January 24, 2011

Four Reasons Why I Love CorePower Yoga. ~ René Cousineau

Photo Courtesy of whitneyinchicago

I just might love yoga more than I love cookie dough… depending on what kind of cookie dough.

I’m new to yoga, or at least it feels that way. I’ve been at it for about seven months, three times a week when I’m good about it, which still makes me a complete novice. Sure, I’ve gained what I recognize to be an abundance of flexibility. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. Just a few days ago, I put my jeans on and went right out the door without having to do 20 sit-ups in them first to loosen the waistband. My anxiety used to be so bad that I had to pop Xanax like they were tic tacs but, not anymore. All thanks to a measly three-times-a-week-(when I’m good about it)-regime of yoga.

Yoga is changing my life, without changing who I am. It simply motivates me to be a better version of myself, and gives me the confidence to know that I am capable of doing so. Sappy right? I sound like I’m writing my wedding vows. But, all jokes aside, I’m very comfortable admitting that my relationship with yoga is slowly taking the form of any other intimate relationship that I share with human, animal, hobby or food (I have a religious experience every time I encounter movie theater butter).

This relationship would never have come to fruition had it not been for Corepower Yoga. The awesome thing about being new to yoga in Boulder is that you can get your first week or two greatly discounted at many studios, and some even let you get your feet wet for free! Corepower falls under the latter category and, after taking my newbie turn at a few other local studios, I decided to cash in my free week. Since then, it has become “my” studio and my experience there has never been anything other than absolutely awesome.

It has come to my attention recently however, that Corepower has gained a bad rap with some as being the “Starbucks” or the “McDonald’s of yoga.” Many people seem to be concerned with the “corporate” or “commercialized” aspect of the Corepower model, as there are many locations in several cities across five different states. A few friends of mine have even gone so far as to say that it isn’t even yoga at all. This accusation in particular is popular on the review sites I’ve trolled to see what everyone else is saying about Corepower. There are a few statements about how the classes at Corepower are more of a good workout than anything resembling yoga.

I can’t say whether or not this is the popular opinion. I have friends that love Corepower and, previously unbeknownst to me, friends that hate it. But as these less favorable points of view begin to pop up around me, I have found myself with the urge to lay out exactly why it is that I personally love Corepower so much.

1. There are several locations that each offer many classes a day.

Some people see this as one of Corepower’s negative traits, that its multiple location set-up is too similar to a franchise like Starbucks. I wouldn’t even be able to do yoga if it wasn’t for Corepower’s wide offering of class times and locations. As I mentioned earlier, I dabbled in a few other studios before deciding to stick it out with Corepower, and while I’ve never had a flat-out terrible experience at any of these other places, their schedules were simply incompatible with my own. Between working 40 hours a week at multiple jobs, making time to read, write, eat and sleep… I’m not left with a lot of options as far as where to squeeze in the yoga. So, for me, this aspect of Corepower is a total plus. Not only am I almost always able to find a class that can fill any random lull in my day, as a non-driver, Boulder’s three separate locations also make it easy for me to get to one or the other depending on where I might be during that lull.

2. Yes, it is a good workout.

I’ve heard it said that “Corepower is more exercise than om.” I won’t deny that the classes at Corepower provide an excellent workout, but for me, it’s still something completely different than going to the gym or an aerobics class or for a run. I usually just want to scarf a butterfinger after all of those things and pass out without showering. After a class at Corepower, yes, I feel sweaty and like I’ve been worked over a little–but I also feel more connected to my own body. I feel like my mind and my body just spent an hour working together for my benefit, instead of feeling like my mind had to overcome the weakness of my own body to get the work done. And I’m invigorated, ready to carry on my day with poise and confidence. This is the same way I feel after a class at The Yoga Workshop (which I’ve had the pleasure of venturing to once a week of late). The classes I take at Corepower are definitely more fast paced, but I feel that the work I’m doing during, and the benefits I feel after a class at either establishment are so similar that if one isn’t yoga, then the other isn’t either.

3. There is diversity among the students and the teachers.

It’s no secret that the classes at Corepower are well attended. This seems to be another problem for some Corepower nay-sayers, “The classes are too crowded.” I’ve heard this even from my fellow fans and devotees. Well, whatever. It really, really doesn’t bother me. In fact, it makes me more comfortable to know that so many other people have shown up to the same class, on the same day, at the same time as I have, to do the same good for themselves. I also take comfort in knowing that I cannot possibly be the only novice in the class when there is such a wide range of attendees. On the other hand, there is probably an equally comforting number of people who have been at this for a while, and whom I can draw inspiration from along with the instructor.

I also enjoy the fact that I can take my basic, level one class from an array of different teachers on any given day. Of course, there are instructors that I favor, and I do my best to attend their classes as often as possible. I find it beneficial though, that even while the level one class is generally the same sequence every time, each teacher finds a way to put their own personal twist on it. I can stay comfortable in my level one class, but still experience variety.

4. As I said before, without Corepower, I wouldn’t even be doing yoga.

I never considered myself to be the yoga type. It took a lot for me to step out and give it a try. Some of the classes I attended before going to Corepower were way outside of my comfort zone, and almost scared me off completely. I’m bashful about chanting. I’m not horribly spiritual. I’ve never really had the desire to meditate. I had no real interest in yoga until someone told me that it was a great way to lose weight and relieve stress. And it is. And now I love it. But I don’t think I would have gotten to this point, to the point where I’m actually becoming a lot more at ease with all the other stuff that comes along with the physical advantages of yoga, without Corepower.

It’s a great place to get acquainted with the movements, and the basic nature of yoga, without getting overwhelmed. I am in no way saying that Corepower doesn’t incorporate the language of yoga, or the spirituality of it into their classes, because they do (and even still I resist!). But they’re gentle about it, which is extremely important for us reserved folk that aren’t ready to dive-in head first. I believe that an individual should be able to practice yoga in whatever way is comfortable and suitable for him or her, and Corepower encourages this idea. I never used to feel like yoga could be for everyone, but it can and it is. Corepower Yoga helped me understand this by making yoga accessible, even for an apprehensive, cookie dough wolfing novice like myself.

René Cousineau was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, CO. She currently lives in Boulder and is a student of fiction writing and Russian literature. She spends her time reading, cleaning, hiking, dancing, and slinging cupcakes at a local bakery/coffee shop.

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