When I talk about wellness, it’s hard for me not to talk about yoga. But I started to remember how I used to be so resistant to yoga, partly because I thought there was only one kind of yoga, and I was uninterested in sitting cross-legged and “just breathing.” The stereotypes that you see on commercials and in movies do not do justice to the invigorating, heart-pumping, transforming variety of yoga practices that exist. With that in mind, I want some of my WW posts to spotlight different styles of yoga, so that maybe you’ll discover one that sounds intriguing enough to try. (I hope so!).
But I’m no expert on all the different practices. Fortunately, I have a lot of yogi friends in my life that are equally (if not more) enthusiastic about the wonderfulness of this practice. This week, I’m pleased to introduce you to my friend, Lachrista, a fierce & amazing feminist from Chicago. Lachrista is a certified yoga instructor, and below she’ll tell you about her love of Power Vinyasa Flow:
I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for the past six years. Prior to my yoga experience, I was a classically trained ballet and jazz dancer for twelve years. I quit when I went to college, thus began my yoga search. I tried various styles, but kept coming back to one in particular: Power Vinyasa Flow (PVF).
PVF is a heated style of yoga linking breath to movement. Unlike Bikram, PVF is only slightly heated, and concentrates on “flowing” through the postures, instead of holding each posture for a long period of time. Breath is a major component of this style. As we go from pose to pose, we utilize our inhales and exhales to get us to our destination. The specific breath that is used in most PVF classes is called, Ujjayi Pranayama, or “Breath of Fire/Victory.” This breath is cultivated at the beginning of class by breathing in through the nose and breathing out through the nose, creating a slight constriction at the back of the throat. This breath is audible and has an oceanic sound. Ujjayi Pranayama instills heat, and increases oxygenation in the body.
The fun part of PVF is that each class is different. There are no set poses, like in some of the other yoga styles. Classes usually begin in Child’s Pose or Seated Meditation Pose, and most always incorporate some form of Sun Salutation.
What I love about this style of yoga is the consistent movement. I’ve taken yoga classes before that were based primarily on stretching, and I never quite got into it. I have always been extremely flexible, so stretching never did too much for me. I like that PVF concentrates on both the breath and the movement. At the end of each class, I feel like I’ve done a really great work out, but I also feel meditative and relaxed (something I definitely don’t get from using the elliptical at my gym).
Because of my love for PVF yoga, I decided to do an eight-week intensive 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification program in the fall of 2010. I’ve since been teaching at various studios and holding private lessons around the Chicago area. If you’re interested in trying PVF yoga, try any of the studios below! Also, if you’re worried about cost, the studios listed offer some really great deals, and some of the studios have a work-for-trade arrangement where you can clean the studio a couple hours a week
–CorePower Yoga (they offer a free week of unlimited yoga and have studios in: California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, and Oregon!)