I tried a very intense celebrity yoga studio and here's what it was like
When I walked into CorePower Yoga (a favorite of celebrities like Kaley Cuoco and Vanessa Hudgens), I was immediately asked if I’d tried yoga before. I said yes because I had tried pilates a couple of times and thought, “Eh, close enough, right?”
Wrong. Yoga is not the same as pilates.
But, we at HelloGiggles like to try things and I’m still glad I tried yoga, even if I didn’t walk away from the experience an aspiring yogi. I mean, I ran into Josh Peck (of Drake & Josh and Grandfathered fame) at my first class, so I can personally attest to the celebrity angle.
CorePower Yoga puts a heavy emphasis on the “power” part of its name. Their slogan is “Live your power,” which explains why so many celebrities love the place. The website promises, “Inside our studios, something amazing is happening. You’ll push past physical boundaries with an open mind and a beating heart, turning doubt into security, strangers into friends and stress into sweat.”
The CPY Instagram definitely stresses the strangers into friends aspect. It looks like everyone is in a yoga-themed spread for Seventeen Magazine in the best way.
I tried a couple of CorePower Yoga’s classes during my week trial (they offer a free week trial to all new students), starting with CorePower Yoga 2, which is billed as very similar to the level 1 class, but with added heat. Would I have rather started with level 1? Of course. But, since the level 2 class was A) billed as very similar to level 1, but taught in a heated room (95-98 degrees) and B) worked much better with my schedule, I took the plunge.
CPY2 was very manageable (even the heat, which was my biggest worry going in, didn’t feel that bad). The instructor ran through the techniques very quickly, but was patient with anyone who needed a few extra seconds to sneak a cheat glance at their neighbor and play catch up. At the end of the class, there was optional headstand practice, for anyone interested in mastering a more advanced technique.
CorePower is, from what I’ve heard, a more intense yoga than most studios practice. It’s more about getting in a real workout and less about the oms and meditation and feels. And it still felt, to me, like a lot of oms and meditation and feels. Still, the students mostly arrived in a head-down, ready-to-train mode. There wasn’t a lot of socializing or patting on the back after class. This is a place for people who want to get in a serious workout (and let their energy flow out of their heart bones or wherever in the process).
I also tried CorePower’s cardio class, CoreCardio Circuit. The circuit class is great if you want a good workout and are only so-so on doing actual yoga. The warm-up and cool-down integrated some basic, beginner-friendly yoga stretches, but for the most part, the class is just intense cardio of the high-intensity interval training (or HIIT, for short) variety.
I don’t think I’m destined to become a yogi. I just don’t speak yoga. I come from a martial arts background and as a student and instructor in Krav Maga, I’m used to instructions that rely heavily on very basic and specific descriptions of the what body part you need to use and what you need to do with it. In yoga, there was some of that, sure, but there was also a lot of…let’s call it more ethereal language. I was told to do things like “open my energy” and “point my heartbone to the sky,” which sounds very cool, but, like WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Push my chest out? Aim my sternum towards the ceiling? Based on the number of times I was corrected (by my very sweet and patient instructor), I don’t think it meant either of those things, but I’m also still not sure what it meant.
The CoreCardio Circuit class was a lot of fun. I felt more confident, more at home there. And my instructor, Estevan, was delightful, super patient and much more concrete in his corrections.
In fact, everyone at CorePower Yoga was delightful. I can see why celebrities, who have all the options in the world (or at least in Los Angeles) would like it.
As I mentioned before, CorePower Yoga offers a free week-long trial to all new students (which I took advantage of in reporting for this story). After that, membership runs at $89 for the first month and then $155 per month after that, for unlimited classes and access to 140+ studios nationwide. CorePower has locations in 19 states and Washington, D.C., meaning members have a ton of options and flexibility in where to practice. However, that cost does not include some things that commoners like me would expect it to — mats and even towels will run you extra to rent ($2 for mats, $1 for towels). Locks for the lockers though, weirdly, are free to borrow. The more you know.