Power Yoga is a type of yoga that yoga teacher training focuses on as one of the styles to build strength, endurance and flexibility by having students move at a vigorous pace and hold the poses longer than in the less strenuous form of yoga practice. Power yoga also focuses on syncing your breathing to the exercises to help the postures flow.
Downward Facing Dog
The position called Downward Facing Dog is a standard yoga position which helps stretch the legs and can be used by yoga teachers to enter into other positions. To get into the pose you start from a sitting position and step your legs back while planting both of your hands on the floor just in front of you. You should be moving your body into an upside down V shape with your balance being supported by your hands and heels. Then slowly move your weight backward onto your heels while fully extending your arms and fingers spread apart on the floor.
The position called Warrior One helps to improve your balance and will work the muscles in your upper leg. While working with a yoga teacher you will start by doing downward facing dog then step one of your legs up and forward while planting your foot on the inside of the corresponding hand. Shift your back leg so that the side of the foot is supporting your balance instead of your heel and the knee on your front leg should be at about a 90 degree angle. At this point you should be in a standard lunging position. Once you reach this point, raise both arms over your head with your fingertips pressing together and straight up. By raising your arms you are challenging your balance and working the shoulders muscles to support the pose. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Slowly step your forward leg back into downward facing dog pose and repeat with other leg. Yoga teacher training may mix this up and have you extend both arms out to either side while in your lunge position and this pose is known as the Warrior Four.
Power yoga uses the Boat Pose because they can be done quickly and will work the abdomen and core areas. Yoga teacher training loves to mix things up but also makes sure to reach each body part and muscle group. To get into the lower boat pose you should lie flat on your back. Slowly curl up at the midsection so that you are holding your head off the ground. Lift both legs off the ground about six inches while you hold your arms flat along the sides of your legs. Try to hold this for at least 30 seconds. Boat poses are hard to hold so you may need to work up to being able to hold them for extended periods of time. If you feel like this pose puts too much pressure on your low back you can put your hands under you so that your palms give additional suppose to your back and buttocks.
The standard boat pose is similar to the lower boat pose but you bend your legs and body up further so that you are in a V shape with your arms stretching out across the V. Never grab your legs because that takes the power out of the pose.
4 Ways to Sequence Power Yoga Poses
1. Remember the Basics
Remember to hold each yoga pose for at least 3-5 breaths while you practice your yoga in a warm room. You should always challenge yourself to move deeper into a pose but never push your body past the comfort level. Power yoga sequences should last about 90 minutes and never try to practice longer if you have missed a session earlier. You can modify any session to the time that you have available if you do not have the full 90 minutes but always try to mix your series of poses up with each session so that you always get a balanced workout.
2. Beginning and End
Yoga teaching always begins with three to six sun salutations to make sure that your body is warm and to prepare you for the deeper poses. Sun Salutations are different so you can use more than just one-use three to six or change the poses within the sun salutations to add or modify your time. Always remember to end your power yoga session with five minutes of savasana or meditation. You can do this in corpse pose or while seated. During this time you should be calm and still and let your mind relax.
3. Keep it Going
Power yoga sequences are practiced with the poses moving in a particular order, but you can change any poses within your series as you want. The typical order begins with Vinyasa, then some warrior poses, followed with some balancing or triangle poses. Slowly moving to the floor and practicing backbends followed by abdominal poses, inversions and hip openers. You can finish your sequence with seated forward bends, twists, and then end in savasana.
4. Make it Your Own
Each yoga series should be practiced in the same order but your series can be shortened or special focus can be given in regard to personal physical and emotional needs. You can match your poses into your sequence depending on if you need more energy, more stretching or more relaxation.
Yoga teacher training will focus on what the best poses are for you to achieve your goal.