For the generation that is too fast-paced for traditional yoga but also wants to enjoy its benefits, fusion yoga is turning out to be the fitness mantra.
As the name suggests, fusion yoga or power yoga is a mash-up of controlled yoga postures and a high-intensity cardio workout that strengthens your core, increases flexibility and lowers your resting heart rate.
“One thing I felt conventional yoga was lacking was the development of core strength. The focus of pure yoga is on flexibility, while for me working on stamina and strength was equally important,” says Swati Kain, yoga and pilates instructor at YogEssence Yoga Studio, Gurgaon.
Kain practises the most popular yoga-and-pilates combination, also known as yogalates, to achieve a better workout balance. While this combination works for her, others try to blend yoga poses with other fitness regimens such as strength training, kickboxing or even dance.
Pairing yoga with other disciplines is known to burn more calories than yoga alone, while still giving you the benefits of this ancient practice.
One of the noteworthy benefits of fusion yoga is that it can combine techniques to target major muscle groups.
“Fusion yoga is all about working on the flexibility of your body while keeping in mind core strength. Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony,” says Kain. The form usually begins with a little warm-up, after which people graduate to performing cardio or strength training and then later to traditional yoga forms such as breathing exercises, balance and flexibility training.
Fusion Yoga with HT: Watch and learn with Swati Kain
However, those practising traditional yoga believe the aim of yoga is not just about achieving a healthy body, but a healthy mind and soul too.
“These variations are popular among the younger generation that wants to achieve quick results. These work at the physical level so they become more active at the physical level,” says PC Kapoor, director of south Delhi’s Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre.
“The emphasis is on building muscles and the mind is left uncontrolled. If you ask me why people like this kind of fusion workout, I would say it’s because the mind likes it. We are controlled by our mind, which keeps seeking variety. People want quick response and traditional yoga asks for time and patience.”
Meanwhile, whichever form of yoga one may choose, experts offer a word of caution to help avoid injuries.
Try the HT-Swati Kain Cardio Workout #2
Since yoga is a person-specific form, experts say it is important to remember that a set of asanas that works for one person may not suit another.
“Each body has its own limitations and it can lead to injuries if one tries to compete with another. Neck, lower back and shoulder injuries are commonly seen among people trying to push themselves too hard,” says Kapoor.
The key is to listen to your body and take precautions.
“Yoga is very effective but it is not meant for everybody. If you are starting out with yoga, especially if you are over 35, then you should get a thorough physical examination first, to identify underlying problems that could be made worse,” says Dr Pushpinder Bajaj, a Delhi-based sports medicine expert.
“Also, if people who have been leading a sedentary life for years suddenly decide to begin practising yoga, it can create problems like pulling of nerves etc. Always start with an instructor, and preferably with gradual one-on-one sessions,” Dr Bajaj adds.
Yoga for weight loss? We can help