There isn’t just one style of yoga. This popular form of mind-body exercise has many different varieties, each with its own discipline, focus, and goals.
Power yoga, for example, is designed specifically to improve muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. The poses are challenging, and you move from one pose to the next quickly.
It provides a good physical workout and, unlike some other styles of yoga that follow the same series of poses each time, power yoga classes are seldom alike.
This article will take a closer look at power yoga, its benefits, possible drawbacks, and how to get started.
As the name suggests, power yoga is focused on building strength and endurance. It is also an excellent form of yoga for burning calories.
Although power yoga isn’t an official type of yoga, the term is sometimes used interchangeably with Vinyasa yoga. It’s probably more accurate to say that power yoga is a form of Vinyasa, which has its roots in Ashtanga yoga, an established practice that began in the early 20th century.
With power yoga, the emphasis is on the flow from one pose to the next, rather than approaching each pose separately. The poses aren’t disconnected from each other, unlike some other forms of yoga.
No matter what you call it, power yoga is a fast-paced and intense activity. You move from one posture to another rapidly, linking your breathing to the different motions of your body.
A power yoga class may seem more like an aerobics class than a relaxed, mindful yoga experience. Though it requires mindfulness and focus on your breathing, power yoga is more dynamic than meditative.
Power yoga differs from other types of yoga in a few important ways. Let’s look at these differences more closely.
Unlike Hatha yoga, the most common form of yoga practiced in the United States, power yoga moves at a much faster pace.
Hatha yoga focuses on poses and breathing at a slower, more deliberate pace than power yoga.
Power or Vinyasa yoga uses many of the same postures as Ashtanga yoga, but not always in the same order.
Ashtanga yoga is a very precise practice, and each pose is done in the same sequence, no matter who is leading the class.
Power yoga classes, on the other hand, follow a sequence set by the instructor, or by the individual if you’re on your own. There is more variability and less structure with power yoga.
One of the main differences between Hatha and Vinyasa or power yoga is in the flow.
Power yoga emphasizes the flow from one pose to the next, exhaling as you change positions. Hatha yoga is less focused on the flow of poses and more focused on achieving the right posture with each pose.
According to scientific evidence, power yoga provides a wide range of both mental and physical benefits. Here’s a look at some of the key benefits of this fast-flowing yoga style.
Because of the fast pace and resistance training involved,
Getting your heart rate up during exercise helps your body circulate blood and oxygen to your muscles and organs more efficiently. This, in turn, can help improve your fitness, stamina, and overall health.
Additionally, regular cardiovascular exercise, like power yoga, can benefit you by:
- 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
- lowering your risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
Although a power yoga class is fast-paced, that doesn’t mean you won’t hold any poses for a length of time. You may hold some poses for a minute or longer.
When you hold your body in a particular position for more than a few seconds, it fires up your muscles and makes them work hard to keep you in a pose. This can boost your muscle strength and endurance in many parts of your body.
In a 2016
Researchers also found that power yoga increased muscle strength and power in the study participants.
Because it gives you a cardio workout, power yoga burns calories. Improved muscle tone and strength from power yoga also means you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not exercising.
According to a 2013 study, yoga may help you feel more connected to your body. This may make you more aware of when to stop eating, which can aid in weight loss.
Additionally, the study found that yoga can help reduce back and joint pain, which may encourage people with this type of pain to be more active.
Yoga is well known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, and promote feelings of relaxation and calm.
Even though power yoga is less meditative and more fast-paced than some types of yoga, a 2017 study found that power yoga has the ability to decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body.
The study suggests that even one session of power yoga may result in a noticeable reduction in stress.
Power yoga is associated with other key markers of good health, such as:
- better sleep
- a stronger immune system
- improved posture and balance
Additionally, according to a
The participants in this study who took part in twice-weekly yoga sessions also reported reduced anxiety and improvements in their perceived health and well-being.
Power yoga classes move at a fast pace and require a certain level of strength and fitness. Without a basic understanding of standard Vinyasa poses and movements, you may find it challenging to keep up.
As with any workout routine, using proper form is essential to avoid straining your muscles and joints. If you’re not familiar with the yoga poses, you may risk injury by trying a pose with the incorrect form.
Power yoga classes are often 60 to 90 minutes long. The time commitment could be a drawback, especially if you’re not used to exercising or working out for that length of time.
If you’re comfortable in an intense fitness class environment (think CrossFit), power yoga may be a good fit for you.
It may also be a good choice if you have a decent level of fitness and are accustomed to working out for 60 minutes or longer. Having some familiarity with other forms of yoga and yoga poses is helpful, too.
Power yoga classes are typically taught at fitness centers or yoga studios. When starting out, look for beginner or introductory classes, and ask your friends or co-workers for recommendations.
You may not see classes listed as “power yoga” courses, but instead they may be called Vinyasa yoga classes.
Before signing up, talk with the instructor or people working at the fitness center or studio to learn more about the power yoga class and what it includes. Also find out what level of expertise or fitness is needed for the class.
If you’re new to yoga, you may want to consider an introductory class in Hatha yoga. This can help familiarize you with a variety of yoga poses and how to do them correctly.
If you’d prefer to practice power yoga on your own at home, there are many online videos you can stream and follow along. You may also want to try out a yoga app that you can download to your phone or tablet.
If you have a chronic condition such as heart disease or arthritis, have an injury, or you are pregnant, check with your doctor about whether power yoga is safe for you.
Power yoga, which is also known as Vinyasa yoga, is a fast-paced style of yoga that’s focused on building strength and endurance. It is also an excellent form of yoga for burning calories.
Although it requires mindfulness and focus on your breathing, power yoga is more dynamic than meditative forms of yoga, and provides a good cardio and strength-training workout.
You don’t need weights or other equipment, but it helps to have a certain level of strength and fitness for this style of yoga.