Power Yoga


CLASS FEE $16. AVERAGE BURN: 380 calories. COST PER CALORIE: 4¢. (Photograph by JJ Miller)


By Sarah Sturges, Instructor, Back Bay Yoga

Power yoga might be trendy now, but it has old roots. The class is derived from Ashtanga yoga, a rigid style featuring a set series of movements linked to one another, and to breath. Breath is a critical part of any yoga practice, but especially power yoga, which physically can be quite intense. Unlike classic Vinyasa, power yoga follows a dancelike flow, often set to modern music, and isn’t necessarily the same each time. People tend to think of power yoga as the “athletic” form of yoga because most hour-and-a-half classes will include an hour of movement: It is cardio, believe it or not. Rooms are heated to somewhere north of 90 degrees to warm up the muscles for a more-intense experience (heat makes them a little more pliable, making it easier to get into trickier positions). You will sweat. A lot. Bring a towel, or maybe two.

So it’s intense. But it’s also lighthearted, and fun—something people who’ve spent their lives bored at the gym find surprising, and inspiring. Physically, power yoga is all about strength, flexibility, increasing joint mobility, and finding your balance, which is helpful in real-life situations like, say, walking around an icy city. Emphasis on proper breathing helps your body deliver more oxygen to your bloodstream, both when you’re in class and throughout the day. But most often, people find that what they recognize most after starting a power-yoga practice are the mental benefits. When you throw your body into crow pose for the first time, it might look like a cool party trick. But you’ll also feel a real, profound sense of being able to accomplish things off your mat.

The sweating? That’s just a bonus. Sweating removes toxins from your body but also lets you leave class with a feeling of achievement. You’ve just worked so hard that you could not be any more drenched. —As told to Alyssa Giacobbe

Back Bay Yoga, backbayyoga.com, sarahsturgesyoga.com.

Do You…Body Build? 

Yoga improves range of motion and focus, and helps stretch and open up the body—important when doing exercises that
create tight muscles.

Ultimate Accessory: 

Spruce up your pre-workout poses, too.

Plank yoga-mat carrier. $150, plankdesigns.com.

What You’ll Get:

Waist, posture, arms, thighs, concentration.

How You’ll Pay:

Shoulders: Risk of rotator cuff tendinitis and shoulder girdle imbalance from overextension.

Check out more of our winter fitness package, “Stronger, Faster, Dirtier.”