I must have a secret desire to wash piles of sweaty laundry, because somehow I’ve become hooked on hot yoga.
Just as “you can’t bend steel without heating it,” so it goes in yoga, according to many hot yoga practitioners. Debate rages on regarding the benefits of hot yoga –increased metabolism, detoxification, flexibility–vs more traditional non-heated yoga. Yet this much is certain: once you get used to hot yoga–it’s hard to quit!
I’ve found CorePower Yoga (4211 Waialae Ave) the ideal place for me as I recover from running injuries incurred while training for my 4th Honolulu Marathon last December. Traditional yoga–which I practiced as a form of stretching and relaxation–was great to alternate with my running training. But yoga alone wasn’t enough by itself to take the place of running.
If you’re the type of person for whom “not exercising is not an option,” hot sweaty yoga provides the work-out experience you may be missing.
Hot Power Fusion (“HPF”)–CorePower Yoga’s hottest class–is taught in 104 degree heat with 45% humidity and CP Yoga’s Core 2 classes are 93 degrees with no extra humidity. HPF is comparably cooler and drier than Bikram yoga, at 105 degrees and about 60% humidity.
Let the Music Play
Music is another controversial aspect of CorePower Yoga…
I always loved the meditative aspect of traditional yoga and at first it was difficult to hear the CorePower instructor’s voice over the loud music, and to silence my thoughts and memories while hearing songs last heard at a nightclub in the 80‘s (“Higher Love”), during university (The Cure), or in elementary school (Cat Stevens), while taking a yoga class. I learned that CorePower instructors are able to create their own music playlists, as long as they don’t contain curse words and have a positive message.
However–even in total silence–it is not easy to turn off your wandering mind. CorePower instructors constantly reinforce awareness of breath, and focus on synchronizing breath with movements to bring you into the present.
Whenever I get mixed up during a class, I realize my mind has traveled elsewhere, such as when remembering points to include in this article…or wondering how to spell “Supta Baddha Konasana.”
I’ve come to appreciate Core Power’s music, but think it would be better to at least have quiet during Shavasana (corpse pose). What about you?
Schedule and Variety
The best thing about CorePower Kahala is their schedule. With so many classes to choose from–at least 10 classes each day, starting at 6am and the last class beginning at 8:45pm–it’s difficult to decide. They recommend Core Level 1 or Hot Power Fusion for beginners. Only Core Level 1 is not heated, while Core 1.5 is gently heated.
Each of the classes includes a few minutes devoted to a form of torture known as core building: Yogi bicycles, crunches with eagle arms and legs, or supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle pose) sit-ups. At first, I dreaded the additional core workout, but not now that I see my core growing stronger. Core is where you really appreciate the music tempo to power your movements and drown out your grunts and groans.
On weekdays, all Core Power Yoga classes are 60 minutes. They also have 75-minute Hot Power Fusion and Core Level 2/3 classes on weekends.
CorePower Yoga Kahala also offers 2 free public classes each week, and is running a one-week free campaign, too.
The classes are really packed (average around 40 people, but sometimes as many as 60 for free classes!), so there’s little opportunity for instructors to adjust your alignment. You might want to go easy on the garlic the night before too!
Pros and Cons:
- Consistently excellent instructors and friendly staff
- Clean and modern studio/locker rooms
- 10 courses/day: 4 Core levels, Sculpt, Hot Power Fusion, and CoreRestore–Yin Yoga
- Music (upbeat)
- Core building
- Free parking
- Music (not as meditative as silent yoga)
- Crowded (i.e. little opportunity for instructor adjustment)
- Sweaty clothes and towels!
During your free-trial week, you should try all the classes you can fit in, and challenge yourself to explore your edge. For example, while I prefer the Core classes, I still take Hot Power Fusion classes to work on improving my balance. The sculpt classes (with hand-weights) are also physically demanding, morseo depending on the size of the weights you choose.
If you’ve ever tried hot yoga, but quit after one or two times because you felt faint or nauseous, you’re not alone. The main reason is dehydration, as most people don’t drink enough water for their normal activities, let alone enough for a strenuous workout in a hot room. So be sure to drink lots of water before class, bring a bottle of water with you to class, and keep drinking water following the class, throughout the day. And have an empty stomach (at least 2-3 hours after a meal), before class, too.
Necessities and Accessories
Speaking of sweat, a water bottle and yoga-mat towel are necessities for hot yoga. At first, I used regular bath towels, but they didn’t fully cover the mat and got bunched up a lot. I quickly realized I needed to get one of those special yoga-mat sized towels. I tried two: the Gaiam Grippy, and the Yogitoes Skidless.
- Gaiam’s Grippy Yoga mat towel is like a thick bath towel, except it has a rubbery lining on the bottom to keep it in place on top of your yoga mat. It is quite bulky and weighs a ton soaking wet. You can’t use a clothes dryer to dry it, and it holds so much water it is a bit slippery during the class.
- In contrast, Yogitoes Skidless mat towel is thin and light, with little rubber dots on the bottom. You can also use the clothes dryer. Yogitoes also offers dozens of beautiful color variations. While more expensive, they’re worth it!
One of the things I have loved about yoga is that–along with running–it could be done without belonging to a gym, and with minimal equipment. A great traveling companion, my yoga mat has even served as an mattress on more than one occasion.
Hot yoga–on the other hand–locks you into attending classes in a heated and humidity-controlled studio. While the number of hot yoga studios is on the rise and CPY has studios around the country (where the same membership is valid), heated yoga may not be for everyone all the time.
It’s far better to have a yoga practice that suits you than nothing at all!
Whether you attend CorePower yoga or not, you may be getting a taste of it anyway. I’ve noticed that many instructors from other studios attend CorePower’s classes and incorporate the music, core workouts and routines in classes they teach.
Any yoga practice invites love, peace and healing energy to your being. Along with a nutritious (100 percent whole food, plant-based) diet, yoga and meditation are the best things you can do for a happier, healthy life.
So do whatever it takes to begin or maintain YOUR yoga practice. The teacher in me bows to the teacher in all of you. Namaste!
I would love to receive your comments on this article, or regarding your own experience with yoga, hot or otherwise.