What Are Power Poses In Yoga And Why Are They Helpful?
There are a plethora of different types of yoga, with some being more common than others. Each style offers unique ways to move, breathe, and experience the practice. Different styles will also provide different health benefits.
When it comes to the most common yoga styles, such as hatha and ashtanga, each is its own unique entity. There are even different variations of the styles, which means that your options for practicing yoga are almost limitless. One specific style of yoga, known as vinyasa, is full of dynamic movements that are designed to sync with the breath. Power yoga falls under the vinyasa style of yoga.
What is power yoga?
Power yoga focuses on helping you build strength and endurance. It requires more muscle power and movement than other types of yoga that focus heavily on breathing, meditation, and relaxation. As mentioned above, power yoga isn’t exactly an official “type” of yoga, but a branch of vinyasa.
During power yoga, participants flow from one pose to another as if they were all connected as one big exercise, as opposed to approaching each pose on its own. It’s often fast-paced and quite intense, which makes it great for people who want to practice a more active form of yoga. At the end of a power yoga class, you’ll likely feel as if you just participated in something closer to aerobic exercise than the type of yoga many people think of when they hear the term.
What are some poses in power yoga?
There is a myriad of different poses that can be done during power yoga. However, since the poses aren’t typically done as separate actions but rather a flowing connective experience, they’re often tied together with other poses. This dynamic flow creates conjoining poses that can help you feel stronger and ready to take on the world.
- Downward dog to half plank variation. Downward dog is one of the most well-known poses, even among people who don’t practice practice yoga. In power yoga, the downward dog pose is often tied together with a half-plank variation to get that strength through dynamic movement. It focuses heavily on your core. To perform this pose, you will start in a downward dog, raise one leg up to the ceiling, and come into a half plank. The action is then repeated on the other side.
- Downward dog to upward facing dog. Starting in the downward dog position again, this pose has you moving from downward to upward facing dog. While you bend and move, you will sync your breath to the movements using core and leg strength.
Image by Chelsea Gates on Unsplash: Standing to leg raise is just one great example of yoga power poses.
- Upward facing dog to plank. By moving through the motions of going from upward facing dog to plank, you will have to utilize both core strength as well as shoulder and arm strength.
- Standing to leg raise. This balancing pose utilizes core strength, flexibility, and balance. To perform this pose, you will stand at the top of the mat and ground your feet. With your hands on your hips, you will lift the right knee towards your chest, catching it with your right hand. With your feet flexed, you will draw your belly button in toward your spine. Once you have a good balance, you will grab hold of your foot and extend your leg and arm together.
What are the benefits of power yoga?
Power yoga utilizes a quicker speed, sequencing of movements, and dynamic flow. Because of this, there are many health benefits that can be achieved through regular practice of power yoga.
The dynamics of power yoga encourage the body to move, thus getting your heart rate up. The resistance involved in the movements also lends a hand in raising and sustaining heart rate. Exercise that gets the blood pumping and the heart rate up has been shown to help with the circulation of oxygen throughout the body.
In the longer term, participating in power yoga can improve fitness levels and stamina because of how it effects cardiovascular health. Other ways it helps the cardiovascular system is by strengthening your heart and lungs, helping to control high blood pressure, and lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke.
During power yoga, you will still hold poses. Because of this, you will improve your body’s ability to stay put in a strength position for longer periods of time, thus improving the overall strength of your muscles.
Image by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash: What is an example of a power pose? This one!
Studies have shown that power yoga can help improve motor control, especially in people with Parkinson’s disease. One specific study found that people with Parkinson’s showed an improvement in their muscle rigidity as well as their tremors after participating in power yoga twice a week.
Power yoga is a great way to lose weight because of the calories it burns. It also helps to improve muscle tone and strength, which enables the body to burn more calories at rest.
All types of yoga offer a reduction in overall stress levels and power yoga is just the same, even if it has less meditative properties. Research has shown that power yoga decreases levels of cortisol in the body, thus reducing feelings of stress.
Power yoga may not be everyone’s cup of tea because of how fast-paced it is, but the health benefits are irrefutable. Whether you’re a hardcore yogi or just getting started, power yoga is a great addition to your practice, even if it’s just once a week.
Featured image by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash
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