Power Yoga

by Sam Malone


A brief history on Power Yoga

Power yoga is a term used to describe a vigorous, fitness-based approach to yoga modeled on the Ashtanga School of yoga. It is a recent phenomenon and was developed in the 1990's by Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest. The term was coined so as to differentiate it from the gentle stretching and meditation that the western world associated with yoga. Power yoga consists of a series of intense flowing movements with an emphasis on strength and flexibility. What is power yoga? It is a form of yoga where yoga is converted into a more concentrated and intense exercise activity. It is based on Vinyasa style of yoga, which is, in itself, an intense form of yoga. Power yoga has originated in the west and has been attributed to Bryan Kest, for popularizing it. There are no fixed poses or postures for power yoga and if often different in different classes. The emphasis is building strength and flexibility.

There are different studios that conduct different workshops all over the world. This form of yoga seems to have stemmed from the need to make yoga more like a rigorous workout than a lifestyle alternate. Power yoga is also a term used interchangeably for any form of vigorous yoga. Today it has gained popularity due to the endorsement of many celebrities world over. Many traditionalists feel that power yoga deviates from the traditional and gentle form of yoga.

Is power yoga suitable for you

Power yoga for beginners is not classes for other beginners. This form of yoga is meant for people who are already used to some form of exercise. It is important to be relatively fit to try out power yoga. People who do power yoga need a certain strength in them which comes from having done yoga before. The exercises are concentrated and require stamina. When you start power yoga classes, you need to more than familiar with yoga and the philosophy behind it. You also need to be familiar with the way of doing the sun salutation or the Surya Namaskar. The key is doing these poses without really stopping, which is where it primarily differs from other forms of yoga. Power Yoga classes can vary widely from teacher to teacher. The yoga regimes themselves are flexible and are adapted after taking into account the present fitness levels of the student. Power Yoga is designed so as to appeal to the younger generation who want quick and tangible results. It will appeal to people who enjoy exercising and want a minimal amount of chanting and meditation with their yoga. The older generations however, might want a slower approach to this discipline and prefer to choose a more traditional approach to Yoga.

Benefits

Power Yoga is a vigorous exercise that physically and mentally challenges you in order to help you connect to your inner power. The Yoga sessions are done in a heated room and composed of rigorous cardiovascular exercises designed to build strength and flexibility, improve your ability to focus, release tension, increase stamina, tone your body and remove toxins from your body through sweat. It also serves as a great training programme for athletes and also aids in injury prevention and rehabilitation. Health clubs also use Power Yoga as a transition from Aerobics to Yoga.

The main benefits of power yoga are that it is very intense and the exercises of power yoga can be very demanding. Power yoga helps you develop muscle tone and extended flexibility. It improves your weight loss rate, improves circulation, improves blood circulation and generally creates a sense of well-being and reduces stress. This form of yoga even improves the basal metabolic rate or the BMR.

It is a very good form of yoga for chronic illnesses like arthritis and thyroid disorders. Power yoga postures are based on the Vinyasa style of yoga and most of the postures originate from this style of yoga. These poses are designed to flow from one pose to another fluidly. This was done so that it seems like a more continuous workout. If you are truly a beginner, then do not overdo it the first few times trying to keep up with the class. Be intuitive and listen to your body. As this form of yoga is quite intensive, like some of the hot yogas, it is important to stay hydrated through the workout. Hydration means you have to drink enough water to supplement the water you are losing while exercising.

Conclusion

If you are young and active, with a busy lifestyle then Power Yoga is a great means of keeping fit. It has all the benefits of Yoga without needing the time that a practise of more traditional Yoga regimens requires. Power yoga exercises and postures for weight loss are very effective. Power yoga can be as or even more effective than a cardio workout. It is known to burn up to 400 calories in an hour. Along with that calorie count, it is also an effective workout as it exercises the entire body unlike other forms of exercise. A lot of the benefits of power yoga for weight loss depend on the class you are taking, the intensity of the workout, the combination of the poses the class makes you do, the intensity and repetitions you are made to do in your class. For a yoga workout to be effective, it should at least last for 90 minutes. Even a 45 minute workout thrice a week is very effective. Pick your problem area and concentrate on that through your workout. Like any workout, you need to concentrate on that problem area with fixed poses. You have to also listen to your body so that you can sense if the workout is making a difference or if your body is getting used to the exercises. You need to regularly change the routine so that you get optimum benefit from the workout and at the same time, you do not get bored. It would be a good idea to check with a doctor before you start this form of yoga as it can be demanding and you do not want any inadvertent injury.

Power yoga exercises and workouts can be done in a class at the local community center or a gymnasium or you can practice off a DVD. Finding the correct school is just as important as it is important to be comfortable with the class, the instructor and the environment. All these factors also make a difference to the entire experience of weight loss with the help of power yoga. The key to losing weight through power yoga is to find a program and instructor you like and continue that long term.


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