Last April (’19), I decided to take a leap of faith and sign up for CorePower Yoga’s 5 Week Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training. It was something I had thought about doing for a few years when I fell in love with yoga sculpt during my free week trial when I moved to DC. My sister Emily gave me that final encouragement to go through the teacher training and I am BEYOND happy I did it. Going in detail on my entire teacher training and post training experience in case any of you are contemplating embarking on your own CorePower journey.
Here is what I cover in full in this blog post:
- What You Need
- 5 Week Training
- Graduation Requirements
- Full Time Teaching
It might sound daunting to begin this journey on your own, but I could not be more happy I went through it myself and am so excited to return back to teaching once the studios open back up after the Covid shutdown.
Starting with cost because the teacher training is a big investment, so definitely something to seriously consider before taking that leap.
The following summarizes the costs that I paid to go through the sculpt teacher training:
- Yoga Sculpt Training: ~$1,030 (1 Deposit of $200 with 4 $207.5 payments)
- This is the payment plan I chose (which I would recommend). I signed up for the black tag membership which gave me 20% off the program.
- The payments hit my CC every 2 weeks.
- If you do NOT sign up for Black Tag, the cost will be around $1,300 with payment plan options available.
- Black Tag Membership: $500
- During your training, it is encouraged to sign up for black tag as you will get a discount on the total program cost, and your training requires you to take a variety of classes throughout your journey.
- This price may vary slightly depending on your region, but this is the total cost I ended up paying for BTM during my training.
- As soon as you become a teacher you can cancel your membership and receive your free membership.
- Yoga Sculpt EXTENSIONS: $300
- My thoughts on going through extensions in detail below.
- CPR Training: $32
- Another surprise to our group that this was required to audition. There are a variety of CPR certification options but this is the easiest/cheapest class our group found (and entirely ONLINE): Adult, Child and Baby First Aid/CPR/AED. The link will take you to all courses. Filter for “Online Only” and you will see this specific class option.
- Insurance: $25
- This Yoga Insurance was a very affordable option that our studio accepted.
Total Cost Estimate: $1,887
*NOTE: I know this is a big investment for anyone going through the training program. However, I have almost netted my investment back down to $0 after teaching since September ’19 (~7 months). (Mind you I was teaching like a mad woman, especially during my internship, where I was teaching ~4-5 classes/week. I was filling a Wed 6am class during my internship, and gained a Sat 8:30am spot in the studio I was transitioning to in addition to my regular 2/week classes). Regardless, I would have netted positive at this point had it not been for Covid. If you are able to financially go through with the training, it is SO worth it. And at your own pace you will eventually earn it all back + more 🙂
What you Need for Training:
- Inner Tradition of Yoga – Book required to complete assignments. Your studio may have options to rent as well.
- Yoga Mat – You will obviously need a yoga mat to practice throughout your training. The Lululemon mat is one of my absolute favorites with a sticky grip and perfect for the sweaty studios.
- Water Bottle – This hydroflask is one of my favorites to keep you hydrated throughout class and your water cool.
- Yoga Clothes – The Lululemon Align Leggings are some of my absolute faves which are perfect for sculpt and the comfiest pants you will put on your body. This crop top is one of my favorite tops for yoga and the material is SO SOFT. We were sculpting in a variety of trainings, so I would def bring a change of clothes just in case you do a full class.
- Stasher Bags – The trainings are long and snacks are allowed. Stasher bags are one of my favorite waste free ways to carry healthy snacks with me on the go!
5 Weeks of Training:
Days/times vary by studio (mine were Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings). Our trainings were a mix of ice breakers, posture walk throughs, teaching practice, sculpting, and lectures.
*Scroll down further to read my thoughts on EXTENSIONS*
We started week 1 with intros, ice breakers, and a walk through of what to expect for the training. We then took a full yoga sculpt class led by the studio manager. To end we did a music exercise where we all had to walk in a circle clapping to the beat and someone would have to go in the center and break out an exercise such as squats to the beat. Let me just say that I can be incredibly awkward and shy with new people so this definitely took me WAY out of my comfort zone.
Here is my journal entry from week 1:
“Walking into week 1 was so intimidating. It was a room full of new faces that was throwing me completely out of my comfort zone. Going into the circle of workout exercises counting down with the group made me feel so uncomfortable because it was unlike anything I have done before. This is a journey that is exciting but also so intimidating as I am about to do things I have never done before and push myself WAY out of my comfort zone. Everyone seems really nice but people already seem to know each other and I am meeting everyone for the first time. I am ready and excited to start this journey and become a part of this community. I feel so insecure in the group and getting up in front of people teaching, but this is why I am here to grow and become a bigger and better version of myself.”
