My Top 5 Yogi Items

One pro about teaching yoga is that you get discounts to shop at most of the yoga brand (ranging from 25-30% off retail/sales price). So I’ve tried my fair share of leggings, mats, water bottles, etc. Below are my yogi faves.

Yoga Leggings

Lululemon Align Pant II 25″ (used to be known as the Lululemon Align 7/8). These pants are great for shorter yogis (I am 5’3″) and reaches my ankles at the perfect length. Taller yogis can opt for the 28″ They come in a variety of colors. I probably have 3-4 pairs in black and about 6-8 more in a colors of the rainbow. These pants have over 10,000+ reviews and feel like a layer of your skin. 

Some others that are similar are the Alo Soft (not sweat wicking) and Athleta’s Elation. I have yet to try Nike’s Infinalon 7/8 but imagine it’s very similar.

Yoga Mat

Alo Warrior Yoga Mat: I have 3 of these mats… 2 in black and 1 in the pink Smoky Quartz. This is the most comfortable mat for all the quarantine exercises you want to do. I discovered the mat from practicing a lot of hot yoga. This one has the best grip (without a towel) and is super easy to clean with a wipe. I keep one at the office, 2 at home (1 for my husband and 1 for me). I highly recommend the black color as it seems the Smoky Quarts material is not as easy to clean.

A close second is either the Lululemon Reversible (Big Mat) or Manduka Pro Yoga Mat (6mm). I own the reversible and frequently use the Manduka one teaching at Salesforce.

Yoga Block(s)

Gaiam Yoga Blocks are lightweight but super sturdy whenever you need an extra assist. I have 6 of these and have used them relentlessly for modifications and support. Better quality than the CorePower Yoga ones.

Water Bottle

BKR Water Bottles are  made of glass and have a silicone covering. I find it to be the perfect water bottle and has a cap for ease of transportation. I prefer glass to any steel-insulated water bottle. Partially because it increases in temperature with the room so that you’re not shocking your body from the inside after warming up (even though it might feel good to have cold water in a hot yoga room). And just not a fan of the steel taste…it’s there…I know it.

Often times, I’ve kicked or knocked my water bottle over getting into Savasana and this one makes the least amount of noise vs. loud clanging from the steel water bottles.

Others that are yogi favorites: Swell, Hydroflask, Yeti

Miniso sells a great dupe of the BKR water bottle (not sure if it exists anymore).

Hand Sanitizer

Trader Joe’s Grapefruit and Lemon Hand Sanitizer is great before and after yoga class. During assists especially when assisting multiple students, I meticulously use hand sanitizer in between. I recently bought some but for some reason, this new batch does not smell anything like the one I originally bought before. Not sure if quarantine has changed the availability of some ingredients… It’s still moisturizing with Vitamin E and Aloe even though it’s 74% alcohol.

Runner Up: GermX (not as a strong to strip the skin of all its oils like Purrell)

Yogi Skincare

Happy July 4th yogis! My skincare has changed so much in my 30s. I used to be an oily combination type in my 20s but now it’s just dry in my 30s. Below is everything I’m using on a daily basis to care for my skin.

You can find most of these products on Amazon, Sephora, Costco, Innisfree, YesStyle, and many other sites via Google shopping. Some things that vary for me comes to serums, masks, and night-time creams depending on season and weather.

My Nighttime Skincare Routine

Step 1. Cleanser: Because my skin is so dry I start out with a basic cleansing oil. DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil does a darn good job with cleansing without stripping my skin of all my natural oils. Smells just like olive oil.

Step 2. Exfoliant: I alternate the days I use the Pore Cleansing Facial Foam from Innisfree when I need to get more grime/dirt off my faces. The charcoal base makes my face feel really clean.

Step 3. Facial Mist: I mist myself after cleansing my face/shower with Avene’s Thermal Spring Water and when I need an extra lift, I use Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir. Smells herbally but I like it.

Step 4. Mask/Serum (optional): This is when I decide if I want to treat my skin to something different but on most days (because I’m lazy) I skip this step.

Step 5. Facial Oil: My face needs more moisture after hot showers so I use the Nuxe Multi-purpose oil and pat it in my face. 

Step 6: Eye Cream: I also pat it Innisfree’s Youth-enriched Eye Cream to prevent wrinkles.

Step 7: Lip Balm: When I don’t drink enough water, Lucas’ Papaw Ointment is the way to go before I head for bed.

 

Other Products

Treating Acne: I use the CosRx Acne Pimple Patches overnight to get rid of any bumps. It flattens the pimple overnight. And if it needs and extra umph, Moa’s Green Balm does the same and has all natural ingredients.

