What is the difference between yoga and power yoga?

Updated on 26/08/2020 at 15:25

We explain the characteristics of Power Yoga, how the exercises in the active yoga style affect the body and what the differences to “classical” yoga are.

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Power Yoga is an American variant of the very traditional Ashtanga Yoga. The founder of modern power yoga is Bryan Kest, who made yoga more sporty and dynamic.

In Power Yoga, the same exercises and asana series are practiced as in Ashtanga Yoga, but the pace and intensity adapt to the practitioner. The order of the exercises can also be varied in Power Yoga.

Ashtanga yoga, on the other hand, has a strict sequence of asanas under the close supervision of a yoga teacher. Ashtanga Yoga and Power Yoga are both rooted in the Hatha Yoga tradition. But what are the differences between Power Yoga and “classical” yoga?

What is power yoga?

Power Yoga is a dynamic yoga style that really differs from traditional yoga practice in only one way. In Power Yoga, there are hardly any phases of meditation or spiritual overtones.

The focus is clearly on physical strength, mobility, balance and concentration. The powerful yoga combines exercises and postures fluently. Power Yoga pushes you to your limits and makes you sweat.

The dynamic movements are combined with a controlled breathing technique. Well-known figures and exercises from Hatha Yoga are used, such as the sun salutation.

Although meditation is not the focus of Power Yoga, this practice promotes mental calm and inner balance through regular repetition of the exercises and concentration in the performance of the postures.

However, Power Yoga is not a patented concept. And then there are many yoga and fitness classes that offer Power Yoga in different versions. Another word for Power Yoga is Power Yoga Vinyasa. These two terms are synonymous and denote the same dynamic yoga practice.

Vinyasa Flow describes certain asanas that are performed dynamically. Power Core Yoga focuses on one particular aspect: losing weight. In this form of power yoga, intense asanas are practiced, which define muscles and stabilize the back and abdominal muscles.

Who is Power Yoga for?

As the practice of Power Yoga adapts to the practitioner, the exercises are very suitable for both experienced and beginners. Men, women and children can practice Power Yoga.

In power yoga, the main focus is on controlled breathing through the nose. This makes it easier to monitor and control the level of exertion. As long as you do not have to breathe through your mouth while practicing the asana sequences, do not overwork yourself.

Pregnant women can also do simple exercises from Power Yoga because these adapt to their physical ability. Power yoga during pregnancy is recommended from the 12th week of pregnancy.

Yoga can also be practiced after birth – though gently and consciously. Depending on the constitution and level of yoga before pregnancy, it should be decided whether Power Yoga or a more gentle practice like Yin Yoga should be practiced.


Sun salutation is a popular practice in yoga. So you can learn it step by step.

The effects of Power Yoga

Power Yoga is a dynamic full body workout that focuses on strength, endurance, energy and flexibility. Power Yoga stretches, builds and strengthens muscles at the same time.

Depending on which asanas are performed, certain focus points are set in Power Yoga. Yoga classes can focus on specific muscle groups such as abdominal muscles or shoulders and neck. Yoga teachers are free to choose which focus they want to put in individual power yoga units.

However, all exercises in Power Yoga also have a psychological aspect: A Power Yoga exercise for the legs can convey firmness – or an exercise in the chest area can emphasize the feeling of openness and tolerance.

However, the focus in power yoga is on muscle building and stretching as well as calorie consumption. With exercises from Power Yoga you can lose weight and define your figure.

Concrete exercises in Power Yoga

A power yoga class usually starts after an initial breathing exercise with the dynamic sun salutation. Beyond that, however, there is no asana sequence used specifically in Power Yoga.

The focus remains on the dynamic movements. Nevertheless, there are popular yoga postures and exercises in Power Yoga.

For example, powerful asanas such as the warrior position or the boat and triangle are often practiced during power yoga training. This primarily trains the legs and abdominal muscles.

But there are also specific exercises that can help with back pain or sciatica. Here, too, the warrior acts as an effective stance against back pain.

Power yoga at home

Power Yoga can also be practiced really well at home using videos on DVD, YouTube or streams via zoom. All you need for a workout in your own four walls is a yoga mat.

Other power yoga accessories can be helpful, especially for beginners: These include yoga blocks, seat cushions and straps.

Especially for beginners, it is important to follow professional instructions for the individual exercises. Improper working postures can seriously damage the body and its movement.

Sources used:

  • AYI.info: “Traditional training series”
  • Kia Meaux: “Power Yoga: New Power for Body and Mind”
  • Lotuscrafts: “Power Yoga: All about the yoga style and the best exercises”

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