The REAL Power Yoga

bodybuilder yoga

To tell you the truth, by the true definition of the word, there isn’t a REAL Power Yoga.

“Power” is the speed at which work is done on an object (Physics). This doesn’t even apply to the sport of PowerLifting. Power is not involved! If you are deadlifting 800 pounds, you are focusing on pulling that weight up, not at doing it quickly. We don’t hold a stopwatch and do a deadlift for time. That would be silly. That’s not the goal. If anything, that is closer to Olympic weightlifting. When you are lifting the bar in a clean and jerk or snatch, you pull it up quickly to get air under the bar as you drop as fast as you can under the bar. Weightlifting would be closer to “Power” lifting because there really is a speed component, though it still isn’t done for time.

The same is true with Yoga. In the classes I teach, we never forcefully move through a pose with speed. That would be both dangerous and ineffective. Yes, we do use “Strength”. You hold chaturanga or warrior 3 with a lot of strength. Arm balances and many inversions involve strength. Mayurasana and Navasana are held with strength. But “Power” is never involved. We aren’t doing any strengthening poses quickly.

If it were my choice, we would never call something Power Yoga. It is a misapplication of its meaning. Call it Strength Yoga. If its Ashtanga, just call it Ashtanga. But Power Yoga makes no sense at all

[meanwhile, I’m substitute teaching Power Yoga tomorrow, so I’ve been thinking about this]

6 thoughts on “The REAL Power Yoga”

  1. Pattabhi Jois wrote an interesting editorial decrying “Power Yoga.” In our body crazed fitness culture, we are quickly losing sight of the core of the teachings with have nothing to do with the body. Here is the link to Jois’ editorial:


    1. Oh I know. I’ve heard this. All of it is circus contortions without the breath. Wiki even calls Ashtanga the branch that led to Power Yoga. It is so far from his intention for the practice.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. However, if you read what I wrote, my focus is on what Power really means. Jois talks a lot about building strength through the vinyasas. He valued strength, even though the practice was the way to the other limbs of yoga. My point is that Power is a mis-used word as it relates to many things.


      1. Thanks Andy. I like what you wrote about strength vs. power. On a deeper level, the practice builds the strength of the citta. I have also subbed “power yoga” classes and from my experience it is hard to break the ”gym mentality” of that group. They are so goal oriented in terms of asana achievement, that they are quite blind to the consciousness that lies directly underneath. As a sub, it is hard word to break that physical barrier to the self. May you be strong!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really good point. I will survey this idea for myself. How can I have my class experience what yoga really is through this medium? I’m glad you mentioned this. @yogbattle


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