What Is Power Yoga?
Power Yoga is an empowering yoga practice. All yoga should have the same objective, which is, essentially, "wellness". Wellness can be expressed in many ways using many terms. The word yoga literally translated into English means “yoke“ or “to yoke". You can translate yoke into join, union, harmonize, or harness. I like the word harness because harnessing connotes steering. It is the steering of oneself instead of being steered. Being steered by mental habit patterns that one is usually unaware they are partaking in.
Just because these are the literal translations and definitions does not mean that is the objective of the person, studio, or lineage that is calling their practice yoga or Power Yoga. Some people’s objectives could be flexibility, some may want beauty and some injury prevention, and I’m sure there may be many other objectives. Us westerners are certainly mutating this age-old practice to fit our agendas. This is not a criticism, just an observation of what is happening.
What is the Difference Between Yoga and Power Yoga?
To define Power Yoga as I intended, as I am the one who coined the phrase, is as stated above an empowering practice. Empowering meaning aware, awake, mentally strong, centered, stable within the vicissitudes (less reactive). Combined with a supple, toned, well-oiled (blood flow) body that is very adaptable to the various physical demands of one’s life. So you could say as I said above, you could easily define the goal of yoga as wellness. Since most physical disease originates in our mind, addressing the mental state is of primary importance. You could call Power Yoga meditation in motion. Power Yoga is a well-rounded physical class meant to include all aspects of physical fitness--tone, suppleness, balance, stamina, and cardio--while attempting to maintain every range of motion and enliven every nook and cranny through stimulation which facilitates circulation, the prerequisite for regeneration, like you are oiling the Tin Man. With an emphasis on developing a quality of mind, that’s experiencing the physical class in a balanced and/or benevolent manner.
A Power Yoga class is like a mild, mini life. One travels through pleasure and pain, difficulty and ease, sometimes one likes what they see and feel, and sometimes they don’t. The mental practice emphasized by constant reminders is to go through all this with a calm and balanced mind. As one develops this ability to move through the class in a calm, less reactive, and more accepting manner, this ability translates to life outside the class. It’s as if calmness is a muscle, and we are developing it because it kind of actually is! So you could look at a Bryan Kest Power Yoga class as a safe place to practice living, as well as a community of like-minded people coming together to support each other in a benevolent mentality. Take a class at my Santa Monica studio or online and see for yourself.