Power Yoga. You've heard of it, but have you tried it yet? Perhaps you find the idea slightly intimidating because it moves much quicker than more traditional disciplines. Or maybe you've been told it can take a lot out of you due to the active and athletic nature of these types of classes.
Power yoga can be a more intense form of practice as it focuses on getting the blood flowing in much the same way as a full workout. But as a result, there is a layer of unpredictability in how each class is taught, making it perfect if you are seeking out something new and different from your typical practice. In fact, power yoga may be just what you're looking for to help give your body and mind an invigorating jolt.
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What is power yoga?
Ask anyone who's taken a power yoga class, and they will inevitably tell you how it kicked their butt. That's because these classes are intended to be highly energetic and robust, focusing on the legs and building intensity through cardio. When you take a power yoga class, you can expect to go through vinyasas made up of mostly standing poses, which will make you sweat! The pacing of a power yoga class is significantly faster than other traditional yoga classes, which are more focused on seated or prone postures held for thirty seconds to a minute or two at a time. Power yoga is a far more rigorous type of yoga that promotes strength, flexibility, and muscle building.
Key elements of power yoga
There are key elements to power yoga that make it the perfect choice for those days when you don't feel like hitting the gym. This is because a power yoga class can provide you with the same burn you might get from a typical workout, but has the added benefit of increasing your clarity of mind and relieving tension.
Did you go out and party the night before? Maybe had a few too many, and you're paying for it the next morning? A power yoga class will fix you up right away because the postures' energetic pace and intensity will make your sweat more, causing your body to push those toxins out. You're also going to find that you're burning a whole lot more calories than you would with other yoga styles.
Related: What is Kundalini Yoga?
A typical power yoga class moves a lot faster than other yoga classes, resulting in a workout that will get you up and moving. Your legs are going to burn, and you're going to walk away from this class sweaty and energized. Since power yoga was developed from Ashtanga Yoga, you can expect a similar dynamic. Still, instead of holding a pose for the usual five breaths, you're going to find yourself moving from one pose to the next with a swifter flow and cadence. You won't have time to feel tired of practicing a certain pose as you won't be holding it for very long!
You will feel invigorated after a power yoga class. Sure, you may also feel a little worn out, but it's the feeling of that additional boost of energy, a post-workout "high" similar to the euphoria that runners feel after they finish their route. This is the kind of yoga you want to take after that big night out or when you want some extra pep that you can't get from a cup of coffee. Power yoga is a great way to start your day and will leave you feeling enthusiastic about tackling everything on your to-do list.
Full body workout
When we talk about how a power yoga class is more like a workout than a traditional yoga session, we're talking about an activity that uses your body weight against you. This isn't a yoga class that emphasizes meditation, as power yoga is all about moving through vinyasas in rapid succession while lifting and resisting your body weight. Every part of your body will be engaged - your legs will be moving, your arms will be supporting you, and your core will be stabilizing your body. That's why power yoga is so good for strength training. Don't expect to simply coast through one of these sessions because you are here to work! Breathing is still an essential component, of course, and you will be expected to remain in challenging postures that involve resistance.
Word of warning
These types of activities can be very strenuous, and power yoga might prove too challenging for some individuals. Here are some factors to take into consideration before you participate in one of these types of yoga sessions.
Anyone experiencing chronic sickness may want to discuss their involvement in power yoga with a healthcare provider first. Certain illnesses such as diabetes and arthritis can be an obstacle to participation in the form of yoga with this type of intensity. In addition, anyone who is out of shape may have greater difficulty in attempting to take one of these classes. Someone who is not feeling very fit could do more harm than good to their body in trying to achieve and hold the postures typical to a power yoga class.
If you are pregnant, you should not participate in a power yoga class. Many of the poses that are part of regular yoga and power yoga could be dangerous to both mother and child. Instead, opt for something more traditional and low-impact. Prenatal yoga classes are an excellent choice to ensure you are staying safe for yourself and your child.
Those who are new to yoga probably won't want to dive in headfirst with power yoga. The pace may be too quick, the poses too challenging, and the breathing incorrectly applied. This form of yoga is better suited for those who have already been introduced to yoga basics, such as how to hold a posture and how to breathe. A power yoga instructor is going to expect that students have already taken a yoga class before walking into their studio. However, if you feel prepared enough and ready for a challenge, power yoga could be a significant next step in your yoga journey.
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