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What is Power Yoga? A Guide to this Heated Practice + Sequences to Try

Olivia May
What is Power Yoga A Guide to this Heated Practice + Sequences to Try

Power yoga is an athletic style of yoga often taught in a heated room to enhance its fitness-based benefits. This dynamic practice gives students a total body workout focusing on strength, core stability, and cardio.

Unlike a traditional yoga practice, in power yoga the instructor can create their own sequences. Students have a variety of postures in each class to challenge different muscle groups and improve overall fitness. Teachers may opt for longer hold times to build strength, and in other sequences they may speed up the flow to boost cardio fitness.

Like other styles of yoga, this fun and energetic flow still yields relaxation and stress reduction benefits. After a challenging sequence of postures, your body is ready to cool down into deeper flexibility poses and a body restoring savasana.

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner, try out these sequences below for a powerful strength-building workout!

Sequence 1

Opening

Opening. Balasana - Child’s Pose
Opening. Balasana – Child’s Pose

Begin in Balasana – Child’s Pose. Bring your big toes to touch, then widen out your knees mat width apart. Sink your hips down towards your heels and relax your body onto the ground. Hold this pose for 5 breaths.

Silence your mind and try to stay present on your yoga mat, focusing only on your breathing and your postures.

Shift forward into a tabletop position. Begin to move through 5 rounds of Marjaiasana/ Bitilasana- Cat/Cow. Inhale and gaze forward, dropping your chest towards the mat. Exhale and reverse the curve of your spine, rounding the space between your shoulder blades.

After 5 rounds of breath, engage your abdomen and lift your knees. Walk towards the top of your mat for Uttananasa- Standing Forward Fold.  Feel a stretch along the back of your legs and lower back. Hold for 5 breaths.

Warm-Up

Suyra Namaskar A — Sun Salutation A Pose
Warm-Up. Suyra Namaskar A — Sun Salutation A Pose

It’s time to warm up the body and begin building heat. Begin with 3 rounds of Surya Namaskar A- Sun Salutation A.

Stand at the top of your mat. Inhale and reach your fingertips to the sky. Exhale and hinge at your hips to a forward fold. Inhale into Ardha Uttanasana- Halfway Lift. Exhale and fold, planting your hands on the ground and stepping back into Kumbhakasana- Plank.

Inhale and shift forward 2 inches. Exhale bend the elbows into Chaturanga. Inhale and flatten the tops of your feet as you reach the chest forward into Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana- Upward Facing Dog. Exhale and lift the hips high into Adho Mukha Shvanasana- Downward Facing Dog.

Inhale and look towards the top of your mat. Exhale and step or hop into forward fold. Inhale and halfway lift. Exhale back into a forward fold. Inhale rise up to stand reaching your fingertips to the sky. Exhale and draw the hands to your chest in a prayer position.

This is one round, continuing for 2 additional flows.

Continue on with 2 rounds of Surya Namaskar B- Sun Salutation B. From the top of your mat, inhale and bend into your knees and hips as you reach your arms overhead for Utkatasana- Chair Pose. Exhale and bow down into a forward fold. Inhale and rise up for a halfway lift. Exhale and step back to plank.

Inhale shift forward in your plank. Exhale and bend your elbows for Chaturanga. Inhale and move into Upward Facing Dog. Exhale and lift your hips up into a Downward Facing Dog.

Inhale and step your right foot forward, rising up to a crescent lunge. Exhale and plant your palms to the ground stepping back to plank in the same breath. Inhale in your plank, and exhale for Chaturanga. Inhale and move into Upward Facing Dog. Exhale and lift the hips for Downward Facing Dog.

Repeat on your left side and meet in Downward Facing Dog.

Inhale look at the top of your mat. Exhale and step or jump forward. Inhale and rise into halfway lift. Exhale and forward fold. Inhale as you reach your hands overhead. Exhale, draw your hands to your chest in prayer.

This is one round of Sun Salutation B. Continue for one additional round.

Power Flow

Power Flow. Downward Facing Dog
Power Flow. Downward Facing Dog

This portion of your practice includes more challenging postures and sequences to build heat and strength.

