Cautions for Practicing Power Yoga

By Larry Payne, Georg Feuerstein, Sherri Baptiste, Doug Swenson, Stephan Bodian, LaReine Chabut, Therese Iknoian

Most people (at any age) aren’t in peak physical condition. Here are a few considerations if you’re thinking of trying Power Yoga. If you’ve reached middle age or beyond and you’re just beginning to think about getting in shape, you have a tougher road ahead than does someone who’s been working out and watching his or her diet forever. But so what?

Lots of people start working out when they’re 60, 70, or 80; it’s always a good idea, no matter what your age. But you have to keep the following realities of aging in mind as you build a safe practice program:

  • Take your time. As you age, your bones become more brittle even as your joints and muscles become less flexible. With that in mind, be careful when you move in and out of poses. Slow your breathing, and move gently into and out of each yoga pose.

  • Use some props. You’re building balance as a Power Yoga student, but initially, your balance may be a bit off. To make sure that you can remain stable and secure during your yoga postures, use props during your Power Yoga workouts.

    Props — things like pads, blocks, mats, straps, pillows, blankets, and other objects — help you build strength and stability faster than if you try to wobble through without them; you’ll also enjoy your Power Yoga workouts more. When you first attempt certain Power Yoga postures, for example, you may have trouble keeping your balance or comfortably assuming or maintaining certain positions. With a pillow here or a block there, what had been a wobbly, unsatisfying perch becomes a comfortable, secure pose.

  • Grab a partner. Practicing Power Yoga with a partner is fun! And having a partner to help you balance in some positions, hand you props, or just lend general moral support can make a big difference in your confidence — and safety. A partner is also great to have around if you’re going to practice challenging balance postures, especially the upside-down postures such as headstands and handstands.

  • Balance your workouts with rest. Your muscles may not recuperate from a brand-new workout as quickly as they did when you were younger. So use a low-level workout routine in the beginning, and if your muscles get sore, back off and rest between workouts. If you get sore and tired every time you do Power Yoga, you’ll soon be discouraged by the whole process. If you feel yourself getting sore, take it easier.

  • Before you launch into becoming a student of Power Yoga, see your doctor for a general checkup. Tell your doctor that you’re thinking of doing some Power Yoga exercise, and ask whether that’s okay, given your present condition. Your doctor or health clinic may even be able to recommend some good yoga programs in your area.

    Many yoga studios ask all their students to bring in a doctor’s permission for joining practice sessions. If you take medication of any kind, you should let your yoga instructor know.