Power Yoga begins with the sun salutations as the warm–up, followed by a primary series of asanas and a finishing sequence. Over 60 postures are practised in the classical Ashtanga routine.
The series is divided into four parts
- The first part: This comprises Sun salutations, which form the core of the practice.
- The second part: This comprises standing postures, which develop stamina and stability.
- The third part: This comprises seated postures, which fine tunes the body and the mind.
- The fourth part: This comprises the finishing sequence, which restores balance and harmony.
This is a simple practical introduction to Power Yoga that you can incorporate into your daily routine. All you need is a rug, carpet or yoga mat. Make sure the room is well ventilated and your clothes are comfortable. Never perform yoga exercises immediately after eating food, there must be a three–hour gap between practice sessions and your meal.
The standing postures stretch the entire body by flexing, extending, laterally stretching and twisting the spine. The develop alignment and improve balance.
The Lord of Dance
Stand tall with hands in the namaste position. Inhale, extend your left arm in front of you, parallel to the floor. Exhale and look at your fingertips. Inhale and lift your right leg off the floor holding your ankle. Exhale, arch your back and move your torso forward while raising the right leg behind you. Create a smooth arch through the right side of your body, balancing on the left leg. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale, and exhale while you gently ease out of the posture. Repeat with the other leg.
Stand with your feet wide apart and hands extended at shoulder level parallel to the floor. Inhale, then exhale and extend your left hand up and place your right hand on your right ankle. Face turned upwards, look towards the left hand. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale, return to upright position with legs apart and hands extended out. Exhale, bring feet and hands together. Repeat on the other side.
Stand tall with the right leg against the left inner thigh. Inhale, place your hands in the namaste position. Exhale and raise your hands up. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale, and exhale while you gently ease out of the posture. Repeat with the other leg.
The combination of back bends and forward bends free the hips, lower back, hip flexors and groin of stiffness and tension.
Sit in a kneeling position. Inhale, place your hands on your hips. Exhale, and tighten your hips as you slowly go into a backward bend bringing your palms onto your ankles. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale and then exhale as you slowly return to starting position.
Seated forward bend
Sit upright with feet together. Inhale deeply as you stretch both arms straight up. Then exhale, stretching your arms forward towards the toes. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale, and then exhale as you slowly return to starting position.
The boat pose
Sit upright with feet together. Inhale and then exhale as you lift your legs, chest arms off the floor creating a “V” shape with the body. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale and then exhale as you slowly, return to starting position.
The inverted postures rejuvenate both body and mind and restore energy by refreshing the internal organs and brain with oxygenated blood. It is because of this reason that the shoulder stand is called the queen of all asanas. The relaxation practice in the end cleanses and de–stresses the body and the mind.
Lie down and take 5 breaths. Then exhale into the shoulder stand pose. Hold for another 5 breaths. Inhale, prepare to change position to plough posture.
Exhale, while you go into the plough pose. While you hold this position fix your gaze on the heart chakra or the center of your chest. Take 5 breaths. Inhale; prepare to change position to the Fish pose.
Exhale, place arms down on the floor by your side. Then slowly roll down out of the posture. Inhale, move into fish pose. Exhale, and fix your gaze on the center between the eyebrows.
Take 5 breaths. Inhale, prepare to change position to the corpse.
This is a position of complete relaxation. The arms are slightly away from the body and the feet are slightly apart. The eyes are closed and the mind is relaxed. The bodies senses are withdrawn from the surroundings resulting in a feeling of complete stillness and peace.
The purpose of this pose is to give the body an opportunity to rest and cool–down after the practice, and to allow the tension, tightness and toxins dislodged by the practice to be carried off by the systems of elimination.