You may have heard me mention CorePower Yoga in a few of my posts. The studios seem to be popping up everywhere these days, so I wanted to give it a try and provide a review for y’all. CorePower offers the first week of classes for free (nice!), plus I picked up a 10 class online discount coupon. I’ve been to a bunch of classes and am ready to report back!
CorePower is yoga without the… let’s call it “mumbo jumbo.” The clientele has significant overlap with the Soul Cycle set. Expect to see more stylish Kappas than free spirits. I haven’t seen a dreadlock yet. Yes, there is an opportunity to set an “intention,” and yes poses have Sanskrit names and will be recognizable to traditional yogis. But forget the essential oils, humming music, meditation, and incense. This place is about getting a sweaty workout.
Signing Up and Getting Started
This is a little bit of a trick headline. There is no pre-class signup. GASP! But I actually found it really refreshing not to have to plan my whole life way in advance, stressing about where I am on a waitlist, and worrying about being charged a cancellation fee if something comes up. In my experience, getting to class 15 minutes early is plenty of time to check in a find a spot for your mat. (If you plan on changing or using the bathroom before class, maybe come a little earlier — the locker room gets crowded.) There may be peak-time classes that fill up, but I haven’t come across them so far. Even a super popular 7 pm class had room when I got there about 10 minutes early.
Once you’re in the Corepower system, you get a little card to put on your keychain and checking in for class is a breeze.
The studio provides locks for the lockers at no charge. You can rent a mat ($2), towel ($1), and water bottle ($2), but you’re better off bringing your own of all three. (The studio’s mats seemed clean but I had trouble getting a good grip when I didn’t have my full-length towel with me to cover the mat.) Straps and blocks are available for free use during class.
If you need yoga gear, the studios are stocked with clothes and equipment for sale.
There are a few options for passes and memberships once you’ve used your first free week. The top of the line is the “Black Tag” membership, which includes unlimited yoga and some other perks. You can get the first month for $89 but then the price goes up. It is $155/month at my local studio.
If you aren’t ready to plunge into that, a single class is $23, or you can buy packages. For a 20 pack, you can get the price per class down to about $18. Passes and memberships allow you to use any CorePower location, which has been great for me since there is one studio near my office, one closer to home, and a third that a friend goes to regularly.
CorePower is also available through ClassPass, at least in DC.
Below are the four classes that appeared most often on the DC studios’ schedules, and the ones I’ve been able to try out so far. There might be a few other classes offered in your area.
C1: This is marketed as a beginner yoga class, but don’t be fooled into thinking this class is too basic if you’ve done yoga before. I could keep up with the pace but was still challenged. This is a power-flow style class with lots sun salutations, so expect tricep-burning chaturanga dandasanas and breath synchronized with your upward and downward facing dogs. It’s all done in room that is not heated but will probably be warm (85 degrees) from previous classes. The instructor may provide hands-on assistance to those who are OK with it (I am all about the adjustments). I really enjoyed this class and think it would be a great complement to more intense workouts, especially during a taper or recovery. Nothing too fancy and that’s a-OK. In fact, this is probably the class I could see myself attending most regularly.
C2: After going to not-so-easy C1, I was a little nervous that C2 was going to be way too tough. (I have done a fair bit of yoga in the past but haven’t been doing it regularly.) Luckily, C2 was only a little more fast paced than C1. That said, my shoulders were good and sore for two days after. The room was warmer (95-98 degrees and humid), but I didn’t mind it. Not as hot as Hot Power Fusion (see below). I like this one and get the sense it is a CorePower staple.
Sculpt: This is a pretty unique, super intense class that blends a mix of C2 poses plus strength training with light weights (I used 3 and 5 lbs.), abs, and some cardio (jumping jacks, fake rope jumping). The high-energy music was pumping; this definitely did not feel like a normal yoga class! The non-yoga portions reminded me of the arms and abs we do in barre class — such little weights but so much pain. And expect to hold a million planks for forever. Character building! The room is heated to 92-95 degrees and trust me, it gets HOT (and not just the burn of your muscles). I made the mistake of wearing full length tights to my first Sculpt class and I forgot water. Yikes! But after class (and after I got hydrated), I felt really good (aka exhausted but “detoxed,” if that were a thing). I would definitely do this again — in shorts and with a water bottle. (Also, definitely bring a towel!)
Hot Power Fusion: This was a minimally-tweaked traditional hot (Bikram) yoga class. First off, I am not a fan of Bikram yoga. I actually think it is pretty dangerous, not just the heat but the particular poses. Those poses are really tough on your joints and more likely to cause injury than other forms of yoga. The heat just makes it more dangerous by overrelaxing your body’s muscular support systems, while you put your joints into these weird, unnatural positions. HPF included some minor flow-based modifications that made it slightly better than a normal Bikram class, but I’d still caution anyone who tries this class: back way off and treat this class like gentle yoga. Do not overstretch or put excess pressure on your joints. A few times, the instructor was encouraging us to push in a way that I don’t think is appropriate, and during the ab portion, a lot of people had breadloaf abs, which the instructor did not correct. All that said, some of the poses did feel good, especially horse pose and pigeon. Definitely bring a full-length towel and some water for this class. It gets very hot (100-103 degrees, plus humidity).
How CorePower Works With Running
Yoga is a great complement to running. Duh. Corepower can be especially appealing if you are uncomfortable with the slower or more spiritual aspects of yoga, or if you are intimidated about bringing your fit but unflexible body to a yoga class. CorePower — and in particular the C1, C2, and Sculpt classes — can help with strength and flexibility, especially in the core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors. These are key muscles for running. Be careful not to over-do it in class though; I think I’ve actually injured myself more from yoga than from running.
Has anyone else tried out CorePower? Anyone else have thoughts about Bikram yoga? I’d love to hear what you think!