What is Power Yoga?

What is Power Yoga?

Power Yoga is one of many yoga styles you’ll find on class schedules in Dayton, Ohio and all over the United States. Physically, power yoga is a heated form of vinyasa yoga (some might call it hot yoga) that builds strength, stamina, and promotes cardiovascular health. If you were to judge a book by its cover, you might consider it a workout. And while it does improve your overall health, Power Yoga goes far beyond the physical yoga asana.

When was power yoga developed?

By the 1990s, yoga had become more popular in the United States and various hybrid styles were emerging. Power Yoga as we know it today was hybridized from traditional yoga by two Ashtanga yoga practitioners, Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest, and concurrently adapted by others including body-builder and vinyasa instructor Baron Baptiste. Although aspects of their teaching varied, the styles had many similarities, such as heat, a focus on the mind, and a rigorous vinyasa practice that could be adapted to all bodies regardless of age, size, or malady.

At Ignite Yoga, our Power yoga classes are primarily inspired by the Baptiste Methodology. Baptiste Power Yoga was founded by Walt and Magdalena Baptiste then further developed and created by their son, Baron Baptiste. The Baptiste family were among the first to introduce yoga to the western United States and the lineage runs deep. Parents, Walt and Magdalena, studied and befriended master yoga teachers such as B.K.S Iyengar, Krishnamacharya, T.K.V. Desikachar, and more. As a result, from a young age Baron began to study and practice yoga, eventually becoming a long-term student of these master teachers.

Baptiste Power Yoga is founded on classical yoga principles, including the eight limbs of yoga, with techniques  developed to be more approachable to the western mind and body. Read on to know more about the Practices and Techniques of Baptiste Yoga (physical, meditation and inquiry) and what it’s like to practice Power yoga:

Physicalness (Asana)

In all forms of yoga, asana is the practice of physical postures or movements of the body. In power yoga, the yoga asana is intended to challenge the physical body to gain access to vitality, power, and freedom. All of the postures and movements in power yoga are natural skeletal movements that are efficient and effective, including bending, twisting, reaching, and hugging. The physical practice of power yoga asana emphasizes strength, stabilization, and integration of the whole body so that every practitioner can discover their own divine alignment structurally and metaphorically. It empowers you to move sensibly and purposefully; no contorting required. Through physical movement and sweat, you begin to move and remove stagnation and tension in the body, which offers an opening, or receptivity, to new possibilities.   

Meditation (Dhyana)

Many believe that meditation is a practice attained by only the most “zen” of individuals—as if it’s a talent born only to a special few. Fortunately, this is untrue. The good news is meditation is a practice that can be done by all who are well intended. It begins simply with a willingness to concentrate on just one thing. By focusing on one thing—beit breath, the sounds around you, your physical body—your senses that are attached to the material world begin to dull allowing for an alternative new view of the world.

Through the practice of meditation, you begin to shift from a human doing and to a human being. You awaken and begin to feel more at ease in the world.


Inquiry (Niyama)

Regular practice of yoga asana and meditation will have a profound impact on your life. However, to access your fullest potential, you must involve yourself with the rigorous self-examining work known as inquiry.

In the traditional teachings of yoga, it is understood that much of our lives are considered an illusion. We fall prey to our inner world of emotions and thoughts and begin to believe that what we think and feel is universal truth. For the practitioners committed to personal power and potential, through inquiry they begin to observe their thoughts and feelings and ask questions such as, is this true??  Through the process of inquiry, you begin to peel away the stories that no longer apply or what didn’t belong in the first place and instead discover what is true and in turn, who you really are.


What is the physical practice like?

The physical practice of power yoga, specifically Baptiste Power Yoga, is based on a skeleton sequence of body postures called Journey into Power. It’s typically taught in a hot yoga room of 90°F and moves through eleven mini-sequences  developed to lead to the discovery of your own personal power (hence the name Journey into Power). Similar to many other yoga modalities, the Journey into Power sequence begins with an integrating series designed to shift your energy from where you were (i.e. work, home) to the now, where you are on your yoga mat. It then moves through:

  • Sun Salutations A and B to wake up your body
  • twisting series to increase flow and vitality
  • balance poses to create equanimity between the right and left sides of your body
  • standing series to anchor your feet and legs to connect to the earth
  • backbends to ignite energy and freedom
  • core work to stabilize your center
  • and finally hip openers and inversions that release tension in the body, mind, and generate new perspectives

While the series/sequence has a structure to it, it’s malleable so that every student can amplify or modify their physical practice into the version that’s unique to them and right for them on any given day.

By practicing power yoga consistently, over time you begin to feel a shift physically, mentally, and spiritually. As with anything worth doing, it’s certainly not easy. To experience the transformation you desire and deserve, it takes a kind of work and commitment that not everyone is willing to do. There will be days when you don’t want to show up to your yoga mat. There will be days when your body feels like a ton of bricks and  poses feel out of reach. It’s on these days, when you do the practice anyways, you begin to experience the magic of power yoga as you move forward through the obstacles that once stopped you. You’ll feel the energy of those obstacles melt away and a sense of confidence arise when you commit to yourself in this new and powerful way.


