Power yoga decreases fat, tones body

Q&A: Yoga | Nutrition | Fitness

Power yoga is the latest buzzword in the world of fitness, in India. But what exactly is it and how does it differ from the traditional form of yoga?

Power yoga was first developed by two Americans, Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest; the term is believed to have been coined by Birch who authored the book Power Yoga: The Practice.

It is believed to be a modified version of yoga, combining strength training, stretching and breathing. The result is an intense aerobic workout through a choreographed sequence of moves. Traditional elements of yoga, such as holding the poses for a longer duration, are included to improve flexibility.

Methods used
A typical power yoga routine begins with sun salutations or Surya Namaskar, which involve a series of 12 poses done in combination with breathing.

There is no specific set of exercises in power yoga. Each teacher has his unique way of choreographing and developing and combining the moves.

The movements in power yoga flow into one another and are done without pausing. The transitions between the movements happen at a steady pace, and some of the poses are held for longer than the routine five breaths. To an onlooker, the movements may appear smooth, effortless and graceful. But when you practice the routine, you will realize it is a strenuous exercise regime that requires pushing and stretching every limb while maintaining the unity between breathing and movements.

Power yoga increases lean muscle mass, decreases body fat, and tones your body. It also helps maintain good body posture, and enhances strength, stamina and flexibility by improving joint movements and increasing muscle strength.

The ultimate appeal of power yoga lies in the fact that it is able to provide a sweat-producing and muscle-building workout, even while improving a person’s focus and concentration and relieving mental stress and anxiety. Unlike cardio or basic aerobics routine at the gym, a power yoga routine of 45-minutes, practices two to three times a week, aims at improving physical and mental strength simultaneously.

A caveat
Shameem Akthar, certified yoga shiromani from the Sivananda Yoga Center, Kerala and a reputed yoga teacher says, “What is taught as power yoga in India is usually a “hodgepodge” of weight training, cardio, yoga, aerobics spot jogging and you name it. Nobody has defined it clearly; it certainly has nothing to do with traditional yoga.”

Certified Reebok University Master Trainer, Vinata Shetty agrees, “Since there is no clear definition of power yoga, there are many versions of it. The word “power” is loosely used, and essentially means using maximum force posed in a certain period of time.” For instance, the “flexible strength program” introduced by the Reebok Training Center, consisting of Surya Namaskar with strength training exercise followed in the West. Power yoga moves such as this should be practiced not more than once or twice a week.”

Vinata Shetty adds, “This east-west fusion of resistance training program can never be a replacement of either the traditional forms of exercise or yoga.

If you intend to enrol in a power yoga class, find out what it will entail first. If you suffer from some kind of pain or condition, consult a medical professional to explore if it is safe for you.

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Before you begin yoga
Yoga stimulates metabolism, helps weight loss

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