What is Power Yoga? - Thrive Yoga and Wellness

What is Power Yoga?

Power yoga is something that we made up.  Yup, us westerners went and put a twist on a practice that had already been around for millennia…I guess because we thought it wasn’t tough enough… (I wish you guys could see my smirk.)

Back in the 80s, a handful of teachers began modifying yoga as it was mostly taught in the 70s.  Yoga, at that time, was usually practiced at a much slower pace, with the emphasis on meditation and breathing.  Baron Baptiste, Beryl Bender Birch, and Bryan Kest changed that.

The idea these original teachers wanted folks to understand was that yoga could be a serious workout.

Power Yoga is a vigorous practice that will build strength, stamina, and flexibility. You’ll also learn breathing techniques and (hopefully) be able to meditate afterward (because you’ll be so exhausted, the squirrels in your mind won’t be able to run around anymore!)

With Power Yoga, the emphasis is the workout.  That means in a Power Yoga Class, you’ll spend a LOT of time standing and getting your heart rate up.  That’s why some people call Power Yoga the Gym Yoga.  However, the goal of the yoga is to teach you to control your heart rate, to control the feelings and emotions that a difficult exercise can bring to the surface.

(Can you say control the not so nice words that come up when you are in a warrior 2 pose for what seems like 5 minutes?)

I LOVE Power Yoga.  An old gym rat myself, the workout that IS Power Yoga is what resonated the most when I first started out.  I had a bad back injury and couldn’t do my old workout routines, so I needed SOMETHING…ANYTHING that would get me exhausted, and still keep me strong.  The benefit of the yoga is that it also helped my back not hurt (can you say GREAT bonus!)

I received my 200 and 500 hour Yoga Alliance Teaching Certificate from a Baptiste Certified Studio.  My teacher was a student of both Baron and Beryl.  That means the Power Yoga that you will find in the studio more closely resembles this style of power yoga.

What does that mean? That means the Power Yoga is going to be in a heated room (around 90 degrees), you’ll get into strength building postures and breathe.  Yup, so you may get into a chair pose and breathe there for….a while.

Power Yoga does incorporate movement with breath, but the movement is between holds that will get your heart rate up and force you to control your mind and your breath.

Let me tell you, I LOVE a good Power Yoga Class.

In a Power Yoga Class, each class is different.  You’ll definitely get some Chaturangas in, you’ll do balancing postures, and you will incorporate various Warrior poses in a number of iterations, but the key will be to keep you sweating, building strength and ultimately, endurance.  With smartwatches in every class keeping tabs, this is definitely more of a “Gym” yoga…you’ll easily burn 350 – 400 calories in a 60-minute class.

You read that right. Although I used the word “easily” there is nothing easy about a good Power Yoga Class.

Try stepping onto a treadmill or elliptical and burning the same number of calories while still getting the benefits of yoga (like reduced stress levels, increased flexibility, better sleep, etc.)

Power Yoga is the Best of Both Worlds

Power Yoga is great if you are looking for an alternative to the treadmill grind, or if you need low impact exercise with high impact results.

Power Yoga May Not be Good for You if You Don’t Do Well in a Heated Environment

If you’ve never tried a Power Yoga Class with us, and you’re not afraid of working really hard, sweating a WHOLE lot, and having a great time, I encourage you to come out!  Who knows, you may earn yourself one more “adult beverage” or “chocolate” for the effort.  The outcome will be satisfying because you’ll have gotten the benefits of conscious movement with breath, an excellent form of exercise, and heat to help increase the effectiveness of the flexibility found in yoga poses.

We have Power Yoga classes several times a week in the studio.  If you’re up for the challenge, sign up today!

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