In Defense of CorePower is the most popular post on my blog. By far. Why? Because it’s on the first page of Google results when you type is some combination of “CorePower,” “yoga,” and “calories.”
A little disclaimer: When I say “CorePower,” I am unfairly lumping in the majority of chain studios that peddle overblown, miraculous claims of the mental, emotional and physical transformation brought on solely by sweating your ass off in a 100-degree room for an hour a few times a week.
I wrote that post 4 years ago today. Allow me to paint a picture of myself when that post was written:
Overexercising, Newly Minted Yoga Teacher Tries Desperately to Love Herself.
I talk a lot in the podcast about how punishing and retraumatizing yoga can be. We love to go on Yoga Diets and Yoga Detoxes and practice Yoga Sculpt and Yoga Spin and get Yoga Crunk. Yoga Selfies are way more legitimate than regular ones, and I need more obscenely expensive yoga clothes to sweat through and mala beads to wear in public.
But I digress.
I was that woman who was using yoga to hate herself. To feel like she wasn’t enough. To feel like Divinity was outside herself in an endless grasping of poses and pants and moments of clarity. I wasn’t listening to my body, going to way too many classes a day, running while hating every moment and being afraid to drink a fucking beer.
If I came across that woman today, I would give her a big hug, demand she do a shot of Mellow Corn with me, then slap her on the ass. But I wouldn’t listen to a damn thing she said about being healthy.
In the original post, I don’t say anything I don’t disagree with now. Yes, Corepower has nice facilities (So do some zoos, and in-patient psychiatric wards). Yes, the classes are great if you’re looking for a workout and have your own knowledge about safe alignment for your body. I do not recommend these classes for beginners, and I do not appreciate their very, very large focus on the physical practice.
Oh, and if you want a workout, know what’s more effective? Squats. Lifting. High Intensity Interval Training. Yoga did not give me a yoga butt. Russian deadlifts and curtsey squats did.
What’s better than counting the calories burned in a CorePower class?
- Saying “Thank you, but please fuck off,” to that voice that moves to burn calories.
- Finding some luscious movement that feels good in your body RIGHT NOW. From seated hip circles to a 100-meter sprint.
- Realizing that the recipe for healthy weight is NOT calories in, calories out. Your body is not a machine.
- Loving your hammies for keeping you safe and strong instead of forcing them into full splits before they’re ready.
- Appreciating what those extra squats are doing for the shape of your ass.
- Drinking a beer with people you can’t help but be completely in love with. Everything in moderation, including moderation.
- Ritualizing your movement. Worshiping your body. Treating her like she is the most precious thing you’ll ever own.
I’m still working on all of these. It’s a devastating side effect of hating ourselves being so ingrained that we must constantly be reminded that we are perfect.
How to keep this all in balance. How to make your movement medicinal and healing. How to tell the difference between the voice in your head that demands your punish yourself through physical activity, and the one that sweetly invites you to move that holy vessel of yours. That is the Union we strive for. Sometimes, it’s called Yoga.