Every year I always set goals for myself when January 1st rolls around. Be more selfless, attempt to eat more varied yet still balanced, write in a journal, blog daily, so on and so forth. This year I find myself actually sticking to some of these goals I’ve set and practicing yoga more actively is one goal I’ve been stuck with for a while.
Since I have struggled with excessive cardio in the past, I always thought doing the same exercise was the most beneficial. Until I reached college did I realize that you can still get an effective workout in by switching up your routine and running is not the end all be all of workouts. Whenever I thought of trying yoga, I knew I would have to do an extra workout or else I felt like a lazy sack of potatoes doing 10 mountain poses in a row. How could that possibly do anything for me?
Last spring was when I finally tried out CorePower Yoga for a free week of classes. I remember the first class I took was a Hot Power Fusion. This class is heated to about 100ºF and the room is set to 40% humidity. Two of my friends came with me and as soon as I did my first chair pose, I thought I was going to pass out from the heat. Now a year later, I don’t think twice about it. Sometimes I will glance at the thermometer in my classes, see it set towards 100º and I’m in shock because I feel as though it’s in the 70s or 80s. That’s how comfortable and accustomed to it.
There are so many reasons why I love CorePower Yoga classes and one of the reasons is they offer 3 different classes for my liking: Hot Power Fusion, CorePower Yoga 2 (CP2) and Yoga Sculpt.
CP2 is set to a temperature between 95-98ºF with the humidity between 30-35% but the poses are more rigorous and fast-paced. Yoga Sculpt classes offer a lower temperature (92-95º) but it focuses all on strength-training with the use of light weights and numerous push-ups, squats and bicep curls (to name a few exercises). Each class will leave you walking out of the yoga room dripping in sweat but will leave you feeling extremely rewarded. Whenever I’m walking into a CP2 class as a sculpt one is getting out, every woman and man walking out of the studio looks as if they were just hosed down with a firetruck hose.
If that’s not an intimidating factor of a workout class, not sure what is.
Despite the sweat and my hair frizzing, every time I get out of a CorePower class, no matter which one I choose, I’m always grateful for the time I get to spend on my mat. Many times my instructors will guide myself and the other students in a meditation or direct us to dedicate our practice to something in particular. The other day for instance, we were supposed to dedicate our practice to someone special or a special moment we’ve experienced. My practice that day was focused on my mom. All thanks to my mom, I’m able to live in Chicago and I get the chance to experience CorePower and all of the other activities this city has to offer. She’s done more for myself (and others, for that matter) that I can’t even comprehend into words how grateful I am for. I thought it was fitting.
Turns out that class was the first one where I finally nailed crow pose and held it for a good 10 seconds. Today I took my first Core Power 1 (a class for beginning CP students) and I held crow for even longer. Even if it seems like such a simple inversion to some, every time I hold down my mat under my hands, I feel on top of the world. I may not be able to do a headstand yet or get into down dog with a perfectly straight back but I have conquered the crow! Baby steps!
I will admit I am an avid barre lover and I try to do as many ClassPass classes I can but lately CorePower has much more flexible with my work schedule and there are more studios with accessible class times for yoga than there are for ClassPass. Sad but true.
I’m now doing more sculpt than ever before and I love the feeling it gives me. A year ago, I was focused on cardio and nothing more. After doing a month of yoga, I fell in love with it but devoted the rest of my summer spending money on a gym membership, thinking I could never could spend summer doing yoga as my primary activity. Now, it’s all I focus on.
I talked to my mom on the phone the other day speaking of how less stressful my life is now that I do at least 3-4 classes a week, hopefully aiming for 6 to 7 sooner than later. With the amount I work per week between two jobs, finding time for friends, cooking and sleep, I am surprised how little stress I have in my life.
Another huge part of my yoga practice is discovering self-love. I’ve dealt with self-confidence issues for quite some time (who doesn’t, let’s be real) but my daily practice has made me realize how to love myself for who I am. I don’t need to strive towards any type of perfection, mentally or physically. Especially during sculpt classes I realize this. I learn to push myself harder than previous classes and to choose my challenge. With that, I try not to go over the top to the point of hurting myself but I also push beyond my limits. I don’t think and I just do. I’ve learned to trust my body and do what feels best.
I’ve learned most importantly through my month or two of CorePower how the simple task of taking an hour a day to practice this magical art can uplift my mood so heavily and bring my day a new sense of light. Any darkness I have in my day is immediately wiped out once I roll my mat down and go through a few down dogs.
I’d rather do 10 chatarungas and 100 down dogs at this point, thrown in with a few squats and bicep curls with 5 pounds weights than running a mile on a treadmill.
CorePower really did change my life for the better and I highly recommend it to anyone in a major city, wanting to get into the habit of yoga. They also feature amazing yoga retreats every year, on top of teacher trainings and special programs! If you’re a student (like myself), you can get a discounted price for having a black tag monthly membership.
(P.s. I found this wellness rock at a café a few blocks north from my apartment that I went to last weekend. Paired with succulents, it was calling my name. This is exactly how I want my window sill in my apartment this fall. Always focused on wellness! How cute?)
I’d also like to comment I have practiced for a year on my mat from Lulu Lemon: the mat ($68). It is extremely sturdy and a great mat for practice but I absolutely HATE the weight of it. So darn heavy! Especially when you are hanging it from your back to and from classes traveling on the subway… it is so difficult to work with.
I was longing to buy a new lightweight mat for quite some time and I finally succeeded and opted for buying Manduka’s LiveON 3mm mat ($48) earlier this week. The price is great at $20 cheaper than a Lulu Lemon mat. It comes in a variety of colors (I chose bright blue), is light and airy carrying around your shoulder and is very portable! I’m OBSESSED.
I hope this post inspired you all to get your inner yogi on! Now I’m going to post this and do some crow poses. After I eat this huge bowl of ice cream. Yum.
Happy Wednesday friends!