Power Yoga is an introduction to yoga. It's a short book, at about 127 pages, with a mixture of text and pictures. The early chapters set out some of the ideas behind yoga; explaining what it is, the different kinds, and how to do it. Power yoga is a dynamic kind of Hatha Yoga. Most of this is straightforward, although one chapter does set out the energy ideas of the chakra system, which is very different from the approach of western human biology, and some readers will take more kindly to it than others. Even this part is written in plain language, and it is short, so those who are unsympathetic to such approaches can quickly move on. The book soon moves onto more practical suggestions about how to breathe and move to build strength and flexibility. One chapter is devoted to sun salutations and shows the standard sequences Surya Namaskara A and B. Each individual posture is shown with a number of photographs of the author and careful explanations of each. The next chapter on Asanas demonstrates a number of other postures that will especially work the lower back, thighs and hamstrings. The book ends with a chapter showing postures for meditation and relaxation. The photography is good and the postures are easy to understand and copy. It is helpful to have the sun salutation sequences both set out in two double-page spreads, so one can follow them without having to turn a page. It would have been helpful if the book had provided other such sequences. It's hard to see what makes the yoga here power yoga, since what it illustrates is the same as most other yoga books. The postures shown are not especially advanced, and would be entirely appropriate (perhaps in modified forms) for beginners. What makes a yoga session dynamic is how fast one goes through the sequences of postures, how long one holds the postures, and how challenging they are; there's very little in this book that specifically directs the reader how to build such dynamic sequences. So readers looking for more advanced yoga instruction will be disappointed. Yoga novices will find this book helpful.
© 2007 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.