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Power Yoga - strength plus cardio

by Heather

One of the most difficult workouts I have ever done is power yoga at my local YMCA.

I am in decent shape; I work out 5 to 6 days a week with both cardio and light weight training. I am also in good health, in my mid-30’s.

I had been practicing yoga for about a year – both going to classes for beginners and intermediates and doing DVDs at home (including some that called themselves “power yoga”) before going to my first class.

It was really unlike any other yoga, pilates, or exercise routine I’ve done. The class was an hour and a half, with a little bit of stretching at the beginning and a nice rest/meditation at the end.

The class was also full, which made the class hot – however, this is not Bikram yoga, which is sometimes described as “hot yoga”.

We started with some simple poses that are repeated over and over to get the heart rate up. Once the heart rate is up, we go into deeper poses.

The deeper poses are when you’re really working. Your muscles are warmed up and ready to stretch.

Starting off with warrior poses helps build your balance and leg muscles. Moving on to twists and balance poses you’re not just working your muscles, but your concentration as well.

While you’re in a room with 15 other sweaty people, and sweat is running down your neck and back, staying in what feels like a pretzel until the instructor tells you to stop can be hard!

But it’s the concentration that helps when we’re off the mat – and out of the gym.

The class ended as all yoga classes do, with a nice savasana – corpse pose – relax and meditation.

It’s like a gift to lie still after working your body and mind so hard. And yes, I was sore afterward!

If people think that yoga is not for both strength training and cardio, they’re wrong. Power yoga is a great combination of the two, along with employing yoga’s benefits of mindfulness and concentration.

If someone is thinking about power yoga I would suggest that she be in decent physical shape to begin with, and at least have a bit of knowledge about basic yoga poses.

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