Sarah Powers

Sarah Powers

Sarah Powers (born c. 1963[1]) is a yoga teacher. She co-founded the Insight Yoga Institute and created Insight Yoga, a combination of yoga, transpersonal psychology and Buddhist and Taoist philosophy, described in her 2008 book of the same name. She was closely involved with the creation of Yin Yoga.[2]


Early life

Sarah Powers began yoga in 1986 at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, as a component of her degree there.[3]

Her career was driven by a life-changing accident in a yoga class led by "a senior yoga teacher".[4] The teacher instructed the class to begin with Sirsasana, yoga headstand without warm-up preliminaries. From there the woman suggested the class drop straight into a headstand backbend (Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana, an advanced pose, rated 24 by B. K. S. Iyengar[5]). Powers, "with the lethal combination of a bendy back mixed with unbridled enthusiasm to try new things",[4] complied. The teacher asked them to do it again, and as Powers lifted her legs from the backbend, her lower back gave an audible crack and a searing pain from a vertebral subluxation in the lumbar region. Recovery was lengthy, involving "chiropractors and acupuncturists".[4] She lost the ability to perform such advanced backbends, but learnt therapeutic yoga under T. K. V. Desikachar and Gary Kraftsow. The injured back led her to try the gentler Yin Yoga under the instruction of Paul Grilley.[4][6]


Powers began teaching yoga in 1987.[7] In 2008 she created Insight Yoga, a combination of modern yoga, transpersonal psychology and Buddhist and Taoist philosophy including Chinese meridian theory,[8][9] co-founding the Insight Yoga Institute[10] with Ty Powers. Insight Yoga's style is a blend of the soft,[6] slow and gentle Yin Yoga, a name that she devised,[2] with a more typical "hatha yoga" practice, that she calls Yang (harder[6]) by contrast, influenced by schools such as Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.[11] She has given workshops at the Esalen Institute and other centres around the world.[12][13][14] She was identified by Yoga Journal as one of the people who had "each, independently, discovered the benefits of merging mindfulness with asana", leading to "something we might call 'mindful yoga'."[15]

Personal life

She is married with Ty Powers, who she met when aged 18.[3] They have a daughter and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.[16]

Insight Yoga

Insight Yoga, introduced by Powers's 2008 book of that name, balances Yin Yoga with conventional 'Yang' yoga, and integrates both with Chinese Medicine, in particular its meridian lines, and with the Vipassana meditation style of Buddhism, emphasising mindfulness. Powers describes the integration with Chinese Medicine as making her yoga practice more skilful, "like learning to be my own personal acupuncturist—only without the needles".[17]



  1. ^ Jacqueline, Rachel (7 May 2013). "Fit & Fab: Sarah Powers". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Clark, Bernie (2012). The Complete Guide to Yin yoga. Ashland, Oregon: White Cloud Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-935952-50-3.
  3. ^ a b Gates 2006, p. 114.
  4. ^ a b c d Powers 2008, p. 8.
  5. ^ Iyengar, B. K. S. (1991) [1966]. Light on yoga: yoga dīpikā. Thorsons. pp. 373–377. ISBN 9780805203530.
  6. ^ a b c Eliot, Travis (2018). A Journey Into Yin Yoga. Human Kinetics. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-1-4925-7537-5.
  7. ^ "Lead Teachers and Co-Directors". Insight Yoga Institute. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  8. ^ Sexton, Michael (5 April 2017). "Sarah Power's Yoga Philosophy + The Creation of Insight Yoga". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  9. ^ Maria, Lisa (Feb 2009). "Insider's Guide—A veteran teacher explores the depths of yoga and self-inquiry, creating a manual for inner peace". Yoga Journal: 111–112.
  10. ^ "Insight Yoga Institute". Sarah Powers. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  11. ^ Powers, Sarah; Powers, Ty. "About Us". Sarah Powers. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Sarah Powers". Esalen. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Sarah Powers". Yoga Moves. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Insight Yoga Training with Sarah Powers". 8 Limbs Yoga. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  15. ^ Isaacs, Nora (21 October 2008). "Bring More Mindfulness Onto the Mat". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  16. ^ Maria, Lisa (July 2004). "Teacher Profile | Sarah Powers" (PDF). Yogi Times. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  17. ^ Powers 2008, pp. 9–11.


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