Open for Fitness: CorePower Yoga
We tried one of CorePower’s more intense classes, Yoga Sculpt. We survived, but our friendship is still recovering.
Editor’s Note: Stacey and Katrina are at vastly different fitness levels (and ages) but both enjoy working out. We thought it’d be fun for the two of them to try new or interesting workouts together each month. This month, they went to CorePower Yoga’s Yoga Sculpt class—a favorite workout for Stacey.
WHAT IT IS
CorePower Yoga’s Yoga Sculpt is a one-hour class of traditional yoga poses in a heated room (90–93 degrees) mixed with high-intensity cardio drills and weights.
HOW WE FELT: BEFORE
Stacey: Nervous. For Katrina. The first time I went, I sweated, and swore, and sweated some more. It’s intense. But I was super stoked she wanted to go and try something new. For the record, no matter what she says below, I did describe the class to her as “yoga on crack.” But, I don’t think she realized, then, what I meant.
Katrina: The day before the class, Stacey told me, “If you need to walk out, walk out.” I didn’t think it would be that bad (I mean, it’s yoga). I’d never done yoga before, but really, how hard could it be?
SEE ALSO: Open For Fitness: F45 Training Kāhala
We attended Max Hannemann’s class, which always fills up quickly. His mix of music, cardio and yoga appeases all ages and body types. Regulars know you have to arrive at least half an hour before the class starts to get a good spot. For us, it’s right by the entrance, because sometimes instructors will open the door to let air in—and it’s a frickin’ blessing! For others, it’s in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror. We packed into the room along with more than 40 other people and placed our yoga mats in the back row. We grabbed weights and a Styrofoam block, both of which can be used to intensify the workout. Max usually starts the class with an inspirational word of the day. In our class, it was “gratitude.”
Photo: Stacey Makiya
Stacey: The first 5 minutes included breathing techniques and child’s pose. It was nice. Then, we planked. And, planked. And. Planked. There’s the straight plank, side plank, planking on one foot, planking while touching one hand to the opposite shoulder, planking while doing a crunch. Arms shaking, butt squeezing, shoulders burning and my inner voice screaming “f******ck!” are the norm for me. As Max says, “This warmup is more than what your friends do in their entire workout.” He ain’t lying.
Katrina: I learned very quickly that this is not a class for beginners. Stacey said I would be fine because I work out and am in decent shape, but I didn’t know what any of the poses were (airplane? tree?) or if I was doing them correctly. Thankfully, because we were in the back, I just copied the girl in front of me—but when you’re supposed to keep your head down or your back straight, it’s hard to know what’s going on based on verbal cues. Plus, some people modified the poses, so I wasn’t sure if I was copying the actual pose (which I wanted to try) or some bastardized version. And some were just doing handstands against the mirror. What?
Fifteen minutes in, I was so hot I had to take my shirt off. It came in handy to wipe up my sweat from the mat, since I didn’t realize I was supposed to bring a towel. My wrists are pretty weak, so all the planking was painful enough, but throw in slippery palms and it’s nearly impossible to stay up.
Photos: Katrina Valcourt
Stacey: This is where ugly sweating starts. (And I swore I told Katrina to bring a towel.) Basic poses like Warrior II, bridge, chair and downward dog are made more difficult with weights. Usually I opt for super-heavy 3 pounds weights. (Don’t judge.) But, this time, I took the weights for show and didn’t use any. I feel no guilt; going to class after a long work day is a challenge in itself.
Katrina: I had no idea Stacey didn’t use the weights! Even I tucked 3-pound weights behind my knee for my donkey kicks, where you start on your hands and knees and, keeping your leg at a 90-degree angle, lift your knee until it’s parallel with your back (it’s great for the butt!). At the 30-minute mark, I walked out for some cool air, chugged my water and came back into the warrior pose.
Stacey: In between nama-slaying, Max throws in some cardio. This part I like. Mountain climbers, football run, burpees, boxing. I flashed a couple of looks at Katrina to make sure she was OK. Her face looked focused. Or she was thinking about ways she could kill me and hide my body.
Katrina: I didn’t realize it going in, but apparently, I prefer cardio workouts. I give up so easily when I’m trying to hold a pose that I don’t have experience with, but there’s no reason I can’t box for 30 seconds. Burpees, though, are still a no-no for me. Like I did at our last workout, I just alternated between jumping and lying down, haha.
Stacey: The last two exercises focus on abs, ass and legs, so you’re on the ground. This DOES NOT mean it’s any easier. Glute bridges and donkey kicks firm and lift your buttocks (I’m still waiting for my buns to feel like steel) while crunches, leg raises, Russian twists and flutter kicks help build your six-pack.
What helps me survive each class, and even share a few smiles, is Max’s positive energy, and his playlist. Post Malone, Offset and Bruno Mars help with motivation; he even throws in some Sublime for us youngins.
Katrina: I was so over it at this point. I like working my core (because it needs it), but I was getting frustrated. My Fitbit strap kept coming loose because of all the sweat, so I kept taking breaks to fix it. Because we were against the back wall and I’m tall, I kept kicking the wall and my water bottle. My shirt was soaked through, so I slipped constantly. And my glasses fogged up.
Stacey: Put a fork in me, I’m done. During the cool down, we stretch and then perform shavasana pose, which is when you lie down, stay still and allow your mind to clear. All that goes through my mind, every time, is how is my limp, extremely sweaty body going to get up?
Katrina: I enjoyed the smell of essential oils Max sprayed, especially since I spent so much time face-down on my reeking mat. But I don’t like lying on my back—I’m a side sleeper—and knew we’d have to leave the moment I truly relaxed, so I just closed my eyes and waited for it to be over.
WOULD WE DO IT AGAIN?
Stacey: I do it every Sunday. Why? It is an awesome all-inclusive workout that involves cardio, weights and yoga. And, because, I still believe my 21-year-old body is somewhere buried in my 40-something shell waiting to come out! I also believe in unicorns.
Katrina: It wasn’t until writing this story that I learned that Yoga Sculpt usually comes after CorePower Yoga 1, CorePower Yoga 1.5 and CorePower Yoga 2. Thanks a lot, Stacey. Because I was in pain or lost most of the time, I wasn’t that into it. If I were to try CorePower another time, I’d go to a beginner-friendly class, such as Hot Yoga or CoreRestore.
CorePower Yoga has three locations: Kāhala Mall, South Shore Market at Ward Village and Kailua Town Center III. Yoga mats are available at each location. Sign up for a free one-week trial upon your first visit. Black Tag Memberships, with unlimited yoga and free workshops, costs $189/month; class packages range from $129 for five to $469 for 20; single classes are $28. For information on all CorePower yoga classes, including class schedules and instructors, visit corepoweryoga.com.