The physical challenge of Power Yoga makes the yoga aspect of the practice easier than in less-physically challenging sequences.
I teach Power Yoga. I have taught other versions of yoga but Power Yoga is most congruent with my personal practice and is what I want to share with my students. Almost every day, someone says to me that they “can’t” come to my class because it’s “too” hard. Physically, yes, the poses are challenging but the yoga part of the class is markedly easier in a power flow class than in a slower-moving hatha class.
Let me explain. Yoga is about creating a union between breath and movement. It is about silencing the chatter and listening to the breath. As the oft-quoted Patanjali said, “yoga is the practice of quieting the mind.” Indeed, in Ashtanga yoga, Samadhi, the eighth limb, is a quiet state of mind and an awareness exclusively of the present moment. A quiet mind is the intention of any yoga practice.
The physical challenge of power yoga provides an outlet for quieting the mind.
In a slower and less physically challenging practice, quieting the mind can be daunting. Hanging out in utkatasana (chair pose) or anjaneyasana (lunge pose) for ten breaths is physically difficult and thus demands all the mind’s attention. Sitting in sukhasana (easy seated pose) or standing in tadasana (standing mountain pose), on the other hand, is physically easy but detaching from distracting thoughts is more difficult and requires practice and concentration.
My point is this: the harder the pose, the easier it is to tune out of the mind’s clutter
and achieve awareness of the present moment and nothing else.
So, if you are a beginner to yoga, by all means try out whatever class comes recommended by friends and suits your schedule. But don’t shy away from power yoga because you think it will be too hard physically. Yes, the poses are challenging and yes you will sometimes be bewildered by what the teacher is asking you to do (“you expect me to put my foot where?!), but that’s the point. By trying unexpected yoga poses and facing a physical challenge, your attention will be focused completely on the present moment and you will find yourself one step closer to a clutter-free mind.
Power Yoga at Taiga Yoga, Yellowknife