Power Yoga

I want to start a conversation.  What makes Power Yoga powerful? Is it the hot room, the challenging physical postures (asanas) or the fast pace? What is your definition of the power you gain from your asana class? Is Power a great looking body? Does your physical strength or flexibility make one more powerful than another? Do we define power by a well crafted physique? Does Power include gritting your teeth to get into postures or sacrificing the breath to keep up? I want to know if this is truly power or simply building prowess. 

When did we start defining power as exertion? At Vira Bhava Yoga, power means something different.  We may work hard in our asana classes, exploring the possibility of strength and flexibility, but recognize that the true power happens in our life.  Does Power Yoga allow you to face the challenges of being a human in the world with greater ease, more patience, more compassion and understanding? In stepping off of your mat, do you feel more capable of managing your life? Does your practice of Power Yoga leave you feeling more capable of facing the challenges of daily life with greater ease, more patience, more compassion, and understanding. Does Power Yoga inspire you to do good in the world?

The true power of your Yoga practice is not measured by the strength of your physique.  Muscles do not equate to power. The true power of your Yoga practice is measured in your experience off your mat.  See, contrary to the current interpretation of yoga, it is not simply a style of physical exercise laced with sexy spiritualism.  The power in those poses that you find so challenging or releasing is not in the movement through them, it's in the ability to be present in them.  The Sanskrit word for these postures is asana, and regardless of what you've heard, this word doesn't mean pose. It means "to sit with." Yup, to sit with the form of a warrior, to sit with what surfaces when you put your body in these forms.  To sit with your breath when it starts to rebel against your form. To sit with your mind when it starts to spin and shout and beg you to get out. The true power of your Yoga practice lies in the ability to sit with yourself.  To remain steady when everything inside of you says run.

This is true power.  Can you choose to stand in every moment fully?  Whether it be on your mat, or at the stop light, can you sit with the feelings that arise?  Can you bring your breath to your frustration, your disappointment, your loneliness? Can you sit with yourself when you just want to scream and hide? This is the experience of true power.  To see that the flow that we seek is not a choreographed dance from pose to pose, from pretending to pretending, but instead a steadiness and presence within each experience.  The flow is not the vinayasa, but the gift of our presence, breath to breath. The flow is not the race from one pose to the next, but the ability to let go of the need to control the outcome, the need to orchestrate the experience. Power Yoga is a practice that allows you to live from a place full of trust.

When a powerful person walks into the room, you can feel it.  It's an essence that emanates from the core of their being.  They hold a big space, they offer their full attention, they love with their heart fully open, they stand tall in their beliefs without making yours unimportant.  It makes no difference how cut their triceps are or how sculpted their abdomen.  They exude a possibility of peace and steadiness regardless of the environment.  This is power yoga.  The practice that allows us all to access this level of presence and receptivity.  That frees us from our identification with form and helps us to expand our view of what is possible.

Yes, it is important to have a healthy body.  So your asana class is perfect for that.  But there are ways you can practice the physical postures to increase true power and presence in your life.  There are ways you can learn to teach and share this possibility with others. Are you ready to make your Power Yoga more powerful?  Are you ready for your yoga to support the fullness of your life?

If so, come explore with me.