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Power Yoga Journey

Updated: Jan 16

¨The evolution of physical fitness is mental fitness.¨

~Bryan Kest

Among the more vigorous or energetic styles of vinyasa that were developed in North America during the 1990s there’s Power Yoga. Although this style incorporates more dynamic and fluid movements, it should not be mistaken as a simple physical exercise. The emphasis given to the body and the postures is precisely to avoid the dispersion of consciousness, directing it towards the breath.

This is a deep and complete practice where postures are just simple tools to align body, mind and emotions; taking into account that these are not projects to be achieved, but the doors to a greater discovery of the fact of being alive.

Power Yoga includes forms derived from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, such as those of Beryl Bender Birch, Bryan Kest, and Larry Schultz, as well as forms derived from Bikram Yoga, such as those of Baron Baptiste. We identify with the latter and it constitutes the main influence of our Power classes in Smash Hot Yoga, because we consider that the fundamental pillars of this style, such as heat, the flow of movements, ujjayi breathing (ocean breathing), drishti (point of focus), and bandhas (energy locks) can be perfectly applied in our studio.

We can consider it the sibling style of Bikram Yoga, only more fluid and with more physical movement. As in the latter, work is done intensely but with sensitivity. The muscular tone that is obtained through practice is simply the additional result of the concentration and introspection work that is carried out through the body.

Baron Baptiste studied traditional yoga styles such as Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram, Krishnamacharya, and Raja yoga, as well as different forms of physical training and martial arts. Thus he created a powerful practice that includes the best of East and West. Power Yoga is based on the development of strength from vinyasa; that is, the connection of one movement with another, of one breath with the next, and the presence of mind from one moment to the next. By combining it with heat, we get one of the most dynamic and transformative forms of physical and spiritual training. Power Yoga is the perfect mix of sweat and serenity.

In this way, the challenge of balancing on one leg in a room at 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) with sweat running down our eyes, for example, forces us to concentrate on a point of focus (drishti) and conscious breathing to overcome the momentary discomfort. Thus, by learning and applying this on the mat, we prepare ourselves to stay centered when situations in our daily lives go out of balance. So, in the midst of the fire we managed to maintain clarity.

That is why heat is used as a tool for transformation. At the same time, heat helps us work more deeply as it softens muscles and tissues, making the body more malleable. The sweat that is generated helps healing, because it cleanses, renews, detoxifies and purifies the body, mind and spirit. With this practice we excavate the amazing and radiant being that is within us.

As a consequence, it represents a journey towards the truth, the truth about who we really are, what we are capable of and how our actions affect our lives. So making the decision to start this type of practice, to risk trying something new, keeps everyday situations interesting, as well as calming the mind and reducing the anxiety that arises from the fear of trying new things. We learn to let go of control and understand that everything will always be OK, to see life with its adversities in a positive way.

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