By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Often practiced in gyms, Power Yoga is a general term used to refer to a practice that is more physically challenging than many other physical styles. In order to elevate heart rate, and encourage weight loss, this form of Yoga pushes through a fast-flowing series of postures. Sometimes, the postures are held for longer than is typical, in order to build strength and muscle. Deeper stretches and flexibility are encouraged through the synchronization of breath with movement. A variety of Yogic practices can be adapted to this faster-flowing, and physically-challenging form of Yoga; it is important that practitioners take certain precautions to avoid injury.
To start with, beginners should never attempt to participate in a Power Yoga session, without first determining whether the instructor works with beginners, and can cater the class to an appropriate skill level. Because Power Yoga is supposed to be physically challenging, practitioners who are not strong enough or flexible enough for more advanced poses, like the inversions, should stick with simpler, more basic Yoga positions.
When considering the practice of a dynamic version of Yoga, it is important that practitioners, of all levels, achieve the correct alignment and proper technique, in each posture, to avoid injury within poses (asanas) and during transitions. If a practitioner chooses not to follow the step-by-step instructions for asanas, this can result in muscle strains or aggravation of old injuries, since correct form and proper alignment protect the joints and other vulnerable areas of the body from premature wear.
Those who suffer from, or are recovering from injuries, should also take care during a Power Yoga session. For example, a person who struggles with back pain must be extremely conscious of maintaining good technique during forward bend and back bending postures.
In line with the above precautions, practitioners should also refrain from pushing their bodies too hard and too fast in a Yoga session. It can take time to master Yogic techniques, and even though the goal of Power Yoga is a physical challenge, injuries most often occur when the individual is distracted or working at an inappropriate level for his or her fitness capability.
Women, who are pregnant, should consult with their doctor before practicing any physical form of Yoga. Jump backs may not be wise during the first trimester of pregnancy. Many women, who are experienced practitioners, are able to continue a modified practice through an entire pregnancy, maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and a strong, flexible body. With that said, prenatal Yoga classes are a wise choice, because each trimester presents unique precautions and no two people are exactly alike. To scratch the surface on this issue, loose joints and vulnerable balance can create risks for pregnant women during poses. Therefore, pregnant Yoga students should be ready to adapt postures to fit their individual needs.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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