By Faye Martins
“Power” is a term used to describe a movement based high impact, energetic style of yogic exercise practices. The term was coined during the mid-1990s when this new style, based on the Ashtanga vinyasa practice, started becoming popular with western students. This form of yoga includes less meditation and chanting than other styles and emphasizes flexibility, toning and conditioning of muscles and self-control. It is a style preferred by practitioners who want to get a true workout from yogic practices to either get in shape or maintain their athletic physique.
Power yoga does not follow an order for asana practice, so each power yoga training session can be quite different depending on the practitioner leading the session. However, the asanas used in this style of yoga are chosen to focus on building strength, concentration and flexibility. Through the practice of this form of yoga, the core muscles are strengthened. Since it is a powerful workout, this method burns many calories so it is also used for weight loss.
The purpose of power yoga is for the practitioner to practice stretching and get a serious workout following the series of asanas. This type of yoga leads the practitioner in a transformation of his body and spirit, into one that is stronger and more agile while remaining relaxed and stress-free.
Another goal of power yoga is to increase stamina. The practitioner becomes stronger by following a series of asanas, each coordinated with one breath. Proper form and breathing techniques are emphasized during the asana practice. Each pose is held for a set amount of time, and then the practitioner moves fluidly into the next pose. Due to the fact that the asanas within the series tend to be physically challenging, the practitioner must give his full concentration to his body, whether holding a pose or moving flawlessly into the next pose. This is where self-control and concentration are employed as the body becomes stronger and more flexible through the practice of the poses. To improve the muscle flexibility that is needed to maintain this more vigorous workout, this style can also be practiced in a heated room.
Although this challenging form of yoga does not emphasize meditation and chanting, it may include it at the end of a session, allowing the practitioner to reflect on the changes his body has undergone during the preceding particular session. This form of yogic exercise is a highly flexible workout that allows practitioners to focus their workout based on their physical and emotional needs.
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