Astanga yoga (or power yoga), is a form of exercise for the mind, body and spirit. Unlike more relaxed versions, power yoga places more emphasise on building strength and stamina. It is more vigorous and requires considerable exertion.
While not ideal for absolute beginners, power yoga is growing enormously in popularity. Although it has certain movements similar to aerobics, it still retains a fundamental belief in a holistic approach to physical and spiritual health.
What are the benefits?
As with other forms of this philosophy, the movements involved in power yoga were originally practiced over five thousand years ago in India. The emphasis is on achieving balance between the mind, body and spirit. This more demanding version pays off in terms of increased fitness and vitality.
The asanas, or positions, used tend to be more demanding and invigorating. It can help you to have a greater awareness of your body and the importance of breathing correctly. More and more people are discovering that it's a great way to get in shape while reducing stress levels. Improved posture leads to greater flexibility and suppleness as well as ease of movement. The idea is that by creating greater harmony within your body, you also increase the flexibility of your mind making room for creativity and meditation.
Regular practice helps improve blood circulation and the functioning of your internal organs. It can also take you on a journey of self-realisation that can make you calmer and more joyful in your appreciation of life.