Power yoga, a westernised version of the Indian ashtanga yoga, has gained tremendous popularity over the last few years. Power yoga is a complete workout for stamina, strength, flexibility and total fitness. It lays special emphasis on the core stability i.e. of the abdomen and lower back. Based on Suryanamaskar [sun salutations], it is a full-fledged workout that helps in cleansing the body and awakening the mind and spirit.
Hit the goal
Some vital objectives of Power yoga are:
- To encourage all parts of the body to work efficiently. The exercises are designed to enhance strength and release tension and stress from the body and mind.
- To train the body as a whole unit and enhance performance. It helps develop physical stamina and improves focus and concentration. It lays emphasis on doing the right form of asanas, while trying to retain the positions for longer.
- To increase energy for awakening the spiritual potential. This helps the person to get in touch with his/her inner self and become more aware and sensitive towards his/her surroundings. The focus is on balancing the breath with the asanas and connecting the body, mind, and spirit at the deepest levels.
Know the basics
Power yoga is person-specific with the exercises being determined by your body type and health conditions that you may want to improve.
Through the use of special breathing techniques called Vinyasa, you can make core Power yoga techniques more graceful and in balance with your body.
Working on different body parts simultaneously, it strengthens the immune system helping it ward-off diseases and give a forewarning of a health problem [at the first possible indication]. Since Power yoga is fast-paced, you sweat a lot more and this flushes out toxins from the body. It also removes excess fat and improves metabolism.
Experience the goodness
Power yoga is a great stress-buster, which helps treat problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure). It also helps in shaping the body by increasing flexibility and improving stamina and agility. Power yoga is a great way to increase blood circulation and boost the immune system. You become more patient and at peace within. This tranquillity percolates into all other aspects of your life. The mind is more relaxed and you will feel lighter. You become more in control of yourself and can handle stress and pressure better.
To complement the Power yoga work out, you should also follow a balanced diet. Many people prefer having a Sattvik diet comprising fruits, milk, and fresh vegetables. Intake of the right amount of nutrients and regular yoga sessions will enable you to be in top shape—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Worship the sun
The Surya Namaskar is a sequence of 12 positions that are an excellent way to warm-up before the yoga session. Also, for beginners, it is important to practise and master these asanas before moving on to the more complex ones. A 5 –10 minute relaxation before and after every session is paramount. I have made a few additions to the traditional Surya Namaskar for lower body and core strengthening.
- Stand with your head and body straight, but relaxed. Keep your feet together. Inhale deeply and as you exhale bring your palms together at the chest in the prayer position with elbows pushed out to the sides
- Inhale, stretch your arms and arch your body backwards as much as you can, keeping your knees straight
- Exhale as you bend forward and try bringing your hands to your feet on the floor
- Without moving your hands, inhale and stretch the right leg back as far as possible. Let the right knee touch the floor and hold the head up
- Bring the left leg back, placing the left foot with the right and toes pointing forward—in a push-up position
- Exhaling, drop the knees to the floor. Keep the hips up and then bring the chest straight down to touch the floor. Then touch your forehead to the floor
- Inhale as you touch the hips to the ground and arch the chest bringing the head back The elbows are bent and there should be no tension in the neck and shoulders
- Exhale and without moving the hands or feet bring your hips up, keeping the knees straight and making an inverted ‘V’
- Now, inhale and bring the right foot forward and drop the left knee to the floor while looking up [as in no. 4]
- Exhale and bring the other foot forward. The head is down towards the knee [as in position no. 3]
- Inhale slowly as you get up and stretch the arms [as in position no. 2]
- Exhale as you stand upright in the starting position.
This completes the Surya Namaskar.
A collective unit
The human body is designed to function in synchrony as a dynamic unit and not a series of disconnected parts. Power yoga treats your body as one whole unit. The best way to explain this would be; while pushing weights if your back is rested then you can push even 200 pounds. Try and come to the edge of the seat or don’t rest your back. Then see if you are able to push those 200 pounds?
In Power yoga, you make use of your entire body and core [abs and lower back] constantly. This strengthens the core and improves your posture and hence your body alignment. Power yoga increases your basal metabolic rate and hence enhances weight loss and increases flexibility. It also raises internal body heat, thus killing germs, viruses and bacteria in the body.
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