I took my first yoga class in 2001 in New York City. It was after 9/11 and I’d just started my first full-time job out of college. My first class was at a NY Sports Club. Yes, at a gym, with the temperature down to 70 degrees. It was a Vinyasa class.
It sounds cliche, but that class changed my life. I experienced a sense of calmness and energy that I have never felt before. I practiced regularly 4-5 times a week after that, tried different types of yoga and yoga studios.I moved to California two years later, started practicing ashtanga yoga, was introduced to Lululemon, felt my practice getting stronger, but then suffered a shoulder injury during an adjustment in an Ashtanga Mysore-style practice. I got back to ashtanga after a year, but it didn’t feel the same. I wasn’t practicing with the same joy I once had, and then my lower back started hurting. I took a hiatus from yoga after 12 years of practice.
After more than a year without yoga, I decided to give CorePower Yoga a try. This was a big step for me. You see, I was somewhat of a yoga purist, if you can call it that. The idea of a yoga chain offering classes with dumbbells, seemed sacrilegious. But I read that heat is good for injuries and there was one close to where I live. That was in late 2014.
Ever since, I have kept a Black Tag Membership, which gives me unlimited monthly classes to all CorePower locations. I practice at least 4x a week, and have never felt so strong and confident in my practice.
How CorePower Saved My Yoga Practice
My ashtanga practice would sometimes last one hour and thirty minutes and with the time it takes preparing before and after, I would easily spend 2 hours a day. Cutting back my practice to one hour means I practice more often. Knowing that I have the time to practice again the next day means I’m calmer and have more patience with myself. I think this is one of the reasons why I have kept my practice injury-free.
Heat and Humidity
Although there is much more research to be done on the benefits of heat in yoga, I can tell from experience that the heat and humidity makes my body feel more open and it feels good. The beginning of class was always the hardest for me and the temperature at the studios makes the start of a CorePower class less daunting. I believe that this is one of the reasons why my practice is more consistent now.
The teachers are caring, dedicated, and patient. I understand that CorePower Yoga classes follow a pattern, and this can sometimes get repetitive when you practice daily. But the teachers always encourage students to modify, explore, and to listen to their bodies, so there’s room to work on your own practice. Even if you just stay in child’s pose and breathe for the rest of the class, it’s fine.
The non-judgmental attitude of the teachers allows me to really listen to what I need, and don’t feel embarrassed to do what feels right for me. This can mean modifying poses, taking breaks when I need to, and just listening to what I need that day.
I’m lucky to have 5 CorePower studios within a 10 mile radius from my house with classes from morning to night. You just can’t beat that.
Relaxing Studio Vibe
From their reception area to the locker rooms, the studios are thoughtfully designed and provide a relaxing space.
Embrace the yoga that works for you. In this case, a yoga that works for you means a yoga practice that allows you to practice as many days of the week with patience and happiness.
Just show up. There are days when I don’t think I can even do more than just a child’s pose, and I’m always amazed at how just showing up, unrolling my mat, and listening to the teacher gets me going.
There’s no such thing as “real” yoga. Yoga is a feeling and if receiving this gift means practicing at home, at the gym, or at a yoga chain, just do it.
Don’t write things off before you understand them. As yoga globalizes and the business of yoga expands, there will be more types of yoga and more gadgets in the market. Be open to new ideas and reserve judgement after you have tried it.
An ashtanga Mysore-style practice is one where students practice the Ashtanga sequence at their own pace while teachers go around offering adjustments. This is believed to be the foundation of vinyasa yoga, which is the most commonly practiced type of yoga in the US.