Yoga is a collection of spiritual, mental, and physical practices or disciplines that originated in ancient India. Yoga is actually one of the seven Āstika branches of Indian spiritual traditions. It aims to unite the body, mind, and spirit of an individual.
Yoga practitioners are often confused with other Yoga practitioners such as Ashtanga Yoga. However, these two have distinct functions. Ashtanga is more popular among Westerners because it is less focused on physical workout. Meanwhile, yoga is more focused on breathing exercises that are geared towards achieving samadhi, or enlightenment.
The most commonly practiced form of yoga is Hatha Yoga. This is a physical Yoga that typically incorporates meditation, bodily postures, relaxation, breathing exercises, and meditation. Practicing Hatha Yoga is usually accompanied by physical workouts that can be classified into gentle stretching, strength training, endurance, flexibility, and balance. The sequences of these postures are meant to be repeated continuously for a certain period of time.
For example, a Hatha Yoga class usually begins with a standing posture. Next, practitioners stretch and relax their bodies, and then proceed to the seated posture. The sequence continues in this order until the person has completed all of the standing poses and relaxation. The individual then returns to the starting position, where he or she can do one of the yoga poses again. It is recommended that people who wish to improve their physical fitness levels practice Hatha Yoga, because the sequence of poses is easy to follow, therefore, provides an effective workout without requiring too much effort or exertion from the participant.
Power yoga, on the other hand, is more focused on the breathing and the utilization of breath to enhance physical fitness levels. Power yoga was introduced by B.K.S. Iyengar, who studied the physiology and anatomy of athletes. Through Iyengar’s powerful techniques in teaching as well as his intense and vigorous practice of yoga, power yoga became very popular among athletes who were seeking ways to improve their performance and increase their level of conditioning.
Most power yoga sessions last between one and three hours, but there are still some variations that have been developed and incorporated to make the sessions more challenging. In most instances, a yoga mat is not used, since the focus is more on the breathing exercises. The practitioner uses both his/her hands and knees to bring forth the different yoga poses. In addition, to make the poses more challenging, power yoga requires the use of a full range of body weights, which allows the individual to increase the difficulty of the poses as his/her fitness levels progress.