If you will take a look from the point of view of a set of still shots, like a collection of photos in a book or websites, you will say that indeed, yoga and power yoga are just the same. The form of postures are all just similar, then what is the fuss in calling one same thing with another name?
I will suggest that maybe the best answer to that inquiry is to watch and observe, or better yet, join the class of each yoga system. Our acharyas or yoga teachers instructed us that ‘the proof of the pie is in the tasting’. I therefore recommend that you try first the yoga that is traditionally known as Asthanga yoga. In this kind of yoga, postures are linked from one another and go through flowing movements. The mood is more on gentle stretching and more meditative. The positioning in this type is precise and has a set of fixed postures to follow. The breathing is done in rhythm with the movements that helps the intensity of the session while the heat is built up within.
Now, in as much as the power yoga was designed after the asthanga yoga style, still they are different. This ‘new’ kind of yoga became known in mid 1990s when some yoga teachers were trying to find a way to make yoga accessible, and most importantly, acceptable to western students. We offer our gratitude to the personalities of Beryl Bender Birch from New York, and Bryan Kest from Los Angeles for being on the forefront in propagating power yoga.
Power yoga is different from ashtanga yoga because it does not follow a fix set of asanas or postures, and teachers have more freedom to arrange series of postures according to their own phase and preference. Usually, power yoga sessions are intense and may somewhat compromise precision. But although each and every class may vary from a given session to the other, still, the common denominator is the emphasis on developing strength and flexibility. This particular characteristic of power yoga has made it very popular, as its enthusiasts see it as a way to work out. Most endurance athletes prefer power yoga because it helps them in their training and conditioning. And as a plus factor, a means to manage stress. A total package for a raja guna type of yoga student, whose nature is more passionate and intense. Power yoga is not really advisable to those who are new in the science of yoga . One must really be quite fit to do this kind of yoga and caution must be taken during each session. Please be reminded to keep oneself sufficiently hydrated before, during and after session.
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