In the words of Yogacharya Anoop of the Chaitanya Foundation, the traditional form of yoga focuses on correcting and strengthening the nervous system in order to benefit the body. Edit out the pauses, the breaks and trim down the necessity to hold a posture and you get Power Yoga. The practice entails doing asanas back-to-back, without stopping.
"The traditional form of yoga requires you to focus on breathing and holding a posture for a number of breaths. This not only affects the nervous system but has an impact on your hormones as well. Traditional yogic practice aims at cleaning and fixing the body inside out. Power Yoga, on the other hand, focuses on the exterior - weight-loss and muscle build up. It is fast paced, pumps up your heart rate, induces sweating and therefore facilitates rapid weight drop," noted Yogacharya Anoop, Chaitanya Foundation, Mediyoga.
It is often believed that Power Yoga gives little importance to breathing, which would be a grave misconception. A leading Delhi based yoga expert, Seema Sondhi explains that breathing always remains at the core of all yogic practices.
"Whether traditional or its power variant, yoga is always performed in sync with your breathing. It is a simple mechanism of exhaling and inhaling while getting in and out of a posture. Power Yoga need not be fast paced. You can just increase the number of repetitions or play around with the duration you hold a pose for and it turns into a dynamic activity," she noted. Essentially, all forms of yoga are associated with enhancing flexibility, reducing stress, weight-loss, and muscle strengthening. Power Yoga is just a way to bring together the many yogic postures and design them in a way to render a cardio, sweat-breaking effect.
The simple idea behind the concept of Power Yoga is to create heat in the body. Along with increasing the reps and the intensity of each pose, it is teamed with the practice of ujjai breathing. Alternatively know as glottis breathing, Ujjai breathing is a technique wherein you exhale filling up your belly first followed by the lower rib cage, the upper chest and finally the throat. It creates heat in the body and facilitates weight-loss.
Surya namaskar pranayam or the Sun Salutation is usually the most practiced posture in a Power Yoga class. It is a series of asanas which when done in repetition can leave you gasping for breath. "When you attend a Power Yoga class you can ideally expect a series of various yoga poses tied together and done one after the other to exercise the entire body, Surya namaskar is definitely the standard posture all across. In fact, Power Yoga comprises a tailor-made routine of postures to suit different body types and requirements," Mangesh Trivedi, Vedic Power Yoga, Delhi.
Besides Suryan amaskar, practicing the Warrior poses one after the other also make for a great Power Yoga routine.
Power Yoga can be termed as a dynamic activity that brings together traditional yoga and amps it up to suit contemporary preferences. "This practice is good for muscle build up as we work with our own body weight. It is great to tone the body; however, it doesn't come with the relaxing and calming effects of traditional yoga," noted Anju Kalhan, a Delhi based yoga expert.
Never forget to warm up before beginning your session. Cooling down is equally important. Stretch your body to ensure releasing lactic acid formulation and alleviate muscle soreness. Get in touch with a certified yoga expert to know what suits your body the best.
Ever wondered what is so special about the way yogis eat? Here’s revealing some of the top secrets of yogis that can help attain a balance between the mind, body and soul…
An Alkaline start
There is a build-up of toxins and acids in our bodies overnight, hence a ritual of lemon water on an empty stomach is very dear to yoga. It is extremely alkaline, detoxifies and wakes ups all the organs much better than coffee does. Add pink Himalayan salt to it and you amplify its detoxifying power.
In ancient texts, there is no mention of carbs, proteins and fats. Food is divided into Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Sattvic diet is one that leads to clarity of mind and physical health. It is plant-based, light, extremely alkaline and eco-friendly – like fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts and grains. Rajasic is more stimulating, heat producing, rich and acidic, which includes meat, eggs, pickles, tea/coffee. Tamasic diet leads to dullness and lethargy. It’s acidic, putrid and reheated. It includes alcohol, sugary foods and beverages. Yogis only follow the Sattvic way of eating.
Everything in yoga is related to prana (life force). Food which has prana gives us physical and emotional strength. Cooked food is of less importance – heat destroys its fibre, nutrients and enzymes to quite an extent. So are canned, frozen, microwaved, or highly processed foods. Raw food, as intended by nature, gives us all vitamins and minerals – and in the most bio-available form. The method of sprouting is given top importance as it’s one of the best ways to consume functional “live” enzymes. Enzymes play a vital role in digestion and fighting disease.
