Last week we celebrated International Yoga Day, and it came at the perfect moment for me. I’ve been feeling super tired lately, more than usual, a combination of extra work and that I got my Covid-19 vaccine a few days ago (here’s why you should get it if you haven’t), so I changed my regular workout routine, which includes several hours of dance and some HIIT training. Instead, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga. Not only has it helped me manage my stress, but it’s also less intense, allowing me to move my body and not feel overwhelmed.
I’m usually more into Hatha Yoga, which is slow paced and with a strong emphasis on breatwork. However, last week, because of the celebration, there were so many virtual events that promoted different techniques and combinations with other practices that made it the perfect time to explore new things.
One technique I tried last week was Power Yoga. This is an interesting one, because it’s not an “official” type of yoga, it’s more of a variation of Vinyasa that focuses on building strength and endurance.
Can yoga be an intense fitness activity?
The experience I had with power yoga was more physically oriented, rather than mindfully oriented. It requires more physical energy, which is why it’s a good workout to burn calories and gain strength. What I liked is that, although it’s not too focused on breathwork, like other techniques, it preserves this element that’s so important to yoga.
How it works is that you go through different challenging poses, which is why it helps with strength, but you don’t stay in those poses for a long time, you move quickly to the next one, and you lean on your breath to move from one to the other. The fast paced nature of power yoga is another part of the workout, since you’re also looking for cardiovascular endurance.
Something I found surprising was the flow. I was expecting to stay a little longer in each pose and I was surprised when we were quickly moving from one into the next. It made the session very dynamic and, even though I was not pulled to be present through my breath, I got the same experience but through my movement. Since I had to switch poses at a fast pace I had to be more aware of my body movements. I had to make sure every part of the body was aligned and in the right position, I had to be careful to get the pose right, and I even weighted each pose as it got more challenging to see if I was ready to take it to the next level. Since the session gets more complex as it moves forward, being present is about being aware of your movements and what you’re capable of doing.
What I didn’t like is that I didn’t feel very comfortable doing this technique by myself at home. I think that, since the poses are more challenging, it’s important to be in a studio, with an instructor that sees if you’re doing the pose correctly to prevent injury. I don’t have much experience with complex yoga routines, so at times I wasn’t entirely sure if the pose was correct. Also, there were some poses that were challenging enough, but I thought I could make them, and I didn’t dare because I could get hurt if I didn’t get them right.
So, overall, I really liked power yoga as an alternative to my intense fitness activity because it adds the element of mindfulness and breathwork to a good calorie-burning workout. However, this is an actility I’d rather do in a studio instead of doing it at home
Have you tried power yoga? How was your experience?