Aside from the popularity with celebrities and thousands of studios popping up from East to West, there is something that sets yoga apart from the crowd when it comes to fitness and weight loss. Though yoga is a mind-body practice, the postures have been known to brighten your outlook on life while toning your muscles from head to toe. Not only is yoga an excellent workout that can be done by anybody, anywhere, but the benefits of yoga have also been studied for many years.
So if you’re ready to try something new to help spark some new weight loss and bring in a new mindset, why not give power yoga a try?
What Is Power Yoga?
Power yoga is a combination of Kundalini and Ashtanga branches of yoga. The idea of both Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga is to increase the internal heat through a practice the builds up from simple movements to move dynamic movements. Kundalini is more about repeating the same vinyasa flow (or sequence of movements) over and over at varying tempos and speeds, while Ashtanga has sequences built from ground, mountain pose, Sun Salutations, and so on.
The reason Power Yoga is gaining popularity is that it gives freedom to a yoga practice while working on bodyweight strength building, increasing the heart rate, and dynamism. Power Yoga is called “upbeat” and moves away from the slower approach that one might experience in Hatha or Iyengar disciplines.
The Benefits Of Power Yoga
Yoga, in general, is a highly advantageous practice that melds the mind and body together. However, if we look beyond the spiritual side of it, it comes down to the scientifically proven effects. For example, in 2005, a medical researcher and yogi Alan Kristal MPH, DPH and colleagues from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center did a study on 15,500 people between the ages 45-55. By the end of the 4-year study, it was found that those who were overweight at the beginning of the study dropped 5 pounds while those who didn’t practice yoga at all gained a whopping 14 pounds. The subjects did yoga for at least 30 minutes a week, every week for 4 years or longer.
Now, while the people of the study practiced various types of yoga, including Power Yoga, it is predominantly Power Yoga, the Americanized version of Kundalini, that sheds fat and has other benefits, including:
- Burning calories due to increased heart rate
- Strength, stamina, and endurance building
- Enhanced metabolism
- Increased concentration and focus
- Reduced stress and tension
- Inactive muscles are strengthened and stretched
When Not To Practice Power Yoga
Power Yoga isn’t a “healing” branch of yoga. It’s designed to increase “power.” If you’re looking for relaxation, this isn’t the branch of yoga for you.
Other reasons not to practice Power Yoga include:
- If you are pregnant
- If you are suffering from a serious injury
- If you are recovering from a recent surgery
- If you have severe musculoskeletal imbalances
- If you have a serious disease or disorder. Always consult with your doctor to make sure yoga is right for you.
Power Yoga Vs. Cardio
So, being 100% honest here, while yoga is awesome and everyone should try it, Power Yoga isn’t cardio. In a standard Power Yoga session, which lasts about 60 minutes, a 150-pound person will lose anywhere from 150-180 calories. Compare that to an hour of walking at 3-3.5 mph, which burns 300-320 calories. Do a kickboxing class, and you lose around 400-600 calories.
But that’s only looking at the calories you burn. Cardio doesn’t build muscle. Because yoga can increase your heart rate and strengthen muscles at the same time, you are increasing your ability to increasing your resting metabolism, which in turn burns more fat over time.
Therefore, Power Yoga is great for maintaining weight loss. Cardio is great for burning excess calories.
Power Yoga And Weight Loss – The Ideal Plan
If you want to shape up and lose weight, yoga is a great way to start your fitness journey. If you are just beginning, a standard, slower yoga is best to get your feet wet before jumping into a Power Yoga class. Power Yoga tends to move faster, so if you don’t know the poses, it could be a bit much at first. Once you get going, though, think about adding 2-3 classes of Power Yoga a week. This is especially ideal for those who haven’t started lifting weight yet. Power Yoga will help strengthen your total body, giving you strength to start lifting with better posture and technique.
For those who are athletes, runners, or weightlifters, Power Yoga can also be beneficial. As you know, the longer you repeat an action, the more it wears on your body. So, by adding 1-2 sessions of Power Yoga (or any other kind of yoga), you can strengthen and stretch muscles that haven’t been used in a long time. Flexibility adds to joint stability, after all, and can help increase your overall athletic performance.
Here are some tips to help you add yoga to your life:
- Find a yoga studio that has Power Yoga classes of assorted levels
- Look online for yoga lessons that you can stream to help you get familiar with postures. YouTube and other video sites have a host of free and subscription plans to get you started off right
- Purchase yoga DVDs to practice at home
- Get the proper kind of yoga mat—you don’t want anything too squishy, especially if you find your balance is lacking
- Be gentle with yourself at first. The body will need time to adjust.
- Speaking of adjustment time: 30-60 minutes, to begin with, is ideal, but some yoga classes run about 75-90 minutes, depending on the style.
Ready to forge a mind-body connection like no other and drop some extra pounds while you’re at it? Then it’s time to give Power Yoga and other disciplines of yoga a try.
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