How to Benefit from Power Yoga?
Power Yoga is a customizable yoga style influenced by aerobic exercise. It regularly varies poses so that the body is always experiencing something new. Power Yoga is a great way to combine the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of yoga with high intensity, calorie-burning exercise. Power Yoga strengthens your body, increases flexibility, and promotes stamina and weight loss as well as improving posture and balance. It also improves circulation and the immune system, is good for your heart and strengthens your bones, muscles and joints. Mental benefits can include improved concentration and decreased stress. To get the full benefits of a Power Yoga, tailor your routine to meet your goals and don't sacrifice basic yoga principles for a hard workout.
Learn to breathe. Whatever your level, yoga starts with breathing. Breathing properly will help you keep your rhythm throughout your practice, know your limits and maintain good habits. When your breathing and your asanas (poses) are in perfect sync, you'll really feel the flow of power yoga.
- It is common to hold your breath or use short, shallow breathing when exercising or holding a pose. However, this causes body tension and stress, the opposite of what you want for optimal well-being.
- There are multiple ways to breathe during poses, depending on the teacher. Find a proper breathing method that works for you.
- Most yogic traditions recommend deep, belly breathing as a foundation. This type of breathing causes your abdomen to rise as you inhale and lower as you exhale. You inhale and exhale through your nose slowly, while counting seconds silently—inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 more before starting a new breath.
- Paying attention to your breathing helps you stay focused and relaxed when you practice yoga.
Practice ujjayi breathing. Power yoga has roots in Ashtanga Yoga practices, which utilizes “the victorious breath” technique for breath control. Breathing this way utilizes sound and movement with exercises to promote wellbeing. First, sit down with a straight spine and eyes closed.
- Take a deep breath slowly through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. Make the sound “HAAA.” Next time you exhale, close your mouth and make the same sound in your throat.
- Keep your throat relaxed and inhale while generating the same sound. It might sound a little like Darth Vader from Star Wars, but don’t aim to be the loudest one in the room. Instead, think of breathing as a massage for your vocal cords.
- Now lift your arms when you inhale. Lower your arms when you exhale. Rest your hands in your lap and breathe. Repeat.
- Return to normal breathing when you are finished. After practice, you will be able to use this breathing technique as you perform poses. It's beneficial for the body because it helps muscles get oxygen more efficiently and allows you do to more physically without fatiguing.
Practice meditation. The act of doing yoga is a form of meditation that requires intense concentration. It is best to practice a basic meditation to prepare you for other forms. Meditation reduces blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, depression and flu infections.
- Find a comfortable place. You can lay down or sit—it doesn’t matter as long as you are comfortable. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing. Breathe in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds.
- Clear your mind or focus on a particular sound, object, word or phrase. You could also imagine a place that makes you happy—such as a beach, an old memory or an imagined place.
- Whenever your mind drifts to other thoughts, gently bring it back to whatever it is you have chosen to focus on.
- Meditate for as long as you want—a few minutes to an hour or longer. There will be a lot of distractions at first but soon you will be able to meditate for longer periods of time.