By Jenny Park
What should a Power Yoga teacher know? What we know about a particular subject is a measurement of competence. When seeking to become a Yoga teacher, aspirants should consider the rewards of knowing the subject. A little knowledge can be dangerous, while there is never too much knowledge for a teacher to acquire. The practice of Yoga has grown and evolved greatly throughout the years of its existence. One of the latest incarnations is called Power Yoga. Power Yoga teachers should know several things before teaching this method. It is an intense physical exercise method and isn’t for the person looking for enlightenment. Although it is quite close to the practice of Ashtanga, it is not Ashtanga. Several differences set it into its distinct category. With that said, Power Yoga teachers should know the many differences between their style and Ashtanga.
First, Power Yoga teachers usually have diversified lineages from Ashtanga Vinyasa, Vinyasa, and/or Hatha Yoga. You will notice many Hatha sub-styles that have produced Power Yoga instructors since the 1990s, which means this is a contemporary fitness-based style with many approaches. Additionally, Ashtanga Vinyasa classes will run through a predetermined series of movements. For example, the Ashtanga Primary Series does not change.
This is a major difference compared to Power classes that can have unlimited sequences. You will see many variations, asanas, class lesson plans, and movement sequences with teachers with many different lineages. This does not mean one instructor is right while another is wrong, but teachers are allowed to create their sequences, and some classes will flow while others will not. There are Power teachers who guide students through a sequence that holds postures as much as any traditional Hatha Yoga class sequence.
Power Yoga is generally taught to people who are already flexible and athletic. Usually, teachers work with a younger crowd that may contain a mix of gymnasts, dancers, martial artists, and assorted athletes who cross-train and work out at a high fitness level. However, there will always be exceptions, and some teachers accommodate beginners. It is not a physically gentle style compared to other physical forms of Yoga.
Chanting, chakras, mudras, samadhi, relaxation, healing, and meditation are not key aspects of this type of workout. Instead, Power Yoga primarily focuses on enhancing the appearance and strength of the physical body. It provides a cardiovascular workout that helps build muscle strength and enhances flexibility. Power Yoga teachers should be able to instruct students on how to get the most benefit from every pose and be able to show them modifications on poses as well. Modifications could be using props or giving students a more challenging pose variation.
A good Power Yoga teacher should be able to guide the class in a positive yet firm direction on how to get the most out of every workout. Keep in mind that there might be people who have never tried Power Yoga and experienced students. The class should be tailored such that everyone gets the best workout possible. Since there is no set form or sequence to Power Yoga, modifications can be made during the workout without interrupting the flow.
Depending on the teacher and/or facility, there may be beginner, intermediate, advanced, and multi-level (mixed) classes. This is not common, but a facility or teacher focusing primarily on Power Yoga will likely have more levels and specific classes. One example is a class focusing on runners, cyclists, and walkers. These activities are great cardio workouts but don’t help enthusiasts with flexibility and muscular strength. Therefore, Power classes are perfect for active people in health, golf, or community clubs. Sometimes, classes are designed for athletic family bonding time.
Keep in mind that some people may find the term “Power Yoga” slightly intimidating, especially if they are just getting into fitness or Yoga. A Power style teacher should know how to reassure students to feel comfortable as they begin the class. The intensity of the workout varies from person to person, so what may seem difficult to one student may seem easy to another. A good teacher can help answer questions and provide insights on how to keep each person in the class engaged in Power Yoga, so hopefully, they learn and grow through practice.
What is Success?
What should a Power Yoga teacher know? The most successful Power Yoga teachers can teach the widest audience of students. There are a variety of opinions about what makes the best teachers. In my opinion, keeping students safe is job number one. However, many teachers pride themselves on producing top-level athletes or having full classes. There is nothing wrong with any of these objectives, but we should never forget the health and safety of our students. So, among the many aspects of what teachers should know is we must watch our students. This is not our show or practice time. If we observe our students by standing up, looking around, and/or walking around, we can prevent injuries and develop healthy students.
Side Notes for Teachers
When considering: What should a Power Yoga teacher know? Taking a course that guides you in creating your lesson plans would be prudent. This gives you the freedom to enhance your powers of innovation. It would be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the traditional Ashtanga series and see how other Vinyasa styles flow. To copy is one thing, but to create is another level in developing one’s teaching skills. At the very least, you will create new neural pathways within your mind and some of your students. A strong foundational training will prepare us to think for ourselves, which is the next level in teaching. A teacher who taps into creativity will eventually become a master.
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By Jenny Park
Power yoga – it’s a fast-paced, physically intense form of practice that many people use to enhance their fitness levels. What should a Power Yoga teacher know? Classes are typically taught vinyasa style, meaning they quickly flow from one pose to another. Because of this, people with no prior experience in yoga may have difficulty keeping up, especially in more advanced power yoga classes. This is especially true if they are completely unfamiliar with the poses used in the class. However, with a little preparation and practice, even beginners can enjoy an intense power yoga class. As an instructor, you can help even your newest yoga students complete an invigorating beginner’s power yoga session at your studio.
Varying Levels of Difficulty
As with any fitness activity, yoga has different difficulty levels for certain poses and styles. In power yoga, the difficulty level of a class can vary greatly, depending on the overall pace you set, the poses done in the session, and how long the class is. To allow every student to enjoy power yoga, offer various classes of varying difficulty levels and lengths. A beginner’s class should always be an option for your students. For your beginning practitioners, have a class that goes at a slower pace. Use basic poses that yoga novices will be familiar with, such as warrior, downward facing dog, tree, and plank. In these starter power yoga classes, be prepared to correct students with pose adjustments and offer demonstrations of poses that new students may not have seen before.
Power Yoga Introductions
Before a new student signs up for a power yoga class, you can take some time to give them some basic information about the practice. Walk the student through a typical class, so they know what to expect when they arrive for their first session. Go over the attire for the class, appropriate hydration for power yoga, and what supplies they will need to bring, such as a mat, a towel, and a water bottle. Explain why it is important that a new student spends some time in beginner-level classes and recommend that a student completes between 5 to 10 beginner-level power yoga sessions before moving up to more advanced classes at the studio. This ensures that a student has a good basic understanding of the practice before they try more difficult, fast-paced classes.
While beginning students are always welcome to try power yoga, some novices may find the class too fast-paced and challenging. What should a Power Yoga teacher know? Have some recommendations available for these beginner-level students. A slow flow vinyasa class or a hatha yoga class at your studio may be a better option for students that feel overwhelmed by power yoga. If a student feels frustrated after a power yoga session, take the time after class to gently talk to them about alternative classes they may find more enjoyable. Remember, there is a type of yoga for everyone!
Power yoga is sometimes called ‘gym yoga’ for a good reason – it is one of the most physically challenging types of practice. It has a large emphasis on fitness and physical ability. While beginners are always welcome to try out a beginner power yoga class, sometimes novices should take another yoga class to introduce them to the general practice first. Remember, every student is different, so take the time to talk to your new practitioners and recommend a class that seemed suited to their physical level, yoga goals, and prior experience – whether it is a power yoga class or something different, like hatha yoga, restorative yoga, or even hot yoga.
Not For Everyone
When teaching Power Yoga, it is important to know that not every student will be comfortable with this type of yoga. Power Yoga is a more intense form of yoga, and some students may feel uncomfortable with the pace or difficulty level. It is important to be able to adjust the class to accommodate different levels of ability and to be able to provide modifications when necessary. Teachers should be aware of this and screen their students before class. If students have any medical conditions that Power Yoga could aggravate, they should not participate. Students with high blood pressure, heart conditions, or pregnant women should not do Power Yoga.