In the 1980s Ashtanga fanatic Beryl Bender Birch decided that her yoga practice, though dynamic, wasn't physically challenging enough. So she created Power Yoga, an amped up interpretation of the ancient Ashtanga practice.
Power Yoga is a grab bag of poses. The style hews close to a classic "vinyasa" flow, but there is no particular order of poses.
Benefits of Power yoga: Each static pose, held for several seconds, engages several muscles at once, making for a sweaty workout that boosts your metabolism. Power yoga builds strength, stamina and endurance. It is said to be particularly beneficial for runners.
Who Power yoga is best for: A highly active, fast-paced practice, Power Yoga is for the athletic go-getter who is particularly interested in yoga as a physical workout. Some call it yoga for athletes.
Getting ready: Power yoga is bound to make you sweat. Bring a towel to wipe the mat in between poses, which helps to prevent slipping and sliding. Bring water, and wear comfortable, fitted clothing that won't interfere with poses.
Calories burned: One hour of power yoga can burn approximately 400 calories.
If done correctly, Power yoga is a safe practice. Poses should be performed to the best of a practitioner's abilities. Modify poses that are too deep to avoid pulling muscles. Take child's pose when necessary.
Who shouldn't do it: Inversions are typical during a power yoga flow and usually come at the end of a practice. Individuals with high blood pressure, back pain, spinal injuries or general dizziness should sit out these poses.