Yoga, which is a Sanskrit term for union, originated in India. It is a form of physical exercise but proves to manifest mental and spiritual benefits as well. In fact, the term “union” denotes the unity of the body, mind, and spirit as a result of yoga. Yoga became popular all over India, and so as an effect, yoga enthusiasts or what are typically called yogis have developed vast expanses of philosophies and methods. There are more than ten kinds of yoga, each with specific objects of concentration but all benefit the holistic aspects of a human being.
It was not long after yoga’s popularity in India that yoga spread worldwide. Back in the early days, yoga in the Western World depicted a combination of slow gentle stretching and meditation known as Hatha Yoga. However, Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest, two American yoga instructors, eventually changed this traditional concept of yoga into a modern-day yoga method that was more cardiovascular in approach. They introduced Power Yoga, which was taught to them by a renowned Sanskrit scholar named Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. According to Pattabhi Jois, Power Yoga is the Western version of Indian Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
The differences between the two are: 1. the execution time of Power Yoga is less than Ashtanga and 2. Power Yoga does not follow a predetermined choreography of body movements or positions like in Ashtanga. In Power Yoga, every move, every stretch is free-flowing, like a trans-like dance. When you see someone performing Power Yoga, you might suspect that he or she gracefully and effortlessly moves, like flying or swaying with the wind, but in actual sense, the entire body – every muscle and nerve is exerting much energy. In fact, Power Yoga is only recommended for those who are physically fit and those without any chronic illness, because this kind of yoga is rigorous. Aside from just executing whole body yoga poses, a yogi is required to hold each pose for a certain duration, which makes the workout more intense.
The most general benefit of Power Yoga is letting an individual experience all three levels of power: the physical power, the mental power, and the spiritual power. Through Power Yoga, the physical body’s endurance, flexibility, and strength are developed and amplified. Power Yoga likewise improves a person’s self-discipline and concentration on executing a single task for a certain time. And so, the ability of an individual to accomplish and master both the physical and mental aspects of Power Yoga is nurtured through contact with a spiritual force where inner strength and determination are achieved. If you enjoy yoga already, or you’re quite physically fit and active, Power Yoga might be exactly the kind of yoga you’d love. Sign up for a class today and try it yourself.