My first initiative to better my life was to get back in the groove of daily exercise. After a 4-month exercise rut-turned-hiatus, I wanted a change in environment, routine, and style. Something fun, new, and exciting. I quickly decided on CorePower Yoga (CPY) for a free week.
Since college, I had heard about this nationwide chain, as my senior-year apartment window faced one of its studios. And the celebrity testimonies I had read in magazines only further piqued my interest. After all, who doesn’t want to know the secret to Penny’s enticing figure on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory? “What the heck,” I thought, “I’ll give it a try.” I signed up for a week’s trial online, looked up the next nearby class, and headed straight for that studio.
What to bring: Water bottle, yoga mat, and yourself!
Upon my arrival, a puppy cheerfully greeted and startled me. (I assume this is an in-store puppy, as I continued to see him throughout the week.) Unlike other fitness studios, CPY has clearly made a dynasty out of the brand. Pants. Tanks. Headbands. Gadgets that relieve muscle tension. This location carries more than triple the merchandise I’ve witnessed at other local studios—all distinguished with vibrant colors and patterns, or witty zen-esque phrases. Some clothes even expressed likely partnership with Lululemon and Alo Yoga. This place lives and breathes yoga—or at least presents the correct visual—and I wasn’t even past the front desk!
The instructor gave a quick introduction, before handing me a keychain card and a first-time-free mat and towel. I placed my belongings in a cubby and hurried to my first class, Yoga Sculpt. Kaley Cuoco raved about this class once in an interview, and I wanted to know what the hype was all about.
Yoga Sculpt (YS)
Yoga meets Cardio, meets Strength Training, meets Pop. This class is the cool, hip daredevil of today’s fitness portfolio. It’s efficient. It’s fast-paced. And it triggers survival mode. And you’re flowing with weights! So knowing and constantly checking your alignment is key!
There’s a saying, “Exercise helps clear the mind.” YS proves just that. A set of push-ups here. Now, vinyasa—with weights! Sprinkle a few plie squats there. Now pulse it! Mountain climbers! Weights up again—Bicep-curls. Tricep-lifts. Pulse. Overhead now. Squat challenge! Wait, didn’t we just do that? Seriously, more? It’s all shoulders, thighs, and cardio. A lot happens in that hour! You’re up and down—limbs in and out—as the music volume and room temperature purposefully follow suit. If it isn’t clear yet, this class keeps you moving and focusing on one thing alone: YS.
At the end of class, the instructor fans each student with a well-deserved breeze, providing a glimpse of enlightenment—either Woohoo, I survived! or Hell no, I’m never coming back. Ahh, mindfulness. This fanning ritual seems rather unique on top of an in-class savasana.
Overall, YS did not disappoint. I found myself going back 2 more times in the week. It kept me engaged and challenged, and I thoroughly enjoyed the results. My upper back, inner thighs, and shoulders ached for 3 days. I wished the choreography had incorporated more post-workout stretches though. A Pigeon cue on both sides at the end of class would’ve done wonders to stretch out the hips. Lastly, because of the added element of weights, I recommend either mastering your alignment before trying this class, or simply taking postures slowly to prevent injury. And when all else fails, Child’s Pose is always an option.
- Wide-arm push-ups (3 sets: Regular, Block under left hand, Block under right hand)
- Chataranga push-ups
- Warrior 1 + 2 + Reversed—with weights!
- Mountain climbers (2 sets)
- Chair—with weights!
- Low jacks—with weights!
- High knee-lifts
- Plank + Side toe-taps
- Squats—Lots of squats!
- Bridge pulses
- Lunge jumps
- Frog crunches
The following day, I tried their flagship class, CorePower Yoga, in hopes of loosening some very sore and tight muscles.
CorePower Yoga 2 (C2)
Feeling a rut? If you’re like me, and find your days repetitive, this class resurfaces the little rebel in you who’s been waiting to burst free. A hippie cousin of the family, C2 gets your creative juices flowing and cries Expression! I even found myself artistically reaching my arm overhead and back like a graceful ballerina in Reverse Warrior.
Though heavily teacher-dependent, C2 is fast-paced, free-forming, and stimulating. Chataranga. Vinyasa flow. Twisted lunge. Vinyasa again, but faster! Now add an inversion! This class prescribes the precise dose of variety that keeps you on your toes. And prepare for some good shaking, because it involves a lot of shoulder and wrist work.
As always, yoga has a spiritual side adjacent to the fitness. “Let go of comparison for 1 hour,” said my first C2 instructor. “Practice patience,” asserted the next. “Choose connection,” offered the third. Each class, the heat slowly molds your body into form, as your instructor’s cadence delicately overlays the comforting music. Inhale. Exhale. As you start to mirror your neighbors’ flow, the expended energy and rapid breathing overwhelms you with a swirly sensation filled with pleasure yet release. Forget all that is outside this room, speaks your mind, instead focus on the here and now. And the class ends with a relevant quote.
- Wrist stretch, in which your hands face your knees in table-top position
- Side plank
Forget all that is outside this room, instead focus on the here and now.
In all, this CPY experience has been eye-opening and fulfilling. CPY has a youthful appeal that encourages creativity and variety. And while I’m easily drawn to this vibe, I don’t plan to sign up for a membership right away, since I’m currently tied to another chain. This membership is expensive in my opinion—2.5 times more than that of my current chain—but the creative content makes it worthwhile. Furthermore, this week reinforced the idea that has always applied to me: Just show up. As long as I show up, I know I’ll put in the effort.
Goodbye, 4-month rut! (Hopefully.)