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Power Yoga vs. Traditional Yoga: Which is Right for You?

Are you curious about joining a yoga studio but unsure which class suits you best? In this article, we will explore all there is to know about power yoga and its benefits, helping you make an informed decision. 

What is the Difference Between Yoga and Power Yoga?

Yoga is a word that is not associated with any specific brand or trademark, restricted or owned by a specific entity, and it can be used by anyone. 

So, what does the word Yoga mean? Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union or to join. The root yo is where we get the modern word yolk, as in the device used to attach cattle to a cart. Initially, classical yoga practice was primarily seated meditation along with breathing exercises (pranayama). The modern expression of yoga focuses on the psychological, physical, and/or spiritual aspects of the practice. Depending on the style (or school) of yoga, the combination of these aspects can vary greatly. Some practices have co-opted the teaching so much that it is nearly unrecognizable from the classical style. 

Yoga is an evolutionary practice, meaning that over time, the interpretation of the classical teachings has morphed into unique styles or brands of yoga. Common types of yoga include:

  • Raja yoga 

  • Hatha Yoga

  • Tantric Yoga

  • Bhakti Yoga

  • Vinyasa yoga 

  • Power yoga

  • Hot power yoga

  • Bikram yoga

  • Jivamukti yoga

  • Iyengar yoga

  • Ashtanga yoga

  • Goat yoga 

  • Puppy yoga

  • Beer yoga

  • Weed yoga

  • And so many more…

Honestly, this list could go on for pages. There are so many types of "yoga," So please don't be offended if I missed your favorite 😉

With decades of practice and teaching under my belt and countless conversations with students, it is evident that people have yet to realize the diversity found in the expression of yoga practices. Many may think, "Yoga is yoga, right?" Yeah, not so much. If you go to your local yoga studio and it doesn't work for you, try another yoga instructor or a new place. Chances are, your experience will be very different with the next teacher or at a different studio.

My power yoga practice began when I studied at Baptiste Power Yoga Institute and Jivamukti Power Yoga, and it has continued on through to my own brand of 8-limb Power Yoga. "Power yoga" typically denotes a physical style of yoga that is athletic and aerobic, links the breath to the movement, and provides a full-body workout that builds both strength and flexibility.


What are the Benefits of Practicing Power Yoga?

Power Yoga has so many benefits for your overall health. It enhances cardiovascular health and aids in weight loss while also helping to build strength and improve overall well-being. Moreover, power yoga positively impacts every aspect of your being. Many people mistakenly believe that yoga only focuses on physical exercise. However, yoga is a whole-being workout. After all, you are more than just your physical body. You have an energy-body and a nervous system. You are thoughts and emotions. Ultimately, though, you are so much more than that, and that is what yoga seeks to unify. It is a system to remove suffering from human existence so that one may reconnect with one's true Self. 

With that said, what is suffering at the physical level? Pain, sickness, and not being able to move freely. What is the most effective treatment? Regular, balanced exercise! I have been practicing power yoga for nearly 20 years, and not only am I healthy, but I'm still improving! I look better, feel better, and can do things with my body at 44 that I could never do at 24. I rarely, if ever, get sick (knock on wood). I have students in their 70s who have not lost their range of motion and move better and feel better than their peers. One of my students said, "I came to the practice five years ago at 52, broken, and now at 57, I feel better than I did at 47!" Power yoga will make you stronger and more flexible and keep your joints and organs working properly for as long as possible. Power yoga allows people to maintain their quality of life.

What is 8-Limb Power Yoga?

After years of study and practice, I felt there was something missing in the now-common power yoga practice. The 8-Limb Power Yoga method is my unique blending of classical and modern practices. It’s a nod to the classical in that it approaches the whole being by incorporating pranayama (breathwork), mantra (sound practice), and philosophy (mind engagement).

All of the human layers receive attention and tending in this practice, not just the physical. With that, it is also an elevated physical practice that can be dialed up or down based on the student’s physical ability. The core sequence has been choreographed with the intention of creating a smooth build-up of exertion from the start to the peak of the practice. Then, it deliberately winds down to bring the student into intentional rest. While this may not sound different from any other yoga practice, I can confidently say that the 8-Limb Power Yoga Method has refined the sequence to optimize the student’s experience of the flow. 

To learn about the benefits of hot yoga, read the article "Elevate Your Fitness Journey with Hot Yoga: Discover the Amazing Health Benefits."

Is Power Yoga Good for Beginners?

Power yoga is for everyone! Anybody of any fitness level, age, weight, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or religion. When you become a member of a well-respected yoga school, the yoga teachers will meet you at your current level and provide you with a clear path toward your desired destination.

How to Get Started with Power Yoga 

Be BOLD! Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway! When I started doing yoga, I was a 25-year-old straight man with zero flexibility or body awareness in a class with mostly middle-aged women. It was intimidating.

Go in, roll out a mat, lay down, close your eyes, and breathe. When the yoga teacher begins, follow their instructions to the best of your ability. Keep showing up! Give it your best every time! There is no perfection, only continual improvement. Take many different classes with different teachers. They will all have something different to show you!

To learn more about Burning Wheel Yoga School’s 8-Limb Power Yoga class, visit our classes page. Are you ready to begin your journey with power yoga? Sign up for a class here.

Owner of Burning Wheel Yoga School, Lead Instructor, Stained Glass Artist