We all could stand to be a little more flexible. Yoga teachers are not unused to seeing students who can barely touch their toes. While increasing flexibility and developing mindfulness are key components of a well-rounded yoga practice, developing strength should not be overlooked. Power yoga has a specific role to fill in making sure that while we can bend like pretzels, we can also stay strong, both physically and mentally through life’s challenges.
Strength for Young People
While power yoga can benefit people of every age-group, there are specific benefits gained from power yoga that address concerns for us as we go from youth to old age. No one can escape these stages of life after all, but if we can meet them with strength and agility, every age is bound to offer a better overall living experience.
Strength in youth gained from an informed and well-rounded power yoga practice will not only make sure that students don’t over-stretch and damage the tendons and smaller muscle fibers surrounding important joints, but strength gained from poses like Virabadrasana (Warrior I, II and III) and Chair Pose, for example, can build stronger muscles that serve an active child or adolescent. Since many children play sports, the strength gained with added flexibility in a power yoga practice will ensure that children perform better in their respective activities and are less likely to be injured.
The special combination of strength and flexibility gives them a competitive advantage in sports as varied as swimming to wrestling to football, basketball and track. The strength gained during our youth, also sets us up for greater strength as we grow older. It is easier to maintain as our metabolisms often slow as we age. When we build muscle while we are younger, it keeps us fit and healthy and forms a strong foundation.
Strength For Ideal Weight and Bone Loss Protection
As we age, having gained muscle and maintained it through a power yoga practice, we have that dual benefit of maintaining agility as we age. Bone density is another thing that often suffers, along with lowered metabolism when people grow older. With consistent power yoga practice, many people not only look 10 to 15 years younger, but feel and move that way too. Standing and balancing postures build bone density using the weight of our own bodies.
94 Yoga Student Proves Strength Can Be Maintained at All Ages
Poses like side plank and chataranga lead to a balance between upper and lower body strength so as we creep into our thirties, forties, fifties and upward, we are less likely to suffer from injuries normally associated we our age group. In fact, one of the oldest practicing yoga practitioners in the US is over 94 and still does peacock pose (balancing her whole body weight on two arms) with no problem at all.
In fact, you will rarely see anyone who practices power yoga for any length of time that doesn’t confound the normal physiological age factors. They don’t suffer from obesity, heart problems, stiff joints, arthritis, and a host of other ailments that yoga seems to magically fix.
Yoga of any type has benefits to practitioners, even slow, gentle yoga, as it calms the nervous system and brain. However, those seeking to reach the peak of their own physical and mental fitness can try power yoga to stay young, fit, flexible, and yes. . .strong!
photo: kukhahn yoga