Authentic Yoga vs. Power Yoga


When I first started practicing Yoga, there was no such thing as Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, Bikram etc. Fast forward 17 years and there are so many variations to Yoga styles popping up. And while I understand the place of all these different variations of Yoga, I can't help but always feel the true essence of what Yoga is about is being lost.

I found this article written by The Yoga School on this same view point. "Power Yoga tends to emphasize the physical benefits of yoga, which are many and good to be had, but Real Yoga opens us to the bigger picture that the ancient Rishis mapped out in their search for enlightenment or Samadhi."

In traditional Ashtanga Yoga, there are 8 limbs to Yoga which take us on the path to enlightenment. The asanas (postures), are only 1 of these 8 limbs.  In a lot of Power Yoga classes today, there is a heavy focus on the asana, and very little if any mention on the other limbs:

Yama (ethical standards)
Niyama (self-discipline and spiritual observances)
Pranayama (breath-work)
Pratyahara (sense withdrawal as a precursor to mind-work)
Dharana (concentration)
Dhyana (meditation)
Samadhi (bliss or enlightenment)

And as James Bryan from The Yoga School says "Skipping a stone across the water takes skill and it is fun, but there is no depth to it.  We can make a similar comparison about styles of yoga which skip the 8 Limbs of Yoga."

Power and Hot Yoga have a lot to offer, but there is more – much more and by including Pranayama, Meditation and the yoga philosophy of the Yamas and Niyamas. And as James says "you will discover that the ancient Yogis of India were doing more than just sitting on their asanas!"

Corporate Yoga offers workplace classes across Melbourne, including pranayama, meditation and yamas and niyamas. Contact us to have a free chat on our services.

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