Power yoga is a general term used in the West to describe a
vigorous, fitness-based approach to vinyasa-style yoga. Most
power yoga is closely modeled on the Ashtanga style of
practice. The term "power yoga" came into common
usage in the mid 1990s, when several yoga teachers were
looking for a way to make Ashtanga yoga more accessible to
western students. Unlike Ashtanga, power yoga does not
follow a set series of poses. Therefore, any power yoga
class can vary widely from the next. What they have in
common is an emphasis on strength and flexibility. The
advent of power yoga heralded yoga's current popularity, as
people began to see yoga as a way to work out. Power yoga
brought yoga into the gyms of America.
Who Invented Power Yoga?
Two American yoga teachers are most often credited with
the near simultaneous invention of power yoga: Beryl Bender
Birch, based in New York, and Bryan Kest, based in Los
Angeles. Not coincidentally, both these teachers had studied
with Ashtanga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Using the term
power yoga differentiated the intense, flowing style of yoga
they were teaching from the gentle stretching and meditation
that many Americans associated with yoga. Another name often
associated with power yoga is Baron Baptiste. Baptiste has
his own method, which is only taught by teachers he
Is Power Yoga for You?
Power yoga classes can vary widely from teacher to
teacher. However, power yoga will most likely appeal to
people who are already quite fit, enjoy exercising, and want
a minimal amount of chanting and meditation with their yoga.