By Kimaya Singh
It is an exciting time for yoga students and teachers, with so many different types of yoga classes offered today. However, we must not forget the importance of choosing the right class because not every class is one-size-fits-all. Some classes are geared toward beginners, while others require prior knowledge of poses. Students who attend an advanced class without knowing the associated risks are putting themselves in a position for potential injuries.
Power yoga is a rigorous workout involving the entire body. There are many different forms of this style, depending on the instructor’s own philosophies. Basically, the common thread among power yoga classes includes performing a series of poses fluidly, while maintaining a focus on breathing and holding poses a little longer that usual. It provides a higher-intensity workout than traditional classes and is often practiced by athletes in training to sharpen important skills including stamina, strength, and agility. Students who are not familiar with poses could find themselves overwhelmed, frustrated, or possibly injured. The benefits of power yoga are similar to other yogic practices, and include a stronger, more fit body, an increased ability to concentrate or focus, stronger muscles and joints, increased flexibility and balance, and decreased stress levels.
Beginners can certainly try power yoga, but it is not going to be for everyone. Some instructors will run though the asanas and speak in Sanskrit. Many beginners would feel more comfortable in a slower-paced class where the instructor can talk through each pose. Beginner’s classes are often beneficial because students learn what each pose is supposed to feel like, how to breathe into each pose, and common mistakes to avoid. Power Yoga instructors will most likely assume students already have this knowledge, and will focus more on providing the “flow” more experienced students are seeking in a power yoga class.
With that being said, if a beginner really wants to try a power yoga class, they should do so with awareness that it might be confusing at first. They should make the instructor aware of their current skill level, so he or she can provide extra support as necessary. Some people catch on quickly and might not have any problems keeping up with the flow of the class. Others will quickly realize that they need a slower pace before venturing into this challenging style.
One of the greatest things about yoga is that it is for everyone, from kids to seniors. Yogic methods encourage self-awareness. If someone is fit, strong, and feeling confident that they can succeed with power yoga, then they should do it. If, however, someone were out of shape and wanting to improve their health starting at square one, then a basic yoga class would be a better fit.
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