What do you first think of when you hear the word “yoga”? For most of us, it will probably bring up images of yoga mats and people contorting themselves into all sorts of different poses, but yoga is more than just the poses.
In fact, yoga is not just a form of physical exercise but it is actually a spiritual discipline above all else. With a 5,000-year-old history based on ancient Hindu philosophies, yoga is a system of both physical and mental practices that are supposed to help us achieve peace of mind and guide us to reach our highest potential. There are many variations of yoga that are based on the different styles of Hindu teachings, but the most commonly practised form of yoga is hatha yoga, which is the physical and mental branch designed to prime both the body and mind.
One of the yoga types under the overarching umbrella of yoga is power yoga. As compared to the other branches of yoga, power yoga is more fitness-based and tends to focus more on the physical aspect. This would mean that power yoga is something that could help raise your fitness levels, build strength, and help you lose weight — something that other types of yoga might not help to achieve. Let us take a deeper look into power yoga and its many benefits.
What Is Power Yoga?
While yoga tends to be more about training flexibility and spiritual wellness, they are not particularly well-known for being weight-loss workouts. Typically, there is a lack of aerobic or anaerobic exercise, which means your heart rate is relatively low and stable, so you won’t be burning much fat in the process. This, however, changes with power yoga.
Power yoga is a Vinyasa practice, which means it incorporates the sequence of poses that many people have come to associate with yoga in general. It is also based in the Ashtanga branch of yoga, which focuses on physical fitness through challenging poses and breathing techniques. Your body heat will also build internally and can increase your stamina.
A typical session of power yoga can last up to an hour, and within that period of time, you engage your mind and body to handle difficult poses. Most of the time you will be making use of your body weight as a form of resistance training, which will help to build muscle and make you stronger. Unlike other forms of yoga, power yoga does not have a set or sequence of poses to follow but instead allows you the freedom to start and follow through however you want.
The Benefits Of Power Yoga
With power yoga, you get to combine the mental, physical, and even spiritual benefits of yoga together, and this becomes a moderate-to-high intensity workout that burns calories and fat. At the same time, you get to improve on your flexibility, strengthen your body and mind, and improve your balance and posture too. That’s a whole lot of benefits — sounds great, doesn’t it?
Increases Your Stamina
Your stamina is the ability to sustain energy and it would be what helps you to endure longer during intense moments, like when you are running. With a higher endurance, you can last longer and go further. Power yoga helps to increase your stamina thanks to the fluid yet intense movements. When performed at a higher tempo, it becomes an aerobic exercise, which means your heart rate goes up and promotes a faster flow of oxygen to the other parts of your body.
Strengthens Your Muscles
Most forms of Vinyasa yoga outlines a sequence of poses to follow and these are mainly to stretch and relax your muscles. Power yoga, on the other hand, is unique because it is one of the few forms of yoga that builds muscle. The poses do not need to be strictly followed, as compared to other branches of yoga, but allow for modifications to be made. Turn your yoga session into a full-body workout and soon enough you’ll get stronger.
Encourages Weight Loss
As we have mentioned earlier, most yoga workout types are not particularly great at helping people burn fat and lose weight. However, with power yoga, weight loss is achievable more easily. This is thanks to how fast-paced power yoga is, which makes it an aerobic exercise. It raises our heart rate, thus helping to burn more calories. At the same time, the strength training which builds our muscles also helps to reduce overall fat mass, and it also accelerates our metabolism and helps us to burn more calories while our body is at rest too.
Improves Your Flexibility
The one thing yoga does best is improving our flexibility. Also known as limberness, flexibility refers to the manipulation of the range of motion in our joints. With the different poses in yoga, our limbs and muscles are stretched to new limits, which gradually increases our range of movement. This allows us to feel less stiff, tone the body and muscles, and also decrease the likelihood of injuries.