What Is Power Yoga, And What Are The Health Benefits?
What is power yoga?
Power yoga is quite different from traditional yoga, in the sense that it’s a much more vigorous, fitness-centered variation of the activity. Make no mistake, after 30 minutes of power yoga, you will feel like you’ve done a hard workout!
So, what is the difference between yoga and power yoga?
Power yoga is much more focused on improving the strength of your body than traditional yoga. It involves holding each pose for longer, growing more muscle and placing much less emphasis on your breathing. While traditional yoga focuses on mindset, control and improving flexibility, during a power yoga class, you’ll find you become much more hot, sweaty and tired! It’s a great form of cardio exercise, which can give any aerobics session a run for its money!
What’s more, power yoga is fantastic for people who bore of the predictability of traditional yoga easily. There’s much less rigidity in a power yoga class. All of the poses can be used in any order at all, making no two classes the same – great if you like a bit of variety in your workouts!
What’s the history of power yoga?
Power yoga can be attributed to 2 American yoga instructors who had previously studied with Ashtanga guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. During the ’90s, they decided yoga was often seen as a ‘sedate’ activity, frequently considered to be too gentle to be useful as a calorie-burning workout. They wanted to open the doors of yoga studios to a new type of student – people who wanted to improve their fitness levels and work through a series of hard-hitting moves.
Another aspect of Ashtanga which they wanted to move away from was the rigidity of the classes. Ashtanga always follows the same order of poses, never deviating from the same sequence. The creators of power yoga wanted to develop a type of yoga which was exciting, challenging and offered variety in each and every class.
What are the health benefits of power yoga?
The health benefits of power yoga are vast. Like regular yoga, it can improve your posture, flexibility and strength, but with power yoga, the effects are much more exaggerated. Because you will work up a sweat with power yoga, it also offers cardiovascular benefits, as well as burning many more calories than traditional yoga (around 300+ per hour) – and in turn, burns a lot more fat!
Power yoga is amazing for working the core muscles – essential for increasing metabolism-boosting muscle mass, and of course, like all yoga, you’ll find that you’re incorporating muscles into your workouts which you’ve not used for many years – if ever at all! With lots of participation and a good, well balanced diet, this all makes for a very well-toned, healthy body!
Who would benefit from power yoga?
Power yoga is more suited towards people who have some experience with traditional yoga, who want to work to a higher intensity and skip the rigidity of a normal yoga class.
It’s great for those who want to quit focusing on breathing and start focusing on building power in their body.
In general, power yoga can become suitable for anyone if they build themselves up to it – and the benefits they’ll gain from practicing it will be vast.
Should anyone avoid power yoga?
As power yoga is a very strenuous form of exercise, it’s clearly not going to be suitable for everyone.
Those who are suffering from certain health conditions such as a heart condition, or even a sports injury should always check with their doctor before they embark on a power yoga class. Similarly, anyone who is pregnant should check with a doctor first.
If you’ve never done any form of yoga before, you’re probably going to be better placed in a traditional yoga class to begin with, until you’ve got the hang of the poses you’ll be working with. As power yoga involves holding these poses for longer periods of time, it’s important you’re doing them right to avoid strain and injury.
What to expect from doing power yoga in terms of burning calories and weight loss
Power yoga can burn upwards of 300 calories per hour, but there’s much more to this exercise than simply how many calories it can burn through. It’s also important to factor in the increase in muscle mass you will gain from attending regular power yoga classes. And as we all know, the more muscle we hold, the higher our metabolism, and the more calories we burn even when we’re not exercising.
For this reason, power yoga is a pretty effective exercise when it comes to boosting weight loss. But you’ll have to combine it with an improved diet too. This is the case with any weight loss regime. 90% of weight loss is caused by diet – exercise is simply a way to boost the positive effects a good diet can have on your health.
Learn more how to use yoga for weight loss here >>
Popular Power Yoga training classes
There are a few specialised companies that provide power yoga training classes you can choose from, here’s just a few to get you started:
Core Power Yoga
CorePower Yoga offers classes throughout several states in the US. With the first week offered for free, you can trial power yoga with no risk, to see if you like it. Thanks to their well established francise setup, you know that all instructors are fully trained in power yoga and have the backing of many years of experience. They specialise solely in power yoga, and completey bypass traditional yoga classes, so they really know their stuff.
Exhale enterprises does offer power yoga classes, amongst a variety of other types of yoga, so if you want to be able to have the freedom of choice, this may be the one for you. Again, with studios throughout the United States, you’re sure to never be too far from a class near you.
YogaFit claims to be ‘The largest Yoga Fitness Educational School’, with classes available worldwide. They offer a good variety of yoga classes, with everything covered from the basics, right up to advanced power yoga.
Getting started at home
If you know the basics, and just want to ‘have a go’ at power yoga, take a look at the video below to get started:
Why not give power yoga a try?
Without a doubt, you’ll need some degree of fitness and yoga knowledge to get started in power yoga, but why not start now? If experience is what you need – get some! Then progress onto power yoga to see some truly fantastic weight loss and fitness-related results in a relatively short period of time.
Sign up for your most appropriate level of yoga class at your nearest gym – or take a look at one of the companies above to get started. You may just find yourself developing a passion for this brilliant form of exercise sooner than you think!
Have you ever participated in a power yoga class? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!