Sunscreen: I bought a pack of Thank You Farmer’s Sun Project Water Sun Cream because it’s a moisturizing sunscreen that is 50+ and PA+++. SPF = 50+ in blocking UVB rays for 50 mins and PA+++ means it’s blocking UVA rays. (The Klog explains this way better than me)

Muscle aches: All yogis have experienced muscle aches and my favorite oil blend to use is Saje’s Peppermint Halo. It’s also great for cooling and soothing headaches and dizziness (especially after hot yoga).

And the *most important thing for skincare: Eating well, Getting Enough Beauty Sleep, and Drinking lots of water. Definitely helps with skin to look glowy and hydrated and no amount of skincare products can change that.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Ep 3 & 4

5/5

Our main girl Moon Young has just the right amount of assertiveness!  I don’t know how she’s able to declare that she saw Gang Tae in her dreams. Such a boss! Love how she just speaks her mind that way. She’s even more hilarious when she asks Gang Tae if he wants to sleep with her loudly so that the rest of hospital could make assumptions about their convo. She has a way to keep him on his toes and I love the chemistry between the two!!!

Episode 3 was filled with action. I appreciate the diagnosis on why the patients act up the way they do whether their illness comes from the constraints come from parents, friends or society. It really touches on the point of why society believes mental illness is something to hide. I particularly like how this episode is able to touch on Gi-Do’s illness. Him showing up at his father’s campaign really drove it home with him wanting to be acknowledged vs. being hidden or fixed in a psychiatric hospital.

Episode 4 was emotional after Moon Young’s dad chokes her again and the whole story about Zombie Kid. Slightly depressing and gory. Again, the idea what the parents think the child needs vs what a child really wants. Moon Young and Gang Tae exchange some harsh words with one another. Even so, I really can’t wait as we are left Gang Tae looking for Moon Young in the rain (such a K-dramatic moment).

OST of the Week: Sam Kim’s Breath is soooooo good! Definitely on repeat and added to my next yoga playlist for July.

Corepower Yoga Auditions

CorePower holds its auditions on a monthly cadence in the Bay Area for any new instructors. The audition day usually lands on the last week of the month. If there are new studio openings, the audition dates will coincide with Intensives (training). Be sure to get on the email list of when auditions are happening as it’s difficult to get an audition slot.

My Audition Experience (May 2019)

Intensives:

After teacher training, I wanted to audition for CPY so I could start teaching asap. I opted out of extensions so I decided to do intensives for both Yoga Sculpt and C2. Intensives are a great and free way to get the training (similar to extensions). You learn to set intentions/themes and use music cues. Intensives are two whole days (usually a weekend) and you practice teach with the Master Trainer for your region.

Yoga Sculpt Audition

This was the first intensive I attended and I was super nervous when teaching with weights. The audition consists of a sculpt series* sections and auditions with about 4-5 other potential teachers in your group. For this audition, it is super important to do the muscle action cues. *Sculpt Series includes: Tricep Kickbacks, Narrow Rows, Wide Rows, etc. in chair post or crescent lunge (cueing from downward dog)

C2 Flow Audition

This was my second intensive and definitely a lot more similar to C1. This audition consists of a Sun B flow. Again, you book audition slots with 4-5 other instructors who will act as students in your class so doing assists and setting the intention here is super important. 

In total, the individual audition lasts for about 5 minutes. The entire audition is 30 mins with all the other yogis auditioning. After the audition, the trainers will ask each person to describe how teaching makes them feel in one word (supposedly to tell them a lot about your personality?)

Overall, quite an interesting experience as I’ve never auditioned for anything else in my life. I had lots of fun learning and developing more teaching skills. *Tip: Auditioning with folks that you feel comfortable assisting helps. I had several yogis in my audition group that helped each other out that way. I passed the C2 audition and was able to “intern” right away (more to come later). 

 

Inside Weather – Review

3.5/5

I’ve been testing out boutique furniture brands, picking up a couple of things here and there to upgrade into adulthood from my Ikea furniture. Don’t get me wrong, Ikea is still the way to go for the sake of simplicity and it’s great prices. But definitely ready to get a few staple pieces for long-term use and support local businesses. 

Inside Weather has a lot of cute decor items and accessories but one of the pieces that caught my eye was the Nordic Coat Rack. It looked simple enough to put together at first glance but actually took me a good 20 minutes, with the pieces falling over twice. But hey, no tools used. I’m not sure how it will hold up but it’s definitely not meant for moving around once you’ve put it together. 

