What Our Students Think and Why You Should Try It, Too!
Are you a regular Bikram Yoga student looking to take your practice to the next (i.e., intermediate) level? BYV’s 90-minute Core 40 class, done in a warm room Tuesday mornings at 7:45 a.m. and Saturdays at noon, covers 40 postures, some familiar, some new. Come salute to the gods and goddesses, ground to the earth with some arm-stands, reflect and expand with some stretching, balance your spine with some twists and strengthen your core! Don’t believe us? Here’s what some of our students – not to mention, Core 40 teacher Lisa Pelzer – have to say about the class:
“I started teaching Core 40 after training with Tony Sanchez, who’s been doing the Advanced 84 Asana Series from the Bishnu Ghosh Lineage for 30-plus years (Core 40 stems from this lineage; Ghosh was Bikram’s own teacher). It’s a two-and-a-half-to-three-hour class that’s quite rigorous and, as such, can be hard for some students to maintain on a consistent basis. I, however, love Core 40, and find it completely accessible yet challenging for yogis at most levels. We add new postures to the class gradually, allowing our bodies to adapt without being too overwhelming or intense. For example, in building on the Beginner Series, we perform deeper hip and shoulder openers and introduce some basic arm-balancing poses to start creating a little more upper body strength. I often hear Core 40 practitioners say how nice it is to feel sore again in new area of the body – and I agree!
“At BYV, we’re slowly building a nice core of students who practice Core 40 regularly, and it’s so beautiful to see their progress, i.e., their bodies transforming and their confidence increasing. These students have not been afraid to take on a new challenge and keep persevering each week, even with some failure. Remember, yoga is a very slow process, a lifetime practice; it takes years to build our bodies up. But, with consistent practice, we learn to use our bodies and minds together, more efficiently. It often takes years to be able to do some of the more challenging postures, but we just keep going forward. Personally, I feel my practice continues to get better and better each year.
“While the 26/2 (Beginner) Series is a great practice on its own, it’s easy to get ‘stuck’ in knowing that we can do these postures fairly well and even fearful of trying something new. As such, it’s important to not try too hard when practising the Core Series: slow and steady with awareness and a gentle manner will help ensure it feels good and is enjoyable. Even if you feel you cannot perform some the postures very well, know that there are changes happening – internally, at first, and then manifesting into the actual outward, physical pose over time.
“If you have any questions regarding the class, BYV Core 40 teachers Mari, Ellena and myself would be more than happy to answer them, and we’d love to see some fresh faces in class soon! Read some of our regular Core students’ testimonials below, and we can’t wait to have you join us in the hot room!”
“As someone who started practising Bikram Yoga in August 2013, I quickly became intrigued with the Core 40 class and, that September, decided to try it. Well, I was hooked right away and have not stopped! The class gives a different dimension to the regular 26 postures. For example, there are slight changes required in your hand grips that provide a new challenge. I began to see a holistic view and boundless possibilities to yoga. The class is exciting, challenging and most of all fun. You get to try a lot of new poses with correct setup in a relaxed environment. All the instructors have extensive knowledge and are keen to help you progress. Best of all, Core 40 has encouraged me to keep my practice up and appreciate the regular class and other forms of yoga.”
“After practising the Beginner Series for 10 years, I was ready to try something different – something that would help me build even more upper-body strength. Lisa suggested I give Core 40 a try and, wow, the challenge of that first class made me want to return every week (just like the regular series, it’s become an addiction)! I’ve learned so much from this class – for instance, that true power comes from the core, which provides you with much of the strength needed to balance, and that the best way to build strength is by using your own body weight (this coming from someone who did weight training for years). It’s also made me realize the importance of body alignment; by focusing on this aspect, I’m able to deepen my postures in the Beginner Series. All in all, I love that Core 40 offers variations on each posture, making it well suited for all levels. Despite only practicing it once a week, I see my personal progression occurring fairly quickly, not to mention an improvement in the other physical activities I do. There is so much room for growth with this class; my best advice to other students is always practise with patience, and truly listen to the dialogue to lead you in the right direction.”
“I’ve always had a sense of curiosity about my practice and what I can do with my body. I had been doing the Beginner Series for more than a year when Bikram Yoga Vancouver started to offer Core 40. The idea of experimenting with some new poses was very alluring to me. My first class was so fun and also humbling. I was a beginner all over again: unsteady, falling over a few times. The more I attended the class, the more curious I got. I love the freedom I’ve found within the class. It’s not as rigid in its structure and it feels more like a workshop. I notice changes weekly with each pose, and it’s also helped me in the Beginner Series. Having the opportunity to take the Core 40 class has helped me transform and grow my practice in ways I didn’t know I could.”
“It’s a privilege to be able to review the Core 40 class at BYV. I’ll start by saying that this class gives me mixed emotions; after all, as with any kind of transformation, come moments of love and hate. Let me start with the positives. One may find the Core class easier than the regular glass, as you only do the postures once. But each class is a challenge; you’re not on autopilot, just performing your old, 26-posture routine. Rather, there are 12 new postures to learn each time, and they are ever changing. This really allows you to apprehend the immense unlimited ancient art of yoga. It is a grand adventure,if you dare to advance to a higher level. The poses truly are amazing to look at, and being able to perform them – the side crow variations, as one example – is an even greater feat. As for the negative, it seems you are never going to graduate from the Core classes, as there are always new challenging poses keeping you at bay. Surprise – this is actually a good thing. You may think, who wants to be a student forever? But it is a blessing to never graduate and keep adventuring in this life-long journey of yoga.”