I was out for week 2 so did a make-up session with the studio manager in addition to the make up assignment
- Write a ½ page reflection on the components of the weight breakdown and the intention of each component.
The weight breakdown is so important in our role as instructors to ensure that our students are flowing safely through the exercises. The weight demo incorporates a few key components: Halfway Lift, Chair Pose, Warrior 2, Reverse Warrior, and Chataranga (pull, pivot, plant). This is really important to demo how to flow with weights as the class could contain a mix of yogis trying out sculpt for the first time or beginners who have never worked out with weights before.
Halfway lift demo is important to maintain a microbend in the legs as it could strain the body if students are straightening as they would in a normal halfway lift. The “like a deadlift” cue is great for students who have lifted weights in the past and would be more relatable to a heavy lifter where safety is even more important. Chair pose is important to cue flowing weights through heart center so that students are using controlled movements and to minimize the risk of them hitting each other. It also is easier on the body to flow through hearts center compared to the usual sweeping motion without weights.
Warrior 2 is important to cue maintaining a microbend in the elbows as it can be very challenging to hold straightened arm with weights an entire class. This could also injure students as it is a tough position to hold. Stacking straight up is important to cue in Reverse Warrior to maintain balance in the body and to keep the body aligned. Students tend to really arch back in a normal Reverse Warrior which can cause strain with weights and lead to injuries.
Pull pivot plant is important to communicate what this means as this is not a normal cue in Yoga. Demonstrating what this looks like with weights will create a more seamless flow in class. Recommending a 5lb minimum weight to flow in Chataranga is important as the smaller weights can crush your hands and the 5lbs give you the space between the mat. We also need to cue to keep knuckles flushed towards mat otherwise students could not have a stable support and strain their wrist.
- Write 3 cues for each exercise in Push-ups, Biceps and Squat 1.
- Widen your elbows
- Spread your fingertips wide
- Gaze to the top of your mat
- Press away from your mat
- Squeeze your biceps at the top
- Pin your elbows by your side
- Control your movements
- Keep your chest lifted
- Send your booty down and back
- Knees stack over your ankles
- Weight is in your heels
- Squeeze your booty at the top
- Write a ½ page reflection on why a countdown is important in Yoga Sculpt.
Countdown is so crucial in Yoga Sculpt as there are so many key components that tie into it. Doing it effectively will keep students on beat and get everyone moving in sync with each other. This increases student safety especially for movements that are moving students side to side potentially into each others spaces. This also increases the energy in the room as people will get more motivated as a group when they are all in sync. Nobody wants to be the person slacking and breaking the class flow. Staying on beat also ties back in the music for a more fun class as there is nothing better for example than squatting it low right to the top of the beat in a song. Music selection is so much fun as an instructor so you want to emphasize the best parts of the song as much as possible. An effective countdown is also great as a student could be really tired but can get a surge of motivation to push themselves if they know they only have to hold something for four more counts. This helps transition students seamlessly as you cue the next move twice by the four countdown. Students then know where they are heading so they can mentally be ready to go there once the countdown is completed. Finally this is a great filler in class to keep the energy up and keep communicating to students to pump them up.
We did a full anatomy lecture and for our Thursday class.
Here is my journal entry from this session:
“As an Accounting major, it has been a LONG time since I have taken any sort of science class as placed out in college and steered away from it in high school, so this class was a LOT to take in. It’s crazy how little I knew about the body’s bones and muscles and what they were called/located. I knew some of the main ones but there were so many I had never heard of before. I learnt how important this is as an instructor in case someone comes in telling they have an injury in x bone or muscle and it is our duty to be able to provide modifications and understand what they are referring to. This is great to be able to cue where students should feel the exercises and know how to mix up our exercises to target each muscle. Ava did a great job of making this lecture fun and interesting and I learned so much!”
The second session this week was a practice teach from Integration through Cardio followed by learning all about teaching Sculpt Series 1&2 + Cardio 2.
At this point I was so on edge as I was REALLY struggling with the practice teaching. I was forgetting cues, order, and overall just felt really uncomfortable with the entire process. I kept having to look back at my notes to try and remember the sequence and was really in my head with everything.
Week 4 was a LOT of practice teaching. Going into it you might not think you need this much practice time but trust me you do.