Delivery was less than perfect as there has been a multitude of delays of furniture shipments. The first reach out from their support team came 5 days after the confirmation stating that items in my order were delayed, but not specifying which items. After two follow-ups, the rep finally said some items were getting shipped out (again, very confusing which ones) when they were originally out of stock until end of July. Unsure what was happening next but then only half the items, one being the Nordic Coat Rack arrived two weeks later. I’m still awaiting an update on the rest of the items.

I give them 0.5 bonus points for adding these cute cat paw leg covers to stop the wood from scratching the flooring. Overall a decent shopping experience but probably won’t be repurchasing anytime soon because I’m not huge into customizing my furniture. I prefer simpler things.

Teaching at Corepower Yoga

Getting hired at Corepower Yoga was exciting because I had been going to classes there for a year and the instructors are all wonderful. Unfortunately for me, the excitement dissipated within a month. The studios are wonderful, students are amazing, but the ROI on time spent wasn’t there for me. There are also certain expectations of sales to move up in the totem pole…typical for a corporate company. Below is a list of all pros and cons from my short stint there.

PROS:

1. Yogis of all ages and ethnicities

2. Good acoustic and heating in studio (decent amenities for showers)

3. A lot of feedback from yogis before and after class once you get to know them

4. Paid training classes to improve teaching

5. Free classes for interns and instructors (+1)

6. Lots of opportunity to sub for other instructors

 

 

CONS:

1. Pay is minimum wage and untimely

2. Time commitment is huge (you have to arrive 30 min before class and stay 30 min after class to check in students, charge people for towels, water, etc.)

3. No pay for admin time (making playlists/sequencing)

4. Lack of diversity in peer teachers 

5. Selling teacher trainings as part of a rating system

6. Amateur management

7. Intern period for 30 classes 

8. Limited time slots for newbies

After figuring out the pros and cons, I decided that I would practice at Corepower to support for fellow yogi teachers but will definitely teach elsewhere as there are many other studios that pay teachers to skill accordingly. Corepower generally has a high turnover of instructors and most of them are in their early 20s. The company incentivizes selling of teacher trainings through bonus structure mentioned here.

Crash Landing on You

5/5

Crash Landing on You is one of my top dramas for 2020 so far. It has two good looking main leads, awesome OST playlist, and a great plot! Albeit a little farfetched…but that’s what makes this romance so fun. Yoon Se Ri (Son Ye Jin) gets saved a bazillion times by Ri Jeong Hyuk (Hyun Bin) and somehow survives all the political madness of her family and the animosity between two countries. It’s also pretty hilarious how incapable she thinks Ri Jeong Hyuk is by questioning everything he does.

My favorite episodes were definitely when the whole crew was in “North Korea”. Love the concept of a simple lifestyle and how it goes against everything that happens in modern day South Korea. I’m sure people go to sleep a lot earlier with no electricity. Two of my favorite things about this world is that the pawn shop measures the value of everything by ‘weight’ and Captain Ri’s soldier group. Kim Joo Muk (Yoo Soo Bin) who is a secret K-drama fan (every can relate to binge-watching dramas) and Choi Ji Woo fan is definitely relatable.

Captain Ri is the perfect gentlemen and a wonderful main lead in every aspect, except for the fact that he’s had a fiance since the beginning of the series. This drama revolves around the fate and destiny that brought these two people together so I’m happy about the ending. Switzerland looks like a beautiful place to visit and definitely on my travel list. Who’s with me that these two should get together in real life?!

 

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay – Episode 2

5/5

I love this entire episode. The transitions between the real world and its fairy-tale like effects is so beautifully done. Even though some people might think that the storybooks are too grotesque, fairytales actually started out quite dark in storytelling. I’m impressed with Moon Young’s assertive nature when it comes to her company and with Seo Ye Ji’s acting skills! She really just does what she wants, so cool.

Our two main leads have an undeniably chemistry every time they look into each others eyes. We also discover the dark past of Gang Tae and his brother. How is a little boy that mature when his brother has down syndrome and his mother commits suicide… And what is this butterfly the keep on going about? I especially enjoyed it when Moon Young came to help Gang Tae and his brother in the middle of her book signing, it’s pretty awful how his brother was treated in public. It’s the best when the heroine comes to the rescue and surprises our male lead.

The relation that Moon Young makes about the red shoes she wears at the ending of the scene and how some things are meant to be no matter how much you avoid totally creeped me out. And finally what makes this episode 5 stars is the awesome ending OST (Heize(헤이즈) – You’re Cold (더 많이 사랑한 쪽이 아프대) I can’t wait til it’s out on Spotify. Definitely adding that to my next yoga playlist.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay – Episode 1

4/5

I was excited to see Seo Ye Ji return to a new drama after Lawless Lawyer. The story-book character setting definitely drew me in and reminded me of some stop motion animation. The vibe is bit unsettling but it’s also what makes this drama alluring. The first episode dives right in to the Moon Gang Tae (our #ManCrushMonday, Kim Soo Hyun) who has a brother with down syndrome, but his brother displays high emotional intelligence as he can tell when Moon Gang Tae brings home a fake autograph signed as Ko Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji), the famous children’s book author.

