Vinyasa power yoga is a form of yoga that typically emphasizes building physical strength and flexibility while de-emphasizing the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga. Vinyasa power yoga is generally perceived as a physical fitness workout, rather than a spiritual practice, like some other forms of yoga. It generally focuses on yoga poses that build large amounts of physical strength and stamina, and classes are often quite strenuous and can have aerobic benefits. This yoga practice doesn't typically rely on a pre-determined series of poses, so classes may vary widely depending on the needs and preferences of instructors and students.
The term power yoga is believed to have come into use in the United States in the 1990s. The professional yoga instructors who coined this term may have sought to make vinyasa yoga more appealing to Westerners. Some believe that the use of the term power yoga has led to yoga's increased popularity among Western fitness enthusiasts, who may have perceived yoga as less than strenuous or as inextricably linked to a devoted spiritual practice. Vinyasa yoga, a form of yoga that links flowing movements, insightfully sequenced poses, and careful attention to breath, is believed to have evolved into vinyasa power yoga as instructors began teaching more aerobic, fitness-oriented classes. Stronger poses that build muscle strength are generally chosen, and pose sequences may move rapidly to increase heart rate.
This type of yoga is said to offer all of the calming and centering benefits of other forms of yoga, while allowing practitioners to significantly increase muscle strength and endurance. Vinyasa power yoga is said to improve stamina and coordination as well. Many people who practice this and other forms of yoga report reduced stress levels, and enhanced feelings of well-being and self-acceptance.
Fitness enthusiasts who enjoy vigorous exercise may be best suited to this type of yoga. Persons with lower levels of fitness and flexibility may also benefit from a vinyasa power yoga practice. Most instructors are willing to modify poses and routines to help beginners develop the strength and flexibility necessary to advance in the practice. Vinyasa power yoga may also be a good choice for those who aren't interested in learning about the spiritual aspects of yoga, since the focus of this school of yoga is on fitness, rather than on yoga's spiritual roots.