Earlier this fall, I decided to embark on a month-long journey of sobriety, which, over two months later, I’m still on. Along with the obvious benefits that come with giving up alcohol (better skin and better sleep, just to name a couple), came a lot of anxiety and a lot of free time. As I searched for healthier alternatives for dealing with stress and spending my alcohol-free evenings and weekends, I decided that my best bet was to find some sort of physical activity to fully throw myself into.
So when I heard that CorePower Yoga was opening a brand-new studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—not too far from where I live—I thought it would be the perfect place to start.
A little backstory here: I am not a yoga person. In fact, yoga people intimidate the hell out of me. But, secretly, I’ve always wanted to be one of them.
I’m also not one to jump at the opportunity to attend a workout class, as I’m pretty self-conscious when it comes to any sort of group workout—especially when it involves coordination (if you Google the definition of “uncoordinated,” I’m pretty sure my photo will appear). I’m not exactly in tip-top shape, either. I pay for a gym membership, yeah, but I probably utilize it a handful of times a month, if that. I like to go for runs from time to time in the evenings... but only when it’s not too cold, or too hot, or too damp, or... you get the picture.
Clearly, I was in need of something new, to not only whip me back into shape but also to help me deal with the intense emotions I was feeling after giving up my usual emotional outlet (alcohol). CorePower Yoga was (hopefully) going to be just that.
What is CorePower Yoga, and how is it different than your typical yoga studio? Well, while it’s likely just as Zen, CorePower is much more workout-focused than your average yoga class. As the website explains, they “hold onto the magic of yoga,” but turn it up a notch. Intense ab workouts are a crucial part of each class, as are squats and, in some case, free weights.
The first class I was to take was CorePower Yoga 1, or C1, a beginner-friendly session involving basic yoga poses and the fundamental principles of Vinyasa yoga with a few core exercises sprinkled in.
I first walked into the new Williamsburg studio a bit fearful, but as soon as I met the instructor that would be teaching my first-ever yoga class, I was immediately put at ease. Not only did she calm my nerves, but because I happened to come at the perfect time (apparently 1pm on a Saturday is not a popular time for yogi novices), the class was small and intimate, thus she was able to give me a bit more attention than normal and help me nail my first attempts at poses (thanks, Madison!), which helped me feel more prepared for my next class. I walked out of the studio blissed-out, carrying my yoga mat with confidence and feeling like a boss.
After taking a handful of C1 classes (and attempting to perfect my chaturanga), I felt ready—well, as ready as I’d ever be—to move onto CorePower 2 (or C2), which Madison describes as “C1 on crack.” Gulp.
She had that right. The class moves a lot faster, and each session doesn’t follow a specific format like C1 does—the instructor has free range to do whatever they want. They also turn up the heat, quite literally. C2 isn’t hot yoga, but hot-ish yoga; the room is heated up to 95 to 98 degrees, as opposed to the 105 degrees that you would experience in a typical Bikram class. I promise you, you’ll still leave absolutely drenched.
After taking a couple of C1 and C2 classes, I felt confident enough to push myself to move on to a more advanced level. That’s when I walked into my first Yoga Sculpt class, “where muscle meets yoga.” Yoga Sculpt involves everything from yoga to cardio, squats, and free weights. If that sounds scary to you, that's because it is. I kinda-sorta thought I was going to die at one point. But, I assure you, it’s also really fun.
After taking a month to explore all that CorePower has to offer, I can say I’ve tapped into a newfound love for yoga, and exercise in general. The different levels of courses offered make it easy for any beginner to get into the practice, in a comfortable, non-intimidating setting.
Am I completing my first month an expert? Far from it. Will I ever successfully nail the crow pose? Eh, probably not. But, as I was told in my very first class, there’s no such thing as being “good” at yoga. It’s all about your own practice and building on your own personal journey. And continue building on it, I will.