Flow back to a Downward Facing Dog from the top of your mat. Inhale and lift your right leg. On your exhale step your right foot to the top of your mat. Swivel your left foot parallel to the back edge of the mat and rise up for Virabhadrasana II- Warrior 2. Sink deeply into your hips to build strength in your lower body. Hold for 5 breaths.

Holding your legs in this position, shift your body forward and rest your right elbow on your right thigh or reach your fingertips to the mat. Sweep your left hand alongside your ear, reaching towards the top of your mat for Utthita Parsvakonasana- Side Angle Pose. Hold for 5 breaths.

Your legs are building heat, strength, and endurance. Hold your legs here for one more pose. Lift your torso and let your left hand travel down your left leg as you reach your right hand alongside your ear for Viparita Virabhadrasana- Reverse Warrior. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat this sequence on your left side.

For a cardio challenge, perform this same sequence two more times in a breath to movement style.

Once you are back in a Downward Facing Dog, inhale and reach your right leg to the sky. Exhale step your right foot forward into a lunge position. Inhale and rise into Anjaneyasana- Crescent Lunge. Feel your legs strong and powerful as you hold this energetic pose for 5 breaths.

Inhale and begin to shift weight into your right foot, lifting up the left leg for Virabhadrasana III- Warrior 3. Your left leg and torso are parallel to the earth. Feel your right leg and hamstring strengthening in this balance pose. Hold for 5 breaths.

From Warrior 3 on your exhale take a step back into your crescent lunge pose. Inhale to reach your hands to the sky, and exhale as you open your arms like a T, twisting your torso to the right. Reach your right hand for your left thigh and your left hand to the ceiling for Parivrtta Anjaneyasana- Revolved Crescent.

Hold for 5 breaths then flow back to a Downward Dog. Repeat on your left side. For an additional cardio challenge, perform this sequence two more times at a breath to movement pace.

Cool Down

Cool Down. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana - Pigeon pose
Cool Down. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Pigeon pose

Your body is warm and ready for deeper flexibility postures now. From Downward Dog inhale and reach your right leg to the sky. Exhale and draw your right shin forward, placing your shin parallel to the top of the mat. Let your hips rest down to the mat for Eka Pada Rajakapotasana- Pigeon pose.

Hold for 8 breaths, then repeat on your second side.

Lower your knees to the mat and lie on your back. With your arms spread out wide into a T shape, inhale and pull your knees to your chest. Exhale and let your knees fall over to the right for Supta Matsyendrasana- Supine Twist.

Gaze at your left palm as your hold here for 5 breaths. Repeat on your second side.

Savasana

Savasana
Savasana

Lie on your back and straighten your arms and legs. Bring your feet out wide and rest your palms face up. Close your eyes and draw focus to your breathing. Feel free to remain here for several minutes.

Sequence 2

Opening

Opening. Sukhasana
Opening. Sukhasana

Begin in Sukhasana- Cross Legged Seat. Sit up tall and close your eyes. Rest your palms face down on your thighs and take 5 breaths to allow yourself to become present in your practice space.

Open your eyes. Inhale and slide your hands up your thighs as you press your chest forward for Upavistha Bitilasana- Seated Cow. Exhale and slide your hands towards your knees. Pull your chin to your chest and round the upper back for Upavistha Marjaryasana- Seated Cat. Continue for 5 rounds of breath.

Inhale and reach your hands to the sky. Exhale and twist your body to the right. Place your right hand on the ground behind you and your left hand on your right thigh for Ardha Matsyendrasana- Seated Twist. Inhale and reach your hands back to the sky. Exhale and twist to the left. Continue for 3 rounds of breath.

Warm-up

Surya Namaskaras  — Sun Salutation C
Warm-up. Sun Salutation C

Begin building heat in this phase of your practice. From your seated position, inhale and shift forward onto hands and knees, then exhale lift up into Downward Dog.

Inhale and glide into plank pose. Exhale lift back into a Downward dog. Continue this transition for 5 rounds of breath.

Next, flow through two rounds of Surya Namaskar C- Sun Salutation C. From Downward Dog inhale and look at the top of your mat. Exhale and step or jump forward. Inhale and rise to your fingertips for halfway lift. Exhale and forward fold.

Inhale and reach your hands to the sky. Exhale and bring your hands to your side for Tadasana- Mountain.

