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Power Yoga – The Yoga of Radiance & Glamour

Yoga

Power Yoga – The Yoga of Radiance & Glamour

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In the 80s, Yoga gained quite a popularity in west but some people still preferred more vigorous forms of exercising due to a number of reasons like lack of time and discipline, desire for instant results, skeptic about the benefits, etc. Realizing this fact, Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest both independently and simultaneously established a more vigorous and challenging form of Yoga as, Power Yoga.

This yoga style derives its poses and breathing technique from the traditional, Ashtanga Yoga, the eight-limb form yogic lifestyle. With time, to make this yoga even more accessible, more variations have surfaced like, Sun Power Yoga, Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga, Boomer Yoga and Rocket Yoga. To people, it is more commonly known as the Gym Yoga.

What To Expect In A Typical Class

  • No chanting of mantras
  • fast paced modern music
  • A lot of sweating and pace
  • No loo or water breaks
  • No pauses between poses
  • A heart pumping aerobic/cardio workout

Be warned

Unlike Bikram Yoga, where the sequence of poses are preconceived and same every time, power yoga does not have any signature poses and hence, people who have even a little knowledge of yoga and its breathing style claim to be the master of this style. These days, finding the term ‘Power Yoga’ highly alluring, almost every gym offers its sessions to its members. But, as I said, they may not be properly trained or certified in it. So, I suggest you go through this before joining any class blindly – How to Find The Right Yoga Teacher.

Moreover, since its fast paced, many a times, much emphasis on breath synchronization or Vinyasa would not be laid, which according to believers of traditional yoga, defeats the very purpose of even practicing it. This form of Yoga will build you more externally rather than giving strength from the inside. As a result, the benefits would be similar to going gym: Instant but Short-lived.

The basics

Who should do it: Anyone who wants to get fit naturally, has little patience for the next pose (restless type), loves speed and can’t lend an ear to lullaby of mantras. Power Yoga is tough. Rigorous. And fast.

I understand you are an athlete, but that doesn’t mean yoga will be easy on you. Moreover, athletes need to take it even slower, with their competitive streak kicking in every now and then, they are at a serious risk of getting injured if rushed.

Who should not do it: Pregnant women, people ailing from cardio-vascular and orthopedic problems and those who believe Yoga is more about healing internally rather than getting fit externally.

Pregnant women should go for Prenatal Yoga instead: Prenatal yoga – Yoga for Blissful Pregnancy

What to wear: Anything except cotton, as it tends to weigh down the body after soaking sweat. Wear sporty outfits with extra wicking and venting abilities. Cycling shorts, Sports brassiere/vest would do good. Some sessions might even require a set of good running shoes.

Beginners & Beyond

Its a cross between an Aerobic session and a Yoga practice, so chances are, you’ll feel exhausted after the first session. Beginners should therefore, take it nice and slow with one session in first week. Let your body relax and then advance to two classes in a week. And increase them gradually to 4. People taking the plunge for effective weight loss, should practice 3-4 times a week, each session being 45 minutes long.

Advanced students usually practice it for 90 minutes straight, but there is no hard and fast rule, you can choose as per your need and convenience.

Diet Tips

Thinking, everyone has their own version of Power Yoga, doesn’t mean you can junk on anything that comes your way. Like every fitness routine, any yoga class too needs to be complimented with a proper diet of smaller meals throughout the day with emphasis on nuts and lentils. As a matter of fact, I found this pattern effective in keeping people less hungry, so your intake automatically reduces without making any special efforts on charting up a diet plan.

Most people deliberately turn vegan, this though is not a compulsion. But for effective weight loss, fiber rich fruits and vegetables are highly recommended (I find that a test of my determination).

Don’t forget to drink loads of water to keep you hydrated and refreshed all day long.

Common Poses

Health Benefits

1. Body detoxed and Skin cleansed

By means of sweat, excessive toxins are flushed out of the body and it is cleansed inside out. The effect is visible in form of a clearer and more supple skin. Women report falling in love with their new blush.

Read: Yoga for Beauty – Skin Renewal Detox Tips

2. Toned Body

Not only will it help you lose weight, but also tone your muscles to the best of their shape with poses that utilize body weight for strength training [1]. Moreover, an improved metabolism will keep turn your body into a fat burning machine. What more, in every session of 45 minutes, you burn around 300-600 calories. So, if you do half an hour of power yoga once a week, it’s possible to lose 20 pounds in about 2½ months!

Calories burned per hour = 400 (approx.) Power Yoga for weight loss? Woohoo…here I come.

3. Improved Blood Circulation

Just like any aerobic workout, this yoga helps in thinning of blood, improving blood circulation in tiny spaces of our body that were earlier inaccessible by blood.

4. Reduced Stress and Anxiety

With enhanced stamina, physical stress on body is reduced. A fast exercise helps release endorphins, the feel good hormones of the body, that give you a feeling of fulfillment and self-control [2]. So, you become less susceptible to depression and anxiety.

5. Better Immunity and Posture

A good supply of oxygen to cells results in better functioning of internal systems leading up to a better immune response. With regular practice your strength, agility and stamina builds up, giving you a much better gait and posture.

I believe, this form of yoga has more to do with its commercial name than its association with real traditional yoga. But still, I cannot turn a blind eye to the benefits it offers. It indeed improves your mental focus, replaces aches with flexibility and detoxifies your body without taking any pills [3], you become healthier and happier with each pose. Do you know, Exercise gives you more energy!!

So, if one is looking for a traditional Yoga, the form that emphasizes more on gentle and slow breathing rather than getting into poses, I suggest you read this before making a choice: Yoga Lingo for Dummies

For those who believe life is about speed and non-stop motion, well you are right on track for Power Yoga. Book a class now!

Related Reads:

1. Prana Power Yoga – Interview with Taylor Wells

2. Poses to Get Toned Fast and Easy

3. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara)


References:

[1] Benavides S, Caballero J. Ashtanga Yoga for children and adolescents for weight management and psychological well-being. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2009 May15(2):110-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2008.12.004. Epub 2009 Jan 11. PMID: 19341991. ^Back To Top^

[2] Catherine Woodyard. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga. 2011 Jul-Dec. 4(2): 49–54. doi:  10.4103/0973-6131.85485. PMCID: PMC3193654. ^Back To Top^

[3] Smith JA, Greer T, Sheets T, Watson S. Is there more to yoga than exercise? Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 May-Jun;17(3):22-9. PMID: 2216480. ^Back To Top^

Last Updated: May 14, 2014
Next Scheduled Update: July 14, 2014

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