Yoga has been at the forefront of holistic fitness for quite some time now. It's one of the best forms of health and fitness that you can adopt for yourself. With the practice being established in India for centuries, it has been embraced by the west as well. From celebrities to major league athletes, everybody has taken to yoga.
People have been doing the basic restorative form of yoga for years. With this came the need for something new. That's how Power Yoga was introduced! This regime is more intense and puts you through complex contortions right from the get-go! So, how do you start doing power yoga?
Here’s your complete guide to power yoga with a few pointers you need to keep in mind before you start your journey.
Before you begin any new form of exercise for the well-being of your body and mind, it's best to know everything about it.
Power yoga is basically a term used to describe a fitness-based approach to Vinyasa yoga practice. For the unversed, Vinyasa refers to a style of yoga where you keep moving from asana to asana in a flow, seamlessly, using your breath. It’s also referred to as ‘Flow Yoga’. While Vinyasa is sometimes confused with power yoga, they are not the same. Power yoga is a vigorous form of yoga and it is perfect for those who want to practice yoga for losing weight.
The origin of power yoga begins with Ashtanga yoga, which is a traditional series of postures done in the same order every time. And Vinyasa that we spoke about earlier is like freestyle Ashtanga. The term ‘power yoga’ became popular in the mid-1990s when two American teachers - Bryan Kest and Beryl Bender Birch - studied with Ashtanga guru Sri K Pattabhi Jois and wanted to move away from the rigid sequence of the yoga form.
While Bryan Kest is based in Los Angeles and Beryl Bender Birch is from New York, both of them are credited for inventing power yoga simultaneously on opposite coasts. Kest originally learned from David Williams and Birch got her training from yoga guru Normal Allen. Both, Wiliams and Allen, were among Jois’ first western students. Kest and Birch used the term ‘power yoga’ because they wanted to differentiate between the gentle stretching and meditation from the intense, flowing style of yoga that they were teaching.
In one of his articles on his blog, poweryoga.com, Bryan Kest wrote, “I started adding poses my body was asking for, all of this happening under Pattabhi’s watchful eye without him uttering any concern or disagreement. What was simply the addition of a pose here and there within Ashtanga’s elaborate and dynamic sequences eventually became tangents of mini-sequences within the Ashtanga sequence...Soon after returning from India, I changed the name of what I was teaching to Power Yoga, as it certainly was not an Ashtanga yoga sequence and did not have the rigid Ashtanga yoga mentality of all or nothing”.
Power yoga increase stamina, flexibility, posture and mental focus. Like any other physical activity, it makes you sweat and toxins are released out of your body. It helps in burning more calories than any other form of yoga because of its rigorous nature. Therefore, it helps you with your weight loss. In addition to toning and strengthening your muscles, power yoga also helps you in relieving stress and lowers your blood pressure as well.
Power yoga also improves your quality of sleep because your entire body will get a workout, so almost everything in your body gets tried. Diseases like asthma and other lung problems can also be treated with breathing exercises while performing asanas. Power yoga focuses on long and deep breaths and therefore oxygen reaches to all parts of the body. Power yoga also improves your blood circulation and digestion.
Everything you should know about power yoga.
The practice of power vinyasa uses your own bodyweight to build strength and muscle. The asanas are more focused on muscle groups to hold up the postures and give you that tingling heat from an intense workout. So be prepared to have your thighs being on fire after the routine!
If you are a beginner and are thinking of taking up yoga as a fitness outlet, start with the simpler forms of restorative or hatha yoga. Once your body is used to the twists and stretches, you can go for the more difficult power yoga.
The asanas involved with power yoga need cautious practice to achieve perfection. They twist your bodies in the weirdest ways imaginable! This increases the chances of injury while practising the forms. Thus, it is suggested that you mix the routine with more simpler ‘keep fit’ type stretches on alternate days.
Yoga is one of the healthiest ways to lose weight without starving yourself or running miles at the gym! Although it takes longer than a diet plan or a weight goal-oriented regime, the weight loss with yoga is long term. Power yoga doesn’t just help you shed that pesky fat but it also sculpts your body to a sinewy perfection!
A standard power yoga routine will not last more than 30 minutes, excluding warm-up and cool down. The routine consists of quick switches between asanas and packs around 10 asanas in a half-hour stretch. Be prepared to invest in some breathable yoga wear because you are going to sweat!
While the restorative forms of yoga are relaxing and calming, power yoga has a slightly different effect and makes you feel pumped up! The routine is designed in a way that it instantly energizes you. So if you are looking for a pre-work boost, ditch your coffee for a quick power yoga session!
Power yoga is a spiritual practice which combines targeted asanas with synchronized breathing to enhance its functionality. This doesn’t just make your body fit but also works on the mind and nervous system. You will find yourself to be more aware and focused in your daily routine. So practice it with love and you shall be rewarded!
It is always advisable to begin any yoga exercise with Surya Namaskar as it helps you warm up and get used to the exercises that you are going to perform. We are listing some fantastic power yoga poses that will help you in losing weight quickly.
This is one of the simplest power yoga poses for weight loss. Start the corpse pose by lying down on your back in a resting pose. Sit halfway and lift your lower limbs so that you feel a little tight on your abdominal area. Stretch your hands in front of you to support the weight.
This is the perfect option for those who want thinner legs, arms, hands and thighs. Stand on the floor in a straight position with hands beside your body. Gently bend your right knee and wrap your left leg around it in a way that your knees are stacked over each other. Raise your arms to your shoulder height so that your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle while your right hand is wrapped around your left one. You have to strike a balance in the pose as you have to bring down your hips gently.
Another important one for beginners to lose weight is this one. You have to start by lying down on your back with your arms on either side of you. Then raise your lower limbs together and go high till they are perpendicular to your body and tighten your abdomen while you hold the position.
Stand on your toes with one of your palms touching the ground. Then lift one side of your limb high enough to create a stretch, and repeat the same for the opposite limb.
Start this pose by standing straight and while you keep your spine and upper body straight, you need to push your legs outwards so that you feel the stretch. Now, start bending on your side until your palm touches the ground. Support the body and lift it upwards.
Start this one by sitting on your back with your legs stretched in the front and your hands resting at the side. Straighten up your spine first and then slowly bend forward and try to grab your toe with your arms, keeping in mind that your lower limbs should be straight throughout.
Before you take the plunge, remember that power yoga is hard work and there is a possibility that it might not be the right choice for you. Here are some things you need to keep in mind before you start your journey.
You definitely need to avoid power yoga: