The way Mr. Tice sees it, too many yoga styles are built around the
"cult of personality," such as Bikram, named for Bikram Choudhury,
the Kolkata, India, native who began spreading his style of hot
yoga in the 1970s. CorePower, by contrast, "is not a person. It's a
brand," said Mr. Tice, who seeks to "ditch the dogma."
Added Mr. Tice: "We are not there to preach. It's a secular
practice. There is no connection to religion."
As much as CorePower emphasizes its brand, the company spends
very little on traditional branding, eschewing TV and print ads for
word-of -mouth and digital marketing. For instance, staff might
invite to a class people from "like-minded businesses," such as the
manager of a Whole Foods, in the hopes that they will tell others,
said Marketing Director Holly Georgelos, who joined in 2006 after a
stint at Gap Inc. The company has offered services via Groupon
discounts and has dabbled with advertising through Google's AdWords
service and microtargeted ads on Facebook.
CorePower also relies on trial enrollments, offering a free week
of classes to anyone who signs up. After that , prices vary by
region. In Illinois, a single class costs $20, while a set of five
sessions costs $95 and an unlimited monthly pass runs $175.
What it skips in media spending, CorePower makes up for with its
careful site-selection process, using demographic research to
choose the ideal spot within dense urban areas populated by its
target market of professionals age 25 to 35. The company also pumps
in as much as $1 million to build out each of its locations,
equipping them with showers and climate-controlled studios and
stocking them with amenities like CorePower-branded soap and
Each site offers classes virtually anytime during daylight
hours. On a recent Monday at one Chicago studio, a class began
nearly every hour, starting at 6 a.m. and concluding at 8:30
"To not feel like a beginner, you've got to have some sense of
"I'm becoming good at this sequence, and therefore I'm enjoying
myself.' And we want to keep that student feeling successful," Ms.
I've practiced yoga on and off for a few years—but never
heated yoga. So during a class at CorePower's original studio in
downtown Denver, I could tell the difference immediately. Next to
me, Ms. Georgelos gracefully moved through poses. I was, well, less
graceful, but got through most poses except for a headstand, the
splits and something called a wheel pose that involves for bending
the body into an upside-down U, a formation I just wasn't going to
try to replicate.
Instructors are taught to be encouraging but not demanding. That
pretty much fit Marta, who led our class. "I could do this all day
long and so could you," she said as we did the Mountain Climber,
shuffling each foot forward while in a plank pose. "Once you stop
trying, you stop struggling," she told us.
By the end of class, the speakers were piping U2 and Marta was
spraying a refreshing mist throughout the room. By then, all I
wanted was a shower and an iced tea, maybe from Starbucks.