Shaken to the Core: A Exploration in Hot Yoga

Fitness gurus frequently praise the physical and mental benefits of doing yoga and Pilates. But nothing compares to actually doing these alternative workouts yourself. The sweat, the heat and the intensity are more than with any typical workout I’ve ever tried.

The first time I ever tried yoga and Pilates was a few years ago during the summer. Since it was summer and I was unemployed, I figured that I should use this free time to work out. Little did I know that a beginner class in these alternative forms of exercise would leave me exhausted and ready to give up. And after two sessions, I did give up. I didn’t know which one fit me best – yoga or Pilates – and I realized that this great workout was also a bit expensive, especially for a college student.

Both yoga and Pilates share similar principles of combining the body and mind. However, yoga focuses on meditation and incorporates it into the exercises. Yoga is also a more ancient practice, originating in India thousands of years ago. Both yoga and Pilates serve as a way to stretch and strengthen muscles while improving relaxation and posture.

Yoga and Pilates have become part of mainstream society and are offered at virtually any well-known gym. There is no doubt that they are a great workout — just ask my sore abs and thighs after my first hour-long Pilates class. However, even the most dedicated gym addict gets bored with routine from time to time. We can all spice up our workout with an occasional yoga or Pilates class, but is there another level of alternative workouts?

Yes, there is, and its name is Corepower Hot Yoga. While the name may throw you off, this trendy workout is a fascinating (and pricey) experience. This discovery caught my attention and renewed my interest in yoga and Pilates. Compared to other exercises, Corepower Yoga seemed to have it all: it was beginner-friendly, intense, relaxing, and stress relieving.

Corepower Yoga incorporates 26 yoga poses in to a 60 -70 – or 90 minute session. During each session, the 26 poses are performed in a strict routine. The focus is meant to be on “the essence of every organ, bone, joint, muscle, ligament, tendon, blood vessel, nerve, and gland” according to the Corepower Web site. Clearly, it is a very specific and detail-oriented exercise. This is only the beginning. The session takes place in a room that is heated to a sweltering 105 degrees.

While this form of yoga may resemble a primitive form of torture, the benefits are well worth the high temperatures. The Corepower Web site states that heated environments cause the body to burn more fat than exercising at regular temperatures. It also loosens the muscles to better prevent injury and speeds up the body’s ability to break down fat and glucose. While dripping in sweat may not sound appealing, it is a great workout for cleansing your body.

Corepower Hot Yoga is like a typical workout on steroids. It might sound intimidating, especially to beginners, but the classes with heated temperatures are offered at all levels. The Corepower classes also focus on strengthening the abdominal muscles commonly referred to as the core (hence its name). If you can’t stand the discomfort of doing crunches, the Corepower workout will strengthen your abdominal muscles without straining your neck. The steamy surroundings of a 105-degree room make a demanding workout even more challenging.