The Ashtanga Yoga is the popular form of yoga that the west and the world at large has embraced as the end all and be all of health and wellness workouts. Quite a few interesting spins on it have come out over the past few decades, the most recent of which is power yoga. It switches the focus of the workout from flexibility to strength and fat burning, with almost no corrosion of your joints. Which means faster transitions, more aggressive posture formations and one mother of a mental workout that is a far cry from ‘your momma’s yoga’. Let’s get down to a few of the most popular power yoga moves.
Power yoga switches the focus of the workout from flexibility to strength and fat burning, with almost no corrosion of your joints.
The basis of yoga is in your breathing. Begin your workout by keeping your legs apart at shoulder distance. Keep your core tight and your hands outstretched below you so that they cross. Now as you breathe in, swing your arms above your head and cross them and exhale on their way down. Increase the power and intensity of your breath inhalations with each repetition, driving strength from your core to your heels and to the tip of your fingers. Power through as if elastic bands are pulling at you in the opposite direction of your movement. Slowly melt your feet into a squat as you breathe out, your hands crossing below you, and as you exhale, straighten your feet. After ten repetitions, manipulate your feet to move into the next posture.
Half standing forward fold
Stand tall with your hands extended by your sides, your shoulders rolled back and your back straight. Inhale and fill your lungs with air, and as you exhale bend down to the floor, folding your body from the hip. Touch the floor with your palms, knees straight and hamstrings taut. If you can’t, then bend as little as possible. Hold this position, keeping your core tight for three counts of breath as you go deeper into the stretch. Inhale and rise slowly, keeping your body taut and return to the standing position. Repeat this move three times.
Next, from a forward fold, instead of coming up to stand, move to a half fold. This involves your back rising up and holding once it is parallel to the floor, while your hands are stretched to your shins. Your back should be straight and your core absolutely tight. Now lower your back into the forward fold and repeat this five times.
High plank downward dog (adho mukha śvānāsana )
From the half fold, descend to a high plank position. Bend your body upwards, as you push your tailbone towards your heels as you extend your chest. Keep your core tightened. Inhale and push your butt up in the air. Make sure the move is a power move, your body tightened across all joints, energy flowing from your extended fingertips to your shoulders across your glutes and driving down to your heels. Now you are in downward dog. From here, lower yourself to the high plank position. Repeat ten times.
Chaturanga and bhujangasana
From the high plank position, exhale and roll forward onto your toes. Your elbows stay close to your ribs. Lower your body like you would for a close grip pushup so that your arms are parallel to the floor. Inhale and roll your toes under. Now the top of your foot is in contact with the floor. Simultaneously lift your torso up so that your body curves upwards to an upright position from your navel, while your legs stay in contact with the floor and your arms planted on the floor are straight, firm and stuck to your torso. To increase the power in the move, raise your thighs and hips off the floor, so that your body is suspended on your feet and your hands driving into your palms. From here slowly lower your torso and return to plank position. Repeat five times.
Three legged dog and spider lunge
From a plank position move into a downward dog position. As you shoot your hip into the air, remove the left foot from the floor and extend it into the air. Your hips should be squared against the floor. Your left glute should be squeezed, as you try to keep your leg stretched outwards as straight as possible. Hold this position, inhale and exhale three times.
Now pull your left leg all the way to your left shoulder, stretching out your back as it is straightened out, planting the heel in the same position as your left palm. The left leg, bent at the knee, should not extend beyond your toe, while your right leg should be completely stretched. From here, move back to downward dog. Repeat the three legged dog followed by the spider lunge with the right leg. Do this move five times.
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