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What is CorePower Yoga?

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Updated December 17, 2012

CorePower Yoga is popping up all over. Founded in Denver, Colorado, in 2002, CPY now has studios in ten states and is growing quickly. So quickly, in fact, that they recently opened two studios in my city within the span of a month. I knew I wanted to check out these new studios in person, but my interest was tinged with trepidation. Although I love to try new yoga trends, I feel lukewarm (at best) about core work. I know it's good for me to improve core strength, but I much prefer to work on this through doing a variety of yoga postures rather than suffering through another round of crunches. Strike two came courtesy of hot hot heat. I have tried hot yoga enough times to know that I'm just not that into it. I love the feeling of building heat from the inside out. Having heat blasted at me from the outside just isn't my idea of a good time. And potential strike three was the unmistakeable flavor of corporate branding that permeates CorePower Yoga's website and other promotional materials. I try to be open minded, but I am an indie girl at heart. I prefer my yoga local, intimate, and even a little low-fi, with an everybody-knows-your-name vibe. But despite the prospect of a strike-out, CPY does have something very good going for it: the first week is free. It was time to step up to the plate and I promise this is the very last baseball metaphor.

Class Reviews

As it turns out, level 1 CPY classes are not heated. Though intended as an introduction, the class I took was plenty challenging, even at room temperature. Level 1 classes follow a set series, which includes standing poses, balancing, and plenty of vinyasas. Although core work was included, it played no larger role than in most flow classes I take these days. My teacher was friendly, knowledgeable, and generous with adjustments. She also offered students the chance to opt out of adjustments, so you're covered whichever your preference.

In level 2 classes, the room is heated and the teacher has more discretion in sequencing the poses. Expect to move right into a vigorous flow in which sun salutations lead to standing poses, arm balances, and inversions, before coming down to the mat for the inevitable core work. Again, I was surprised to discover that the core exercises were fairly typical of what I find in most vinyasa classes. Level 2 included more standing balances, which also work the core. Though the heat was hot, it was not unbearable. The teachers I encountered were comfortable using the Sanskrit names for poses and ending with a namaste, but other than that the classes were very much grounded in the physical practice, which is typical of power yoga.

The Core in Corporate

I was pleased to discover neither my fear of the core nor my antipathy towards the heat hindered my enjoyment of the classes I took at CorePower Yoga, which is a testament to the quality of the teachers I had. But my distaste for corporate yoga is less easily dispensed with. The corporate is strong here, which is not surprising given founder and CEO Trevor Tice's background as as the owner of a multi-million dollar IT company. The studio architecture even resembles an office, with long carpeted hallways leading to the mirrored practice studios and dressing rooms, which would not be out of place in an upscale gym. Showers are provided, as well as lockers and free tampons. A crowd of young women clad in the latest workout garb chatted in the locker room after class about how much these enjoyed these amenities, but I couldn't help be put off by the signs referring to the yamas and niyamas to encourage asteya (not stealing) and saucha (cleanliness).

Power yoga has long had its place, serving people who want an asana-based workout, and CPY is very much in that tradition, even offering yoga classes that incorporate free weights. In the past, I've written about the pros and cons of doing yoga at a dedicated studio or at the gym. Enterprises like CorePower Yoga are doing away with that distinction by creating a gym for yoga. There are upsides to a corporate yoga situation: consistency, a packed schedule, and an increasingly national presence. Offering a free week to new students is a stroke of marketing genius; take advantage of it when CPY arrives soon at a location near you.

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