The term yoga is Sanskrit for “union”. It is a spiritual and aesthetic discipline that focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. The word yog or yoga was first mentioned in the ancient Vedic literature called “Rig Veda”. The term was popularized by the Americans in the 1980s, and now we are celebrating 21st June as International Power Yoga Day.
Yoga is versatile and different forms of it can be found around the world. Power Yoga or vigorous vinyasa is such a practice. The term ‘Power Yoga’ was first founded and developed by Beryl Bender Birch. It was designed to improve muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. It provides a good physical workout as you move from one pose to the next swiftly.
In this article, we will take a closer look at power yoga, its benefits, and drawbacks. So, let’s get started!
What is power yoga?
Power yoga focuses on building strength and endurance and is a great way to burn calories. It emphasizes the flow from one pose to the next, rather than approaching each pose separately. It is a fast and intense activity, i.e., you move from one posture to another rapidly, focusing on your breathing and technique.
Power yoga classes are quite the opposite of being mindful, though mindfulness is needed; it is more lively than meditative.
Speed and flow are the main ingredients that make power yoga different.
Power yoga moves at a faster pace, unlike other yoga forms. Others focus on breathing techniques, correct postures, and it delivers a restorative experience, while power yoga focuses on cardiovascular enrichment.
Most of the yoga practices follow the same order, doesn’t matter who is doing it. But in a power yoga class, the order can be set by anyone. Therefore, there are more variables and less structure.
Benefits of Power Yoga
Power yoga is like any other exercise which offers several benefits. So here are some key benefits of this fast-paced style of yoga.
1. Improves strength
Power yoga is fast-paced, and you have to hold some poses for a minute or longer. When you hold your body in a particular position for quite some time, it fires up your muscles and makes them sedulous to keep you during a pose. It helps to boost muscle strength and endurance in certain parts of the body.
2. Increases agility
It isn’t a secret. When you get involved in a fast-paced exercise, and you do the poses correctly, this tends to improve your reaction time, speed, etc., in general, increases your agility (like video games increase your hand to eye coordination, cool).
3. Weight loss
Cardio workouts burn calories, a fact we are all familiar with. Power yoga is full of cardio elements that result in weight loss. Additionally, it was found that yoga reduces joint and back pain. A good reason for people cooped up in cubicles to join.
4. Reduce stress
Yoga is known to reduce stress and anxiety and promote feelings of calmness and relaxation. Although power yoga focuses less on meditative portions and follows a fast-paced approach, it was able to decrease stress hormones known as cortisol.
5. Cardiovascular health
Because of its fast-paced nature, power yoga can increase your heart rate and metabolism. Getting your pulse up during exercise helps your body circulate blood and oxygen to your muscles and organs more efficiently. This helps to improve your fitness, stamina, and overall health.
Some additional benefits are mentioned below:
- strengthening your heart and lungs
- helping control high blood pressure
- improving cholesterol levels
- controlling blood sugar levels
- building stronger bones and muscles
- helping with weight loss
- improving sleep
- boosting energy levels
- improving brain function
- reducing your risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
Power yoga also resulted in better sleep, a stronger immune system, and improved posture and balance.
It doesn’t matter how beneficial the exercise might be, there are certain drawbacks attached to it. Power yoga moves at a fast pace and requires a certain level of strength and fitness. You also need to familiarize yourself with the world of yoga, or it could be challenging to keep up. Without having a basic understanding of the poses or movements, it would be easier to sprain your muscles or joints.
If you are someone like us, then power yoga would be hard for you to master on the first go (even on your 20th time) if you don’t have the proper knowledge for it. Most classes are 60 to 90 minutes long, and this could be a drawback if you are not used to exercising for that length of time. But if you are, then go for it.
If you have these conditions down below, then consult with your doctor before seeking power yoga classes:
- Pulled hamstrings
- Carpal tunnel
- Shoulder injuries
- Recent surgery of the eyes
- Severe heart conditions
- Any other serious medical condition
- Pregnant women
A small routine to get you started
As we said before, power yoga doesn’t have a proper sequence to follow. So if you know about the basic positions of yoga, then you can try this small routine down below:-
- Child’s Pose — 5 breaths
- Downward Facing Dog — 6 breaths
- Rag Doll — 5 to 6 breaths
- Sun Salutation A — 3 reps
- High Plank — 10 to 15 seconds
- Chaturanga Push-Ups — 3 reps
- Upward Facing Dog — 1 full breath
- Weighted Squats — 1 minute
- Weighted Lunges With Biceps Curls — 12 reps on each side
- Lawnmower Rows — 12 reps on each side
- Oblique Twists — 16 reps
- Glute Bridge — 8 reps on each side
- Chest Fly — 10 reps
- Weighted Crunch With Oblique Twist — 20 reps on alternating sides
- Leg Lifts — 12 reps
- Figure Four — 30 seconds each side
- Reclined Spinal Twist — 30 seconds
- Savasana — 30 seconds to 2 minutes
It would take 20 to 30 minutes to do this whole workout.
Note: Can yoga cure corona? No. Some people claim this just to make headlines or so that they could sell a particular product, but it is not true. Don’t fall into these wrong claims. I know this isn’t relevant to the topic, but better late than never.
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