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Yoga at home is different. As someone who loves going into the yoga studio, moving my practice home was difficult at first. I missed the community of fellow yogis and yoga teachers practicing beside me and the ability to focus inward and tune everything else out.
While I practiced at home, I had a lot more distractions. Whether it was slow Wi-Fi, the sound of the TV on in the other room, or my dog climbing all over my yoga mat, I felt like I just couldn’t focus.
Aside from all those obvious external distractions, I felt tons of internal ones as well. “I should’ve thrown my laundry in before this...” “Did I turn the oven off?” “Is someone texting me?” “I can’t wait to eat a snack when this is over.” The list goes on and on...
But as studios remained closed, I realized it might be a while before I could go back to in-person yoga classes—and I needed to change my attitude. So, I made a conscious decision to stop being mad about the whole situation and try to get the most out of my at-home yoga practice.
Here are some tips that helped me finally learn to love virtual yoga.
You wouldn’t bring your phone into your in-studio yoga practice, so why should you have it next to you during a virtual class? A huge part of yoga is eliminating distractions, and there’s nothing more distracting than a phone that lights up, dings, or buzzes every five seconds. Turn your phone off, or if you’re like me, just put it in another room so you can’t even see the thing.
If you’ve ever looked around in a yoga studio, you can probably tell a lot of thought, planning, and TLC went into making it the beautiful, welcoming, and peaceful sanctuary you practice in. When I first started doing at-home yoga, I’d roll out my mat in the tiny space next to my bed or push the coffee table aside in the living room. As I flowed through my asanas, I’d have to push a pair of sneakers out of my way or find myself accidentally kicking the wall. This was not ideal.
Once I realized this would be a regular thing, I made sure the room was spotless, set up my diffuser (or space heater) in a corner, had blankets ready, plants surrounding me, and my own personal little yoga space to help me find my Zen. Don’t be afraid to switch it up and discover which area of the house you like best! Now, I alternate between my little yoga spot in the bedroom and taking my mat out onto the balcony when the weather’s nice, and I need some fresh air. It’s the little things.
Just because you’re not physically with the people or teachers in your class, doesn’t mean you’re not together. In virtual classes, there are people from all over the place (maybe even different states or countries!) practicing the same flow and following the same instructor. That is beautiful in itself! Virtual classes have opened doors for lots of people to try yoga, perhaps even beginners trying for the first time. Some don’t live near a yoga studio. Some can’t typically afford the in-studio pricing. Some may have been too nervous or embarrassed to walk into a new yoga class alone. And some may have recently decided to try yoga because of their increased free time—or anxiety about the state of the world. Whatever the reason, many are coming together to practice yoga alongside you. This may be the first yoga community they have ever been a part of.
When I would go into the studio, I felt a little more structure. I had class at a set time, needed to arrive a few minutes early to get a good spot and set up, and I would never consider walking out in the middle of the yoga practice to go home and do laundry.
When I did virtual yoga classes, though, I’d often work right up until the start of class. I’d look at the clock, rush to set up my mat in a panic, and usually end up missing the breathing/focusing/warming up part. I’d jump right in without setting the tone, which would often lead to distractions throughout. When we were right in the thick of it, I'd remember some “important” thing I had to do, and sometimes I’d even get up and go do it, because who’s watching?
Learning to treat virtual yoga the same way I treated regular class was key to making the practice worthwhile. I started implementing some “commute” time, a buffer in between work and yoga. I’d get everything set up and be ready to go with time to spare, so I could tune in—and stay tuned in—throughout my whole practice.
The best part of virtual workout classes is no one can see you. Not that anyone paid attention to you during in-studio yoga, but there’s definitely some comfort in knowing you’re not playing a game of who’s more flexible or who can do the best headstands. Now’s the time to—carefully—try out those new poses you’ve been too nervous to try. Think outside the box, go off-script a bit, find your flow, and add to your practice. If you don’t follow along to exactly what the teacher is saying, that’s okay! Take this at-home time to find freedom and creativity in your yoga practice, expressing yourself, trying new things, and not worrying about anyone but yourself.
After I started doing these five things, my relationship with virtual yoga completely changed. Instead of dreading it, dipping out early, or feeling like my thoughts were elsewhere the whole time, I began to appreciate it in an entirely different way.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my in-person studio, and I can’t wait to get back once it reopens, but I think I’ll mix a little virtual into my routine from here on out.
In the past, on days when I couldn’t make it to class in time because of rush hour traffic, forgot my mat or a change of clothes, or didn’t sign up before it filled up, I’d just go home and skip yoga that day. Now, I envision a hybrid routine, with virtual and in-studio classes. I’ll be able to fit in a lot more yoga, stop making excuses, practice on my own, and continue to support my studio all along.
Here’s to second chances.
Want to try a virtual yoga class for yourself? Browse Mindbody to find one that fits your schedule!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.