My Omies (yoga buddy assigned from Week 1) along with others girls from training & I met up a few times during the week to practice teach to each other which I would highly recommend doing during your training. It’s a fun way to bond as well with your class!
- Practice Teach Integration through Squats 2
- Learn exercises for Glutes, Chest, Core
- Learn postures in the Surrender series
- Practice Teach Glutes through Surrender
- Practice Teach Integration through Surrender
- Assists and Adjustments for postures and exercises
We walked into the class with a round robin structure and were randomly assigned a section of the sequence. The following is my journal entry from the round robin:
“My first round robin in front of the group was beyond terrifying. I was assigned integration and was shaking prior to starting I was so nervous. I felt like I had practiced it enough where I was able to project my voice and intention with conviction. I had practiced with my omies leading up to this so I felt more prepared at least with that. The feedback after was so reassuring as the girls said I acted with confidence and was very happy and bubbly upon entrance. This was a really good feeling that validated that I could do this and even though I was terrified, I presented well and was able to remove that from my performance.”
Full round robin practice for bring a beginner. Everyone was so nervous but so supportive of each other. We covered assists as well and talked through Sunday Bring a Beginner logistics.
Sunday (BRING A BEGINNER):
This was our final graduation day and a day we could not believe we reached. We were teaching a free community sculpt class which we were originally told it was open ONLY to our friends. We were all given an unnerving surprise when we realized it was open to the public and one of the most PACKED studios any of us had ever seen. Students were mat to mat and lining up sideways in the back to all fit. Our anxiety levels were through the roof leading up to it.
Here is my journal entry from bring a beginner:
“I cannot even describe how nervous I was leading up to this. I felt like I was prepared, but not prepared enough. We began discussing transitions as we came in which freaked me out as I had not planned to say more for this. There was already so much I was trying to think about so this was just one more thing to add to my stress. Let alone the mass swarm of people trickling through to add to my stress. I was really grateful my roommate showed up for some extra support.
I was assigned Squats 1 and Abs. I feel like squats had a really rocky start as everyone was toweling off and I was so in my head of sticking to script that it was hard to relax and just read the room and stay patient for a sec for people to catch their breath. I wanted to jump right into it but froze not knowing what to do. I was beyond grateful for Jillian standing right there telling me to just jump into it and get everyone going. Once I got going I feel like I started to get in a groove. I think I for the most part have been pretty strong in projecting my voice. I struggled finding ways to work the room and get next to people as everyone was stacked almost on top of each other. I have a tendency to speed up when nervous and completely rushed through cues to get people in better form.
Abs I had the same problem of not having anywhere to get down next to someone, but I think I did a good job of motivating everyone to get through that final song. My feedback was that I kept saying “we’re almost there” so this was something to be more aware of as I continue my teacher journey and only say that when we are actually almost finished and instead find other cues to motivate the group. I felt very discouraged after class even though we were done, I felt like I should have done so much better and I felt like everyone else crushed it and I fell behind.
The feedback after class was really reassuring and made me feel like I did better than I thought. I feel like I almost blacked out in the moment and had no idea what the heck had come out of my mouth. It was so much fun afterwards taking pics with the group and celebrating with champagne and snacks.”
After your five week training is complete, the following requirements must all be COMPLETE to receive your certification:
- 16 yoga classes (beyond your lecture sessions)
- 7 Yoga Sculpt classes
- 6 C1/C2/HPF classes (the 6 can be a variety of any of these you do not have to do 6 each of each type)
- 3 Yoga Sculpt observations
- Attendance at all 10 sessions (only 1 missed session allowed, with make-up work.)
- *They say you can only miss 1 but I communicated ahead of time that I would be out of town for 2 sessions and we were able to work around it. I did a make up session with the studio manager in addition to the make-up work assignment for the other*
- Journal about all classes and sessions
- Completion of all OMwork assignments
- Final Script – my script linked here
- Online program feedback – (link provided in Week 5)
- Tuition paid in full
4 WEEK EXTENSIONS:
Should you go through with extensions?
Extensions was a popular topic throughout training on the coaches opinion on it in addition to conversation among my fellow teachers in training on whether or not we were going to do it.
I was super on the fence about going through with extensions. Part of me saw it as just a scam for CorePower to squeeze more money out of us. My ENTIRE class ended up going through extensions for the additional $300 in cost & I do NOT regret it one bit! If I were to do it all over again I would still choose to go through with extensions.
