I’ve never done a Power Yoga class even though one of the most popular expressions of this style is home-grown in Australia. Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and Power Yoga have a well-deserved reputation of being physically demanding. There’s an emphasis on strong breathing, switching on the bandhas, and doing chataranga dandasanas (the yogi’s pushups) to link the flow of poses.
This appoach builds up strength, stamina, and a lot of heat in the body. People who practice this way love the feeling of exhilaration and cleansing it creates.
My thinking about how strength relates to yoga practice has to do with the Yama and Niyama, over and above the physical practice of the asanas. I would hope that what I do on and off the yoga mat takes me towards a clearer expression of my true Self, and the Yama and Niyama are great compasses to keep me pointing towards my goal.
One of the beautiful quotes I’ve heard about strength comes via an old mentor, Stan Dale. He said that real strength (power) comes from vulnerability. Think about it. When you are truly vulnerable you have no artifices, you are transparent, and you have nothing to lose. As a corollary, you are completely free.
Physical strength will help us stay healthy; mental strength will help us stay equanimous and liberated. Not that we have to choose