Yoga has been a popular form of art not only in India but also in the West. It has earned its unprecedented appeal because of its transcendental meditational qualities and its ability to not only strengthen you physically but also lead you to a peaceful way of life. In recent years, there have been many variations to this form of art, where it has become a personalised way of staying fit. An outcome of this is an offshoot which was born in the late 90s, popularly known as ‘power yoga’.
Power yoga is a great way to combine mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of yoga with vigorous exercise. Its fast-paced sequence makes you sweat and feel more energized. It lays emphasis on strength and flexibility while coordinating the body movements with breath.
Dinesh Dagar, a Yoga expert and owner of Dinesh Dagar Tranceform Yoga, which has branches all over Delhi, says, “Power yoga is a great way to enhance personal endurance and very effective when it comes to weight loss.”
What distinguishes it from traditional yoga is its dynamic nature. It’s faster, more intense and focuses more on strength building and less on mediation and chanting. It is physically more demanding and requires one to possess certain degree of stamina and flexibility.
Although power yoga emphasizes more on gaining physical prowess, it still is a great way of a faster workout. Whether or not you should try power yoga depends on your fitness goals. If your goal is to reduce muscle aches, then no, power yoga is not for you. However, if your goal is to build strength through low-impact exercise, then it is perfect for you.
Benefits of Power Yoga
Removes body toxins through sweat
Heals disorders like acid stomach
Helps getting rid of obesity
Increases the calorie burning capacity of the body
Helps coping with asthma, cancer, bronchitis, insomnia and sinus
Helps to deal with hypertension and menstrual disorders
Increases stamina, strength and flexibility of body
Now that the benefits of Power Yoga are known to you, there are certain steps and tips that you need to follow before you begin with this form of workout to gain maximum benefits:
1.Choosing the right time of the day
You might want to do power yoga first thing in the morning, when an energetic routine is most likely to get you going for the rest of the day. Try pairing that practice with a very short, relaxing routine at night if you can. Even just a few poses may help you sleep and set the tone for the next morning.
2. Learning to breathe right
Breathing is an essential part of all yoga forms. Breathing properly will help you keep your rhythm throughout the asanas, know your limits, and maintain good habits. The two go hand-in-hand and once you perfect this, you'll feel the flow of power yoga.
3. Choose your goals and your yoga style
Once you've identified your goals, look for a class that meets those needs. Think about your habits and the kind of person you are when you sign up power yoga. If you're worried about injury, you should then practice with a teacher. However, if budget is a concern or you want to practice at home, there are many audio and DVD classes available.
Listed below are some simple power yoga poses that you can easily follow at home, but don’t forget the basics mentioned above, specially the proper coordination between your breathing and the asanas.
Chair Pose on Toes :This pose helps to tone your thighs and lower calves. It also helps in improving concentration and maintaining body balance. It’s similar to doing ‘squats’ that help reduce lower body fat tremendously along with providing strength and stability.
Warrior 1 Pulses: This pose is beneficial for upper body strength and helps to tone your arms and thighs. It also results in the opening up of your lungs so as to gain maximum oxygen while breathing. Another benefit of this pose is that it improves body balance and helps reduce stress and anxiety related problems leaving you relaxed.
Boat Pose: This pose is best for lower body strength and acts as a great toner for your calves. Since it compresses your stomach, it also results in the reduction of fat around your waist and helps to cure obesity and other similar related ailments such as Hyper Tension Cholesterol.
Side Plank Hip Lifts: This pose is great for increasing upper body strength and to tone your arms. It requires a significant amount of body balance and helps you build concentration power. Do try this pose if you want a toner lower body, especially problem areas like calves and thighs.
Locust Pose: Also known as the ‘Superman’ pose, this asana is great for your lungs and for any other breathing ailment such as asthma. It helps in stretching your body to the fullest and at the same time opens your muscles. Most importantly, it helps you build a greater control over your body and increases your power to concentrate.