

Looking for a fresh perspective to your yoga practice? Well then, look no further than power yoga.

This increasingly popular style of Yoga is a free-flowing and dynamic mix of postures that are fast-paced, challenging and centered on physical fitness.

So, let’s take this further today and get started on –

What is power yoga?

In simpler terms, power yoga is a sort of cardiovascular workout that blends the Eastern practice of Ashtanga yoga with the Western form of vigorous exercises.

Not sure what Ashtanga yoga is?

Well, it is a physically challenging practice that requires for you to synchronize your breath and movement at the same time. It is great for core strength and toning the body.

Coming back to power yoga, you move your body more quickly than regular Yoga so to build internal heat and increase stamina in the process. You also become strong, stress-free and (not to forget) flexible.

Yoga has a solution for everything. It is amazing how things get better with yoga. We’d suggest - don’t shy out. Rather give Power Yoga a chance!

Origin and history of power yoga

Power Yoga is relatively new compared to the age-old traditional yoga. This style of high-intensity asanas was founded by Beryl Bender Birch in the mid-1990s.

She began her personal practice in 1979 by devoting herself to the practices of Ashtanga (the asanas where the roots of Power Yoga exists and are connected).

Bender aimed to take the traditional practice of Ashtanga Yoga to the West and make it accessible to her students in this part of the world. She amended the asanas by allowing more freedom while practicing the set sequences.

She labeled her classes Power Yoga to differentiate between her intense and fast flowing yoga and the more relaxed and meditation based classes that everyone associated with yoga at that time.

Next, she took the initiative to rename her class and label it as Power Yoga. This made it easier for her students to differentiate the traditional, relaxed, meditation-based classes from the intense and fast flowing yoga.

Moving on.

Different versions of power yoga have been established with time and practiced in different parts of the world (Join power yoga classes in Jaipur). Of which, the most prominent ones include Rocket Yoga (founded by Larry Schultz) and Baptiste Power Vinyasa (founded by Baron Baptiste).

How different is power yoga from different forms of yoga?

1. Power Yoga vs. Ashtanga Yoga
Though power yoga is immensely inspired by Ashtanga yoga, there are a lot of visible differences. If you are into Ashtanga, you will have to follow a strict set of sequences without compromising any position.

On the other hand, power yoga is not strict with its sequences. There is a varied combination of postures and each differs from class to class.

While, ashtanga plays a significant role in taming your breath, improving focus and mending internal locks, power yoga is a lot more relaxed and offers a lot of scope for creativity.

2. Power Yoga vs. Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga focuses on the physical side of yoga, that too in a rather passive way. In this form of yoga, you need to focus on the postures by carefully holding your breaths for long counts.

Then comes power yoga. This form of yoga allows you to jump from one posture to next without holding on to any asana for long.

3. Power Yoga vs. Bikram Yoga

Just like Ashtanga, in Bikram yoga too, you need to follow the same sequence in every class with no scope for amendments. There are 26 postures in Bikram yoga which you need to perform in a room heated up to 105% Fahrenheit with humidity as high as 40%. The class will continue for the full 90 minutes which is the set standard for any part of the world.

4. Power Yoga vs. Yin Yoga

Speaking of yin yoga, it is another passive form of yoga. All postures are performed lying down or in a seated position. You do not need to go through warm sessions. You can hold postures for as long as three to five minutes.

What are the benefits of power yoga?

Power yoga increases stamina. Consistent practice accelerates heart rate and improves stamina.
It strengthened muscles. It is a full-body workout directed through advanced poses.
It improves flexibility, balance and further lessens the likelihood of injury.
It aids in weight loss. It helps reduce fat mass in the body and minimizes lean body mass.
It improves mood supports, boosts energy levels and promotes mental health.
It can even improve the symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What are some of the major power yoga practices?

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation
Surya Namaskar is a combination of energy, rhythm and form. It is a series of twelve physical postures that allows for complete contentment through asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation techniques. This asana is the most exquisite, energizing and vitalizing warm-up exercise of this level. It increases flexibility and stamina.

The steps of Surya Namaskar are:

Step 1: Pranamasan or Prayer Pose
Stand straight while keeping your feet together.
Press both palms in middle of the chest as if you are greeting Namaste and breathe normally.

Step 2: Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arm Poses
Slowly raise your hands up and bend your body in an arch. Now, breathe deeply.

Step 3: Pada Hastasana or Hand-To-Foot Pose
Release the arched position and slowly bend forward.
Keep bending till your head comes close to the knee.
Place both the hands on the floor on either side.
Breathe normally.

Step 4: Aswan-Sanchalan Asana or Equestrian Pose
Breathe in. Stretch your left leg till the knee touches the ground while raising the heels and balancing on the toes.
Bring your right leg close to the chest.
Place both the hands on the floor on either side and lift head towards the sky.

Step 5: Parvatasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose
Breathe out. Stretch your right leg in parallel to your left leg.
Keep hips raised while balancing limbs on toes and hands. Your body will resemble inverted V.
Keep head down and hold this position for a few seconds.

Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskar or Salute with Eight Parts
Breathe in. Lower your hips but just above the floor.
The chin, chest, two knees and feet should touch the floor.

Step 7: Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose
Breathe out. Lift the upper body and raise your head toward the sky. The other parts should be in the same posture.
Support the upper body by placing your palms on the floor.
Next, repeat step 1 to 5 i.e. from Parvatasana to Pranamasana.

2. Utkatasana or Chair Pose
Stand straight and fold your hands in Namaste.
Bend your knees as if you are sitting on a chair.
Raise both hands above your head.
Now, bend your torso a little forward and hold for some time.
Go back to original stand up position.

3. Naukasana or Boat Pose
Lie down flat on your back. Place your feet together and hands by the side.
Lift your chest and feet off the ground simultaneously while breath. Form a 10 degrees angle.
Hold for some time and go back to the original position.

4. Setu Bandhasana or Bridge Poses
Lie down flat on your back. Place your feet together and hands by the side.
Lift your middle body by lifting your torso and keeping your knees bent.
While keeping hands on the ground, balance your lower body with your toes.
Hold for five breaths.

5. Salabhasana or Locust Pose
Lie flat on your stomach and place hands by the side.
Lift up your legs without bending the knees. Simultaneously, breathe in.
Lift your torso and hands. Hold for 30 seconds.

So far, so good? When you practice Power Yoga at appropriate regular intervals, you will start noticing changes within a few weeks.

Interested? Join power yoga classes in Jaipur

Author's Bio: 

Navanita Devi is a content creator both by choice and profession. Her educational background in journalism has given her a broad base to understand her readers. She is currently the content writer for Innovana Thinklabs Limited and provides web content, promotional copies, blogs, and technical posts for target consumers across the globe. She is a movie fanatic. And when not at work, you will probably find her curled up in literature with happy endings!