You know that moment in the middle of a tough exercise class where you think you aren’t going to make it — and you even consider quitting for a sec because you’re so sweaty — but you keep going and come out the other side with a post-workout glow? That was me when I tried CorePower’s Yoga Sculpt class.
CorePower Yoga is all about “physically intense workouts rooted in the mindfulness of yoga.” You can try the popular brand’s classes virtually — via livestream and on-demand options starting at $19.99 a month — or you can treat yourself to a full membership that includes unlimited in-person classes at any studio for $159 a month (there are plenty of locations across the country). But there’s more than just traditional yoga offered.
For instance: There’s a strengthening hot yoga class called Hot Power Fusion, a beginner-friendly stretch and breath class called Core Restore, and the class that I tried called Yoga Sculpt. If you’re like me, the name “yoga sculpt” might evoke a picture of a basic yoga experience, perhaps one in a dimly lit room with relaxing music, with perhaps a few extra planks and boat poses thrown in for an added burn. Wrong. This workout is a true hybrid of vinyasa yoga and strength training set to upbeat tracks that brings a serious sweat. Read on for an honest review of CorePower’s Yoga Sculpt class.
What Is CorePower Yoga Sculpt?
While Yoga Sculpt features deep breathing and plenty of your go-to yoga poses, it also combines cardio-based moves, free weights, and lots strength training exercises like bicep curls, lunges, and squats to help you build muscle as you stretch and lengthen. And if you take an in-person class like I did, there’s also a hot yoga element: My class was a “Sweat Level 2” which means the room was heated to around 105 degrees, just enough to put a glisten on your forehead before you even start flowing.
What A Yoga Sculpt Class Is Really Like
When I got to the CorePower studio, I borrowed a mat, grabbed a towel, picked up two sets of light hand weights from a rack, and settled into the anonymous comfort of the back row, where class newbies thrive most. I was looking around at everyone else stretching or lying on their mats when a super nice instructor breezed in, and class began.
According to the CorePower Yoga website, Yoga Sculpt is “where muscle meets yoga.” And let me say this: They aren’t joking. After doing a classic yoga warm-up featuring deep breathing and sun salutations, the instructor guided us through a flow that included rounds of upward dogs and downward dogs to get the blood moving. It seemed gentle enough at first, but things quickly kicked into high gear once weights were added to the mix.
Imagine doing a warrior II pose with a weight in each hand, or a chair pose with weights lifted overhead. Thankfully, the instructor said it was totally fine to keep doing these moves without the weights if you need to take the intensity down a notch. I tried with the weights and without, and quickly realized I didn’t need them to feel my muscles light up.
We repeated each flow a few times through, then the song would switch to another Shazam-able track and we’d kick back into a more strength-based interval. So, one moment I was doing a twisted low lunge, and the next I was holding dumbbells and sweating through a series of bicep curls, hammer curls, and side planks. To finish off the already challenging class, cardio sets were added towards the end of the workout in the form of high knees, jumping jacks, and other heart-pumping moves that the class did in sync. At that point, I was thoroughly warmed up — thanks to the steamy room — but it still wasn’t easy to keep up.
When you’re new to a workout class, there’s often this pressure to push yourself to look like the regulars. For whatever reason, though, I didn’t feel that way in Yoga Sculpt. My shirt was drenched, but so was everyone else’s. And I definitely wasn’t the only one who paused regularly to towel off, sip water, or readjust. In fact, I saw someone taking a break in child’s pose and thought, “You know what? Good for them.” The instructor encouraged everyone to listen to their body, and — considering the heat combined with all the movement — sometimes your body just needs a sec to regroup.
A few days later I opened my laptop to give the livestream version a try. It featured all the same exercises set to a pop playlist (which kept me motivated to move), and it was nice to be on Zoom with fellow workout-from-homers, who seemed to get just as much out of the virtual routine as I did IRL. Both classes ended with a much-needed savasana before the instructor sent us on our way.
Did I look like a tomato after each Yoga Sculpt workout? Yes. Was I sore for a few days? Also yes. This class was definitely intense, as promised. But it felt really good to push through and live my best post-workout life full of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment.
I highly recommend it to anyone who might want to combine their strength and cardio workouts with stretching, or those who secretly wish yoga was just a little more spicy. Once you’re a few minutes into Yoga Sculpt, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
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