Let’s start by defining Power Yoga: Since I coined the term (but never trademarked it), I’m a good source for its definition, kind of. Well, since it’s not trademarked (even though Beryl Bender Birch tried, but since my use and others’ use was first, she couldn’t or wouldn’t), Power Yoga is just a cool name or a stupid name, depending on your opinion, but it is NOT a system. So, anyone can call their yoga Power Yoga and lead any type of class they would like. This is what Beryl did. She actually led traditional Ashtanga yoga classes, as she learned from her teacher Norman Allen, who seems to be the first Westerner to have studied with Ashtanga yoga creator K. Pattabhi Jois. Yet the name “Ashtanga” seemed too esoteric at the time, so she changed the name to Power Yoga. So, if you happened to practice Power Yoga with her, you would actually be doing Ashtanga yoga. So, there is not one definition, although usually it connotes a vigorous class.
So, let’s talk about the advantages of Power Yoga and the benefits of Power Yoga led by Bryan Kest, since that’s the only Power Yoga class I’m familiar with and it is the original Power Yoga class!
Power Yoga benefits are immense; this is a mind-body experience like no other.
The goal of Power Yoga is health and wellness (as opposed to weight loss, peak performance or aesthetics), and the class is designed for this, considering you cannot take care of anything you do not touch. Using creative movements we call asanas, we touch every nook and cranny and attempt to expose every range of motion. This touch creates stimulation, which facilities circulation, the prerequisite for regeneration. Yet, touching body parts and ranges of motion is not enough. You have to touch these things gently, considering the universal law “the harder you are on anything, the faster you wear it out.” When attempting to be gentle, you need to enter the first stage of meditation, which is focus and concentration, because to be gentle, you have to pay attention to your experience. When all this happens, our minds become quiet, and this quiet mind opens up a world of possibilities, and this world is called Power Yoga. After all, it’s only when your mind is quiet can you truly relax! This relaxing may be the healthiest thing you can do, considering the profoundly damaging effects of stress. When your mind becomes quiet you can hear what your partner (your body) is saying to you in the succinct language of sensation (which is how your body talks to you). Hearing your partner’s feedback allows you to make informed decisions, which allows an exercise to become healing, because you are honoring what you are feeling, which is why you have feelings! Yet, you need to be strong for this, as your ego may not want to stop pushing as your body is asking you to stop. So you need to be more dominated by your wisdom than your vanity. When your mind quiets, you are also no longer feeding (mental energy and unconscious loyalty) the normal habit pattern of your thoughts, weakening stress-inducing mental habit patterns. This is an opportunity to disempower stress-inducing qualities.
As you can see, Bryan Kest Power Yoga is a very simple, yet potent practice!