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Strength Shankar in Omkar asana

Strength Shankar in Omkar asana  

HEALTH Shankar Kumar ‘Karm' talks of the difference between yoga and power yoga

Y oga is the new mantra to remain fit. And for those who want to go beyond just yoga, power yoga is the new destination. So, what is the difference between yoga and power yoga? What are its benefits? Who can do it? Are there particular physical requirements?

Shankar Kumar ‘Karm', a power yoga teacher, who runs classes in West Delhi, says, “The main difference between yoga and power yoga ( hatha yoga in Hindi) is that yoga can be started at any age but power yoga can only be done by those who have already been doing regular yoga, as it requires a very strong body with a high level of stamina.”

Twenty-four-year-old Shankar, who trained under Guru Haridev Prasad Thakur from Bihar from the age of five, notes three main requirements to do power yoga: balance, flexibility and strength. He says, “Power yoga is generally meant to solve several chronic ailments like diabetes, cervical problems, joint pains, vision and stomach (gas, constipation, etc.) related problems. Even while doing yoga, we at times have to borrow certain steps from power yoga to treat certain ailments temporarily. Ideally one should start doing yoga from the age of 12, and persons up to the age of 35 can easily learn yoga. Though after 35, if the body is not used to exercise at all, certain basic steps are required to proceed to yoga — which doesn't take more than a month, depending upon the stamina of the body. Power yoga is best done if someone has started doing yoga from the age of five, but as it is not always possible, and people want to learn, it, I develop their strength and stamina.”

Power yoga includes several asanas that require strength of the arms. Shankar has innovated on and modified several existing asanas to incorporate into power yoga. These include ‘Titibha' asana, in which the body is lifted on one arm and made to look like a landing aeroplane, Budh Mayrasan (body is twisted like a peacock on one palm, with both heals touching the head from the back) Gand-viranda (body is held like a bridge on both palms with legs lifted in the air), and so on. “These asanas prove to be miraculous for hip/joint pains, stomach ailments and back flexibility, respectively.”

Shankar, who has been teaching power yoga for over 10 years, suggests completely quitting junk food and smoking to be able to do power yoga. “Elderly people suffering from heart disease, blood pressure problems and diabetes, etc., are not advised to do it, but to treat them, I teach them several doable postures in yoga in which I slightly borrow from power yoga,” he concludes.

RANA SIDDIQUI ZAMAN

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