What is the meditation practice like?

There are many styles of meditation including mantra to visual to mindfulness meditation. The meditation taught in the Baptiste Power Methodology is a type of mindfulness meditation that focuses on anchoring into the present moment. You take the meditation with an upright posture on blocks, a chair, or propped up against a wall and rest your hands in your lap or on your legs. You then begin to scan your physical body and use a process of mindfulness to awaken your mind and dissolve thoughts and feelings that don’t exist within the present moment (hint: that’s usually everything). All you have to do is keep focusing on the physical body and breath. As a result, you are likely to feel lighter, freer, and often experience a shift in the way you see things.

What is the inquiry practice like?

Unlike meditation and yoga asana, there are no visible signs of one practicing inquiry. You aren’t taking a specific shape, or making a mudra with your hands—you do the inquiry work solely with your mind, heart, and gut. The true essence of Yoga is to understand our mind and control our thoughts and feelings. However, if it were an easy thing to do, we’d all be “regulars” and would exist as peaceful beings, full of love, walking around completely content with life. However, this is not the reality as we see it. We suffer from our thoughts, we fight inner battles, and we sometimes despise the skin we live in.

The irony is that we actually are peaceful beings, full of love, with the desire to be content with life. This is who we were born to be at least. But over the years, as we strive for attainment, we lose sight of our peace, love, and contentment and our authenticity can no longer shine through. So our inquiry comes down to the process of unlearning. It involves asking yourself questions and discovering answers, reading spiritual texts to better understand universal truths, studying with individuals that are further along on the spiritual journey, journaling, having deep thought-provoking conversations, experiencing humility, being humble, creating space for you to just be, and surrounding yourself with right energy.

Inquiry work strengthens the inner being while softening the outer shell. You’ll find through your inquiry work that slowly and gradually you’ll rediscover your true authentic self and life, once again, feels full of joy.

Who can practice power yoga?

I’ve been practicing and teaching power yoga for well over a decade and have personally witnessed thousands of students participate in the practice. I’ve seen students of different ages, sizes, races, and wellness practice power yoga. I’ve seen entrepreneurs, CEOs, moms, dads, doctors, athletes, non-athletes, injured, non-injured, beer drinkers, construction workers, grandmas, teenagers, school teachers, homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, anxious, depressed, happy, and so many more experience the transformative effects of power yoga. Anyone can practice power yoga as long as you have one desire, and that is to grow. If you want to grow, expand your mind, tone your body, and invigorate your spirit, then power yoga will be for you and you’ll want to schedule a class immediately!


Every year we run a program called 40 Days to Personal Revolution. We offer this program via Ignite Yoga Virtual Studio and anyone can participate from anywhere in the world. At the end of one of these programs, I had a student call me to provide a personal testimony. She participated in the program with two other friends, all three in their mid-sixties to seventies. When they signed up, they all agreed to participate in the program as designed, which includes practicing power yoga six days a week for 40 days, building up to a 90-minute yoga practice. They all completed the program and reported they felt amazing! She stated, “if we can do it, anyone can do it.”       

How to start practicing power yoga.

The easiest and fastest way to begin practicing power yoga is at your local yoga studio. Ignite Yoga offers power yoga almost every day of the week. By starting your practice at Ignite Yoga, you’ll learn from qualified instructors and be surrounded by other powerful individuals. If you’re ready to begin practicing power yoga, start with our New Student Special of 30 days unlimited for $40. Click here to schedule!

If a studio setting doesn’t suit you, you can practice power yoga virtually. Ignite Yoga live streams all Power classes right to your computer or mobile device. In our Ignite Yoga Virtual Studio, you can also access on-demand Power classes so you can practice at your convenience and for shorter duration of time (only have 20-minutes? No problem!). We offer a 14-day free trial of our Ignite Yoga Virtual memberships so you can give it a test drive with no commitment.

Lastly, you can begin your power yoga practice from home using YouTube, DVDs, or books. The entire Journey into Power sequence is laid out for you in Baron Baptiste’s book Journey into Power. This is a great resource to understand the sequence as designed and also gain a visual of the yoga postures. If you’re using YouTube, you can check out Ignite Yoga’s YouTube channel where you’ll find short practices for free. If you’re searching on YouTube outside of Ignite Yoga’s channel, type in the words “power yoga” or “Baptiste Power Yoga” and you’ll discover a whole world of possibilities.

Regardless of how you practice, aim to create consistency for yourself. Practice multiple times a week for shorter periods of time will provide more benefit than one 60-minute class a week. We recommend beginning with 1-2 in-studio Power classes and supplementing your remaining practice with our other class styles and/or shorter practices at home. 

If you have any questions before getting started, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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