What is Power Yoga? – An Intense, Dynamic Version of Gym Yoga
“POWER YOGA – for bodybuilders, fitness models, wrestlers and singers,” you might have heard. Or, you might have seen it described this way: “A powerful and flexible mid-section with explosive power moves.” Perhaps you’ve seen it described as “yoga with a twist.” Or, you may have seen it described as “a revolutionary workout technique combining yoga and power.”
Power yoga basics It turns out, that power yoga is the official name for the all-over body-oriented, butt-bouncing, cardio-focused yoga style that’s become popular in online yoga classes and bulldog gyms. It develops strength, increases flexibility and builds internal warmth. It also helps build flexibility and improves strength. In a nutshell, it’s the dynamic version of the traditional yoga poses. And the dynamic version (the one that puts the “oomph” in your workout) is where power yoga differs from standard (or asanas-based) yoga. Power yoga is not about achieving heightened awareness or about reaching a heightened sense of energy.
A power yoga session begins with a light warm-up, which refreshes and relaxes the whole body. This includes proper spinal alignment and positioning for the pose that you’ll be practicing. After the warm-up is complete, you enter into the actual pose sequence. For the pose sequences (known as postures), there is meditation as well as muscular activity. Power yoga is not about focusing on an object during the pose sequence; rather, it is about moving with awareness and feeling the physical sensations that arise during the poses.
Power yoga is the literal definition of what is yoga: an ancient Hindu system of exercises and posture modification. What most people imagine, when they picture the word yoga, is a flowing, symmetrical series of poses performed in a sequential fashion, culminating in a controlled breathing exercise. This is what is commonly perceived as the essence of the term power yoga. The actual term can be expanded to embrace a wide range of movements, styles, and sequences, all of which are rooted in the Indian discipline of yoga. Power yoga can be described as the culmination of these various movements into a coordinated flow, which is the basis of what is commonly referred to as flowing yoga practice.
Power yoga has been found to be particularly beneficial for people who participate in sports and activities that place a heavy physical demand on their muscles, joints, and tendons, including weightlifting, mountain biking, rowing, tennis, basketball, football, running, and track and field. The reason for this is that most athletes today do not perform many traditional yoga workouts that allow their muscles time to rest and rebuild. This results in an increased level of muscular stress on joints and muscles during athletic events. Power yoga gives athletes an “off season” when they can enjoy the physical benefits and avoid the intense physical demands that normal yoga training causes.
Baron Baptiste was a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who was one of the first practitioners to utilize the submission holds called armbars and what is known today as the Brazilian jiu-jitsu position. He believed strongly that this combination of strength and flexibility would create a unique strength and coordination advantage that would translate directly into winning competitions. He introduced the combination of the triangle and what is now known as the arm bar to his students and became widely known as the father of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Because of his teachings and his rigorous physical workouts, Baron Baptiste designed and developed his own series of yoga exercises and programs for his students, which would help develop and maintain a high degree of strength and overall flexibility.
Many of the positions that are used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are very similar to what is used in traditional yoga. However, there is a key difference between the two and that is the purpose of each technique. In traditional yoga, the goal is to attain spiritual consciousness by eliminating the obstacles that stand between you and your journey to enlightenment. In BJJ, the purpose is to maximize on your strength, skill, and flexibility while limiting your amount of movement so that you can control the outcome of each match.