The term power yoga brings about images of Lycra clad yogis deadlifting heavy weights, but fear not because it isn’t. This is simply a type of very vigorous yoga with no set series of “asanas” or postures that is based on Vinyasa yoga that was closely modeled on a method called Ashtanga yoga of the Hindu tradition. It was invented by two American yoga instructors back in the ’90s who studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, a well-known Ashtanga master. The name was coined to differentiate between the styles of gentler stretching and breathing exercises more commonly associated with the discipline and the more intense version they were teaching.
Who is it For?
Power yoga classes can differ widely from instructor to instructor. This type of intense yoga will likely appeal to people who are already in good shape and enjoy working out with a minimal amount of meditation and chanting involved. If you’re interested in giving it a try, be prepared to work up a sweat while working out hard, because this isn’t your mother’s yoga.
Is it Right For You?
First off, previous exposure to yoga classes is probably a good idea. Next, determining if your fitness level is right for this style of yoga is essential. It’s always recommended that you consult with your physician before embarking on any new fitness program, especially one that’s vigorous. If you’re already a yoga enthusiast, see if the facility or studio you practice at offers power yoga classes that you might be able to sit in on and observe before committing yourself to a class.
Among the many benefits, power yoga is known for improving flexibility, strength, and stamina while giving you a lean, toned body and muscle mass. Much like Pilates, it stretches and elongates your muscles while building them and improves posture. It also improves your ability to concentrate and focus, reduces fat, improves core strength, reduces anxiety, increases metabolic rate for better calorie burning, and promotes overall well being of body and mind.
There aren’t many drawbacks to power yoga in general. If your No. 1 goal is merely to burn calories and you only have a short amount of time to devote to this endeavor, then power yoga probably isn’t for you. Medically speaking, it’s important to bear in mind that injuries are possible. For instance, just because your muscles will stretch and are flexible doesn’t mean your ligaments and tendons are. The spraining, straining, or tearing of them is a distinct possibility with any form of stretching exercises, so be cautious. In addition, there’s the potential for exacerbating any preexisting conditions or injuries you may have, so again check with your physician before starting.