Yoga believes that accumulation of toxins breeds disease. Wrong eating habits, exposure to chemicals, build-up of negative emotions lead to an imbalance of mind and body. Fasting is one of the most common practices that can counter-balance this. There are various ways of fasting: water fast, fruit fast, giving up one or two meals in a day. The main reasoning behind this is to give our digestive system a break.
A famous yogi once said: “The greatest enemy of health and long life is overeating.” There is a term in yoga called Mitahara, which means moderate eating, leaving one quarter of the stomach reserved for the movement of air. This eating style is easy on digestion and in quantities that can keep the body and mind clear and light.
Yogic nutrition is incomplete without ghee, coconut oil and soaked nuts/seeds. They make food appetizing, digestible and satisfying. They help in healing the mind too. The presence of fats in the body improves memory, neural conductivity and mental well-being.
Herbs & adaptogens
Teas or concoctions of intensely flavoured and power-packed herbs like turmeric, ginger, coriander, pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom are the go-to beverages for yogis. They are anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and detoxifying in nature. Yoga also encourages use of adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Triphala. They are known to lower stress, stimulate thyroid function and protect against oxidative stress.
सध्या अनेकांच्या लाइफस्टाइलमध्ये योगाभ्याला महत्त्वाचं स्थान आहे. योगाचे आरोग्यासाठीचे फायदे आता लोकांना पटू लागले आहेत. त्यामुळे योगा करण्यावर अनेकांचा भर बघायला मिळतोय. तुम्हालाबी योगाभ्यासाचे वेगवेगळे प्रकार माहीत असतील. पण सध्या एका वेगळ्याच संपल्पनेची चर्चा सुरू आहे. ती म्हणजे पॉवर योगा. असे सांगितले जाते की, पॉवर योगाच्या माध्यमातून शरीर निरोगी ठेवलं जातं.
सूर्य नमस्कार आणि काही इतर आसने एकत्र करून पॉवर योग ही संकल्पना तयार करण्यात आली आहे. यात दोन गुण असतात. हा योगाभ्यास अष्टांग योगाभ्यासाप्रमाणे केला जातो. हा योगाभ्यास जर तुम्ही सकाळच्या वेळी कराल तर याचे तुम्हाला अनेक फायदे मिळू शकतात. हा योगाभ्यास आठवड्यातून २ ते ३ वेळा ४५ मिनिटांसाठी करू शकता. या योगाभ्यासाने आरोग्याला अनेक फायदे होतात, सोबतच शरीरावरील अतिरिक्त चरबी देखील कमी होते.
काय आहेत याचे फायदे
पॉवर योगाची सुरूवात १९९० मध्ये करण्यात आली. याचा शोध श्री पट्टाभि जॉइस यांच्यासोबत अभ्यास करणाऱ्या दोन अमेरिकन योग शिक्षकांनी केला होता. त्यांनीच या योगाभ्यास पाश्चिमात्य विद्यार्थ्यांमध्ये प्रसिद्ध केला. या योगाभ्यासामध्ये घाम भरपूर येतो. घामामध्ये टॉक्सिनचं प्रमाण अधिक असतं. अशात घामामुळे टॉक्सिन शरीरातून बाहेर येतं.
पॉवर योगा केल्याने शरीरात रक्तप्रवाह योग्यरितीने होण्यास मदत मिळते. त्यामुळे शरीराचा अनेक रोगांपासून बचाव होतो. अस्थमा, अर्थरायटिस, डिप्रेशन, डायबिटीस आणि हायपरटेंशसारख्या आजारांपासूनही या योगाभ्यासाने बचाव केला जाऊ शकतो. तसेच याने मानसिक लाभही होतात.
वजन कमी करतो
हा योगाभ्यास केल्याने मसल्स मजबूत होतात, सोबतच शरीरातील चरबी सुद्धा कमी होते. अनेक योगाभ्यासांमध्ये आसन आणि श्वासाच्या प्रक्रियेवर लक्ष केंद्रीत केलं जातं. पण पॉवर योगात केल्या जाणाऱ्या क्रियांवर लक्ष केंद्रीत केलं जातं. पॉवर योगाने शरीरातील कॅलरी कमी करण्यास मदत मिळते.