Inhale as you reach your hands overhead. Exhale and forward fold. Inhale and halfway lift. Exhale and plant your palms down.

Step your right foot back so you are in a lunge position. Inhale as you sweep your hands to the sky for Anjaneyasana- Crescent Lunge. Exhale and plant your hands to the ground.

Take an inhale and step back to plank. Exhale and bend the elbows, lowering into Chaturanga. Inhale and backbend into Upward Facing Dog. Exhale and lift your hips high to a Downward Dog.

Inhale as you reach your right leg to the sky. Exhale step the right foot forward into a lunge. Inhale as you rise into Crescent lunge. Exhale and plant your palms to the ground.

Inhale and step your left leg forward. Exhale and forward fold. Inhale, take your hands up to the sky. Then exhale and stand in Mountain pose.

Repeat again, this time leading with your left leg. Once completed, you have done one round of Sun Salutation C. Complete one additional time to sufficiently warm up your body and get your heart pumping.

Power Flow

Power Flow
Power Flow. Anjaneyasana- Crescent Lunge

Now it’s time to further challenge your body with some strength building sequences. Beginning at the top of your mat, inhale and reach your hands overhead, sinking your hips back into Utkatasana- Chair pose. Exhale and lower your arms, reaching them back behind you into airplane arm position.

Inhale and rise to stand. Pull the right knee to your chest for Eka Pada Tadasana- One Legged Mountain Pose. Exhale and step your right leg back into a lunge position.

Inhale as you reach the arms to the sky for a full expression of Anjaneyasana- Crescent Lunge. Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale and lower the torso parallel with the ground. Sweep the arms back behind you, finding Ashta Chandrasana- Airplane Arms.

Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale rise back up to start, then exhale plant your palms and step back into your flow.

Meet back at the top of your mat. Repeat this sequence on your left side with a 5 breath-holds time to build strength and power in your legs. For a cardio challenge, repeat a second time at a breath to movement pace.

End your first power sequence in a Downward Dog. Inhale reach your right leg to the sky. Exhale and step the right foot between your wrists. Spin your left foot parallel to the back edge of the mat. Rise up into Virabhadrasana II- Warrior 2. Hold for 5 breaths.

Inhale and move into Viparita Virabhadrasana- Reverse Warrior. Holding your legs in the same position, slide your left hand down your left leg and reach your right hand to the sky. Hold for 5 breaths.

Take a deep breath in, then exhale and cartwheel your hands to the mat. Spin your left foot so your heel stacks on top of the ball mound of your foot. Keep your left hand on the mat and inhale as you reach your right hand to the sky for Parivrtta Anjaneyasana- Simple Twist. Hold for 5 breaths.

Keeping your left hand planted, step your right foot back on top of the left as you swivel your heels to the left. Move into Vasisthasana- Side plank. Feel your left arm and obliques working hard as you hold for 5 breaths. Then exhale and lower into the plank. Move through a flow and end in a Downward Dog.

Repeat this sequence on your left side with a 5 breath-hold time to build strength and power in your legs, arms, and abdomen. For a cardio challenge, repeat a second time taking the sequence in a breath to movement style.

Cool Down

Cool Down. Utthan Pristhasana- Runners Lunge
Cool Down. Utthan Pristhasana- Runners Lunge

With your body sufficiently heated up, it is now time for some deeper flexibility based poses. From Downward Dog, inhale and reach the right leg up to the sky. Exhale and step the right leg forward into a lunge position. Lower the left knee and move your hands to the inside of the right foot for Utthan Pristhasana- Runners Lunge.

Feel your right gluteals and hamstrings stretching out as you relax your hips and pelvis down towards the ground. Hold for 8 breaths, then repeat on your second side.

Release your knees down to the mat and transition onto your back. Place the sole of your feet together and let your knees fall open into Supta Badoo Konasana- Supine Butterfly. Rest your hands on your abdomen as you feel a stretch along your inner thighs and hips.

Savasana

Savasana
Savasana

Straighten your arms and legs on your mat. Bring your feet out wide and rest your palms face up. Close your eyes and draw your focus to your breathing. Feel free to remain here for several minutes.

Power yoga is a fun way to achieve a well-balanced workout. One of these sequences will challenge your strength, core stability, and cardiovascular system. Try to include these sequences into your workout schedule twice a week!

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