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Rigorous workout Do as much as the body allows
Rigorous workout Do as much as the body allows

Sangeetha Devi Dundootries out Power Yoga and fails miserably with the ‘Chaturanga’

After all that hype about Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra using sessions of Power Yoga to battle the bulge for Dhoom 2 and Don respectively, it comes as a revelation when yoga couple Hirendernath and Sharmila of Yoga Zone dismiss a few myths. “Power Yoga is not an aerobic version of yoga that solely helps you burn calories faster. It’s a milder version of Ashtanga Yoga. And any form of yoga should not be reduced to mere exercise. It’s more about internalising your thoughts and performing the asanas with the flow of your breath.”

That said, Hiren begins the class when the batch is ready and warns me, “So you are going to do Power Yoga today, especially the Chaturangas.” I gulp and try to put on a brave face. I am not a fresher to yoga but the Chaturanga (a full push-up, speaking in terms of the gym freaks. In Ashtanga Yoga, it’s part of the variations of Surya Namaskar) is one tricky thing I could never master.

We begin with the simplest of the asanas, the shavasana, a great stress buster that helps in internalising your thoughts and focusing on deep breathing. It’s time for a few warm-ups after which we do the sun salutations or Surya Namaskars. A thumb rule that our instructor tells us to follow throughout the class — focus on deep breathing rather than perfecting the asanas. “It may not be fashionable to breathe deep till your abdomen allowing it to expand, but do it since it’s good for you,” he instructs.

Now, we are ready for Surya Namaskar A and B. To increase the blood flow to the thigh muscles and the knees, we do a few Utkatasan or the chair posture. With arms raised, you squat till your thighs are parallel to the floor as if seated on an imaginary chair. Seems easy? Try holding it for 10 breaths and you’ll know that every muscle in your leg aches. Surya Namaskars A and B incorporate the push-ups into its sequence. For those like me, the half push-up option comes to the rescue.

The workout is rigorous and we are profusely sweating. The fundamental principle, Hiren reminds us, is to do as much as our body allows us to do. “If you feel dizzy, lie in a child’s pose and relax with deep breathing,” he keeps reminding us. Next is the Vashistasan, an endurance test to see how you shift your body weight on to your arms.

A sequence of standing asanas — trichonasan, parsvakonasan, parva uttanasan and others — follow. Stand with your legs three feet apart on the yoga mat, turning your right foot out (90 degrees) and left foot inwards (30 degrees). With arms stretched out, bend sideways to try and reach the ankle of your right foot. Hold the posture for five breaths before repeating the routine on your left side. The trichonasan prepares you for the asanas that follow.

We then try out hamstring stretches and spinal twists to help the muscles relax. A 10-minute shavasana helps us unwind.

Bottomline: Power Yoga is a milder form of Ashtanga Yoga and not for beginners. An excellent way to make your body flexible and de-stress.

You can reach Yoga Zone at: 99081 19946.

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