“Power Yoga” is the shortened, modified Western version of the Indian Ashtanga Yoga that emphasizes on developing physical flexibility and instills self-discipline. Power Yoga is one among the different types of Yoga which is as effective as a rigorous body workout, but also promotes concentration and mental stability. Sri.K.Pattabhi Jois, a famous Sanskrit Scholar introduced the concept of Power Yoga to the West. Unlike the traditional Asthanga Yoga (which was developed by Sage Patanjali), this version of Ashtanga yoga (by Sri.Pattabhi Jois) deals with a vigorous approach to Pranayama and Asana (posture). To prevent further confusions, the Joiss system of Ashtanga Yoga is also called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga or Power Yoga.
Power Yoga involves a series of yoga postures performed in synchronization with breathing patterns for each movement (vinyasa), thereby providing grace and unity to the movements. It appears to be a more free-flowing kind of yoga in the eyes of a layman. The yoga postures are done in a slow and steady pace. In fact, certain poses require remaining still for a longer time. This increases the ability to focus on a certain task for a longer period of time, while simultaneously increasing physical endurance of the body. The basic poses of Power Yoga are more like those mentioned in the Sun Salutation Pose.
A few warm-up exercises are performed before starting the practice of Power Yoga. This form of Yoga is generally performed in a room where the temperature is warm, to provide maximum flexibility to the muscles. Power Yoga could appear to be painful for beginners and hence conditioning of the body is required before practicing Power Yoga. Power Yoga is however suitable only for individuals who do not suffer from any chronic ailments and are physically fit.
Today, increasing number of people are being drawn towards Power Yoga. A few benefits of Power Yoga are mentioned below:
- Improves concentration and mental stability
- Relaxes the mind and body, removing anxiety and tension
- Helps in improving body posture and tones the body.
- Prevents toxin accumulation in the body, through perspiration
- Considered to be beneficial for athletes, and is particularly helpful in sports activities like cycling, swimming, football and golf.
Though Power Yoga has a vigorous approach, its aim is to unite the mind, body and spirits just like in all other forms of Yoga.