Power up your Cardio with “Power Yoga”

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Yoga is a powerful and potent system of practices. Classical yoga practices are a systematic arrangement of a group of asanas targeted to heighten one’s physical, psychological and spiritual capabilities. It demands a certain amount of time, dedication and persistence from the practitioner before these benefits can be fully experienced.  This type of yoga requires discipline and preparedness to practice the same group of asanas on a daily basis.  Statistically only a small percentage of the population is willing to commit the time and energy for a strict routine.

Most people look for variety in the practices to make it physically challenging, which not only sustains the interest, but also appeals to the emotion.  Yoga would not have been so popular today if it had not been intentionally mutated from its original, more rigorous, form.  Thanks to the foresight of many accomplished practitioners who foresaw that the adoption of such a powerful system can go viral only if it is presented in diverse and enjoyable ways.  Hence the universal appeal of yoga !

Power Yoga is one such practice that is fast gaining popularity. It involves a series of poses, quickly  shifted one after the other, instead of holding a pose and breathing into it. It is a cross between yoga and a cardio fitness workout, that has its roots in Ashtanga yoga.  Bryan Kest and Beryl Bender Birch who had studied with Ashtanga guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois are credited with popularizing Power Yoga in the mid-nineties.

The technique retains the physical benefits of Ashtanga yoga as it involves going through a series of poses quickly.  It mimics a rigorous physical exercise for burning calories, but the focus is more on strengthening and toning of the muscles, to build leaner muscles that can speed up weight loss due to increase in metabolism.  Other benefits include decrease in stress levels, greater relaxation, increase in stamina and flexibility.

As it is quite strenuous, Power Yoga should be avoided by pregnant women, people suffering from an injury or some conditions, or those who have recently undergone surgery. It is always better to consult your doctor before embarking on something that is physically demanding.

Yoga on the whole can be a fulfilling practice.  Indisputably, its benefits have been greatly enjoyed by many over the centuries.  If you are a cardio exercise buff (or even if you’re not) who wants to dabble in yoga, Power Yoga may be the way to go.  Truth be told, anyone can try it.  Check out this beginner video below and see if it piques your interest.

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