*However note one tiny loophole in the auditions process for CorePower. We were required to have 10 hours of continuing education ON TOP OF our YSTT 50-hour program. So if we did not go through with Extensions we would have had to find another outlet to get the final 10 hours.*
Regardless of the 10 hour loophole, I still think Extensions is the way to go as you get additional real time practice teaching classes AT CorePower with real time feedback after each class. At the end of the day, it was really valuable practice to keep teaching following our 5 week training. I also didn’t want to get rusty on teaching leading up to auditions.
Overall Extensions was way more chill than the training and the group was much more comfortable with each other!
The structure was a lecture on Thurday’s and community classes on Sunday’s with feedback afterwards.
A few areas that were covered in extensions:
- Advanced sequencing
- Adjustments & Assists
- Putting together our own dream playlist
- New exercises
- How to differentiate yourself as a teacher
- Coaches sharing their horror teaching stories – this was a very entertaining session
- Themes & Ethics
- Audition Logistics & Tips
- These were really great practice opportunities and I made sure to not miss any of these even though I missed 1 or 2 of our other lectures.
- The more practice we got the better and it was always really helpful getting the feedback after teaching.
*Starting this section off with the fact that EVERY SINGLE GIRL IN MY TRAINING PASSED. 100% placement rate BUT DC has been rapidly growing in studio expansion which led to a variety of opening opportunities! CPY cannot guarantee a teacher spot after training but if you are doing everything you should be doing, you have a great shot of securing a teacher spot.*
This was a very stressful period as we had gone through 9 weeks of training and still had to pass the final test: auditions.
Our studio manager walked us through exactly how to apply to teach for CorePower. We made sure to apply to every studio in the area highlighting all possible availability we had.
Leading up to auditions, I was practicing like crazy with another girl from our training. I was so stressed that something would go wrong in auditions and I wanted to be as prepared as possible.
I showed up to the studio auditions were being held at (not our home training studio). I wore an outfit that I felt really popped as I wanted to stand out to the managers!
Upon arrival there was a paper with every studio in the DC area with available time slots. I circled every slot that could work with my schedule in addition to ranking my top 3 studios in order of preference.
We then walked into the studio with a large paper listing the order of names and mine was at the top.
We did a quick intro and deep breathing, zen exercise to level set the group and they walked us through the structure of the audition.
Each sculpt audition was required to flow through Sun B + followed by another section of their choice. Mine was puhsups & biceps following Sun B +. They said to keep going through the allotted time or until they stopped us when they had seen enough.
Going first was so nervewracking and I was dripping sweat leading up to me starting the group off. We set up in the studio as if we were taking a normal sculpt class with weights and everything.
I went up to the “teaching mat” to kick us off. They played a very neutral song I had never heard before which threw me off a bit but I rolled with it. I went through Sun B + and started to go through pushups & biceps when they called me out to stop.
I had such a sense of relief once finished but also nerves that I didn’t do good enough, but those were alleviated slightly when my training friend whispered “good job” to me after I went.
We kept flowing through the remainder of auditions and were told we would hear back within the next week or two.
I finally heard back within a week that I had a successful audition and would be interning at the Fairfax Studio every Tue 6 AM and Sun 8:30 AM.
To be completely honest, I was slightly disappointed with the results and felt guilty that I even had felt any disappointment when most girls would have been thrilled by the sole fact of securing a spot. However, going into the training to begin with I was so set on securing a spot in the new studio they had opened only 5 minutes from my home.
I stayed positive that my time would come where I would be able to transfer over, and I was very open about the fact that I wanted to switch very early on with the Fairfax Studio Manager. (Funny enough, it turned out that Fairfax actually was one of my favorite studios I’ve taught at during my time at CorePower as the students there were SO SWEET and fun to talk through during my internship – will go into more details below).
The internship started not long after I had been accepted. We had a required 3 hour orientation at another studio with other new hires.
Additionally we had to fill out all required paperwork and direct deposit information.
The final step was to complete a walkthrough in my new home studio which is standard for any new studio you teach at to learn the studio basics including:
- How to adjust the heat in studios (varies by location)
- Keys to unlock/lock studio
- Music Control
- Money Drawer
We walked through this all in orientation as well. I promise you that initially it is a bit overwhelming to absorb all of these details, but it definitely became much much easier over time.
To complete your internship you must teach a total of 30 CLASSES with a halfway point review from your studio manager (~15 classes in) and a final review from your studio manager.
During my internship I was subbing like crazy as well to hit my 30 count as fast as possible. As an intern you make half the hourly rate as a full-time instructor.
