yoga teacher certificationBy Jenny Park 

Yoga is a form of exercise that is known for encouraging balance and flexibility. The practice of Yoga also focuses on breathing techniques as you move through a series of poses. Power Yoga is a form of Yoga that is geared toward promoting an intense all over body workout. It is a very good form of cardiovascular exercise. Pranayama techniques of Power Yoga are breathing techniques that can help you get the most from your Yoga practice. Correct breathing techniques are an integral part of receiving the most benefit during Yoga.

Pranayama breathing is the art of controlling our breathing during Yoga. During Pranayama, it is important to pay attention to all the cycles of the breath. This includes the inhale, the exhale, rate of breathing and the resting period between each breathing cycle. It is a very important part of practicing Yoga and can take some practice and getting used to. But when it is done correctly, the practice of Yoga is often made even more effective. During Power Yoga, controlling the breath often requires a higher level of concentration. This definitely adds to the intensity of the workout, therefore providing a higher level of impact to the body.

The benefits of Power Yoga include the ability to reduce body fat and improvement of the cardiovascular system. But it is more than just a workout, it is also meant to strengthen the mind body connection. That is yet another reason that proper breathing techniques should be maintained. Listening to your body and controlling your breathing will help toward gaining more focus both during Yoga and throughout life in general.

What are the specific forms of pranayama within a typical Power Yoga class?

Kapalabhati or Bhastrika before practice for energizing.

Ujjayi while practicing to conserve energy during Surya Namaskar and vinyasa sequences.

Dirgha Pranayama at the end of asana practice, but before relxation to carry the positive mindset with you after practice.

Is this the way every Power Yoga session should be?  Not always – Some Power Yoga instructors only teach Ujjayi during asana practice. Some Yoga teachers believe asana and pranayama practice don’t mix.  Other Yoga teachers don’t show any pranayama, meditation or relaxation at all. I learned the classical forms of pranayama from Paulji and integrate them into the class.  What other Yoga teachers do is irrelevant to me, because stretching with no pranayama and meditation is a Yoga exercise class and that’s okay too.

Generally speaking, the breathing techniques that are associated with Yoga can help you achieve a greater awareness as you continue your practice. After all, breathing is the life force that keeps us alive. Learning how to control your breathing helps the body and the mind to sharpen your focus. The practice of Power Yoga isn’t just another workout trend; it is also helps to expand your mind and connect with your emotions so that you can make yourself stronger – physically, mentally and emotionally. Pranayama techniques of Power Yoga can help reduce stress and increase a sense of calm and well-being, which are things that almost everyone needs to do at one point or another in their lives.

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