Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Heart CorePower Yoga

I never thought I'd be saying I was hooked on yoga. Not just any yoga though--it has to be CorePower Yoga. That's the only yoga I've ever found myself wanting to go to on a regular basis--and it's not just the free week of unlimited classes to first timers that has me hooked. The stretching? Feels sooo good, especially after crampy legs post-marathon. The sweating? Awesome, and gives me the type of workout I crave (one where I have to change my clothes afterward because the others are soaked). The moves? Challenging for this inflexible runner, but beneficial in the long run.

And this comes from someone who was turned off from yoga after a sour experience a few years ago where the thrill of having a class of two was ruined by an instructor who wasn't too keen about my inflexibility. I thought I'd be getting more instruction with only me and another student in class but instead I get singled out. Instructor corrects position. Glances at my feet and notices a round of dry skin and blisters that are part of marathon aftermath. Asks, "Are you a runner?" I answer yes, thinking this means I'll receive more help getting pushed into the right moves. Instead, "Oh, that explains everything." And I feel shunned for the remainder of class and want nothing more but to leave or burrow my head in shame, as I kind of do with each return to down dog, feeling instructor's eyes staring at my poor stance and feeling like trying doesn't even count. Sure I may have misinterpreted the instructor but I never wanted to return for fear it would happen all over again.

That's where CorePower Yoga comes in, bringing comfort back to those up and down dogs and making me feel less intimidated even when I'm sweating more than everyone in class and struggle through each move. Everyone is so focused on their practice--with the exception of the instructor whose sharp eye knows when to push my back into a proper down dog or suggest I slide my foot forward for more of a lunge and better balance--they could care less about how I'm three steps behind and making the sweat squeak as I slide my feet across my mat to warrior two. My sister keyed me in to CorePower's addicting forces over the summer when she started attending classes in San Diego. Knowing that I'll try just about anything involving fitness, she suggested I check out the Chicago studios. Due to my previous experience and reluctance about being embarrassed again, I opted to wait until Chicago's second location opened so close to my house I really couldn't avoid going.

But it was a blessing in disguise. Not only did I feel like I was sweating toxins out of my body (most likely thanks to rich desserts at the Cubs games the night before) at my first C2 class, but I could feel the moves stretching all of my trouble spots that sent me straight into physical therapy. Talk about feeling limber. And sore, too. My body often doesn't flow in those directions, and positions like boat work my core to the point of break down. Break down because before CorePower I fooled myself into thinking I had a relatively strong core thanks to running and cycling--so not true when I can't even mimic the rowing boat motion when my torso and legs without flopping over and giving up, or hold my legs a few inches off the ground and scissor kick, an exercise that came easily when I was 13 and doing the same exercise during drylands at swim practice. That's not even touching on my trust factor, which poses a problem when it comes to believing my hands and forearms can support my body weight in the crow position.

Even if I can't touch my toes and my dancer looks less graceful and more glued to the ground, C2 is strengthening my body. My ailing calf feels better like it does after a physical therapy session, my abs seem tighter thanks to all of those chairs and crunch-like moves, and my hips finally lost their stiffness during the warriors and lunges. I'll even take the cracking in the joints later in the day as a positive sign. But I'll admit I was relieved when the last few minutes of the hour or 75 minutes hit and it was cool down time--lying still on the mat and doing a few easy stretches never felt so good. No complaints, it's definitely a class to add to the repertoire.

Need more convincing? Stay tuned for the experts' insight on CorePower Yoga and its benefits. Photo grabbed from lululemon athletica at flickr. Posted by Kate

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