Each class you teach also has a required 30 minute pre desk time and 30 min post class desk time requirement.
My first class was a mixture of excitement & nerves and it was the 6AM slot in Fairfax. Lucky me I had ONE student for my first class. It felt slightly comical that so much build up to have my first class just have one student but it went well.
I left notes on my phone after each class I taught during internship to debrief how it went and areas I felt I could improve on which I felt had helped as I would see trends in improvement areas.
I started getting regulars in my 6AM class which was SO much fun as two of my favorite students were 2 dads that always would chat with me after class and loved the music I was playing!
My 15th class was taken by my manager and my main improvement areas she told me after was a better control of temperature in the room (I did not have the room hot enough when she took class), smile more at my students (I would get so focused on going through the routine that I would forget to try and emotionally connect with students), and to remember the Verb YOUR Body Part formula ie: “Widen YOUR fingertips” or “Lift YOUR Chest.”
By my 30th class, I had already secured a full time slot in the Ballston studio which is what I wanted and transferred my Tuesday class over to another girl. The other studio manager took one of my last classes for my final review and overall had really positive feedback and was offered a full time teaching spot in Ballston! I was beyond thrilled to have completed the journey successfully and start full time teaching at Ballston.
FULL TIME TEACHING:
After this crazy long teacher I have officially been teaching FULL TIME at CorePower for ~6 months. Teaching full time has overall been a very positive experience + amazing being able to get paid doing something I love.
My official classes (prior to shutdown) were Wed 7:30 pm and Sat 8:30 am. Those times have worked great for me and they are fun class times to teach. The Saturday classes have been tough a few times to wake up early after a Friday night, but overall it’s been great and fun teaching.
Full Time Teaching Benefits:
- FREE Black Tag Membership
- FREE Plus One of choice
- 25% Teacher Discount on all retail in CorePower studio
- 30% Discount at Outdoor Voices
- 30% Discount at Sweaty Betty
- 25% Discount at Alo Yoga
Additional Benefits (Depending on studio):
- Free Orangetheory Membership (My sister is a teach in ATX and has this benefit. In DC we do not so definitely varies by region).
As much as I LOVE teaching at CPY and would do it all over again with faced with the same decision, I want to be 100% transparent on the not so great parts of teaching.
Summarizing a few painpoints in the following bullets:
- Finding Subs: I teach Saturday classes so every time I am planning a trip or have an event, I have to harass every teacher in the area to find someone to fill an 8:30am slot. This can definitely be stressful when you desperately need someone. Often I will agree to swap with a teacher and teach their class in exchange for them to help me out. Sometimes a class I am subbing is at a tough time like Sat/Sun 7am or an early week class. It is manageable just stressful sometimes. However I have never failed to find a sub when needed. I believe in good karma which is why I often will agree to sub someone’s class as I know it will pay itself off in the long run.
- Student Experience: Since becoming a teacher I feel like I have not been a student and taken classes as much as I anticipated. I think in part because I started marathon training right as I transitioned to full time so it was impossible to squeeze multiple classes into my routine outside of when I was teaching. When teaching 2/week that only leaves 4 days to practice as I generally give myself a rest day. I also have an OTF membership where I was going 1-2/week in addition to long runs. I also struggled taking classes after having our routine so engrained in our heads so it started to not be as exciting as a student as I knew exactly what was coming.
- Minimal Feedback: When you go through your teacher training journey, you get conditioned to receive a TON of feedback each time you teach. Once you become a full time instructor, you RARELY have other full time teachers or studio managers taking your classes to give honest feedback. Students generally will just smile and say “thank you!” or “that was great!” I really have to push myself to ask students for honest feedback to make sure I am doing a good job.
- No Continued Trainings: In teacher training you get your little black dress script, but after that any changes you want to make are on your own time and creativity. It could be nice to have teacher workshops where teachers explain different sequences that work well for them. They have a CPY binder with a variety of sequences and ideas, but I still find the binder hard to follow as some of the new exercises you may not know do not go in much depth. That is why I am sharing my routines I have been creating linked below to hopefully be a resource to anyone beginning their own CPY journey!
For routines I have taught during my time teaching full time be sure to check out:
- CorePower Yoga Sculpt Sequence + Playlist – March ’20
- CorePower Yoga Sculpt Sequence + Playlist – February 2020
- CorePower Yoga| January 2020 Sculpt Sequence
Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions on your mind about the teacher training process. Happy to help!