Nothing seems to phase Moon Gang Tae since he’s worked at a psychiatric hospital for 10+ years. When he prevented a knife stabbing with his bare hands, I was slightly disturbed by his calm disposition. And the flashbacks of Ko Moon Young’s past was scary as hell. That being said, I was also enthused to see his partner in crime: Jo Jae Soo (Kang Ki Doong, pictured above), who played an equally comedic character in Eternal Monarch. I also enjoyed the blatant promotion of the drama in the drama with the bus-stop ad. Clever. Docking 1 pt because the episode shows a bit too much blood for my liking, which makes it gruesome.

Final Thought: Super excited about where this is going as it seems to touch on the point of mental health awareness and even in life that ‘It’s okay to not be okay’ sometimes. Definitely something I can focus on for a future intention for my next yoga practice

CorePower Teacher Training

How much does it cost to become a yoga instructor? There isn’t a straightforward answer. There are all sorts of payment plans depending on which training and what was being offered that season. It’s so secretive to figure out the pricing when I tried googling online. I’ll explain which training I chose, which payment plan I was on, and my experience in figuring out which studio I wanted to go to for teacher training.

  • Why I chose CorePower Yoga to do my teacher training

    • Easy commute after work (literally 2 blocks from my full-time job)
    • Time flexibility (I could do teacher training after work and on the weekends, and have 1 year to make up any classes and still get certified)
    • Cheapest plan I found without going abroad (There are definitely cheaper plans available if you can pay for a flight to go abroad to Thailand, Bali, etc. for an immersive training. Going abroad would’ve been my 1st choice if I had the time)
    • A yoga teacher convinced me with a coffee date, during which she bought me a Matcha latte with oat milk (keep in mind, they are commissioned with bonuses to reel students in to participate in teacher trainings)
    • I liked the consistency of the CPY format of classes (I like hot yoga + vinyasa flow)
  • Why I chose the 200 hour teacher training

    • It is Yoga Alliance Certified, so it’s recognized in the yoga world (not only at CorePower) to give you the flexibility to teach anywhere (unlike the Yoga Sculpt program)
    • The class size was about 14-15 students per 2 co-lead instructors and 4 coaches (I found this out at my coffee date), so I felt like I had sufficient attention from the instructors. Plus, they were a cool group of women!
    • The 200 hour training is for all level teaching and has heavy focus on the breath-posture-cue for each asana vs. the exercise aspect of sculpt
  • How much did it cost?

    • The MSRP price was around $3300 in the Bay Area in 2019
    • I was a black tag member (BTM) so I got the 20% discount (best if you have this because you’re going to be attending about 60 yoga classes in 2 months) – BTM is about $150/mo for me (Bay Area)
    • If you sign up and pay a fee a couple months before the start date, they also run a promotion to get $XXX off (I got $200 off)
    • They also run a scholarship for $500 at each studio (I did not get this)
    • Tip: If you are cash strapped, they offer discount pricing on Teaching Training (TT) and BTM if you work at the studio. It mostly involves cleaning and checking students in at minimum wage (I didn’t have the luxury of time so unsure of this discount)
    • You do the math 😉
  • How much time did you invest and was there a good ROI (return on investment)?

    • 200 hrs = 200 hrs of time invested and a lot more hours in practice teaching (this is the bread and butter anyway)
    • You get what you put into it (I really wanted to teach right after, so I completed everything within the 2 months so I could get my certificate asap)
    • About half the class, 6-7 of us, became yoga instructors (part-time because many of us already had full-time jobs) after the program
  • Did you complete Extensions?

    • Extensions is something CPY advertises as TT comes to a close. It is about $500-$600 more for an additional 4/5 weeks of practice and lessons on Theme-ing and creating music playlists for your class. My instructor already prefaced this, so it didn’t come as a surprise. It is yet another revenue generator for CPY. I wanted to audition asap and didn’t want to invest more dollars, so I took a different route and did something called Intensives (which are free – more to come on this).

All in all, it’s never easy dropping a few grand on a yoga training, but if you’ve been thinking about it for a long time, definitely give it a go! TT has changed my life for the better in ways that can’t be quantified in numbers and helped my own practice immensely. From self-correcting my form to being able to connect on a different level with other humans, it’s been rewarding in more ways than one.