If you’re just starting out with yoga, you probably noticed that there are a lot of yoga styles you could actually choose from.
There’s Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga, General Yoga, Power Yoga, Yin Yoga. . . the list could just go on!
Now you’re probably thinking, ‘I never knew fitness can be that complicated!’ We understand that all these names can be pretty confusing. But trust us, all these different types of yoga are actually based on the same fundamentals. And if you enroll in different yoga classes with different styles, you’ll see that some positions are actually very similar across all styles.
But to satisfy your curiosity, let us discuss this question:
What is General Yoga?
When we say General Yoga, we’re talking about the most basic form of yoga. If you look up what yoga actually is, you’ll learn that this method of physical and mental discipline actually dates back some 2,000 years ago. It follows a set of fundamentals, or what is known as the eight limbs of yoga, with the goal of purifying the body and mind to achieve enlightenment.
The eight limbs are as follows:
- Yamas (restraints)
- Niyamas (observances)
- Asana (postures)
- Pranayama (breathing)
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyani (meditation)
- Samadhi (absorption)
When you enroll in a General Yoga class, you’ll most likely find yourself focusing more on the third limb of yoga, asana (or postures). You’ve probably already tried some postures yourself, and there’s a key reason behind all that. Doing all these postures help you to strengthen your physical strength and stamina so you can handle long periods of meditation. And if you’re wondering whether you need to come to a yoga class flexible, don’t worry! You’ll learn flexibility along the way.
So, what is Power Yoga?
Simply put, power yoga is a modern take on the whole discipline. It’s pretty difficult to explain exactly what it is even though this is the most common form of yoga you’ll come across. It goes by different names–Power Vinyasa Yoga, Power Flow, Hot Power Yoga, Baptiste Power Yoga. So if you come across all these different names, just remind yourself that it just refers to the same thing–Power Yoga. Or you could call it modern yoga if you want.
Anyway, the thing with Power Yoga is that its creators never really intended to come up with a different style of yoga. But those who came up with this style saw it as a “gateway yoga.” You know, that type where you enroll in yoga for the abs but you end up staying in the course to go deeper into yoga than that.
So, here are four things you should expect when you enroll in a Power Yoga class.
Expect an amped-up class
Power Yoga is not called that without a good reason. When you enroll for this type of yoga, you’ll see for yourself what we mean. It’s an athletic style of yoga, which means you can be sure you’ll be doing A LOT of movement. And yes, we wanted to emphasize that.
There will be really loud music
Power Yoga is really about getting you to your feet and giving your body the motivation it needs to do all the postures. So, there’s loud music just to get your body pumped up for the strenuous activity. After all, can you even imagine doing exercise while listening to a lullaby?
It will be very hot
Expect room temperatures to go up as high as 32 °C or even higher than that! Power Yoga is all about getting frenzied into activity–definitely not your average yoga class. Let’s just say that this is more of a serious workout than just mere stretching.
You’ll be moving a lot!
I know we already mentioned this earlier, but just to emphasize, your physical strength will be tested to the limit with the level of activity you’re expected to participate in when in class. There’s going to be a lot of standing postures and a lot of cardio in class. Why cardio? Because that is actually the key component in Power Yoga.
How can Power Yoga benefit you?
Power Yoga is far from your average workout. It will stretch your physical limits–literally! But here are some good reasons why you should want to do this form of yoga.
You’ll learn the secret to staying calm and relaxed
You probably notice that those who have done yoga for a long time seem so serene, even when facing difficult situations. Their secret? Proper breathing.
When you do yoga, breathing is one of the first things you will learn. You’re probably wondering what that statement is supposed to mean. Aren’t you breathing right now? Well, yes you are. And technically, you already know how to breathe–or you wouldn’t be alive to read this line. But, there’s a right way to do it. When you do Power Yoga, you’ll realize just how crucial it is to harmonize your body’s movements with the way you breathe.
Most individuals, when doing yoga for the first time, find that their breaths are shallow when they involve themselves in something physically strenuous. However, did you know that short, shallow breaths actually cause physical tension and stress? Power Yoga, and any other form of yoga for that matter, teaches you to control your breathing.
Most yoga teachers would recommend that you take long, deep breaths and pay attention to how you breathe in and breathe out. When you do this, you’ll find that this will help you stay focused and relaxed while doing yoga and even when you’re going about your everyday routine.
You’ll learn how to deal with stress and depression
Power yoga teaches you how to clear your thoughts of stressful things and just meditate. Meditation, or intense concentration, actually brings with it health benefits. Studies show that the more you meditate, the lower your likelihood of having high blood pressure, insomnia, and even depression.
Meditation may sound like a piece of cake, but if you’ve tried it yourself you would realize how challenging it actually is to concentrate for a long period of time. But you’ll learn how to do that with practice–pushing away distracting thoughts until you get to just think about one specific thing.
You’ll be physically fit
It goes without saying that the level of physical activity you engage in when you do Power Yoga is more than enough for you to stay physically fit and active. So if you’re looking to improve your flexibility and increase your physical stamina, yoga is the best course for you to take. Not only will you be in better shape, you’ll also be in a better frame of mind–thanks to the intense meditation exercises that are an integral part of this discipline.
Which Style Should You Choose?
When it comes to which yoga style you should choose, it simply boils down to your preference. Of course, there is an advantage in choosing something that is outside your comfort zone, but it is ultimately up to you to challenge your perceived limits. If you prefer a yoga style that is more active to step up your lifestyle, then Power Yoga is a good choice. But if you’re just starting to explore your options, you might want to enroll yourself in a General Yoga class first before you proceed to other styles.